Typepad 101: A Quick and Easy Guide to Building A Great Blog

August 06, 2013

Welcome to Typepad 101! Whether you want to add some new features to your blog's design, or simply make your blog more functional, Typepad 101 has you covered. The tips here are suitable for bloggers at varying levels, from basic to intermediate. Need tips on how to make something work for you? Leave a comment! Your Support team and fellow Typepad bloggers are always here to lend a hand.

A great blog always starts with the basics - good design, engaging content, effective social networking - and uses those as a solid foundation to build on. Add consistency, hard work, and cleverness, and the sky's the limit. If you're new to blogging, these tips will help you start strong, and if it's been awhile and things are getting stale, we'll help you shake off the dust!

Design:

Keep It Clean. Good design is about more than a great theme. Sure, you want your blog to look nice - after all, that's the first thing your readers are going to see - but there's more to it than that, and keeping your blog clean is a good (and essential) place to start. Keep clutter to a minimum by rethinking those animated .gifs and using the Split Extended Entry feature if you plan on displaying a lot of photos in one post.

The great William Morris once said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." The same is true for your blog's sidebars. Focus on essential design elements and useful content, and leave out the rest (we can even teach you how to hide elements that you don't want to display, and add elements that won't add clutter).

Having a clean blog is important because it helps your readers navigate your content easily, which leads to better engagement. After all, you can't leave a comment if you can't find the comment link, right?

The Elements Of Style. Be smart when choosing colors; your palette should be current and complementary. Into visual aids? A great banner and a custom background can go a long way in stylishly setting the tone for your blog. Social media is increasingly important - using smart social icons adds both a design element and an effective way for your readers to connect.

Typeface It. Using web fonts is an easy way to make your blog look great. Services like Google Web Fonts and Cloud Typography allow you to incorporate designer fonts into your blog's posts and sidebar items without a lot of hassle.

Posting Matters. Once you've learned how to structure your posts (we'll talk about that later), you can include engaging design elements to your repertoire. Using large photos (or adding rounded corners) and posting items from Pinterest and Instagram can make your posts visually appealing.

PS: When creating a new design for your blog, it's a great idea to use a test blog, and duplicate the design when you're ready to go live. That way, everything still appears to be "business as usual". Learn how here.

Content:

Structure Counts. Learning how to structure your blog posts allows you to maintain a steady style, and frees you up to engage with your readers.

Consistency Is Key. It may seem simple, but posting often keeps your blog (and you) relevant, gives your newer readers lots of content to browse, and gives you material to draw upon for future related posts.

Be Yourself. Your content is what will keep your readers coming back day after day, and good content makes a good blogger. It's also important to inject a little of your own unique voice into your posts. Don't be afraid to show the world exactly who you are. After all, it's your character that makes you relatable.

PS: Last year, we published a great series on Blogging Best Practices, and some awesome tips to make blogging easier. Dive in!

Social Networking:

An Open Invitation To Overshare. Blogging used to just be, you know, blogging. Not anymore, though. If you want to build your audience, you have to engage, and harnessing the power of social media is the key. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Google+ all play a powerful part in getting your posts out there. Connecting effectively via social media can be the difference between having a blog only your mom reads, and having a blog your mom's friends read, too.

Make It Obvious. Adding your recent Tweets and Pins to your sidebar gives your readers a window into your online activity and allows them to connect with you away from your blog. Have a Facebook Fan Page? Add a Like Box to your blog's sidebar, and they won't even have to leave your blog to Like it.

A Footnote About Footers. You're not the only one who can share; Typepad has made it super easy for your readers to share your posts to various social networks as well. The secret is in your bog's Post Footer, and we'll even teach you how to get the most out of it - here and here.

PS: Did you know that your feed is another great way to share your blog? Now you do!

Looking for inspiration? These great blogs are a good place to start:

Note To Self / A Beautiful Mess / Seth's Blog / Novelicious / The View From Here / Oui, Chef!

We all know Rome wasn't built in a day, but we hope you found our quick and easy guide useful for getting you up and on your way to a great blog (or refreshing and revamping your current one). We'd love to see how you're putting these great tips to use, so leave us your links in the comments!

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