Elements for a successful blog
It’s important that readers should be able to understand what your blog’s subject is from first glance, and this is usually accomplished through a graphic header of some kind. Its ingredients should include the name of the blog, the tagline (descriptive sentence), if not already stated the main subject matter and who the author is, preferably with a picture or logo of some kind.
The next thing that should be noticeable is how your readers can subscribe to your blog. There are many methods of doing this, but the most prominent one should be a form for email notifications of your new posts. It’s much easier to receive emails than to regularly go to your Google Reader or glance through the cookies on your personal iGoogle homepage. Make sure the subscription invitations are placed high up on your sidebar.
Is your About Page up-to date? If a reader is interested in your blog, he might well want to know who the author is, and if he finds an incomplete About Page, imagine how disappointed or put off he might be. Make sure you include as much information about you or your business that you can, including a good quality picture of you.
Improve the visual impression of your blog by using multiple forms of media. Even if you are a bit tentative about this, simply adding in relevant pictures can accomplish this. And if you are technologically minded, add in video and audio to provide your message in different ways that would appeal to a larger audience.
I’ve banged on before about using white space in my other blog articles, but again it is extremely useful to aid readability for your blog. Use short paragraphs, subheads to break up the text and graphic images to add to the visual interest. Don’t make your posts too long either. And if you have your blog professionally designed, take into consideration that your template should not be cluttered or too busy.
Use various plug-ins to share your content, especially within social media. For example, use a retweet button to entice readers to feed your post onto their twitter streams, and add in a share-this button for the other social networks, such as technorati, digg, stumble upon, delicious, reddit, tumbr, flickr, to name but a few.
And lastly, provide a method for readers to connect with you on social networking sites. It is quite common to see various icons that link to the author’s social networking profiles, so make sure you have them in place to encourage increasing your connection numbers.
I shall be taking each element individually to elaborate on them in future posts, accompanied with visuals and recommendations – watch this space.