10 vital things every blog needs
December 9, 2019
Whether you are starting a blog or thinking about giving your current website a revamp, there are some basic elements that every blog should have.
You’ll probably notice that many of your favourite blogs have very similar layouts and designs, and include many of the same features. This isn’t a coincidence, it’s because it works.
Here is a list of 10 recommendations to improve your blog and make you look more professional…
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#1 Own domain name
A long URL like those that you get with free blogging sites can be hard for people to remember and doesn’t look very professional. Buying your own domain name is a no-brainer, especially when you can purchase them for as little as 99p. Make your domain name short and easy to remember. You can do a domain name search on many domain seller websites to find your perfect URL.
#2 Simple navigation menu
If your website is difficult to use people will leave pretty quickly. As well as being annoying, this will increase your bounce rate. On your blog layout keep the navigation bar at the top of the page simple and easy to use. Include the things that your blog visitors want to see such as your top categories, contact, subscribe, and social media following icons. It’s a good idea to have a sticky menu so people don’t have to scroll all the way back to the top of the page to navigate your blog.
#3 Search functionality
Make it easy for people to find what they are looking for on your blog. If they enjoy a post they might want to take a look at other posts you have written on the subject. Include a search box in a prominent position to allow them to find more of your amazing content.
#4 Social media follow icons
We all want to gain more social media followers so give your blog visitors the opportunity to follow you easily without having to try and guess your usernames (which most won’t bother to do!). Include follow icons at the top of the page, as well as at the bottom or side of your posts to give people the opportunity to follow you.
#5 Contact form
If you want brands, PR companies or even grateful readers to get in touch with you, you need to give them an easy way to do so. Create a ‘Contact Me’ page with a simple form – don’t include too many required fields as this puts people off getting in touch. Fields for name, email and a message box should be sufficient.
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#6 A well-designed theme
The design of your blog is really important, it can be the difference between people staying to look around or leaving straight away never to return. The best way to create a beautifully designed blog is by using a theme designed especially for bloggers. You could use a free theme but the best looking ones are usually paid for, these can be bought on websites such as ThemeIsle or UpThemes. Minimalist website designs are popular as they make it easy to read your content and are pleasing to the eye.
#7 Subscribe box
We all want people to keep returning to our blog and an easy way to do this is to give people the option to subscribe to receive future posts by email. You can add a simple subscribe plugin to your sidebar for people to add their email address and be sent a link to your blogs as soon as they are published.
#8 Social share buttons
Having other people share your posts is a great way to reach a wider audience. However, they won’t do it if it is too much work. Add eye-catching share buttons on every blog post so that your readers can easily share with their social media followers at the click of a button. We use Shareaholic as it’s easy to use and you can customise the buttons to fit in with your site.
#9 Comment box
Another of the things every blog needs is a comment box or form, If people enjoy your blog posts it’s great when they leave a comment to tell you so. As with everything else, make it easy for your readers to leave comments by including a user-friendly commenting system. Don’t use something that requires people to sign up, log in, or answer long-winded captcha questions. We use the standard WordPress commenting option.
#10 A favicon
A favicon is the little square image that appears next to the website name in the browser tab. If you don’t add your own your blog will display the default favicon for WordPress/Blogger etc. Having your own favicon is really useful when people have more than one tab open. Favicons should be simple as they are only 16×16 pixels in size.
To keep people on your website and want to return these are the 10 things every blog needs:
- Own domain name
- Simple navigation
- Search functionality
- Social media follow icons
- Contact form
- Well-designed theme
- Subscribe box
- Social share buttons
- Comment box
If you don’t have all of these elements on your blog at the moment now is the time to add them!