We talk about blogs a lot in the office. Would you believe we actually talk about blogs almost all the time? Shocking, I know! We talk about what we love, what bothers us, what we wish we saw more of, less of, and everything in between! We don't agree on everything, but there are a few steadfast qualities that each of us at IFB HQ agrees every blog should have.
1. An amazing about page
- Adding a page to your blog, one other than your main landing page is easy, no matter what platform you use. There should be easy instructions in the administrative navigation of your blog, and you can also find instructions and tips by running a simple Google search. Your “About” page is the first and most important page to add to your blog. On it you should include, at the very least, your name, where you are located and an email address to reach you at. This is helpful for readers who want to know a little about you as well as brands or PR firms that may want to add you to their press lists for promotions and events.
2. Links to all your social sites and your RSS feed
- One thing that really bugs me when I discover a new blog is when I have to scour the site high and low to find links to the blogger's Twitter profile, Facebook page, and RSS feed. If you have additional social networks or sites, like Pinterest, Tumblr, Polyvore, Bloglovin' and IFB, you should have your badges or buttons for those easily visible as well. For uniform buttons for your site, try this search tool! (A Google search will also yield thousands of sites and links to ways to incorporate cool buttons.)
3. Easy to use comments process
- We all hate spam. We hate it in our email, we hate it on out Twitter feeds and we hate it in our comments. This has lead many bloggers to add protective tools to ensure that robots and aliens aren't leaving pointless garbage on our sites. This can mean anything from a spam filter to a Captcha test, but don't take it too far. When the process of leaving a comment becomes too elaborate, you wouldn't believe the amount of people who will just say, “Forget it!”
4. Tags on all of your posts
- For a long time, I didn't really get how important and helpful post tagging can be. I used to tag my posts with silly phrases or words that were really only funny or helpful to me. I eventually learned though, that post tags increase the searchability of your blog, both internally and in search engines. If you put together a trend story, you'll want to add tags like “Spring 2012” “Spring Trends” and so on. Don't forget to tag designers and brands as well! When I post outfits, I always add the tags “outfit post” and “personal style” so visitors can use those terms in my search bar to easily find all my outfit posts.
5. An easy way to search and navigate your archives
- This essential quality goes hand-in-hand with tagging your posts. The more tags you use to group and organize your posts, the easier it becomes for visitors to navigate your archives and find older posts they may love. I think it's best to have a link to your archives somewhere very visible. You can create a whole page for them (with a tab on the top of your site) or a link in the left or right side column (more common on Blogger sites). Allowing readers to easily find and search your archives will get them more involved with your content – and keep them coming back for more.
Can you check off these essential 5 components of a successful blog? Do you think we missed any? Leave a comment and let us know!