So you have a blog, but it isn’t doing as well as you would like. There are a variety of reasons why this could happen. Maybe people are having a hard time reading it. Maybe they’re struggling to navigate it. Maybe your blog is actually doing okay, but you know it has the potential to be even better. Whatever the reason, it probably comes down to that your blog is missing one or more of these 10 things that every blog needs. These are broken into 2 categories: what your readers need and what you need to grow your blog. I’ve been around the blogging world for several years now, and I’ve learned about these things both from writing my own blog as well as from reading lots of other peoples’ blogs. Take advantage of that and make sure that your blog has these 10 things!
6 Things Your Blog Needs To Help Your Readers
Clean layout – If someone goes to your blog and there is too much going on, they will probably leave. A clean layout doesn’t mean you need to have a white background (although I personally prefer that because it’s easier to see the other things on your blog). Make sure that there isn’t too much going on and you can let your content speak for itself.
Social media networks visible without having to scroll – Want your blog followers to follow you on social media? Have links to your networks easily accessible! I shouldn’t have to go looking for your networks. You may notice that my top menu bar includes the links to mine and that it moves as you scroll. (This came with the theme btw.) This way, none of you have to go looking for that information. Additionally, I have my links under the picture of me and at the bottom of the page. You don’t need to have a bar that moves as you scroll, but you should have the links on your page in multiple places.
About me page – Your readers will (hopefully) be curious about who you are! You need to have a page that explains you to them. This page should explain you and the purpose of your blog. I don’t consider myself an expert of these pages specifically, so check out these posts to help you write an amazing page: How To Write a Compelling About Me Page and How To Write a Killer About Me Page for Your Blog.10 Things Every Blog Needs Click To Tweet
Contact page – Your readers and people who want to work with you need to know how to reach you! Your readers might want to be your friend or they might have a question or comment about a post that they don’t want to be public for whatever reason. This is also a great place to put your social media networks, but that should obviously not be the only place they are (see above). Additionally, someone might want to work with you. This could be a company or another blogger. Like with the about page, I don’t consider myself enough of an expert to tell you how to write an awesome page, so check out these posts: How To Maximize Your Contact Page and How To Optimize Your Contact Page.
Picture of you/your brand – I strongly think you should have a picture of you in your sidebar. Your followers want to know who they are following! But if, for some reason, you don’t want your picture out there, have some kind of logo or branded image there instead.
Search bar – I currently have 776 blog posts published. Yeah, you read that right. So no matter how many connected posts I link to in my blog posts or how much to dig through my archives, you might not be able to find a post that you think I’ve written. That’s why it’s so important to have a search bar. It will (probably) take you a while to get up to 700+ posts, but you need to plan for the day where it isn’t practical to expect your readers to dig through your blog to find something.
4 Things That Your Blog Needs To Help It Grow
Related posts – You want people to read more than one post, right? The best way to do it is to give them related posts. I do this a couple of ways. First, I have a widget that automatically links in related posts. Second, as you may have noticed (or will notice shortly), in every post I manually link directly to 2-5 posts that are similar. I do both of these things because manually choosing the posts to link to allows me to choose specific posts that I know are similar rather than leave it to the widget and hope it picks posts that are actually related. Third, Disqus provides related posts after the comments section. Including related posts also generally enables your bounce rate to decrease. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who go to one page only before leaving your blog. If there are related posts available, you are more likely to have people to go check those out instead of reading one page only.
Tools to share your posts – These are super important because they make sure people other than your audience see your posts. Every person who reads your blog has a different social media reach than you do. If they can share your posts on social media or via email, then your posts will reach more people. I use Sumo’s basic plan, which is free; see that bar of social media networks on the left side? That’s Sumo (not visible on my homepage). Additionally, under the title of each post is a list of social media icons, and those are all for sharing posts. I also use the Better Click To Tweet plugin, which lets me include a pre-written tweet in posts so all people have to do is click it to share. Basically, make sure that it’s easy to share your post. If someone wants to share your posts they will, but it’s much more likely they will if it’s super easy to do it.
Categories/tags accessible somewhere – The search bar is great if people have a specific post or type of post that they’re looking for, but maybe someone reads a post and wants more posts like it. Having accessible categories and tags is so important for this. Related posts help, but if they want to see allll the posts like one, they should be able to find it. This is especially important for blogs like mine where there are a wide variety of topics discussed. I have a small-ish group of people who read all of my posts, but most people read one or two categories and not all 3. This is why it’s important to me to have links to the different categories easily accessible, both on the top of the homepage and in the sidebar.
Share popular posts – Your popular coasts are popular for a reason, and since you know that people like them, you can get even more people to like them if you share them. I have mine in my sidebar so any random reader can check them out, but I also have an entire page for them under the Start Here umbrella. Plus, by having an easily accessible list of popular posts, you can help lower your bounce rate.
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