What are the most important elements your blog have in order to ensure it performs at its maximum potential? We are coming close to the end part “The Right Foundation to Build Upon” section of our series, Building a Successful Blog. This portion in the course is where I would like to focus some of our attention on a handful of features of your blog’s design.
Here are a few essential elements I believe are necessary for building a successful blog. A majority, if certainly not all of them come from my own experiences over the past four years. And some are those components I have received from my twitter followers when I ask them the similar question. I’m sure you’re wondering, “why are we talking about this here?” First, because I want to. Furthermore, prior to begin the design process you must know what you want to include in your design. Knowing this will help make the initial design process run smoother. And you and your design firm will be happy that you considered these things now and not in the middle of the process.
If there are any concerns you should be aware of when you’re thinking about how your blog will look like and how it is going to function they would be:
- What impact will it have on your readers’ experience?
- Do your readers know what they’re looking to find?
- Do your readers be able to easily participate in the discussion that you are encouraging through your website?
- If your readers would like to contact you, will they?
- If they would like to sign up will they be able to subscribe be easily find?
- Do you give them what they would like?
1. Search Option
One of your objectives as a blogger is to keep your readers engaged on the blog. It is important to keep them engaged and reading every bit of content as you can make your readers. If they aren’t able to find it, they’ll need to search for it somewhere else. To assist your visitors in finding the information they require, you should provide a search box somewhere towards the top of your blog. A majority, if perhaps all, blogs have a way to add this to your blog if you are a DIY-oriented person. It is important to include the information. If you are working with a design company and if they’re competent they will add this for you , without having to ask.
2. Contact Information
Even if you don’t supply the readers with a physical address or a phone number, you must to provide some means for them to reach you. I accomplish this through a variety of ways. There are occasions when I will include my email address on an article so that our readers can reach me for information about an article they’d like. The main component we use to provide our contact information is the Contact page.
In my contact page I include the address of my home, as well as the social media/networking services I use, and there’s an contact form. The form is sent to me via email after it is completed by a user. If you are a business or a professional service firm What are the best ways for your visitors to contact you? Be sure to give them numerous options as you can. One of the goals you have as a firm or company is to get leads. Make sure you have a method to achieve this.
3. Call to Action
Working right along with in conjunction with “Contact Information” discussed in #2, you need what is called the Call to Action. In addition, if you’re an enterprise or a service firm, isn’t it one of your objectives in your marketing plan to gather leads? A call-to-action can aid you in this.
You’re hoping to make it easier for your readers to call you, inquire about rates, sign-up or purchase from you. An action call could be an opt-in to a free ezine or newsletter you’re offering to your customers. It could also be simply a simple form to ask them for more information about the new product that you have just launched. The possibilities of using a “call to action” are always endless.
In addition, if done right, you can build a database of those who have opted-in to receive your information. Take advantage of this tool to further your marketing strategies.
4. Subscription Options
This is another one of those features that must be placed at the top of your blog and easy to find. Make it easy for your readers to subscribe by RSS as well as Email. Why are they both? Because there are people who don’t know about RSS or even comprehend it. Everyone is aware of email. We have both options on all the blogs we design for our clients. And I don’t care which blog our users use. The important thing here is to make sure it is clear and easy to sign up to. Also, don’t make a number of subscription icons on your blog. First of all, they are snobby, and you do not have to use them. If you will just use the universal button, and burn your feed via an feed services, they will get the option they want.
Another thing we provide is a hyperlink to a short video explaining the basics of what RSS is. While there are many readers of blogs, the use and knowledge of RSS is not as clear as it ought to be. This is why you must include a brief explanation of what RSS is and how they could benefit from it.
5. Categories (Your blog’s Index)
The categories which you must have in your blog are listed as your blog’s index. This section in your sidebar should be at the top so that it is easily accessible. It is also recommended to restrict your categories to not more than 20 categories. (Yes, I know we have way too many categories in Blog For Profit). Every blog post should be assigned an appropriate category. (One category is the best. If you have to assign additional “tags” to your post make sure you use Tags and not multiple categories). This will help your readers to discover them by using the categories as someone would use the index, or even table of content. If someone is looking for blog information and is looking for information on a blog, they’re most likely going to use the categories the same way an index. The categories will be used before they use any archive calendar. Which is why I am not a big fan of archive calendars for blogs. I find them to be unneeded.
Some bloggers include their categories at the sidebar or on the top of the page. This is appropriate if the blog is well-established and has thousands of subscribers. However, for a newer blog, you should put them on the sidebar to be easily found. By using categories, to keep our readers on our blogs longer. They may not be content to read the original post which brought them there. They may also hunt around for more posts on that subject or another by using your categories as an index to find the post.