There is nothing worse than finding a great new blog and not being able to find the specific information you are looking for. As a blogger it can be easy to overlook some key features simply because we navigate our own websites every day and know exactly where to find everything, however any first time visitor may not feel the same way. Here are the top 5 things every blog should have and why:
Easy to Use Navigation
There is almost nothing more frustrating than finding a link to a great post on a fantastic blog and then not being able to navigate the site to find anything similar. One of the easiest ways to keep your blog organized is to come up with a list of 3-10 categories that any post you typically write will fit into & when you write a new post you can categorize (or “Label” if using Blogger) them.
If you only have a couple of categories feel free to stick them in your navigation. If you have quite a few categories you might want to consider an item in your navigation called “Categories” with a drop down menu of all of them. This keeps your navigation decluttered and easy to navigate.
An “About” page is a crucial part of any website and should contain a few key elements to make sure it is easy for readers to learn more about you and also connect with you. Whenever I find a new blog I always want to know more about the author, it helps me better understand the posts, the aesthetic, and helps me quickly find some ways I can relate to the blog as a whole.
A short well written bio that highlights some of the things that influence you & your blog is all it takes. In addition to a bio your about page should also reference any press or special awards you may have gotten which will add credibility to the things you write about. If you have a separate page for press you should consider providing a link on your about page.
An editorial policy is not really as intimidating as it sounds. It’s purpose is to let readers and potential advertisers know if you do reviews, accept money or goods in exchange for services, and any other things you would like to disclose to your readers.
Vahni or GritandGlamour.com has a great disclosure policy and has kindly offered her policy as an example for your own. Remember, this should not be an exact copy of her policy, it should reflect your own blog’s policies.
Now I realize some people do not want to have their address or phone number available on their blog but you should still have a contact page. In the event someone wants to reach you there should be a page that contains an easy to find contact name, email address, and any social networks that you can be reached on. If a potential advertiser stumbles across your blog you want to make sure there is a way contact you. If you have a separate advertising page it would be a good idea to link to it on your contact page.
User friendly Design
Blog designs are a huge part of the appeal of blogging for me. I love the fonts, colors, and layouts almost as much as I love writing the posts. While there is nothing wrong with having a fun & well designed blog, it is important the keep in mind that your visitors are there to read your posts above all else. Make sure your titles, body fonts, and links are styled in easy to read fonts and colors. As much as we love bright colors, some are just not your friend when it comes to web design so don’t be afraid to give something a try and post on the forums if you need some feedback.