As much as we’d like to believe content is king, a reign isn’t complete without an aesthetically pleasing site. Many bloggers are on the hunt for the big ad dollars, the best products to review, exclusives and media notoriety. Even if you’re not looking to be famous, it’s important to be perceived as a serious, knowledgeable blogger in your chosen field. For the answers to the tough questions, we turned to Kristen Crusius, a SEO & Emerging Technologies Strategist for Morpheus Media.
How important is domain mapping? How does it affect the perception of a blog?
Domain mapping is extremely important for SEO, Marketing and perception value. When a client sees someblog.blogspot/typepad/wordpress.com they question its validity – and at times, so does the social media team. Each platform is great for its own reasons, easy and it is very easy to map a domain to it. Having a domain mapped or a self hosted blog indicates you take what you do seriously, and thus others will.
What is the first thing you notice on a blog in terms of advertising? Does it affect you negatively or positively?
The quality and placements of the ads, the amount as well. If there are non-specific ads associated with the blog, its really unappealing. There is nothing wrong with being a part of an ad network, it makes everyone’s life much easier. Joining the right one is key. I would recommend even joining a network like blogads so each blogger has full control over their placements.
The placement of the ad is also important, if there are dual sky scrapers, how it plays into the usability, readability and design is a major factor. If you are using ads that force your content below the fold, it creates a poor user experience and perception of the blog – not to mention crawlers are likely to see you as a spam blog.
A lot of companies don’t fully understand he value of blogs. What are some ways bloggers can make companies more at ease when dealing with the blogosphere?
We really try hard to present the value of each blog to our clients – we spend a lot of time reading through posts and comments and looking at the quality of photos and presentation.
First and foremost: make it easy to find your contact info – also your city location. The hardest part at times about outreach, especially about events, is knowing who is where!
While it is in the best interest of everyone to establish one to one relationships, it may need to start with a press release to open the gates. Include a section about how you accept press releases, event invites and samples, your personal preference is key here – companies need to know how you like to be interacted with. You are a blogger, part of the new internet press – noting that you are open to receiving press releases and being explicit about sampling is key. Set some “ground rules” in your reply if you receive these types of things, how often or methods you prefer after initial contact is made without being pushy.
Set up a PR alias for your blog if you don’t like being inundated with releases but still want to receive them – that way you can browse that at your convenience.
Be open about your traffic – the statistics we see from quantcast are never going to be spot on – so if we have questions, don’t feel that your traffic isn’t sufficient enough. Our main focus as an agency is quality of content, but for analysis we like to see numbers. The more familiar you are with your traffic and demographics, the better it is for all parties involved.
Break out your blog into categories – associate categories by brand even, that way when we visit your blog to see how you feel about a particular brand, its all right there.
If you really love a brand, link back to their site in your post – if you want to link your readers to deals and third party sites, include those too – but always give credit to the brand site first.
How much does a blog’s design affect it’s perception?
Oh, very much – this is the fashion & beauty industry – you will be judged by your appearances! Have a well made theme, if you don’t understand how to do it, there are plenty of people out there cheap-for-hire, or even other bloggers within the network who know – have them work with you on tying it all together.
First and foremost – your header image is like a window into your soul – or people assume it is. Make sure it represents who you are, of course! The size of it matters as well – it should not push down the content of the page below or near the fold.
Sites that use the obvious set of default templates or garish looking sites are often not even considered by our clients when we send them for approval. Backgrounds, colors and fonts that interfere with readability are usually the culprit. It is key to have a professional looking blog - remember, if you want people to take you seriously, be sure it looks like you do too!
On that note – it is always super important to remember to never alter a brands logo – distort it or change its color for any reason.
Thank you so much for chatting with us Kristen! If you have any questions for our next interview with her, please leave them in the comments.