Start surfing the Web all you’ll see all kinds of interesting sights, or sites, if you prefer. Blogs with videos, blogs with cartoons, blogs with noting but ads or RSS feeds rolling in. Blogs are like snowflakes, you’ll never find two that are exactly alike. But every successful blog has certain essential component, even though you might have to look a little harder on some blogs than others.
Quality content: If you want your blog to rank well with the search engines and engage a large, loyal audience you have to have quality content. That content may be articles, it may be videos, it might even be syndicated content from other blogs. But whatever it is, it has to be unique and informative and it has to provide value for the reader.
A clean blog design: You’ll know a successful blog when you see it. It’s not cluttered up with banners and ads, and the content area is formatted for easy reading. The fonts are crisp and clear, images are neat and tidy, and it looks like a well-run business.
Easy navigation: Clear, easy-to-use navigation is an essential element of blog design, both for your visitors and for the search engines. Clean up your categories and use keywords so readers can easily find what they’re looking for. Use text links in the sidebar to highlight important content. Use internal linking to lead your readers to older articles with additional information.
Install sitemaps so the search engine bots can easily navigate your site and use a sitemap or archive button to create a page on your blog so readers can easily access archived posts.
Contact information: Google requires that every blog have prominently displayed contact information and it also helps give your blog more credibility with your readers. And About Page helps, too. Take the time to set up both of these pages so your readers can see there’s a real human being behind the blog. And a contact page is a must if you’re going to be selling something.
Branding: Successful blogs have a logo and profile information that they use consistently across the Internet. They have a mission statement or message that they use to define their business no matter where you see them online. They use the same colors, the same name, and promote the same products whether they’re on Twitter, Facebook or guest blogging. When you focus your business and start building a brand it doesn’t take long before you’re the authority in your niche, no matter how much competition you have.
And finally, the most essential component of any blog is its community. Without a community of followers there’s no reason to have a blog. Make sure you have comments open and secure on your blog. Install sharing buttons. Encourage RSS subscriptions and set up a newsletter so you can start building a list. Engage your followers in your favorite social networks and participate in the conversations by commenting on other blogs and never stop working to extend your reach. You can never have too many followers.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!