If you own a blog or are thinking about starting one and are wondering how to take it from good to great, you have come to the right place. It is easy to look at successful blogs and know that they are great. It’s a little more challenging to determine why it is such a great blog.
That is because there are so many things that go into creating a great blog. In this post, I have a great list that describes 20 different elements that all great blogs have and feature some of the best in the blog world. Read on to learn more!
1. Email Signup Area in a Prominent Place
Whether you want to admit it or not, email is a massive part of any blogging business. And when you come across a blog that asks for your email address right up front, it lets you know that they mean business. So many successful bloggers put their email signup forms above the fold.
If you’re serious about their email list, you should be doing the same thing. Find an excellent design and put it above the fold. Convertkit makes it very easy to create beautiful signup forms.
And the best part is, this is included with their service. You can give them a try for free with the link below. Sign up for a FREE trial of Convertkit here.
2. Social Media Share Buttons
If you want traffic to your site, you need social media share buttons. It’s as simple as that. The one you probably recognize the most is the one that floats alongside a blog post like the ones below.
This feature makes it easier for your readers to share your content. And if your readers share your content, you’re more likely to get more traffic. Why not make it easy for your readers to do that for you?
There are many tools out there that have floating buttons for free. However, you need to double-check your theme to see if it is already included. I use Grow by Mediavine.
3. Recent Posts Section
The new post section on your blog lets your readers know that you are regularly posting content. It also makes it easy for them to get to the latest content since the last time they were on your blog. Many of the top blogs have a section like this somewhere on their website.
It does not have to take up your entire homepage. Having two to three posts is good enough.
4. Brand Colors and Consistent Fonts
Branding consistency is so important. Decide on what your colors are going to be, choose a couple of fonts, and stick with them.
Over time, your audience should be able to recognize your pins and imagery without even seeing your logo. Everyday Spokane does an AMAZING job with this.
As you design the look of your brand, including colors and fonts, you can use Canva to help. Canva is a site where you can create your media kit, social media images, and anything else you'll need for your blog. We use it here at Miss Millennia! You can identify colors, fonts, templates, and more that you will use to define your brand. Get an account with Canva today!
5. Two to Four Categories, Tops
The best blogs choose only a few categories to focus on. They are not talking about everything under the sun. They pick a niche, and they stick with it.
If your blog has too many categories, you may want to narrow down. Having a more focused blog does well for SEO and your overall traffic, too.
6. Quality Content
This one should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it. The best blogs have the best content. Their articles are longer, more in-depth, and well researched.
Writing quality content is a great traffic strategy not just for SEO purposes, but also to keep readers coming back to you. If they read a great article on your website, the likelihood of them coming back to find another great article is high. Give them what they’re looking for the first time around.
7. Social Media Channels
When I visit a blog that I like for the first time, one of the first things I do is check them out on social media. Nothing is more annoying then when you’re trying to find social media accounts and they are nowhere to be found on the website.
The best blogs make it easy for their readers to get in touch with them on social media. Most WordPress themes have this built-in already, but make sure you have a place to showcase your social media channels that you’re on.
8. Email List
We touched on this a little in the first point. The best bloggers have an email list. Regardless of what your overall strategy is for your blog, you should be collecting emails.
It doesn’t matter if you have 1 million followers on Facebook if you have no way to contact your audience directly. You need email addresses because you never know if there’s going to be algorithm change where are you won’t be able to reach your followers.
Building an email list is an asset to your business. It will help you make money over and over again. If you’re not sure how to make money with your email list, you should read our post 11 Easy Ways to Make Money With an Email List! Trust me, you’re going to want an email list.
9. Unique Product
It is a fact that bloggers who make the most money have a product of their own. It does not matter if they’re making thousands of dollars with affiliate marketing or advertising. The fastest way to cash is with a unique product.
This is not to say that if you just started your blog, you should’ve already had a product going. However, this is something to keep in mind as you’re growing. If you have not thought about this before, it’s time to start brainstorming and getting a feel for what your audience would like to buy.
10. Search Box
We live in a Google world. So why should search boxes have to stop at search engines? Most WordPress themes have a search box feature included. Just make sure that you have a search box somewhere that’s easily accessible so that your readers can find the content they are looking for on your site.
11. Comment Section
Comments are a fantastic way to engage with your audience, so you never wanna turn them off on your posts. For one, you can learn more about your audience. Also, comments are something that Google looks for when driving traffic to your website.
This area is a place you want to check from day to day to monitor engagement and make sure you are responding to all the comments. Replying to your readers shows that you are interested in what they have to say!
12. Clear Target Audience (Avatar)
I have a question for you: Who are you writing to currently? When writing any blog post, you want to have an idea of who this is in mind. It could be your friend, mom, sister, or anyone else.
Whoever the avatar is, you want to keep them in mind when it comes to what you write about and how you write it. Don’t know what an avatar is or how to define your target audience? Learn more about it by reading our article How To Get Your Blog Ready To Start Earning Money.
13. Popular Posts Section
Having a popular post area on your blog is important for a few reasons. The first reason is that it makes it easy for people who are just coming to your blog for the first time to know where they should go first. You want to put your best foot forward with new people, so give them the best content right when they arrive.
Another reason why it’s so good is that when you put your most popular content on your homepage, you’re also telling Google that these pages are important. Therefore, Google will treat them as such.
We already talked about the importance of email lists as well as having an email signup form prominently on your homepage. What we have not talked about is how you get people to give you their email address. Many popular blogs give something away in exchange for their readers’ email addresses.
Freebies, also known as content upgrades, can range from checklists, spreadsheets, e-books, or even an email series. A few freebies we offer include our List of 126 Influencer Networks and our Blog Goal Worksheet. Check them out to get an idea of items you could offer to grow your email list!
15. Mobile-Friendly Layout
Nowadays, the majority of traffic that goes to blogs is from mobile devices. Kind of crazy, right? What’s even crazier is that there are still blogs out there that do not have mobile-friendly versions of their websites.
When you choose a theme for your blog, make sure it is a responsive one. This means that your website will adjust to the device the reader is viewing your blog on. Restored 316 has some great responsive themes that you can use! Check them out now.
16. Clear Theme
We talked about how important it is to have an avatar and narrowing down your number of categories. But it is also essential to have a clear theme or central idea for your blog.
One theme makes it easier for you to rank higher in Google because it gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as a subject matter expert on that topic. If you are blogging about all the things, not only does it take you longer to establish credibility, but it is also not likely that anyone considers you a subject matter expert on any of the things you are going about.
17. Consistently Creating Content
Ever go to a blog that had a great design and then you looked at their recent post section and realized they hadn’t published anything new in over a month?
If you have experienced this, you probably made the assumption that the blog is no longer active. Google makes this assumption too, and therefore it stops crawling your site. You don’t want this!
The best blogs write content consistently. While how much content you should write varies from blog to blog, it is crucial to be consistent. Based on my knowledge and research, you should be blogging at least one time a week. If you want to publish more frequently than that, be prepared to do it consistently.
18. A Logo
Unless you want to be perceived as an amateur, you should have a logo on your blog. All great blogs have a logo with their brand colors and font(s) in it. Your logo should be in the header of your website, instead of typing out the name of your blog. It looks more polished and established.
If you want to present yourself as a professional, that is one of the things you have to do. You could pay someone to do a logo for you, or create one yourself.
19. Unique Domain Name
Similarly, to my last point, all great blogs have their own domain name. What I mean by your own domain is that your website URL should look like yourname.com instead of yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.wordpress.com.
There are so many reasons why you should have your own domain name that, truthfully, I can’t even begin to cover them all here. One of the main reasons is that you have more control of your website when you own your domain.
For example, if you are on the WordPress.com website, you cannot download a plug-in. Plug-ins are like apps for your phone, but for a website. They allow you to customize your site features and stand out from other blogs. If you’re dragging your feet about purchasing your domain name, I suggest avoiding all the nonsense and going for it.
20. Lots of Evergreen Content
First, let me explain what evergreen content means. Evergreen content is content on your blog that is high-quality and timeless. Your blog post is a great resource that does not expire. I’ll give an example.
Here is an example of an article title that is not evergreen: 10 Tips For Your Finances in 2019.
Here is an example of an evergreen title: 10 Financial Tips Everyone Should Know.
The reason why the second article is better is that it does not matter if it is 2019, 2020, or five years from now. That article will be relevant. However, with the first article title, once 2020 rolls around, readers will think that article is no longer relevant. This becomes more important as you incorporate affiliate links in your content. Writing evergreen content is how are you are paid for affiliate links over and over again.
There’s so much that goes into blogs that it’s hard to get it right. As you can see, it is a combination of things, not just one. If you are looking for steps on how to make more money with your blog now that you’ve incorporated these tips, I highly recommend you join the Blogging Money Formula Waitlist.
Blogging Money Formula is an online course that shows motivated bloggers how to go from making a few (or no) dollars to making consistent money with their blogs every single month. I show you how to set up the foundation you need to be able to make REAL income with your blog that will make a difference for you and your family in the long run.
The program will teach you:
How to establish yourself as a professional blogger: I’ll show you everything your blog needs to be recognized as a professional blogger.
How to properly apply for sponsored posts, so you get selected for more opportunities: I will show you step by step how to apply so that brands choose you more often!
How to get brands to reach out to you: I’ll show you what you need to set up on your blog so that brands reach out to you, as well as where to go to put yourself on their radar.
How to build long-term relationships with brands: This way, you can get recurring business with brands instead of having to pitch new ones all the time.
How to write content that appeals to your audience and the brand: Because great content does not need to be either-or!
How to drive traffic to your blog posts: Great results produce repeat customers, and I will show you how to make that happen.
BLOGGING MONEY FORMULA HASN’T LAUNCHED YET, BUT YOU CAN JOIN THE WAITLIST HERE AND BE THE FIRST TO FIND OUT WHEN IT DOES!