Whether you’re a blogging newbie or have been blogging for a while, there are some handy and important elements that you should add to your blog. If you’re planning on monetizing your blog, some of these blogging must-haves are required or necessary when making an income from your blog.
20 Blogging Must-Haves
1. Legible Fonts: Size, color, and type of font matter.
You want to make sure your font is not too big and not too small. When you pair some colors with your blog background, they can be hard to read. Make sure your font color and background color pair well together.
When it comes to your font, choose something easy to read. Just because a font is pretty doesn’t mean that it is easy to read when it’s placed in a sentence or paragraph.
2. Your Brand: The look and feel of your blog makes a big difference. Your graphics, logo, icons, and consistent color palette are part of your brand image. People want to come to a site that is neatly put together and clean. Make sure your site is inviting and eye-catching. Be mindful of the colors you are choosing and how you use them.
3. Clear Navigation: Your navigation should be clean and simple. Similar to your content, your the menu bar at the top of your blog and any links in your sidebar should be straightforward and, most important of all, user-friendly. Your readers shouldn’t have to work hard to find where they want to go. Cutesy names for your menu items can be fun, but they have to make sense to the average reader who lands on your blog from a Google search.
4. Responsive Design: Is your layout/theme a responsive design (mobile friendly)? Many readers are using some form of mobile device to access online content. Make it easy for them to navigate your site in any screen sizes.
5. Start Here Page: With a start here page, you’re able to showcase your best work to keep your new readers intrigued. This page is just a summary of what readers can expect to find on your blog.
6. Disclosure Policy Page: If you’re planning on making money from your site in any way, you need to have a disclosure policy. A disclosure policy page is not a replacement for disclosing on individual sponsored posts or disclosing before affiliate links are used.
7. About Page: Your about me page is the first impression people are going to see of you, so make it a captivating about me page. Your about me is your chance to let your readers know they can trust you and that they want to read more from you.
More Blogging Must-Haves
8. Search Box: A search box makes it easy for your readers to re-visit old posts that they loved, instead of them having to go searching through your entire site page by page. Some good spots to put your search are towards the top of your sidebar or in the navigation bar at the top of your blog.
9. Contact Method: Having an easily locatable way to be contacted is key. If your site lacks one, you might be missing out on something important. Whether it’s from a fellow blogger who wants to do a collaboration with you or tell you about a huge typo in a post, or it’s a company who wants to work with you, they should be easily able to find the best way to contact you. You can put it in your About page, you can make a contact page, you can add it to your social media icons, place it in your sidebar, etc. Make sure if you are going to have a contact form that you also offer your email address for people who would like to email you directly.
10. Social Media
a.) Social Media Icons: Give your readers the opportunity to follow you on their favorite social media outlet in order to stay updated and connected with you and your blog. Only link up social profiles you are actively maintaining and working on growing. If you aren’t spending time on a site, there isn’t any reason to send people there to follow you.
b.) Social Media Share Buttons: These are buttons that you display in your posts so that a reader can share your content if they really love it. If you’re using WordPress .org blog, there are several plugins available to help you obtain this feature. (We love Social Warfare!)
11. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO plays an important role in driving traffic to your blog. You can use tools and plugins to come up with useful ways to help you drive traffic to your blog site.
12. Popular Posts and Related Posts: It is a great idea to have your most popular posts displayed somewhere on your blog. You could put them in your about or start here page or on your sidebar.
It’s also a great idea to let your readers know about any related posts to the one that they’re reading. You can place links at the bottom of your posts or use a plugin to help you.
By showcasing your popular and related posts on your site, you’re giving your readers more of a reason to click through to multiple posts and stick around reading, which is always good.
13. Comment Section: Your blog’s comment section is a great place to create relationships with your readers and to receive feedback. If you receive positive comments, it’s a good sign your content is resonating well with your audience and you’ll know what they like and what they want to see more of from you. Try to use a call-to-action at the bottom of your posts that encourages your readers to interact with you and one another in the comment box.
14. Spam Filter: No one likes spam. I highly recommend using a spam filter plugin, like Askimet, on your site to help keep the spam at bay.
15. Sitemap: This is something your readers will not be able to see, but search engines can. They use it to know what pages are on your blog and they’ll showcase your pages on their search engine when someone looks for you.
16. Image Optimizer: Have you ever been told that your site loads slow? Many times it is because the file sizes of your images are too large. You can remedy that problem by using an image optimizer which will strip any hidden bulky information within your images and reduce its file size without losing its quality. The one that I like to use is the WP Smush It plugin.
17. Email List Opt Ins: A list of your readers’ email addresses is a very valuable tool and asset! Maintaining an email list is a great way of keeping your regular readers in the loop while simultaneously expanding your reach. There are several ways to capture those email addresses: a newsletter opt-in, a call to action, offering of a printable or e-book and more.
18. Calls-to-Action: A call-to-action is basically an invitation for your readers to take a certain action: subscribe or sign up for something, click to tweet, comment or something else. They can consist of buttons or text. Try to use a call-to-action, by simply asking a question, at the bottom of your posts that encourages your readers to interact with you and each other.
19. Google Analytics: Google Analytics is one of the best, free tools to tap into for bloggers. Instead of honing in on just the numbers, Google analytics gives you statistics that can help you plan posts and optimize your existing posts. It helps greatly with SEO strategy and with learning about your audience.
20. Media Kit: Your media kit will come in handy when you are reaching out to companies or they’re reaching out to you. Think of it as your blog’s resume where you introduce you and your site, your statistics, advertising opportunities that you have available, testimonials, and previous companies you’ve worked with.
How many of these must-haves do you include on your blog? Have any that you’d like to share?
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