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If you own a blog or are thinking about starting a blog and are wondering how to take it from good to great, you have come to the right post. It is easy to look at a successful blog and be able to tell that it is a great one. It’s a little more challenging to determine why that blog great.
This is because there are so many things that go into making a great blog. And the result of all those things equates to 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. Some so many successful bloggers put their email sign-up 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 sign-up 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, you need social media share buttons. The one you probably recognize the most is the one that floats alongside a blog post like the ones below.
This 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 send you traffic? There are many tools out there that have floating buttons for free. But check with your theme first to see if it is not already included. Shareaholic is what we use on B3.
3. A Recent Posts Section
The new post section on the 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.
It does not have to take up your whole homepage. Having 2 to 3 posts is good enough. But it seems that many of the top blogs have a section like this somewhere on their blog.
4. Brand Colors and Consistent Fonts
Branding consistency is so important. Make a decision on what your colors are going to be, choose a couple of fonts to stick with and go with it.
Over time, your audience should be able to recognize your pins and imagery without even seeing your logo. The Everyday Spokane blog does an AMAZING job at this. If you want more information on how to get your branding kit together, check out our freebie brand building checklist below.
5. 2-4 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 a niche 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 like to do is check them out on social media. Nothing is more annoying then when you’re trying to find social media accounts for a blog, and they are nowhere to be found on the website.
The best blogs make it easy for the reader 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. An Email List
We touched on this a little in the first point. The best bloggers have an email list. Regardless of whatever your strategy is for your blog, you should be collecting emails. It doesn’t matter if you have 1 million followers on Facebook. You still need email addresses because you never know if there’s gonna be some kind of algorithm change where are you won’t be able to reach those followers.
Building an email list is an asset for 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 check out our other post called 11 Easy Ways to Make Money With an Email List here. Trust me, you’re going to want an email list.
9. A Product
It is a fact that bloggers who make the most money have a product of their very 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 product that you own.
This is not to say that if you just started your blog, you should’ve already had a product going. But this is something to keep in mind. You should eventually create some sort of product. So you have not thought about this before it’s time to start brainstorming and getting a feel for what your audience will like to buy.
10. A 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 in them. 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. A Comment Section
Comments are another great way to engage with your audience. So you never wanna turn it off on your blog posts. You can learn more about your audience, and this is also something that Google looks at the traffic to your website. Keep the comments on. This is also a place you want to check from day to day as well to make sure that you are responding to all the comments. This shows that you are interested in what they have to say too!
12. A Clear Target Audience (Avatar)
I have a question for you. Who are you writing to correctly?
When writing any blog post, you want to have an idea of who this is in mind. Is it your friend? Is it your mom? How about a sister? Whoever the avatar is you want to keep them in mind when it comes to what you write about and how you write it.
If you have not flushed out your avatar yet, I highly recommend you download our free checklist on creating your avatar for your blog.
13. Popular Posts Area
Having a popular post area on your blog is great for a few reasons. The first reason is 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. Another reason why it’s so good because 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 more importantly.
We already talked about the importance of email list as well as the importance of having an email sign-up form early on your homepage. But 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 an email address.
Freebies, also known as content upgrades, can range from checklists, spreadsheets, e-books, or even an email series. Check out our blog on 5 Freebies that Convert Email Subscribers
15. Mobile Friendly
Majority of the traffic that goes to blogs is from mobile. Kind of crazy right? What’s even crazier is that there are still blogs out there that do not have a mobile-friendly version of their website. When you choose a theme for your blog, make sure it is a responsive theme. This means that your website will adjust to the device the reader is viewing your blog on.
16. A Clear Theme to Your Blog
We talked about how important it is to have an avatar for your blog. But it is also essential to have a clear theme or central idea for your blog. This corresponds back to what I mentioned having too many categories on your blog – 2 to 4 is plenty. But you wanna stick with one topic.
One topic makes it easier for you to rank higher in Google and make it easier to establish yourself as a subject matter expert on that topic. If you are blogging about all the things, who do not only take you longer to establish any credibility, but it is not likely that anyone considers you a subject matter expert in 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 to the blog in over a month? If you have experienced this before, you probably made the assumption that the blog is no longer active.
Google would make this assumption too. And therefore stop crawling your site altogether. The best blogs write content consistently. While how much content you should write varies from blog to blog, it is crucial to be consistent. Of all the content I've read on the subject, you should be blogging at least one time a week. If you write more 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 fonts in it. This is what you should be using in the header of your website as opposed to typing out the name of your blog. If you want to be seen 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. Their Own Domain Name
Similarly, to my last point, all great blogs have her own domain name. What I mean by this is their domain is just theirname.com as opposed to theirname.blogspot.com or theirname.wordpress.com.
There are so many reasons why you should have your own domain name, and I can’t even begin to cover them all here. One other reason 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 the same equivalent for a website. Just buy your own dummy and avoid all this nonsense.
20. Lots of Evergreen Content
Evergreen posts are great posts. But first, let me explain what evergreen content means. Evergreen content means that your blog post is a great resource that does not expire. I’ll give an example.
Here is an example of an article 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 because it does not matter if it is 2019 or 2020 for that article to be relevant. However, for the first article title, once 2020 rolls around, that article is no longer relevant. This becomes more important as you incorporate more affiliate links in your content. Writing evergreen content lets is how are you are paid for affiliate links over and over again.
There’s so much that goes into blogs they get it right. As I mentioned, it is a combination of things as opposed to it being just one thing. If you are looking for steps on how to make it so that your blog posts will become great blogs, check on out our course called Blogs That Click: Write Content That Hooks The Right Audience.
In it, we show you step-by-step how to make that your audience wants to read. And therefore making your blog one of the greats. Sign up below.