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Blogging Advice

10 Tips that will take your Home Design Blog to the Next Level

By 01/18/2010January 26th, 2017132 Comments

I’ve already written a post on the basics, 10 Things Every Blogger Should Know, click here if you haven’t read it. I’ve learned so much more now that I’ve been doing this for over one year, that I’m taking the opportunity to share with you here:

Image source

1. White Screen vs. a Black Screen.

Images really stand out on black screens; however whenever I get to a blog that is black I leave as quickly as I can because I find the contrast between the white type and the black background hurts my eyes (any other colour will, at some point, clash with the colours in your images) so that’s why I think white is the best colour.

Here is an interesting poll Problogger did on them both—the comments are worth reading as well.


2. Get a professional looking header for your blog.

Those of you that have read this blog since the beginning know I went for months without one. If you are serious about blogging, your header is a huge part of your image. Remember, first impressions are everything!

3. Make your blog look bigger.

There is a wider template you can select. I changed mine after about 6 months of blogging because blogging about design and colour is all about the images so I found it looked better when I could make the images bigger. Also most people have larger screens these days so your small blog will look even smaller on a large screen.

4. Choose your images carefully.

I get a lot of positive feedback on the [beautiful] images I use because they also define my decorating style. It’s one of the reasons I like to click on House of Turquoise blog because I know when I get there, I’m always going to see a stunning image.

Remember every photo on your blog speaks to your style and personal taste, so ask yourself if you’d want it on a billboard with your name on it when you write your next post.

5. Use WordPress NOT Blogger.

If you haven’t started your blog yet, don’t make the same mistake I did. I know I’ll have to switch eventually but I’m currently resisting the whole idea because of how much work I think it’ll be.

Update based on comments: If you are a hobby blogger, Blogger is great, however if you want to monetize your blog someday, apparently that is why WordPress or Typepad is the way to go!

Basically the way someone explained it to me was, using Blogger is like having a car that only has a steering wheel and nothing else. That’s how many more features and widgets WordPress has available.

6. Inject your Personality into your blog.

Anyone can start a design/colour blog and just start cutting and pasting pretty pictures but we want to know who you are [as well as what you know].

As Gary Veynerchuck says in this video (below). “In a world that’s changing so quickly, where everything is transparent and every part of your movement is captured, what’s going to happen is that the good people will win, and the bad will lose.”


7. Pick the area where you are the expert and that you are passioniate about, and talk about that!

As we’ve been reading, because we are on the wild, wild, web with an audience of millions, your niche can be small and you can still do well! If you don’t love your topic, you will lose interest fast!

Here’s a great post on How to Blog about the Same Thing as Everyone Else (and still stand out).

Very important-If you are just selling your business and not offering any value–no one will read your blog! So give us information and let us see how brilliant you are. Then we’ll get that you are the expert we should hire pronto!

8. Comment, comment, comment.

95% of people that read your blog will never comment—it certainly didn’t occur to me to comment inside the 6 months I spent reading blogs before I started mine–and 95% of the comments you receive will be from other bloggers.

Image source

It doesn’t matter how famous you already are, if you don’t create relationships with your readers and respond to emails or follow commenting etiquette, (which is to post a comment in return when you get one) your blog will not grow as fast. That is also how other people will find you, so start commenting!

9. Use Paragraphs Please!

Have you ever tried reading a typed page with no paragraphs? It’s very hard on the eyes, you look up and back, and have to scan to see where you left off and because it’s hard to read [personally] I lose interest quickly and move on.

Read this article by Problogger to find out if your blog is scannable!

Sometimes even one sentence works well to make a point!

Ralph Lauren

10. Be prepared to work hard.

I can’t even remember what my life was like before I started blogging. Since November 2008 when I started my blog I’ve been obsessed and spend an average of 2 – 5 hours a day writing posts, answering emails and commenting on other blogs.

It took 10 months of writing an average of 4-5 posts a week to get high enough in google rankings so that local readers are now finding my blog. I also do on-line consultations as well; however I would say 90% of the business I have received in the last 6 months is because of this blog!

Ralph Lauren

So hang in there, start your blog (or don’t give up), let us get a sense of who you are and be generous with the content you share, and if you have any more tips to add, please leave a comment below. I look forward to reading your blog!

Couple points from the comments: Please turn off your word verification (it is truly a pain) and if you set comment moderation for after 2 or 3 days you can reject spam before it posts to your site as most of it comes on old posts anyway.

Also switching your template to a bigger one does not delete anything.

If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.

Related posts:

Why Blogging is Good for your Career

Authenticity. . . The Currency of the Future

6 Ways I’ve Grown through Writing a Blog

If you are new to this blog, click here to see the Best of Colour Me Happy

While you’re here, subscribe to this feed so you don’t miss out!

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  • Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Hi, Maria, I've been by before, just wanted to say, these are all good tips. I've been blogging for 3 years now & as much as I'd like to comment back to everyone who leaves one, it's gotten impossible. I tried to do that for a long time. That's been the hardest part about the growing pains, but you're so right about the relationships with the blogging community. That all comes through commenting & responding to those who stop by. I'll be back by!

  • DesignTies says:

    Our blog turned one year old yesterday. We've come a long way since last January, but I feel like we still have a long, long way to go.

    We're still trying to figure out #7. My problem is that I have so many home decor-related interests, I have trouble focusing on just one area!!

    Thanks for the helpful tips 🙂


  • Lauren H says:

    Thank you for posting about white vs. black background (or most other colors). When I go to a blog that has a dark or distracting background, I leave almost immediately because I feel like I can't focus on the content. Great post as usual!

  • Sherri Woodard Coffey says:

    Great tips. I've looked back at all your links–not only your posts, but the other ones you referenced. Thanks. Now, about this Blogger thing: Are you going to change to WordPress or another program?

  • christa @ mental foodie says:

    I also don't like black screen – especially if they write with different color fonts that doesn't give enough contrast (which to me is worst than too much contrast!). However, now that I use Google Reader, it doesn't matter, all has white background.

    as for blogger vs wordpress. I have used both – I definitely like wordpress better as it has a lot more features and flexibility, however, my blog is mainly for book reviews, and A LOT of book bloggers use bloggers, so I decided to use bloggers instead as it makes commenting (like you mentioned – good to build relationship) much easier I found. But then again, I hadn't commented a lot when I used wordpress. I use google for a lot of things so it's just easier to stick with it.

  • Cristin says:

    Great tips! I agree that a white background is best.

    Your blog has nailed it!


  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    Great advice. I'm off to make my margins wider . . . xo

  • Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    All good points, Maria! I try to visit everyone who comments on my blog and comment on theirs. I changed to a white background awhile ago and also got a new banner about a year ago. Not things that I read I should do, but what I thought would be the right things to do. I hope I'm doing the other things, but it's not a conscious effort on my part.

    I'm okay with Blogger since I upgraded it from the basic I had it set at and I've been using Live Writer to draft my posts.

  • Alina says:

    Excellent point about using a white blog. I hate black backgrounds because it is difficult to read but never thought about the color contrast.

    Also a good point about posting frequently to get more hits on your page.

    VERY VERY GOOD advice!

  • Mrs B says:

    This advise has come at the best time for myself as I feel I am now at a crossroad with my blog. Building blogs are very hard to continue forward once you have built the house. Weeks go by and I cant imagine anything worthy to blog about as I am not an designer or in the decorating industry etc
    I will go back and re read all your articles you have written about what makes a good blog and start thinking about the direction I should be taking. So much to think about…talk soon

    Mrs B xxx

  • Dale says:

    Great advice Maria. I know I have to make a few changes to my blog. I have always loved the black background and found it very chic and found clients almost always respond more positively to colourboard and concept image boards better when placed on black backgrounds. But with text, I can definately see how it is a little bit more straining on the eye to have white text on black background. I also need to figure out the wider format for sure. Maybe a few experimental trials are in order. Thanks!

  • Creategirl says:

    this is fantastic. How did you create the wider version on blogger? After a year of blogging, I am in the midst of a transformation esp with my header! These tips are perfect, thanks for taking the time to compile them for us!!

  • The Blasphemous Fiendess says:

    THANK you Maria. Both of your posts about blogging are excellent and even helpful for someone like me who blogs just for the hell of it, with no career attached to it. I have noticed that WordPress looks much better than Blogger but I don't even have a clue how to go about changing. You are my favourite blog site-so I'll definitely subscribe if that is good for you. I don't really understand what subscribing does.

    Hope you had a good weekend.

  • "Yeah, that works..!" says:

    Wonderful points and advice. I'll share a secret – I had perused many blogs and yours was the first one that actually drew me in. And you were, and still are, my most cherished inspiration and teacher, be it about color, design or blogging. Thank you.

  • micah @ the yellow front door says:

    Thanks for the tips! Dang, I wish I had known about wordpress before I started my blog! I didn't even know about the whole blogging community until I started getting comments from other bloggers…. totally agree that commenting is super important.

  • Marcy says:

    Maria, thank you for sharing your wisdom! You have excellent advice and it can save someone a lot of time and effort to begin in the best manner.

  • Grace says:

    Wow I wish I'd had this post in front of me at the beginning of January when I began my blog. I am still going to look into changing to WordPress, rather Blogspot, since my blog is still so new.

    I had a medium grey as the background colour, but immediately went and changed it to white, after reading this.

    I always enjoy your informative posts. Thanks.

  • Red Door Home says:

    For someone like me who is fairly new to the blogging world this is such great advise. Some of your points I have just happened to do others I will have to look into more closely. As usual – I learned something new again!

  • La Roxy says:

    Great advice, as always!

    Since I just did a blog redesign, I was mentally checking off how many of these tips I had put into practice. It's not design oriented, but the ideas certainly translate.

    I also realize I should work on #8, so here goes nothing! Heehee.


  • Lauren H says:

    P.S. I have considered switching to WordPress as well, but it looks sooo much more complicated and not user-friendly compared to Blogger. I have found a lot of ways to tweak Blogger by editing the html that help a lot, however. If you do ever switch over to WordPress, please post about the transition! 🙂

  • aneyefordetail says:

    Comment Re. #5: Why do you choose WordPress? I had been on Blogger also until they, one day, dropped ALL my images and of course they offer no help at all.
    WordPress is very complicated! Try Typepad…. I absolutely adore it, have upped my level of service (to allow more design freedom), find it very user friendly, and their support is superb. To all of you Blogspot people out there: watch out, one day you may also have your images dropped…
    And, re. your #3, Typepad lets you use the maximum width!

  • aneyefordetail says:

    Re. #2: Headers.
    How do you all feel about changing your header periodically? Tara Frey in "Blogging for Bliss" suggests it is a good thing and keeps readers coming back.
    I've been trying that: changing the header almost every month. But now feel it doesn't give the identity I want, so I may try only changing it quarterly, or just with minor changes.
    What do people think?

  • Erin says:

    Fantastic tips, Maria, I couldn't agree more with all of them! In the beginning I used WordPress but was so overwhelmed and could never figure it out. I just used Blogger instead. Like you I know I'll eventually have to switch though. But I think Blogger is great for networking/commenting.

    Thanks so much for the compliment on my images too! That was so nice to hear! 🙂

  • Maria Killam says:

    This is an interesting conversation, I didn't realize comments are easier on blogger but WordPress you seem to get people's emails, I don't have that on blogger? Or maybe I'm not set up right.

    I know WordPress basically needs a graphic designer which is why I'm resisting it!

  • The Blasphemous Fiendess says:

    Hey what a surprise-I'm back. Thanks for your comments and encouragement. A few people have told me I'm funny. What pressure! It's difficult to tell real stories because you now you have to leave quite a bit out in order to make it flow better.

    Okay-the real reason I'm here. I attempted to deal with wordpress tonight. The five minute easy instructions (or something like that) took up half an hour of my time and I still didn't figure it out. I don't understand most of the terms. I don't know what it means to unzip my download.

    AND-are there Canadian sources for Kathryn M Ireland fabrics?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Re: Changing the header. I think changing the colour might be okay but for branding I would leave it the same? I might be wrong, it's just my opinion!

  • Vanessa says:

    Hi Maria,
    I had a light grey background which I thought was different than all of the other blogs out there but on your advice just changed it back to white! My graphic designer for my website recommended that I use WordPress but because all of the BIG blogs were using blogger, I thought if it's good enough for them…silly me. I use Windows Live Writer which you recommended in an earlier post, and I love it! So easy to enlarge images especially with the Stretch Minima template.
    Thanks for the great advice and for leaving a comment on my blog!

  • yyam says:

    Thank you for these great tips…I don't have a home design blog but I have a craft blog which I could totally apply these tips to..:)

    Have a wonderful week Maria!:)

  • Karena says:

    Maria, thanks for all of the blogging tips and reminders! As always you are right on target, I do love using Blogger though. It is very user friendly.

  • Jules says:

    I agree with all you tips, especially blogger v. wordpress! Incredible difference, as I have done both and currently use wordpress. But, and here is a tip for you–have someone move the blog for you. It won't be expensive and it saves you the trouble of doing it yourself. That said, you do lose the experience of doing it yourself. For me, having it done correctly was more important. If left to wait until I could figure it out on my own, I would still be using blogger!

  • Jen says:

    Great tips Maria and you are always generous.

    I am going to have to change a couple things – paragraphs!

    I changed my website a couple months ago and created a wordpress site and had my seo person move over the content of the blogger. so I can blog there.

    It is a little more complicated to post but not difficult and you have options. There is another option Yola which is supposed to be much easier to use.

  • Greet says:

    Dear Maria,
    Thank you for writing thes most interesting post!!!
    In future I really want to change my blog into a bigger template and another colour but I dare not to choose the bigger one because I have heard that trying this you could loose your entire blog! Is that true??? I really need some help and here in Belgium blogging is not that famous are in the US and I do not know other Belgian bloggers who really can help me with that!

  • funcolors says:

    I love #6.

    When I read blogs, I can immediately tell if they're faking the passion. There's not one authentic vibe resonating out of an abundance of words and pretty pictures — not one. There's nothing real. It smacks of manufactured and "marketing".

    I often wonder what those bloggers are thinking. Do they really think they're faking us all out? Do they think it's not obvious that their blog has no soul of its own? I wonder how (or if) they get dedicated readers?

    With regard to color world in particular, I call it Color Mojo. Like I've said here before, we all came here with everything we need to live a robust color journey — we're all gifted from (insert source of choice) when it comes to color. Some of us may need a little help to refine and feel confident using our gift of color, but it's still there.

    For those who need a little extra help in the color confidence department, there are people like Maria. I do believe that some of us are extra gifted when it comes to color. Bestowed with extra ability and meant to use the gift of color to help improve quality of life and bring joy — that's how I define Color Mojo. You can't *get* Color Mojo from someone. Can't copy it. Can't steal it. Can't buy it…. either have it or you don't.

    Fancy header, ever-changing header, or a lame-ass free template, the bottom line is the same for all blogs no matter what the target topic. Authenticity can't be faked. Poseurs stick out like a sore thumb.

    Sorry to ramble but lately I've been fascinated by this aspect of blogosphere and when you brought it up, I couldn't help myself.

  • Things That Inspire says:

    This is one of your famous blog post titles that pulls you in!

    I definitely agree about the black background – I really hate it when a blog has a black background. Mine is a soft gray – it was inspired by a favorite artist who has a soft gray background (I picked the same color as him) because he felt it was neutral and made all of his paintings look good. I just like it because it is soothing. Although the white certainly shows pictures well, I find it a bit sterile. But, clearly, I am in the minority – most of the top blogs have a white background! Let me know what you think, Maria, whether I should switch.

    Blogger vs wordpress – interesting, Brooke uses wordpress and was talking about some things she couldn't do that has become a standard thing on the blogger blogs. I like blogger – it feels comfortable. But, I am fairly minimalistic about my blog. It is what it is. I think great content is so much more important than a lot of bells and whistles. I also wonder whether it helps in the google searches to have a google related blog?

    When I switched to my own url (still using blogger, though) I noticed that my google searches were dramatically impacted. On some searches, before the switch – my blog would come up in the top 5 for a particular search. Now, I am lucky to be in the top 5 pages. Perhaps it is because everything was linked to my old blog address.

    One more thing, I find it difficult to respond to most of my comments because when I try to reply, it goes to 'no reply'. Does this happen to you? Do you actually go and look for the email addresses associated with each commenter?

  • Things That Inspire says:

    PS – please, fellow bloggers, consider taking word verification off your comments. It is SO annoying!

    I have recently been dealing with a lot of Asian spam, and I added moderation if a comment is on a post that is 3 days or older. Most of my comments come in the first few days, and much of my spam comes on old posts. Adding this 3 day moderation has been fantastic!

  • Vanessa says:

    It's me again. I have to agree with Holly on the white background being sterile. Mine was light grey, switched it to white and upon reading Holly's comment, just switched it back to grey – I'm so fickle!

  • Donna • Color Specialist says:

    Oh yea – you nailed this one Maria. I agree with you about the black screens – they hurt my eye too. I close them as soon as I see one. WordPress huh? I'll have to make the switch. I'm in the process of updating my main site and to update my blog – sooooo not looking forward to it. Thanks for the great advice!

  • heph says:

    nice tips.
    Actually my photo blog has a black background.

  • Marie says:

    Excellent advice Maria!
    Starting a blog is one of my goals for this year. You are such an inspiration, thank you for being so giving.

  • Joseph says:

    I've been lurking for some time and have learned so much from this blog – thank you. In addition to the points you make about what makes a blog great, there is one more thing that matters a lot to me…and that is proper spelling and grammar. Misspelled words bother me – like using "its" and "it's" incorrectly. I love reading design blogs; my hope is that my comments help all of my favorite blogs become even better!


  • aneyefordetail says:

    I'm back. I don't understand this at all: WHY is there not one person who mentions Typepad? It's a mystery to me. No wonder Erin was overwhelmed: WordPress IS overwhelming!
    Get with the program folks: Typepad!
    And, I have an excellent person who can make the switch for you and is great with redesign! Just ask me.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Dear Details,
    I have never heard anything about Typepad but if it's just as good as WordPress–go for it!
    Thanks for letting us know!

  • Debra Phillips says:

    maria a big virtual hug to you!

    my blog is 8 mos. old and the learning curve is huge. have had nowhere to go for advice and have been winging it.

    thank you, thank you! i will set some time aside and read, re-read your tips and go to your suggested links.

    have 2 questions;
    -on blogger how do you go to a wider template?
    -what is the best and proper way to get other blogs to link back to you? be patient? outright ask? (uncomfortable with that) frequent comments?

    you are the best!

  • Design Junkie says:

    Thanks Maria, this post was just the inspiration I needed to get off my behind and get started with my resolution to go beyond casual blogging to blogging with a purpose.

  • Kelly, Arte Styling says:

    Thanks for all the great tips, Maria! And to your commenters, too. I definitely have a few updates to make on my blog this year. It's good to get suggestions now before I make them!
    Happy Blogging!

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living says:

    Maria, great, great tips! I've certainly discovered a few of these too lately.

    I know I have to change my header too. I wanted to vintage element but need something else.

    Blogging is somewhat of a job and responsibility too – all the blogs to read and comment on! But I've found some people I never thought I'd get to know otherwise and that has been priceless!

  • Acanthus and Acorn says:

    As always, an amazing and super informative post. I like the white backgounds and certainly am learning to identify certain bloggers (such as yours) by them. I am in agreement with Things That Inspire, about using a colored background. I think along with white it is a good choice for some bloggers. Soothing colors are probably more preferable. What I like about the various colored backgrounds,along with a great header,is the fact that it helps me easily identify the author. I also don't mind the black backgrounds…I often think that it's the color chosen for the print is the main problem. I personally can not read the blogs with the loud/neon bright colors. It's too hard on the eyes. I am so new to blogging that much of this is out of my realm of understanding at the moment. I will, however, certainly look into ditching the word verification, even though I don't mind the extra step when I leave a comment on other blogs.

  • Sarah La Rose says:

    Maria, great advice! I had no idea wordpress was better than blogger. I can't imagine how i would move over to it. Thank you for caring so much about your readers and giving advice to other bloggers. Have a great day!

  • Abigail E. Reynolds, PhD says:

    Thanks for the input and advice. I do enjoy your post and ideas. I blog on Spiritual issues NOT color advice but this post applies certainly to my writing as you indicated. I have been blogging for the past four months and just switched to WordPress from blogger, am glad I did. Thanks again and keep writing. Dr Abby

  • Karla says:

    So I just read this post as well as your previous "10 Things Every Blogger Should Know". You have given us GREAT information! I recently had my 1st Blogging Birthday and I definitely feel like there is still so much that I need to learn! Thanks a million for posting this! I immediately added this post link to my Tumblr so that I can frequently refer back to it AND spread the word.

    Thanks again!

    ~Karla @ It's The Little Things…

  • Ruthie's Renewed Treasures says:

    Maria: Thanks for helping us focus on the details.


  • Maya @ Completely Coastal says:

    It's so great that you share all these tips -thanks! I use blogger with my own custom URL, so far so good. I'm not a big fan of the wider style though…, I prefer to have it the size of a magazine page I guess.

  • Kathy says:

    As always you are so helpful! You are a natural born teacher, and all the time you spend here does not go unappreciated by this reader. I look forward everyday to this blog. Thank you.

  • samia says:

    Hi Maria.. Great post as usual.. I found your previous blog more than helpful and this post is a great sequel as well.. thankyou

  • Naomi says:

    thank you, Maria! I've been thinking how my blog was too narrow. I never realized how easy it is to change templates. I really do appreciate all of your advice- color and blog-related!

  • Susan says:

    Hi Maria,

    I too am stuck with blogger and the limitations. Now I will have to now look and figure out how to make the page wider. I didn't know this was possible.

    Recently, I also added word verification because of all the Asian spam. I was getting at least 5 per day… it is so annoying. I think I will look at your solution.

    Great information. I must review and revisit and revise. I love reading your blog.

  • Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP says:

    Great tips Maria. I have used both WordPress and Blogger and found that many of the free widgets you get with Blogger you have to pay for on WordPress.

    You have to pay WordPress to stop them running ads (that you get no money for) on your blog, you have to pay another fee to stop them from putting links to other blogs on your blog (which can take away your traffic), you have to pay another fee if you want to run any sort of ads on your site.

    For someone who is not really technical, blogger is much easier and free.

    That said, WordPress is a great tool, but you need to have it set up by someone technical (if you're not) and for many, who start out, they just want to see if they are any good at the blogging thing, before getting into all that stuff!

    Love your blog.

  • Kate says:

    Some of the podcasts I listen to have ads for Square Space, which is a blogging/website tool – you have to pay for it, though! Apparently it easily imports/exports your blog – one of my friends is thinking about using it to get her blog out of blogger into something else.

    I haven't used it myself, though, so I don't know for sure how it is. I've got a wordpress blog, jumped ship from blogger because of how bad it was at handling pictures and the way commetns kept disappearing – I understand most of the things I disliked are fixed now. I still like wordpress – I have approval set up for anyone who hasn't commented before. If I've already approved them, their comment goes straight up. I find that works really well, especially for my personal blog, where most of the people commenting are returning friends.

    I really like wordpress, but it's just my personal blog. I'd say it's definitely worth investigating before you switch – will you get everything you want without paying for it? If not, check out other pay options as well – typepad, square space, etc.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Imogen & Kate,
    Thank you so much for your comments, it's nice to hear first hand the positives and negatives of both.
    These are things you don't read about on-line (not that I've found anyway).

    Thanks everyone for such great comments that really contribute to this post!

  • LesleySW says:

    Thanks. This was really interesting and there are great ideas here. I really need to look back over my blog and see if I'm following your advice here.

    I'm certainly trying to!

    Your blog is a true inspiration. Thank you again.

  • Lauren says:

    so glad to read this Maria… I have been wanting bigger pics & smaller margins for so long but have no idea how to do it. Is it hard?

    you're again, such a knowledge sharer & we love it!! thank you!!

  • 2 Hounds Design says:

    Thank you for letting us know we can get a wider format.

    I read your post yesterday and hurried off to do it right away and I'm so much happier.

    Guess I'm off now to turn off my word verification!

  • Design Wanna-be says:

    Miss Maria, I'm sending this link to my other novice blogging buddies. Thanks!

  • Traci Zeller Designs says:

    Maria, you are so generous. Thank you so much for sharing what you've learned; it means so much to me, and I know other novice bloggers as well. Thank you!!!!

  • Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the tips! Love your blog – brand new follower here!

  • guylaine rondeau says:

    wow… 65 comments to date!
    what a feedback!

    yes, the rules for typography slightly changes with digital media… but black type over white background has long been scientifically proven to be easier to read!

    wide blogs are good, and work great in your case because your images are big, and your text is short. if it was the reverse, it would be terribly difficult to read (large columns of text always are). and yes, breaking them into shorter paragraph does help a little.

    good post girl!
    and congratulations on all the added business!

  • Marlo says:

    I'm not a blogger – yet – but I'll keep these great tips for the future.

  • Eliana Tomás says:

    Well, what can I say Maria? I absolutely agree with everything you point out (and black backgrounds really put me off too. I actually find it aggressive).
    I’ve been fighting with my blog template for a while. Many people have contacted me asking for bigger pictures actually…
    I know what I want but haven’t found the right vehicle to do it… I’m playing around with what blogger offers and yesterday I didn’t go to bed before I find something that “could” work, thanks to your blog post 🙂 you’re so inspiring!
    I like tidy, simple, elegant and I want my photographs to speak for themselves. And I agree that blogger doesn’t offer anything to cover this. But I have already a domain, so I hope soon I’ll transfer everything.

  • Francine Gardner says:

    Hi Maria:
    Thank you, thank you…your advise is the kick I really needed..
    I do not have a header…yet
    I use a dark background
    My blog is totally un-designed (I am so bad at technology)
    I use blogspot..
    I do not post more than once a week (being up at 6am to drive to my showroom and being home at 9pm)
    But I am passionate about design, travel, life
    love to read blogs, comment and working on a post
    and willing to learn.
    I made a promise to myself to invest time and creative energy in designing this little blog of mine.
    Thank you for inspiring me to do so

  • pve design says:

    Great list. I am on blogger as well and would love to switch, but hear about what a task it can be.
    Blogging has provided me with such a wonderful portal to so many incredible images, people and work.
    I am so thankful for this on-line network.
    It does take time but so worth it.

  • Lauren says:

    Hi, just started reading your blog a week ago and am really enjoying. I started my own blog a few months back and am enjoying the process but struggling daily to make the most of it and get the most out of it. This post was extremely helpful and I think I'll implement some of these ideas right away. The wider screen is something I've considered but never followed through with and I also never fully understood the importance of commenting. The way you've explained has encouraged me to do more of that starting now! Thanks!

  • Janis@White Alder[Home] says:

    Thanks to your info I just changed my background colour and have made my page wider….that's 2 items off the list……………gotta work on the others.

  • Rachel says:

    ah, the blogger to wordpress quandry. i have 3 years of posts on blogger, but desperately want to switch over. what a pain in the neck that will be…

    great suggestions!

  • This Photographer's Life says:

    Truly excellent post! it is so nice to have a list like this one. Someone emailed me today and asked me how I got the pictures so big on my blog. I tried to explain, but you did a much better job. I will email her this post right now.

    By the way, you were a winner in my photo giveaway. Please send me your mailing address to:

    [email protected]

  • loftandcottage says:

    Thank you, thank you for these pointers! As a new blogger, I am on the lookout for great ideas and tips from blogs I like. So glad I stumbled across your blog last week. These smart tips will keep me coming back for more. BTW I am going to look into switching to WordPress now before I get too comfortable with Blogger!

  • Herself says:

    Thanks so much for the fabulous post! Learning to blog in a fast paced world can be a real challenge! One step forward, two steps back…
    Stop by for a visit!

  • Nanette says:

    I love your tips! In fact, I just took off word verification because you are right, it is just a pain.

    My own advice – remove anything flashing from your blog. I've been to blogs where I felt like I was standing in Times Square instead of looking for a casserole recipe. 🙂

  • The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after says:

    Maria, what an angel you are. I want to take you to tea or bake you something YOU are so sweet. I've always wondered about wordpress vs blogger and know I think I'll start preparing about the switch.
    You have a lovely week.
    Warm regards,

  • Roberta says:

    Maria, Thanks for sharing so many really practical and helpful hints! I've changed my background color for starters and I have to tell you…your blog is my #1 favorite for honest and great advice! Bravo! Roberta

  • Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury says:

    Great tips, Maria. I changed my background from pale yellow to white abount a month ago and am much happier. Still using a homemade header and narrow format though. It all takes time that I don't have right now! But I am going to take the time to read all the links you suggested. Thanks!

  • Developing Designs says:

    Maria, my friend, my hero, my inspiration, you are amazing. So much is learned from your wonderful posts. It is so time consuming (as you well know) to write blogs and it is great to see with all your hard work and determination it has paid off tremendously for you. Now, I have to use that encouragement to get motivated and be more active and post more. Thanks for that, I needed a little kick in the butt. 🙂

    I agree with so many things that you talk about and it is great that you share these tips with us.

    The template I picked, I changed to wider format but wasn't easy. Though with the help of Google, eventually you can figure it out, EVEN if you aren't technical like me. Though, the background color….ummmm, mine is an image, let's not get into that. But, am strongly considering switching over to a cleaner template like yours for I think it's less complicated and hopefully easier to manipulate…..hopefully. I have been considering this change a lot lately and yet another motivator. Thank you! xo

  • jenna says:

    thank you for the tips! i am a very green blogger and i am still trying to figure everything out so i respect and listen to all the advice i can find 🙂


  • Laura Trevey says:

    Amazing post!!! I agree with you on all points ~~ everyone of them important!


  • Michele Beatty says:

    This couldn't have been more timely as I am in the process of updating my blog and website. I've always wondered how much time was spent on the blogs that I really like(yours being one) and now I have some idea. It's almost like having another job! Thanks for the tips…

  • Deana says:

    Hi Maria!

    thanks for the great tips!! I have been blogging about the same time frame as you have, I've learned alot of these as well, but a few were new to me.

  • Color & Style says:

    All great tips – I have used WordPress and Blogger and find blogger much more user freindly.
    Thank you for sharing

  • amymeier says:

    This was SO helpful and perfectly timed. I just started my blog (apparently I chose the right host without knowing so). I wish you all the success in your career and hope visit my blog one day. With 83 comments I feel guilty saying that!

  • Candied Fabrics says:

    Maria! Great Article! I agree with everything, and have been doing every one of those things on the list to the best of my abilities!

    I could not agree more with the switching to wordpress thing. I loved the interface when my blog used to be a, and now that I am a self-hosted site – I LOVE IT EVEN MORE!

    The transition seems scary, I heartily recommend you hire someone to help you through it. My web guru is Tara Gentile (Scoutie Girl) and she's amazing! She also hosts my site, so if something is going on with the server, it's Tara I get in touch with not some random customer service rep. Actually, most of the problems we had (bandwidth limits mostly) Tara had already fixed by the time I'd seen the email and messaged her about it!

    You have a great format here in blogger (except for the fact that if the browser window is sider than your header, the paragraph width enlarges to the size of the browser – I know there's some technical term – but can't remember what it's called) so the switch should be straightforward – and cheap…right now, Tara's rates for a basic blog makeover is $150.

    OK, I've rambled long enough! Come over to the wordpress side, the water is great! 😉

  • Deborah says:

    Fantastic post! Thank you!

  • beachhouseetc says:

    Hi Maria… I am very new at blogging and still in the construction stage of my Blog but I have gained so much information from your blog. I am in the process of getting help with links etc. I want to give credit where credit is due but don't know how to create the hyperlink…. that is one of my goals this week. Thank you so much for all your help. I really liked 10 things Every Blogger Should Know and this follow up is even better…there is so much to learn but it's fun …hope to hear from you soon and if you have any more pointers I will be glad to take your advice.By the way i love the name of your blog. Suzanne Pignato

  • Natalia says:

    Great post! I am with you and made the mistake of starting with blogger. Now, I just don't know when the right time to switch will be…

  • Touchofeurope says:

    Thank you for posting this! It was my first visit to your blog and I'm now full of questions and things I have to figure out! I've had a blog for 2 years but haven't used it much.

    And it's WordPress and even though I like most of it, I'm having a hard time figuring out other stuff, but that's probably just a matter of taking the time to actually read and follow instructions.

    Off to discover more tips – thanks for sharing the information!


  • katiedid says:

    Thanks Maria!
    Your blog is really fantastic. I have a question for you. My web dsigner has been encouraging me to switch to WordPress as well. But I have noticed that most design bloggers have stayed with blogger, a few with Typepad….even the biggest ones! I have been looking at WordPress and it looks like Blogger offers most, if not all, of the same benefits. And one thing I noticed is that WordPress publishes google ads automatically. You have to pay a fee if you do NOT want the ads!?! I would love to hear your feedback,as I am considering the move at this time.

    Your advice throughput this post has been great! I will be working hard to answer all those emails! I think a laptop is in order for this blogger!


  • Mona Thompson says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful tips. I am in the process of designing my blog and this has been very helpful. Thanks for saving me from a black background. I will let you know when I am live.

  • Londen @ Sixty-Fifth Avenue says:

    Hi, new here and new to blogging. Thanks for the great tips. If you get a chance to stop by, let me know how its looking. Back to read more of your fabulous blog. Thank you!

  • Lacey says:

    Thanks again. Your tips have made my blog look better already. I still have a lot to change around, but I am now at least a few baby steps closer to my vision.

  • Zarita says:

    Wow! I can't believe how many comments you have. I guess after reading this you must post one. Great post, very helpful for me I just started a blog, glad I stumbled upon it. I'll read (and post) more from you. Thanks.

  • Nadine says:

    Hi there,

    I'm new to your blog and to blogging as such and find that I'm struggeling to gain readers. Thanks so much for sharing all your wisdom about improving a blog.
    It gave me lots of ideas.

  • JR says:

    "Blooger" was was created for the novice user! WordPress is for serious websites and blogs. Using Blogger your database is not in your control and could be lost, I've seen it happen many times!

    Get WordPress from WordPress dot org, NOT WordPress dot com, there is a big difference! Most places that host your domain offer WordPress in the package.

    Good topic, thanks Maria!

  • Donna says:

    You are so right on all those tips. It took me a lot of input from a brave friend or two or three.. Shona, Trudy, and Shannon M. to get me on the road to white backgrounds, minima stretch, better photos, and commenting (Thanks Trudy!). I just discovered Brent Riggs..building a better blog. He talks about these things too. It's embarrassing to think what I was doing wrong now…Great post! I'll change the comment moderation thing and verification too.Thanks for the tip!

  • Joy says:

    Thanks for these great tips, I'm a new blogger and still learning a lot!

  • Donna says:

    How funny Marie! I just now realized that it's your blog that recommended the header and several other things which I spent the last week working on. I'd forgotten where I had read all of those tips. Wow..small world.

    So here I am again to re-read this post. And do some more work!

  • Sally@DivneDistractions says:

    Thanks for recommending that I check our your blogging articles. I took a class on wordpress blogging last week and learned alot. My plan is to do the wordpress page as my primary website since I can change it without an administrator (I have a flash site now that I can't work on). I may keep the blogger site until I get the other one up and running. And I thought I was just and interior designer! Ha!

  • Andrea says:

    Thanks for the great tips! Your suggestions really stuck in my head over the past few months as I started my blog, so now I'm back to say thank you! I just wrote a post mentioning this post and a few others that really helped me get started.

    I really enjoy reading your blog – it's one of my favorites – because I feel like I'm actually learning something from you, not just getting recycled information like at so many other blogs. Your posts about beige and and light colors in dark rooms influenced a few colors at my house 🙂

  • millie says:

    Thank you for these tips too! so helpful. I immediately changed appearance of my blog. I blog about home decor and design,and it's much better now with white background and bigger pictures. I have to make a new header and logo,maybe I'll design it by myself.

  • Angela says:

    I just spent over an hour at your blog…making some of the suggested changes along the way. Mine is now…again…in transition.

    Your comments would be greatly appreciated. Come visit me at honeydewproductions.bogspot


  • Bron @ Baby Space says:

    Your advice is excellent – thank you!

  • designsimplyworks says:

    Well, I know I've come late to the party but for those who are newly blogging like me (I started July 28th) I felt I should put in my 2 cents.
    Firstly, thank you so much Maria for your lists – so helpful!

    My blog is on
    I am NOT a techie and can't solve anything alone. I'm not sure why people are overwhelmed – I thought it was pretty easy although I think that sites on blogspot look more professional than mine.

    I don't pay anything for what is on my site now. There are some things missing (or I don't know how to do them) like those cute "buttons" that everyone has for you to 'grab'.

    So enjoy your blog Maria, living vicariously through you, as a displaced BC-er living temporarily in MB.

  • Alesha E. Churba says:

    Thank you for sharing such helpful information. I am going to go change my background right now!

  • H. Baum says:

    Great post! This will be really helpful for my own blog.

  • Jennifer's Design Team! says:

    Hi Maria!
    I have been reading your Blog for 2 days now and I just wanted to say how "happy" I am to have found you. You have inspired me to pick up my Blog where I have left off and not give up with it. I love every post and can't wait to see what you have to say next. Please keep them coming! I'd love to know how and where you come up with your ideas for content…maybe you could "blog" about that!
    Thanks agian!


    I just love learning from you! I am reading every day and trying to get a better idea of this whole blog thing. I have not figured out how to get local readers to my site though do you have any suggestions for that?

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Coastal Designs,
    On way that I have tried to do it is to change some of my really good post headlines to say "Vancouver Colour Designer, Vancouver Interior Decorator (and then the headline)" this way when locals are googling your blog it comes up. I'm not sure how well it works though, probably paying someone to do SEO for your site is the best way (which is not something I do but probably should). Another way is to get an account with google maps (so that your business is in the local map) that helps with google searches too.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I'll have to think about how I could turn that into a post that would be helpful, Im' always thinking about my blog so the ideas just come to me. . . great idea, thanks!

  • jeanette says:

    I'm just now reading this EXCELLENT post Maria!
    Ok, I'm going into my blog and seeing what all I need to tweek!!!!!
    thx for sharing such a great post…

  • Heart of Decor says:

    Great post (& blog)! Thanks for the detailed information. Very helpful!

  • Katie @ Newcomb Home says:

    Thank you for these tips! Really helpful for us newbies. I'm done "free grazing" 🙂

  • dana Wolter says:

    Maria, Many thanks for all of the good tips and am so glad I found you via Twitter. I just added a blog to my own site so I am taking all of your ideas to heart.

  • Victoria Joy says:

    Wow! thank you so much for your blog! The information is so useful and practical. Especially what you said about connecting with your fellow bloggers. I hope to start working more on my blog (eclecticcoffee.blogspot), implementing your many helpful tips.

    Thanks Again!

  • Inesia says:

    Maria thank-you so much for all the great tips! I am completely new to blogging and could use all the help I can get! I feel like there is sooo much to learn, but blogs like this one are truly a blessing!

  • Jen B says:

    Thank you for the tips! I'm a new blogger and stumbled my over to your blog. In addition to the blogging tips I've really enjoyed browsing. Hoping to learn more from you in the future!

  • DAS says:

    A lot can be learned from Pioneer Woman AND Maria on the concepts above. Consider me the typical audience, I do not have a blog on anything but have been online since the world of the internet was invented (and I actually know html). I’m a reader/watcher.

  • Jessie says:

    This is sooooo helpful!! My sister and I started a blog cause we love this stuff, but are total nubes’ to blogging. Thanks for sharing!

  • Great Tips Maria!!!! I am ready to start blogging. What do you think about Squarespace? I am anxious to get rock’n and roll’n. Getting the subscriber function working is what is holding me, soon to come I hope! Love reading your blog!!!!

  • Judith says:

    Hi Maria,

    Your blog posts are always informative and useful. I learn from every one.

    Great, great tips. Thanks for sharing those.

  • Julie K. says:

    I never would have thought that I’d find an article about writing on a blog about design, but I have to say that it’s some pretty good advice! I definitely agree with WordPress. Blogspot might be easier to set up, but it’s not worth it in the long run. And also the usage of white type on dark background – it’s scientifically proven that it’s bad for the eyes. You also shouldn’t use more than 2 – 3 fonts, it might confuse your readers.

  • Nichole says:

    Very good info.! thank you so much! As a new ReDesigner, I am considering starting a blog (with much concern, and huge levels of “nerves”! lol!) So, we’ll see as I read more and more of your posts on this topic! Wish me luck!

  • nonceba says:

    Still to start my blog- but this was a great read with useful and practical information that I’ll be employing when i get started!
    Thank you for sharing..

  • Aaron Smith says:

    hi,inlove your dsign and idea and to best wish

  • Great blog post love the way you write content 😊

  • house decor says:

    Thank you for sharing such helpful information. I am going to go change my background right now!

  • Ast york says:

    Fantastic insights on taking a home design blog to the next level! The tip about choosing a white screen over a black one for better readability and image presentation is spot-on. It’s true that the contrast on black screens can strain the eyes, affecting the overall user experience. The link to the Problogger poll adds credibility, allowing readers to delve deeper into the discussion. Looking forward to implementing these tips and enhancing my blog’s design. Thanks for sharing your valuable experience and expertise, Maria!

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