What I learnt from Being a Bloggers Blog Awards Judge

Picture by Milly of Mini Adventures
A few weeks ago I attended the Bloggers Blog Awards in Leeds and had the honour of being in a room with some of the most talented bloggers in the UK, spanning a whole host of different genres.  Being in a room of people who ‘get’ this strange hobby and are super supportive of each other while watching the winners pick up their respective awards was amazing. There was such a nice atmosphere.  A few months previous I actually helped judge the travel category and spent weeks looking at all aspect of these fabulous blogs.  Let me tell you there are some really talented people in the blogging scene!  I discovered so many amazing new blogs doing this and picked up a few tips along the way, so here’s a few things I noticed when looking at almost 50 blogs a day:

Personality, Personality, Personality!

Something I’ve long since struggled with on my own blog and something I knew was key was re-confirmed when reading this many blogs.  Personality is everything!  I’ve documented the struggle of finding my own voice in the past and letting my personality shine in my posts; but it’s something I have improved and I’m always working on.  The bloggers whose personality you can gauge when reading their posts are always the ones I wanted to follow and read more from, it makes you feel like you are talking to a friend.  In short it’s “hashtag relatable”.

Layout Really Matters

I am almost reluctant to admit this as until recently I had a really terrible, old fashioned layout. When you are looking at this many blogs it really does make a huge difference, first impressions matter.  Unattractive, hard to navigate blogs are an instant turn off for readers.  Which leads me into…

Keep it Fuss Free

When judging layouts the posts with a million side bar plug ins, links and and adverts just distract the reader from what you should really be paying attention to, your content!  You can include these of course but it’s about doing it in a way that leaves your site clutter free. I am not saying everyone needs to have the same white background and pastel theme, but making your own space yours while keeping it clean helps readers.  You might have noticed this blog has had a recent makeover largely inspired by this, and it’s still a work in progress.

There is so Much Talent in This Community

I mentioned this in my intro and it’s worth reiterating because I was seriously impressed with the level of written, photography and design skill across the board.  Check out all the people nominated for the awards because they are all seriously well worth reading.  People have some really ingenious blog post ideas and unique presentation skills!

Have an Easy to Find Blog Archive

Having an easy to find blog archive is essential for a new reader to your blog, they want to find out more about what you write and your personality. It made things really difficulty when there wasn’t one when doing my judging.  When I read a new blog I like to look at some of their past work not just what’s on their front page so I can see what they cover, a search bar is also really useful for finding specific subjects.

We Can Tell When You Don’t Disclose Sponsorships and Affiliate Links

This is a personal bug bear, but reading a post which is clearly sponsored or contains affiliate links that isn’t disclosed at all really turns me off a blogger. It makes them seem untrustworthy and breaks the peer-to-peer tone a lot of blogs use.  Be honest, I never feel anything but happy for bloggers who are making money from their blogs, be proud of your work!

Make your social links obvious

I found some great blogs who I really wanted to follow on social to keep up with, but their social links were nowhere to be found!  Make sure they are easily viewable on your main page and each individual post, we want to support you!

That’s just a few of the things I picked up, it’s really inspired me to read more new blogs as there are so many people out their working their butts of producing some amazing content!  A huge thanks to Hayley for putting on some amazing awards ceremony, judging just one category makes you realise just how much hard work goes into it, and a huge congratulations to all the winners and nominees.  Here’s to next year!

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