Investing into your blog takes a huge amount of time. From learning about what topics you write best, to networking with other like-minded individuals, you need a great amount of focus. While we must focus on these things, we must not overlook the basic necessities every blog needs — a clean, crisp presentation.
Your blog should be a space that reflects your heart, is easy to navigate, and is welcoming to all of your readers. I have gathered up some very important things that your blog must have in order to bring it to the next level.
10 Things Your Blog Needs
1. Your Name
You would think this is a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many times I have gone to someone’s blog and couldn’t find their name anywhere on their site. Your name should be one of the first things your reader is able to see when they visit your blog. I highly suggest having your name in your short bio on your main page, but if that’s not your preference, please have it in your About Me Page. Is is so, so important to have your name easily found, because your readers want to connect with you! Some readers (or potential sponsors) even want to reach out and contact you, so let them be able to call you by name.
2. An Easy To Find Search Bar
I never realized how important this was until a few months ago when there was a comment thread about the importance of search bars in one of the blogging communities I’m a part of. A search bar makes it easy for your readers to re-visit old posts that they loved, instead of having to go searching through your entire archive. A good spots to put your search bar is towards the top of your sidebar, or in the main menu section at the top of your blog.
3. Clear Contact Information
Blogging is all about connecting with others and creating a community. Because of this, you need to make it easy for people to contact you outside of your comment section. You can have a contact page that contains a contact form or you can have your email listed in multiple places. I choose to have both, because some people do not like to use contact forms.
The contact form is easy for someone who wants to shoot a quick message over to you. Mine is located on my contact page, along with my email link. When someone clicks on the email link, it automatically opens up an email composer. I also have an email icon located with my social media links. If you’re wanting to be a professional blogger, you must make it easy for people to contact you.
4. Linked Social Media Accounts
In today’s day and age, as a blogger, you need to have social media accounts where your readers can keep up with you outside of your blog. It is important to have your accounts linked in your blog somewhere easy to find, such as your sidebar or your About Me Page. Make it easy for your readers to find them.
Another thought on social media accounts – make sure all of your handles are the same. This makes it as easy as possible to find you on all social media channels and it helps in developing your brand. Some bloggers like to have their blog name incorporated in their social media handles, but as someone who wants to be a creative in more areas than blogging, I choose to just use my name (first and last) as my handles. You can change your handles by simply going into your settings on your Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Super simple!
5. An About Me Page
As a blogger it is SO important that you have a well-developed About Me Page. You grab your reader’s attention first by what you have written in your short sidebar description, but in order to keep their interest, you need to have a page that goes a little more in-depth about who you are and what your blog is about. While including fun, little details about yourself is great, don’t let that overtake the purposes of why you blog.
Here are some things you should include in your about page:
- Your blog’s mission
- Your location (closest metropolitan area)
- What you’re passionate about
- Some of your favorite things
- Relationship status (if it’s a huge part of your life. ex: if you’re engaged/married)
- Something that makes you, you
6. Your Photo
Just like I have encountered people’s blogs that don’t have their name written anywhere, I have found blogs that don’t have a single photo of the author anywhere. With your photo on your site, it allows people to put a face to the words you’re sharing from your heart. Avoid using selfies. There’s no need to go out and get professional headshots done – just get your husband or friend to take some nice photos for you. Or you can use a self timer on your phone or camera.
Having a categories section is more important than you’d think. If you’re a lifestyle blogger (like me), you tend to write about a wide variety of topics. Having a categories section, whether in your sidebar or as a drop-down menu, is a definite must-have. Just like having a search bar, it takes the hassle out of having to sift through your entire archive when a reader wants to read about a specific topic.
8. Easy Commenting
There are so many different commenting systems out there, but Disqus is hands down my favorite comment system. I have used other comment systems in the past like WordPress’ comment system, but they have all been very spammy for me. Since switching to Disqus months ago, I have had absolutely no spam. Disqus isn’t just great for bloggers to use, but it’s also very handy for readers to use. You wouldn’t believe how many people will give up writing a comment when the comment process is lengthy. See here to learn more about Disqus and how it stands out from other commenting systems.
9. Big & Beautiful Photos
While your words are highly important as a blogger, the photos you use in your posts are just as important! Often your readers are first drawn in by the photo representing your post. This is why it’s important to not only have photos in your post, but to have them be clear, relevant, and big. Yes, big!
If your images are tiny and centered in your post, the reader is more likely to get board and move on, but when your photos fill the entire width of your post, they’re more likely to stay captured and to read on.
10. A Consistent & Clean Color Scheme
People want to come to a site that is neatly put together and clean. A huge aspect in having a visual appealing blog are the colors you use and how you use them. This can range on your style and taste of design, but overall, you need to make sure your site is inviting and eye-catching. For example, I like a calm, minimal, and neutral look, so I maintain that feel throughout my blog and let it flow to my social media channels, like Instagram. In my opinion, I think it’s easier to control your color scheme when it is a minimalistic feel you’re going for.
For those of you who love bright colors, you have it a bit harder when it comes to finding the right color scheme, but it is possible. Use no more than 3 colors (it’s okay if you use some accent colors). When a blog is cluttered by colors and too much design, it can become overwhelming to the reader.
Is there anything you look when you are visiting a blog that I didn’t include on my list? Leave a comment letting us know your blog must-haves!
Author Bio: Summer
Summer is the blogger and creative behind the lifestyle blog, Coffee With Summer. She currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband. She love dancing, driving, and indie tunes. She’s after a life full of authenticity, grace, and lots of coffee.
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