How to Look the Part of a Professional and Successful Blogger

11 min read

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How to look like a pro blogger even when you're brand new.

Blogging success has a lot to do with exuding authority.

And that has a lot to do with your professionalism.

Here’s the thing: to look professional, you have to feel professional.

So, when you’re a brand new blogger around the block, the only way to look professional is to feel it. You make yourself feel that way with the right mindset, and well, some great tools and resources along the way do not hurt either. In fact, these tools can reinforce the belief in yourself that you’re gonna make it.

So, in this post, let’s look at how you can make yourself look like a professional and successful blogger, even if you’re a total greenhorn.

Content

You Need the Right Mindset

Success, no matter what kind it is, has a lot to do with mindset. If you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t have the winner’s attitude, and then no matter how much you try, you’ll have a hard time getting where you want to go.

For example, there was a time when I first landed my job (for my vocation–electrical engineering) when I felt totally out of place. I was surrounded by older engineers with years worth of experience, or other new hires who went to one of the top-20 engineering schools.

I don’t suffer from imposter syndrome all that often, but back then, that’s exactly how I felt–out of place and insignificant.

But then there was one day when one of the senior engineers was out sick, but the work had to be done. So I got a text from him at 7 in the morning, with a bunch of things he needed me to take care of by the end of the day.

I was terrified!

It was a do-or-die-trying situation if there was ever one.

But then, I remembered something that had happened during my sophomore year in college. It was the night before Microelectronics finals, and there was a topic I just couldn’t figure out. And it was something I knew would be in the exam. So I sat down and told myself I wouldn’t go to bed until I figured out how to solve it. I picked an example problem and did it over and over and over until everything just clicked.

I didn’t get much sleep that night, but I did get an A.

So I did the same thing again. I told myself that I wouldn’t go home until I fixed the design error we had. It meant redesigning a portion of the circuit our team was working on and multiple rounds of thorough testing to make sure everything worked properly as I kept updating the components.

I didn’t go home until around 11 that night, but the work was done, and everything worked perfectly!

I never felt the same again. Seriously, I was a transformed woman since that day.

Imposter syndrome? GONE! And suddenly, my can-do attitude was reflected in my colleagues and my superiors as well. All of a sudden, my manager was giving me solo work (up until then, he always had me working with someone else), and work was just so much more fulfilling from that point onward!


I say this because everything happened with a simple mindset switch.

Up until that day, I was busy feeling inferior to everyone. But that shift in the way I was thinking through the whole thing changed everything. You see, I didn’t even realize that I was the one standing on my way. Nobody cared about which school I went to or how much experience I had. Everyone starts at some point after all. Mt coworkers and bosses needed just one thing from me — my can-do attitude.

You see, it’s not like I didn’t know how to do my work, but more like I lacked the can-do will-do attitude. Looking back now, my manager didn’t trust me with unsupervised work until then because I had no confidence.

Blogging isn’t all that different.

When I first started blogging, I was worried. I had my job, and I had been a freelancer in-between things. However, I had no idea how one made money unless they offered a service. The whole concept of passive income was crazy to me. But I knew that others had done it, so I said to myself that I would do it too! I told myself that I’d make $500 per month within 1 year. And I made twice that.

I could do it because I didn’t give in to my fears. I stood by my belief that I could do it, and more importantly that I would do it. And of course, I did the work.

I honestly believe that when you have the right mindset, your work is half done already. Some people call it the law of attraction, but I look at it as science. When you have the right mindset, you are empowered by it, which allows and enables you to do the hard work that you need to do. Combine the two, and you have the equation for success.

That’s nice and all, but what about “looking the part,” you may be thinking. Well, if you feel it, you’ll look it too, like I said at the beginning of this post. So yes, if you have the right mindset, chances are that you’ll come off to your readers as a confident and professional blogger.

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You Need the Right Tools

In this section, I’ll share some tools that will help you be more efficient and productive. And the combination of these two will give you a huge confidence boost, making you feel more like a professional blogger rather than a total noob.

After all, it’s a lot easier to feel like a king when you’re riding the limousine, and not a Ford Fiesta.

You need a custom domain.

You can get a free domain if you sign up with one of the free blogging platforms. Which you shouldn’t, and I’ll talk more about that in the next section. But to begin with, you need a custom domain to look the part.

Now, I said all those things about mindset being the most important thing and how the right mindset is like you’re already halfway there, but well, while that’s true, you DO still need to look the part and to look the part, you need certain things.

A custom domain in the first of those things.

I get all of my domains from Namecheap. They offer free WHOIS guard privacy (important!) and they have pretty good customer service in case you need help with anything.

You need a professional blogging platform.

I don’t offer a compromise there.

You need a self-hosted WordPress (.org, NOT .com) platform for your blog. That’s the only blogging platform fit for a professional blogger.

There’s a very good reason for it. The more you grow, the more you’ll feel the need to add advanced functionalities and features. You simply cannot do that with any other platform except for self-hosted WordPress.

Get a great hosting company for your self-hosted WordPress blog.

To set up a self-hosted WordPress blog, you need to sign up for a hosting company first. I suggest you pick SiteGround as your hosting company. It’s economical, making it perfect for beginner bloggers with a limited budget while delivering high-level performance at the same time.

In fact, TSB is hosted with SiteGround too!

Choose the GrowBig or higher package with SiteGround for max-benefit and performance. I don’t advise the Startup plan because it lacks certain crucial features such as on-demand site backups, superior caching (speeds up your site!), and more.

Choose the GrowBig plan on SiteGround for maximum value for your money.

Setting up a self-hosted WordPress isn’t all that complicated. I even have a step by step guide right here!

You need a great-looking WordPress template.

You see, people judge a book by its cover. There’s just no way around it. If someone lands on your blog and it’s super slow or looks like it was slapped together without proper design and user experience (UX) considerations, then people will dismiss you on the spot. They won’t even bother reading your excellent and value-packed blog posts. And even if they do, they won’t really trust you because you don’t look the part — one who is an authority figure in the field.

You can fix the slow-loading part with a good hosting company (again, SiteGround hosting does an excellent job), and part of it also has to do with your theme. A good template is well-coded, and a well-coded template will not load your site unnecessarily.

As for the looking good part, I have a few recommendations.

Many people ask me about what theme I use for this blog. Well, I’ve actually designed it myself with the Elementor Pro page builder plugin, and the free Astra theme. If you have the time to design your blog, and you’re confident about your design skills, I definitely suggest this combo.

(FYI, I designed a FREE template for you that works with Astra and Elementor Pro. It’s in the TSB library of freebies!)

If you’re looking for feminine, pre-made themes that you can set up fast, Restored 316 has some pretty cool themes, and they’re super high-quality and well-coded too!

Also, just any theme from StudioPress is guaranteed to deliver quality.

You need a logo.

I designed The Side Blogger logo on my own using Adobe Illustrator. If you’re not confident about designing your own, you have a few options.

If you have a couple of hundred bucks, I recommend finding a designer from 99Designs. Some people hire cheap labor from Fiverr. It’s OK when you’re on a limited budget, but I’m always a little iffy about hiring on Fiverr because of so many horror stories I’ve heard about that platform. If you do decide to recruit there, make sure to do your research and check out recommendations.

The other option is for when you have no budget at all. If that’s the case, I suggest keeping things simple and design a wordmark logo by yourself with Canva.

Now, what is a “wordmark” logo, you ask?

Well, you know how some blog (and pretty big-name companies too!) have text-based logos? Take Facebook’s official logo, for example. That’s a wordmark logo. Google, Instagram, Canon, and a bunch of other brands also use wordmark logos. In fact, The Side Blogger logo is also a wordmark logo (with some added flourishes).

A wordmark logo is simple because you don’t have to create custom shapes or draw anything too complicated. All you need to do is choose the right font (which is important!) and then use Canva to type it out on a blank (white) canvas. And then save it as a .png file with transparent background (a feature available only to Canva Pro members FYI.)

You can check out this video and follow along if you need help.

While you’re at it, also design a favicon.

A favicon is a square-shaped logo that you use as your site’s icon (the small image that appears next to your tab in browsers.) This version is useful when you have limited space, and you want to use something simpler rather than your full logo. All companies and brands have one. Facebook has a letter “f” on a round blue background, Instagram has its own icon, and this blog also has one that only has the letters “TSB.”

Just like your wordmark logo, you can keep things simple with this one too. In fact, simple is desirable. You can take a page from Facebook and just do a letter. It’s simple, and you can easily create one with Canva yourself!

Set Up Your Social Networks

Give people plenty of ways to follow you. Even if you do not actively grow your blog on each and every social media platform (which you shouldn’t anyway for your own sanity’s sake), you should at least create an account on all the major platforms.

Create Social Media and Pinterest Presence

You see, being a side-blogger means that you have to pick and choose what you can and cannot do. From early on, I knew that to grow my blog fast with my limited time, I needed a platform that rewards its users as soon as possible. And that platform was Pinterest.

While I put most of the marketing efforts on Pinterest, I do have accounts on all the big ones — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I don’t spend any effort growing on those platforms because, well, I just don’t have the time. But in case someone was searching for me there, I wanted them to be able to find me. Some presence is better than no presence at all, and in case someone was looking for you on a specific platform, you want them to be able to find you.

Create a branded feed on your preferred promotional platform.

For me, it is Pinterest. For you, it should be whichever platform you’re most familiar with. And if you’re not confident about any, do what I did, just pick Pinterest. Because if you do things right, Pinterest will reward you better and faster than any other platform!

You see, Pinterest is a visual search engine, so having great graphics is a must if you want to grow in this platform. The trick is to have graphics that stand out.

But that’s not enough.

You want to create a branded look on Pinterest too. Now, when we talk about branding, we usually talk about a consistent look across all platforms, which means having the same colors and fonts and the same kind of vibe.

Now, if you’re familiar with my Pinterest account, you know that I don’t always play by this rule. For example, my pin graphics are quite colorful, while my blog has an all-around muted/neutral look.

That’s because while this look works great in my blog, on Pinterest, this muted color scheme tends to blend in and disappear. Which defeats the purpose of standing out. So I decided to create a whole different look on Pinterest with the sole intention of popping out in a sea of Pinterest graphics in all kinds of colors and shapes.

While it is not “on-brand” with the rest of my content, my Pinterest account does have a distinct look and feel, giving it it’s own branded vibe.

You need to do the same. Whether you stick with your blog’s overall branding or create a whole different branding is up to you to decide, but just make sure that your Pins jump out in the crowd, and on Pinterest, they have a precise (and consistent) look. You want that because you want people to start recognizing your Pins even without having to check whose Pin graphic it is.

A branded Pinterest platform for The Side Blogger.
TSb Pins have a particular look and vibe.

You Need to Create High-Quality Content

Content is king, right?

Let’s take a look at some elements of high-quality content.

Your blog posts need to be thorough, thought-provoking, and full of real value.

Write in-depth posts that people can refer back to again and again. Your goal is to create cotent worthy of bookmarking every single time you publish something. Do your research before writing a post, check out what others have done, and then write something better!

Consider offering content upgrades to go with some posts (not all posts, but make a habit of creating at least one post with a content upgrade every month when you’re a new blogger.)

Create share-worthy graphics for your posts.

Create beautiful graphics to go with your blog. Human beings are rather visual beings. Images act as stimuli for us, so use them often and wisely. And also, try and use premium stock photos or original photos as often as possible. Free stock photos tend to be overused, and they catch people’s attention anymore.

But if you must use free photos, do a bit of research and find photographs that are not oversaturated all over the internet.

If you can spend ten bucks or so every month, I recommend signing up for Canva Pro. Not only does this give you access to some pretty nifty features, but with Canva Pro, you also get access to over 2-million premium photos for free!

SEO your blog posts.

And no, I’m not talking about keyword stuffing here. I mean the super-easy in-post SEO practices that all bloggers should be familiar with.

You can find more about on-page SEO in this post, but here are the keys:

  • Write a killer post title.
  • Format your post with headers and subheaders.
  • Make sure your posts have meta descriptions (the Yoast SEO plugin can help with that.)
  • Add a featured image to all of your posts.
  • Set an alt-tag for all of your images.
  • Optimize images (some plugins can help with that, such as Optimole or Smush.)
  • Set your image filename to something like relevant like “Kefir-Recipe-1”, and not “IMG00154.”
  • Add internal links whenever possible (and relevant).
  • Add external links when you have to and add the “nofollow” rel attribute to all outbound links.
  • If you have affiliate links in your post, make sure to add a disclosure for them.

Post Consistently, and every week.

I advise all new bloggers to be on a weekly schedule. Publish at least one in-depth blog post every week, possibly two or three a week, depending on your time and availability. Google likes it when websites have a consistent flow of fresh content. It tends to increase your reputation (and essentially your website’s ranking over time) and organic traffic to your blog.


When you’re just a beginner blogger, you may feel overwhelmed, or as though you’re standing on shaky grounds. But we all have to get past that stage as a newbie blogger.

Relax, you’re not alone.

And if you do the things I have mentioned in this post, your readers won’t even care that you’re a brand new blogger! You’ll come off like a pro in your niche right off the bat!

So, did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

Want to make $1000/Month from your blog?
How to Start a Blog - FREE Course

If you sign up today, here’s what you’ll get:

– 10-day FREE email course on how to start a blog, from choosing a niche to a clear strategy for making $1,000 per month.

– Access to my library of freebies to help you be a successful blogger. Starting with launch checklists, to free WordPress templates, to free media kit and workbook templates with Canva, and much, much more!

You’ll be automatically subscribed to my email list. Trust me, it’ll be worth it!

How to look like a pro blogger even when you're brand new.


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