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9 things your blog really needs to have. Get on it.

Fat Mum Slim /

9-things

More and more blogs are popping every day, but there are 9 essential things that every blog should have. Does yours have them?

1. A really good blog header

If you click over to a blog, the header is really the first thing you set eyes on… and it’s the first impression you get of a blog, don’t you think? It’s a chance to be creative and have some fun. Mine is particularly understated, but the rest of my blog is so busy I didn’t want to overwhelm the page or design. Some bloggers that have really cool blog headers worth checking out are: The Beetleshack (Emily has a designer recreate the header regularly so it’s worth checking back to see what it is and who created it from time to time), BabyMac (fun and playful, just like Beth), Veggie Mama (such a sweet hand-drawn picture), A Cup of Jo and The Beauty Department.

2. An about me page stamped with your personality

How would you feel if you stumbled across an about me page that said this, “I’m Susan. I am 24 years old and I wrote this blog.” Apart from being jealous of her whipper-snapper age, you’d be falling asleep and finding yourself another blog to read, right? Stamp your About Me page with your personality. Tell your readers who you really are. I like visual things so I made mine to be a graphic that you can read quickly. Other About Me pages worth checking out for inspiration are Love Taza, Ish and Chi and Woogsworld.

3. Links to your social media

Say your readers like what they read on your blog, let them know where else they can find you easily. In the top half of your blog have links to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or which ever social media platforms you’re using at the moment.

4. A profile photo and a few quick words about you

Yes, a photo of YOU. People want to know who they’re reading about when they visit your blog. Get a friend to snap a photo or 600 of you, pick your favourite and turn it into your profile photo. Add a few words underneath. An easy way to do this is to say: Hi, my name is X. I like to X, X and I don’t like X.

5. A design that doesn’t make your eyes burn

I know it’s fun to get creative when designing your blog, particularly the background, but don’t get too crazy. You don’t want to make it hard to look at for readers. So yes, super dooper neons are out. People, by nature, do like a bit of calm in your design. Allow some space for white. If you’re not very clever in the design department, get help. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. You can buy pre-made designs on Etsy, like this one, this one and this one.

6. A contact page (or email me button)

This one seriously makes me cry. So many times, particularly when I worked for Kidspot and we launched the very first Top 50 Bloggers, I’ve been to blogs and they have not a single way to get in touch with the owner. Tears. You’re missing out people. Missing out on readers connecting with you, with opportunities for collaboration, and hearing from other bloggers. You’re missing out. Make sure you have a contact page. If you work with brands, have something in there too about how you like to be approached or how you work with companies.

7. A place to find all your best work

This one has been on my to-do list for a long time, and I will get to it before I retire. Create a page for people to find your best work, the posts that you loved most – or more so that your readers loved most. It will be like a little snap shot for people to find your voice. Share about ten post titles with links to those posts.

8. A way to find all your old stuff

Every blog template has one, a way to get to all your posts from the past. Make sure you include a widget on your home page to your archives. This will allow readers to read all that good stuff you wrote so many moons ago.

9. An easy-to-use commenting system

The very best thing about blogging is the engagement you get from readers, so make sure they can leave a comment on your blog to share their thoughts on something you’ve shared. Allow them to chime in, to be part of the conversation. Disqus is a great one (when it works, it’s been playing up lately) or the default systems for Blogger or WordPress are good too. But please turn of Captcha or those little codes you have to rewrite in order to leave a comment. They’re just too hard most of the time, and so many people turn away as soon as they pop up.

Which do you think is most important? Is there anything your blog was missing?

  • I really want a new header and layout but I just haven’t had th time to sit down and sort it out! I’m also debating whether or not to switch to wordpress so I don’t know if I should bother with a new layout till I make that decision!

    Some great tips here, most I’ve tried to check off my blog! Thanks for introducing me to so many new and wonderful blogs too!

    Sarah 🙂
    Saloca in Wonderland

    • Switching to WordPress was one of the best things I did – but I’m also glad that I started with Blogspot.

  • After reading this I’m going to try and ad a contact form to my blog, it makes it so much easier for others to get in touch. And I agree on the comment system, but am personally not a fan of Disqus 😉

    • Yes, add the contact form. Please do!

      Disqus is good when it works, but it rarely works perfectly. Such a shame. I hope they fix it. x

  • Great ideas. I am not good with thinking up stuff for an About Me page so I have never had one. Maybe one of these days I will. 🙂

    I don’t have Contact Info either because isn’t that what Comments are for? If someone wants to contact me they can always just leave a comment. I am very old school blogging in my way of thinking, I guess. I prefer blog stuff to stay on the blog and not end up being all private conversations.

    • I don’t think everything can be said in a comment, and there are times when people want to reach out – and I feel like you could possibly be missing out on connections with people.

      But you have to do what you’re comfortable with. x

  • Thanks CF x

  • This is great. I have most of these but have been meaning to do popular posts and my LinkWithin is showing the same posts so need to fix that. Trying to figure out nRelate.

  • Ah you’ve made me a bit worried about mine ! My theme doesn’t come with a header! Should I switch?

    • You have a header! It just sits to the left instead of on top. 🙂 I like it.

      You could always remove the ‘she who rambles’ from under your photo and put a little logo to replace the photo. I’ll email you a mock-up I made to give you an idea {it’s nothing fancy!}.

      • And this is why you are super awesome & have just launched a blogging course! Great idea! I didn’t even think of doing something like that. I’m not very clever at design things but I’ll see what I can come up with.
        Thank you so very very much xx

  • Great tips Chantelle.
    I couldn’t comment on your blog for a while {Disqus was playing up}, but now that I can again…sorry….you’ll be bombarded with my comments once more 😉
    I think that’s something that I love most about your blog – it’s overall look and feel. It’s colourful and creative, but still welcoming and homely. It’s easy to navigate and use. And the fact that you’re so open to share all that you know about blogging/blogs is a rare thing these days too.
    Mwah. Claire x

  • I LOVE your about me page. Made me realise how much I need to update mine. I also never thought of having a best bits page – definitely something to work on. Thank you xxx

  • Thanks for all the top tips. I’m working on working my way through the list. Looking forward to a bloggy extreme makeover with new header and new theme.

  • Great advice and I have these but some of my pages could do with a revamp!! I just got a logo but can’t seem to get it centred on mobile devices, must call in the gurus! Have a great weekend x

  • Etsy does wordpress themes? Oh my goodness, there goes the credit card!

  • My blog has all these things I’m not sure if my header is eye catching enough though (I made it myself in picmonkey).

    I have to say I hate captcha its so annoying.

    Im so glad you’ve taken Disqus off at the moment because every time I tried to comment on your posts it wouldn’t load for me.

  • Thank you Chantelle. Great tips I will look into. V x

  • Thank you! I really like this tips. I just made an “About Me”-Page, maybe this will really help.
    Greetings from Germany, Pekanali

  • Yes! Thanks Chantelle. I gotta sharpen up my sight pronto!

  • I think I need to have a ‘favourite posts’ list of links. My blog is very simple but I think I have the basics down for now – of course there is so much room for improvement as I continue my blogging experience. I love your point about complicated captcha type codes. As a reader, I HATE THEM! Sometimes my computer won’t even show me the codes I need to re-type in the first place and that blogger has no idea that I really cared about what they were writing because I had to give up. And these are REALLY awesome bloggers with pretty decent audiences.

  • Great tips, thank you so much. My blog is only 3 weeks old and it definitely needs some help! First up is a new theme from Etsy, its just so hard to choose! I can’t decide. And after that I will revamp my about me page, it was done in a bit of a rush.

  • libbywilko

    Great ideas Chantelle, thanks for sharing them, I love blogging tips… Now I just need to get my blog going!

  • All are great but links to social media are my top pick since so much exposure comes from the social media these days

  • Great post, so timely for me! So I think I had 8 of 9, I didn’t have a contact address though – I figured people could contact me via facebook, but I guess not everyone is on facebook so I’ve created an email account for my blog – only to discover that WordPress don’t recommend putting your email address up as spammers use software to trawl websites for email addresses! So, anyway, I’ll leave it there for now and see what happens!

  • SGW

    I’m not entirely convinced every blog needs a profile photo. I don’t blog about myself, I blog about a geographical area, so i’ve hesitated in putting a profile pic of myself on the home page or on the “about” page, because the blog isn’t really about me or my life, or my family.

    I agree with you on “about” pages, I always look at that page when i find a new blog.
    Love the tips though, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Thank you for these wonderful ideas. Have only just started my blog. So very newbie here. Hope you get a chance to have a look.

  • Thanks for the great tips Chantelle. I now have a list of what I should fix on my blog…I think its time for a revamp 🙂 Disqus always seems to play up on me when I go to leave a comment on one of your posts, so hopefully it works this time 🙂

  • katlane12

    Awesome post! I’m taking a break from blogging at the moment but I really want to start again in the new year. I am thinking of starting fresh on WordPress. I will be keeping all your tips in mind for when the time comes.

  • Great tips for a new blogger like me. Will have to add them to my must do list, never enough hours in the day!! (Especially when I am stalking bloggers for inspiration and tips 😉 )

  • Thank you for these great tips. So easy to read and understand and loved the examples. I didn’t know there were web designs on Etsy! Time for some research I think. Thanks again. Just awesome!

  • Easy commenting system is my biggest must.
    And if you have comments turned on, being someone who replies to comments is also kinda good! I can’t tell you how many ‘expert’ communication blogs I’ve read where they don’t communicate back with their readers in the comments – it baffles me & makes me distrust everything they write about.

  • One thing that drives me nuts are blog templates that don’t allow you to read a post, and then click through to the next oldest or newest without having to go back to the home page first. I tend to binge-read blogs and when I have to click back to the home page after finishing each post it gets old fast and I just stop reading. It’s the quickest way to lose my extended time & multiple pageviews on a site.

  • A great list. Thanks Chantelle. xx

  • Have done all that, great tips Chantelle!! Love your design!

  • This is so great! I just started my blog, and love these tips (and your blog)!

  • Fantastic tips! Thank you so much! I am always looking for ways to improve my blog. I had problems with my “Comments” in the beginning – hopefully I have got it sorted!

  • Editha Cornelio Ferrer

    Thanks for the info…

@Fatmumslim