10 Important Things To Have On Your Blog

hcds-10-important-things

1. Search

Have you ever clicked through to a blog post from Pinterest only to discover a 404 error page? I had that happen this morning. My first thought was, look for the search box and type the post title into the search. There was no search box. So, I left. Does your site have a search box? Is it different from your subscribe box? (I always get those two confused when they look similar).

2. Contact

It is really important for your blog or website to have basic contact information. Ideally, people should be able to find your email, fill out a contact form, or find your social media links easily. Contact information is important for your readers, your advertisers, or any opportunities that may present themselves through your blog.

3. Your Name & Picture

It is nice to put a face to the storyteller behind the stories. Even if it is only your first name and a simple headshot. It does not have to be a professional portrait, but just a nice image of you, so we can have an idea of who you are.

4. Navigation/Menus

When people come to your site, how do they get around? Are they able to find all the content? We usually recommend having several menus (even if they are duplicated). The menu above the header is reserved for blog information (Home, About, Contact, etc). The menu below the header is for the main pages and categories. The menu in the sidebar can be a combination of the most important things. The footer menu (above the copyright/theme notice) can be a combination of the most important things. It is very important that people can find their way around on your site. There is nothing more frustrating than going to a site and not being able to find what you are looking for. There are other ways to direct traffic around your site too, but having these (mentioned above) will help.

5. Easy On The Eyes Design

Does your design hurt people’s eyes? There have been a few sites that actually hurt my eyes and I had to leave (not too many, but a few). Can I read your text? Are your images too big or too small? Do your colors clash? Is your alignment all messed up? How can you make your site easier on your reader’s eyes so they will want to stay longer?

6. Go Easy On The Ads

There have also been some sites where there have been so many ads that I just want to run and hide. I am not talking about advertisers that pay you and nicely sit on your sidebar or in other carefully placed spots. I am talking about those Google ads. The annoying thing about Google ads is that every site I go to shows me the same ads. If I have researched something for a client, I will see the ads over and over on every site I go to. Personally, I would rather see hand picked ads.

7. Subscriber List & Newsletter

Make sure you have a basic subscriber list/newsletter set up (besides your RSS feed). These people can receive your basic blog posts AND/OR special freebies or incentives (at your discretion). We prefer Mail Poet (formerly WYSIJA) as a simple solution to creating a newsletter directly from your WordPress (self-hosted only).

8. Copyright

Do you have a copyright notice on your site? Have you let people know that this is your original content and then need to ask permission before taking it? You might consider having a simple copyright in the footer, a wee bit longer in the sidebar, and a page dedicated to your copyright (maybe also including Terms and Conditions there).

9. Privacy Policy

Do you have a Privacy Policy? If you are using Google Products (Adsense, Keywords, Analytics, etc) or Amazon Affiliates then you will want to make sure that you have an appropriate Privacy Policy. There may also be other products or services that you are using that require a Privacy Policy, be sure to read their terms and conditions when signing up.

10. Permission To Pin

With the growth of Pinterest it can be helpful to have a simple button on your sidebar indicating that it is okay to pin from your website/blog. You will also want to make sure that your blog URL is on each image and that you have watermarked them so that they cannot be used on someone else’s site.

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