July 30, 2014
When you are first starting a blog, it is quite easy to forget about the basics. Your focus is churning out post after post, sharing the posts on social media, creating links to the posts and monetizing the blog.
Most new bloggers completely forget about the most basic yet important lements that make up a great blog.
To help you get your blog off on the right foot, I’m going to share some of the important things that your WordPress blog should have.
1. Social Share Buttons
Social share buttons must be the most underrated evolution on the Web. Social share buttons allow your readers to help you promote your content — without ever leaving your blog.
Why you need social share buttons:
- Good use experience. The share buttons make sharing easy.
- When your readers share your content, you gain free exposure. Your content will reach a wider audience.
- SEO. It’s 2014 and search engines are now factoring in social signals when raking sites.
- More traffic. When your content is shared on social media, you have the chance to siphon traffic from social media networks to your site.
2. Social Follow Buttons
While social share buttons let your readers share your content with their circles, social follow buttons allow your blog readers to follow you on social networks.
Chances are that you already have social share buttons on your blog, but don’t have social follow buttons.
Social follow buttons can help you increase your blog’s readership base. When you have many people following you on social networks, there is an increased likelihood of people consistently seeing your content and visiting your blog.
How many times have you visited a blog you loved and wanted to connect further, but you couldn’t find accessible social media follow buttons? Make sure the follow buttons are accessible — but not interfering.
3. Call-To-Actions on the Blog’s Sidebar
To get your readers to take action, include CTAs on the blog’s sidebar. You can tell your readers to download an eBook or check out a service you’re offering or even check out your other post(s).
With the CTAs, you’ll not only keep your readers engaged but also increase the chances of turning readers into buyers.
Instead of cluttering the whole blog with CTAs, have a few on the blog’s sidebar. Why the sidebar and not the footer or the content area? When on the sidebar, the call-to-action is least disruptive yet noticeable. CTAs on footer widgets are not as noticeable (one would have to scroll to the bottom of the page); and those in the content area can be distracting.
4. A Clean and Accessible Navigation Bar
To improve on user experience, make it easy for your readers to navigate. A navigation bar allows readers to move from one part of the blog to another.
If you’re using WordPress, creating a navigation bar is as simple as creating a menu bar. To create a menu in WordPress, visit Appearance then Menus and create a new menu.
5. Visuals: Make Your Blog Visual
To capture your reader’s attention (especially first-time readers) make the blog visually appealing. To do this, add an image or two to your blog posts.
Visuals like flow charts, screenshots and infographics make it easier for your readers to understand your content.
6. Opt-in box: Let Readers Subscribe via E-mail
The money is in the list. I’m sure you have heard this Internet marketing saying before.
If you want to create a loyal and engaged readership base, consider creating a list of subscribers. To create the list, encourage your readers to subscribe to your blog via e-mail.
With a list, you’re guaranteed of instant traffic every time you create a new post and e-mail a link to your subscribers. By sending links of your new posts to your list, you’ll be getting people back to your blog again and again.
To increase the rate of subscription, offer an incentive and place the opt-in boxes (one is not enough) in strategic locations on your blog. Also make the opt-in form simple, short and easy to read.
7. Recent Posts and Popular Posts Widgets
To keep your website visitors engaged, maintain accessible recent posts and popular posts widgets. You can have these widgets on the side bar, or below the posts.
An easily accessible list of recent posts tells your visitors what you’ve been up to lately (in terms of content creation). As for the popular posts – people are likely to click on them to see what made/makes them so enticing. Both widgets will help keep your readers on your blog longer.
To add recent posts and popular posts widgets in your WordPress blog, head to Appearance then Widgets. Choose the location you want the widgets to appear and drag and drop the widgets into the widgets area.
What else do you think every WordPress blog should have? Share your insights in the comments section below.
George Njogu is the founder of Dominate the SERPs, an Internet marketing blog that began in 2013. His passion is SEO, SMM, PPC and general blogging.