G’day Beach Cottage ladies, well I thought it was time for some blogging tips here today, alongside a few nice flowers and shells ;-)
I was recently part of a blogger discussion group over at Kidspot and a couple of hours later had a few questions from girls who couldn’t make it to the live chat, one was on my Facebook page and one via email, the Facebook one I will deal with in another Real Girl Blogging Tips post…the email one asked me what essentials do I think every blog needs?
Well I have been around here for a while now doing the blogging thing, so I should know this, yeah and I mused this on my walk by the sea this morning I thought well what do you only need?
…I think it is really very easy when blogging, whether or not you are blogging up there in the lofty heights of the Super Bloggers or you are just dipping your toe in the water, to get side-tracked by 101 million different things that are ‘essential’ to your blog and if you are someone like me who actually gets a thrill from reading blogging tips then you are in an even worse place because you will find yourself literally buzzing with these essential things to add/do/implement on your blog.
However, walking along, gulping down that brisk sea air today (no sunshine & clouds) I thought you actually don’t need any of that professional blogging stuff to be successful…but there are a few things that are pretty much crucial …and once I started to think about it I got it down to about 5 – these are the only things that you need to concentrate on…once you have read through take a look at some of the big girl’s blogs…you’ll see that actually they don’t have bundles of stuff on their blogs…but they do have all of these…
So here are my top things that your blog must have
1. About Page
There are all sorts of About Pages out there, and if you search on it there are many different tips and ideas for what to have on yours
Whatever blogging platform you use, adding an About Me Page is easy, quick and simple and will do everything to grow your blog.
I like a long-ish About Page, I am inherently nosy and I like to know a bit more about the person but at the least you should have on it your name and where you are located. I also think a photo is good too…over the last year or so I think this has become more important in blogging – if you are hesitant about that as I was, you can try using sunglasses or a behind shot until you get comfortable.
There is nothing worse than stumbling upon a new blog and going to find out more to only be faced with a piddly little one liner About Me Page…well there is something worse, not having one at all!
2. Contact Page
The chances are someone, somewhere will want to contact you and you will be surprised what lands in your inbox once you put yourself out there on the world wide web with a blog.
Many bloggers also use this page to include details for PR’s/brands that may want to contact them and some bloggers put their stats on there too.
A short, to the point and simple Contact Page works really well…whenever I have wanted to contact another blogger I am often very busy and have limited time so I don’t want to hang around sifting through information looking for an email address, so concise and clear is a good idea in my book….include whatever information on there that you are comfortable with but essentially your email address….however as social media takes off and, for instance, you know that you respond quickly & efficiently via Twitter etc then include that too and point out that that is the best way to get in touch with you.
You will be surprised at how many blogs you come across where the contact details are hard to find…have a look around the next time you visit a blog and check out what you like on a Contact Page and then implement that on yours.
You can see mine here, it also includes PR information (I get a lot of these enquiries every week and the aim of the page is to be clear on what a PR/Advertising/Marketer wants to know BEFORE they waste either of our time), my email address and my snail mail addy…
3. Social Media Links
Link the other places where you spend time on the web on your blog – once you have a follower, most people will have made the decision whether or not to add you to their reader/rss etc pretty carefully and once you are in their radar, congratulations, you can get to know them and interact…to do this they will like to see more of the places you hang out….so make sure these people can find you!
My blog is about to get a lovely new look and the other places I hang out on the web will be a lot more easier to find on my blog, it’s something that’s been niggling me about my blog and I am changing that very soon!
And very imporant* you need your RSS feed right there on the sidebar…don’t know what an RSS feed is? Find out.
4. A Search Facility
OK, this doesn’t have to be all wham bam thank you mam but I think it is a really good idea to have one. Often if I find a new blog I will want to look around more and sometimes it might be something quite specific that I am after…for example I might have just about died at your white vase next to the new cookery book you are reviewing and so I want to find out more about that white vase…I will probably never get to emailing you about it, it’s really not that important in my life, but I would like to have a quick search through and see if I can find out more…enter the search box conveniently situated on the side of your blog and ready and waiting for my question. Easy.
You can see mine down there on the right, it’s nothing fancy but it is functional and fits in quite nicely with my blog…most blogging platforms have a search facility…so add one to your blog for your readers.
5. A User Friendly Comments Process
OK, you got those people through the door of your blog, heck they even read it! Now you would love a comment wouldn’t you? Well make sure it’s VERY easy to comment on your blog…I have lots of girls here telling me about lovely things on their blogs and links to them…I will always try and visit them and comment too but soooooooooo many times, those blogs make it extremely difficult to comment, and my comment doesn’t end up making it for various reasons. …bottom line here though is that you don’t make your readers jump through 65 hoops to say hello to you or answer a question your asked, or just say ooh that looks nice…I wrote a whole post on the reasons I won’t leave you a comment you can find that here.
There are a whole host of different commenting platforms out there to try out, I recently moved to Comment Luv which makes the whole comment area easy and more interactive, however I am looking into other options right now, but really the commenting platform you have with your blog is fine, don’t waste time changing it all around if you don’t really know what you are doing that much…but do make sure that you check/uncheck options that make it easy or difficult for your readers to add a comment before they move onto the next blog.
I hope those might be of some use….sometimes getting right down to the nitty gritty is great isn’t it?
Kinda like one of my favourite TV shows, Back to the Floor…it’s like yeah, scrap all that messing around and get back to what matters….
Now, let me know what you consider essential when you are reading a blog…whoever you are, a Top Lurker, a Blog Reader, another blogger, a Blogging Superstar (any of those read this little old blog from the beaches I wonder?? ;-) ) …well c’mon let me know what you think is essential in a blog…
Cheers Beach Cottage girls