Five Things Every Blog Needs

5-everyblogneeds

These days, nearly everyone and their grandma has a blog. Whether it’s about cooking, movies, crafting, or something we’re more familiar with, books, there’s a blog about it. While blogs are well-known and well-used, there are certain elements every blog must have—and sadly, not every blog has.

Heads Up!

A header is the first thing a visitor sees when they stumble upon your site. It needs to be catchy, easy on the eyes, and more than anything, tell your visitor where they are. Your header image, even if it’s just simple text, needs to reinstate your domain address. It wouldn’t be consistent if my domain was www.iceybooks.com and my blog name: Hafsah, the Girl. Right? Right.

Follow the map.

Every blog needs navigation. The essentials depends on what your blog is centered on, but a blog should at least have the following: Home, About, Archives (Reviews, if you’re a book blogger, or Recipes, if you’re a food blogger), and Contact. Having easy to find and understand navigation makes a reader more likely to click on them. And feel at ease—enough to come back again. No one likes coming back to a place where they don’t feel comfortable, or where they feel like they don’t know what they’re doing.

Get social.

A blog isn’t a successful blog without a marketing team. Your marketing team doesn’t have to consist of people. Instead, build your marketing team with tools. Namely, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, etc. Those are your marketing tools. They’re free, so why not use them? But just having them isn’t enough. You need to have links right up front and easy to see on your blog. No one likes to go hunting for information. Particularly publicists, agents, and those people who aren’t stopping by for leisure, but for business.

Eye candy.

Humans are visual creatures. Having a design that’s easy on the eyes will ensure your one-time visitor becomes a regular. Uncluttered sidebars are a must, and I typically prefer to go with one sidebar, rather than two. Choose whatever color you’d like for your design, but always have a nice, solid color, or minimal texture as a background for your content, along with a text color that compliments it. Purple background? Don’t use yellow text.

Commenting.

There are a number of comment/discussion plugins available on the internet. Some of them—most of them—are annoying. Using Blogger’s own system, and WordPress’s own system works just fine. It’s easy, does what it’s supposed to, and doesn’t have too many fancy schmancy elements, which you don’t need. People want to comment, nothing else. If a comment system requires me to go through spam filters, or reads like a form, I’ll usually just click out. There are thousands of blogs out there, don’t get lost in the crowd.

You don’t exactly need word verification either. If you take your blog seriously, you can weed out the spam every time you login. And if you login everyday, it will probably take you no more than ten minutes. Besides, Blogger combats spam, and WordPress has several plugins (namely Akismet) that automatically filters spam comments. If they can make your life easier, pay it forward and make your visitors’ lives easier, too. Disable your spam filter and watch your comment number increase.

Conclusion

There you have it! They’ve very easy, and very much essential. Does your blog have them all?

Hafsah

Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.

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18 Comments

  1. Reply

    Hannah @ The Irish Banana Review

    March 17, 2014

    I love this post! I think bloggers forget some of these basics and they really are essential building blocks to getting people to come back. LOVE THIS!

    • Reply

      Hafsah

      March 17, 2014

      Yes! The building blocks are the most important, because of what they are. Sometimes, we just need a reminder!

  2. Reply

    Angel (Spare Reads)

    March 17, 2014

    It really is overwhelming sometimes to keep up with commenting, visiting/commenting on other people’s blogs, and also keeping up social presence. But I totally agree with you all of these would for sure impact whether or not I will be a regular to that blog. I’m currently in the process of getting a redesign :D so fingers crossed!

    • Reply

      Hafsah

      March 17, 2014

      Awesome. A re-design is good for your blog, good for your visitors, and good for you—you’ll feel a renewed sense of ownership and desire to keep your blog running well!

  3. Reply

    Megan Nicole

    March 17, 2014

    Great useful tips! These basics are essential for any blog!

    • Reply

      Hafsah

      March 17, 2014

      Exactly! And it’s surprising how many blogs don’t utilize them!

  4. Reply

    blodeuedd

    March 17, 2014

    Nice :) And yes I haaaate word ver, haaate it

    • Reply

      Hafsah

      March 17, 2014

      Same. It’s such a time waster.

  5. Reply

    Lindsey

    March 17, 2014

    I completely agree, especially with easy navigation! There are some blogs out there where I literally don’t know how to get to one page to another. Great tips, thanks for sharing! :)

  6. Reply

    Lizzy

    March 17, 2014

    You’re right, I do appreciate when comment systems are easy. Captcha and having to log-in to random things can add a bit to my frustration haha

  7. Reply

    Vickie Ramage

    March 17, 2014

    I think I do! I love my design. I created it myself as I can’t afford a designer. I mean I could afford a designer but all my money is spent on books. I spent a lot of time making sure it had everything a visitor could want.

    ★ Under The Mountain ★

  8. Reply

    Kelly

    March 17, 2014

    Such simple things, but they can truly make the difference! It surprises me how hard some bloggers make it to follow them via Twitter, for example, or how many have these super complicated commenting systems that make me just say no.

  9. Reply

    Lauren

    March 17, 2014

    What a great post! I’ll definitely send my friends who are dipping their toes into the blogging world over here for this wonderful advice. Your blog is gorgeous, btw!

  10. Reply

    Ella

    March 17, 2014

    This post is actually very helpful. Hihi I kind of started a blog too and your reminders really helped. Thank you! Btw, hate captcha too. Haha!

  11. Reply

    Annie

    March 19, 2014

    These are great tips! I totally agree with them. Only a few things but honestly if a blog has these five, they’re good in my book. Really you don’t need anything snazzy as long as you have the basics. I’d prefer a simple and straightforward blog with all the bases covered over something extravagant that’s missing some of these.

  12. Reply

    Kristin@Blood,Sweat and Books

    March 23, 2014

    Word verification is the devil. I actually feel my blod pressure rise when I visit blogs with it and make a mental note that that do. I might still visit those blogs but I keep commenting to bare minimum if ever just to avoid the hassle.

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