Hello Lovely People,
So you’ve started a blog and you’re not really sure if you’ve done everything you could to make it look its best. Getting your blog out into the open is definitely stressful for the most part. Read the following questions.
- How do I know if everything is ready?
- Does my blog have everything it needs to look professional?
- Does it have all the necessary plugins?
- Does my blog stand out when compared to others?
- When do I know I’m ready to publish my blog?
- I’ve already published blog, have I missed out on anything?
If you’re asking yourself these questions, wherein you feel your blog could do with a few more add-ons – you’ve come to the right place! In this post, we will discuss what exactly your blog requires in order to be a fully-functional blog. First of all, take a deep breath. This detailed guide will help you cross off all the things you may or may not have missed.
1. Domain & Hosting: After you’ve picked the name of your blog, make sure that your domain name is easy to read, and relates to your blog niche. GoDaddy is my Number 1 go-to for all my domain and hosting needs.
2. Eye Catching Theme: Since I use WordPress for my blog, I don’t have trouble searching for good themes to use. Themeforest has some amazing themes you could buy. This is a one time investment, so don’t compromise with the look and feel of your website or your puppy’s needs.
3. Responsive Site + Mobile Friendly: Most themes come with a responsive option. They look pleasing to the eye on mobile phones too. If you are into long-term blogging, make sure that you have enabled this particular feature.
4. Gravatar & WordPress Account: Once you have your website taken care of, make sure you create a wordpress account and keep a good-looking Gravatar aka Profile Photo. This picture pops up next to each and every one of your comments, be it your website or any other. So, you’ll definitely want to look your best in this picture. Unlike your driving license.
5. Less Loading Time: Try and customize your site, so it doesn’t take too long to load. People are impatient and want everything pronto!
6. Appealing Colors & Neat Layouts: There are a lot of blogs out there with meaningful matter but no (literally nada) structure. And to be honest, it doesn’t matter if your content and writing is great, but if your blog looks bad, people are going to run –fast. It needs to attract readers! It needs to have rich, complementary colors and look organized.
7. Unique Logo: Your logo must be entirely your own. After all, this is the first thing people look at when they visit your blog. Let it be “You”. Also remember to create a matching favicon.
8. Catchphrase | Personal Quote: Having a personal quote under your logo, is the primary focus of your blog. People will feel more connected to you when they know- who you are, what you believe in and what you live by.
9. Search Bar: If your blog has tons and tons of posts, your readers may grow old rummaging through them manually. Make it faster for them to find things by including a search bar at the top.
10. Email Button: A contact page works just as well, but additionally an email icon at the top will let your readers know you are easy to reach and approachable.
11. Blog Posts (Clean Layout): Arrange your blog posts systematically, using a clean layout. I use a grid layout to make it easier for people to skim through my posts.
12. Testimonials: This is optional. You can include these to convince readers that your blog has helped people find solutions.
13. +Load More Button: Try and not keep all of your blog posts on one page. You can either have a number of pages or just have a Load More button. This helps your site load faster and keeps only your recent posts on the top.
14. Homepage: This is the page your readers see when they open your website. Make sure it has all the content they need to see right on their first landing.
15. Quirky About Page: This page summarizes you. Your life. Your hobbies. Be sure to keep it interesting, readable and concise.
16. Category Pages: You can keep your Post Categories on your header, so your readers will find your posts more easily.
17. Contact (simple contact form): This is a very crucial page. Your readers need to contact you. Test your contact form and make it simple to use so people will feel like writing to you.
18. Sponsor Page(if any): Keep a page for all your sponsors so your users are directed there easily.
19. Terms & Conditions: Make sure to have a customized Terms & Conditions Page so your readers are clear with all the formalities. Templates are easily available online.
20. Catchy Title: Your title should be apt and snappy. If your title doesn’t captivate your readers, chances are they won’t bother reading the rest.
21. Good Quality Featured Image: We as human beings are visual people. For egs: When we go clothes shopping, we pick the clothes we fall in love with at first sight. “SIGHT” That’s the key!
If your pictures look professional, even your Pinterest ratings will soar!
22. Pin-It Hover Button for all photos: Your readers may want to collect your Blog Picture on their Pinterest pages. Or, they may love it so much, that they may want to share it with the rest of the world! Before you clap like a seal with this idea, make sure you have a Pin-It hover button over all your pictures so they find it easy to do so.
23. Easy-to-Read Content: Don’t just stuff all your information into one big chunky paragraph. Your readers aren’t going to read your content if it is presented poorly. Use appropriate Headings, modify the font where required, and for heaven’s sake, cross-check your Grammar and Spellings.
24. Useful Sub-headers: Sub-headers are important when you are trying to segregate your matter and give a short summary of your paragraph in the title. They are useful, especially if your readers want to skip some content.
25. Bulletin Points: Use appropriate spaces and bulletin points wherever necessary, especially if you are drafting lists in your blog.
26. Links to Relevant Content: If you are sharing other bloggers’ photos and/or information, please give them credit where it’s due (otherwise it’s stealing). Insert a link to their page and if possible, let them know.
27. Download Button (for resources): If you are offering a download (i.e. printable|pdf|document|etc.) make sure that there is a NICE BIG BUTTON that automatically downloads the data they are looking for. Sometimes, text links are hard to find. *I like big buttons and I cannot lie*
28. Keywords: After you are done with your blog post, make sure to use appropriate tags|keywords so people find your posts.
29. SEO: SEO is very important if you want your blog to be popular. For more information click here!
30. Links to Similar Posts: If one of your posts is a hit, make sure you add Similar Posts at the bottom, so you can boost other posts’ views.
31. Call to Action: Try and get your readers involved in the action! You can prompt them for their own views, or ask a question at the end.
32. Social Media Share Buttons: Encourage your readers to share your post by adding your favorite Social Media Share buttons.
33. Comments Section: If you want comments, you need a comment section. (duh) This needs to be easy to use and colorful so your readers don’t scroll forever to find the comment section. There are a lot of blogs I have wanted to comment on, but could not find the comment section which was a real bummer. Think of how much insight you will miss if you skip this!
34. Author Photo and Short Bio: Always keep a little photo of yourself and short bio at the side of your website. This helps people identify who you are and what you do. Let people fall in love with your profile. You do not need hypnosis. Just a really good photo. Not many thrive on visiting anonymous blogs.
35. Social Media Buttons: Not only should your readers be able to contact you, but they should be able to find you on Facebook, Twitter etc. It makes you super easy to follow.
36. Email Subscription Widget: Oh my God! You have succeeded in drawing your readers in! Now what? You have to keep them hooked! This means allowing them to subscribe to your blog, so they get daily/weekly updates of your Blog.
37. Popular Posts Slideshow: Have your Pillar Posts on a mini slideshow so your readers can glance through other posts.
38. Blog Categories: Categorize your posts and make sure the categories are listed on the side so it is easy to pick one.
39. Blog Archives: This gives readers an idea of how often you blog and also helps them track your posts.
40. Social Media Widgets: Use the Facebook|Twitter widget on the side to draw in more readers.
41. Blog Awards|Sponsors: You can also showcase your Blog Awards and your Sponsors.
42. Ads: Please have a limit I can’t tell you how many blog sites I’ve visited, where I have seen only ads. Yuk. Their content is impossible to find and before you can say ‘Potato’, I’m out. Have a neat structure. Don’t crowd all of your ads in one spot.
43. Calendar: I can never keep track of the date. A Calendar is just a friendly subtle reminder to your readers that your Blog isn’t all about you.
44. Copyright: This is a little line that tells your readers you are Exclusive.
45. Terms & Conditions (Link): Since everyone usually goes to the footer to find your terms and conditions, you can keep a tiny link here. Or on your sidebar.
46. RSS Feed: Having an RSS Feed is very useful! Read all about it here.
47. Newsletter Customization: Customize your newsletter so your readers are constantly updated with your latest posts in non-spammy kinda way.
48. Blog Back-up: Make sure you always back up your blog. This is necessary if you want to protect your blog from being erased by hackers or transfer your blog to another domain.
49. Spam Filter: There are loads of plugins that can take care of this. Spam is a Blogger’s worst nightmare, after zero views of course.
50. Antivirus: Make sure your website is protected by having a good antivirus. You don’t want to open your website one day and see a pirate hovering over it saying, “Hacked!”
That’s all folks. I hoped this post was insightful and helped you gain some information about the little tweaks you could add to your blog to make it stand out. Now, its time to pet my pooch and stop her from trying to devour my chair. God, labs will eat anything. If you have any more tips and ideas I could have missed out, feel free to mention them in the comments below! Have a bright and sun-shiney day y’all!