Summer of the Blog
After you put together an attractive blog layout, it’s important to think about how it functions. You want to keep your information as accessible as possible. Here is a short list of things should always be easy to find from the front page of your blog. I’m sure everything on this list sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many blogs I’ve run across without one or two of them.

1) Name. Include a name that people can attach to you. It doesn’t have to be a real name, pseudonyms and nicknames are fine, but people like to have a name attached to authors. It’s a little awkward to refer to people by their blog title (unless, of course, their blog title happens to also be their nickname).

2) E-mail and other contact info. Make sure your e-mail is easy to find. If someone wants to get your permission to feature your work, interview you, or ask you to guest post, they need your e-mail to contact you. If you’re active on other websites that relate to your blog like Ravelry, don’t forget to include a link.

3) RSS Feed. You want it to be simple for people to follow your blog. Some browsers like Chrome don’t auto detect RSS feeds without a plugin so if you don’t link to your feed, people can’t find it to subscribe.

4) Useful Stuff. Use pages to highlight useful posts and your favorite posts. If you’ve taken the time to write useful content, don’t let it get lost in the archives amongst other old posts. Organized and link to that stuff in pages or your sidebar so readers can jump to it easily.

5) Old Posts. Your archives should be easily accessible. Be sure to have a “More” or “Older Entries” button, and put it at the bottom of the page. People who have read through a whole page of posts won’t want to scroll back to the top to get to more posts. An archive list broken up by date is also useful for readers who are looking for a specific post.

6) Home. When readers go back a few pages, they’ll want an easy way to get to the main page. Make sure that you can get to your main page by including a “Home” button and/or by making your header a link to the main page.

Are there any other must-haves for blogs you like to read?

6 Comments

  • I am enjoying your series of blog advice posts immensely.

    What do you think about comment systems? it’s the thing that annoys me most. I like to be able to reply to comments, and like when people reply to me, however I never know if replies to me happen, as you generally have to return to the post to check, which is a logistical nightmare, considering I hop around to so many blogs.

    • I don’t have very many opinions on comment systems, except for Disqus which I hate with a passion.

      I tend to have 5,000 tabs open on a regular basis, so I usually leave a bloggers tab open when I want to see if they’ve replied. I only really do that when I’ve asked a question. I like replying to comments in the comments section (and I like it when other bloggers do it) because the reply is right there for anyone to see so questions only need to be asked and answered once. I tend to email replies as well as posting them on the blog if I want to be extra certain that they’re recieved. There isn’t really a perfect solution.

      • haha I have Disqus, and have been reconsidering it, and will now certainly try something else!!

        I really hate the word verification, I wish people would turn it off!!

        • Word verification bugs me because I have an incredibly difficult time reading those, but I understand why people use them. I have a decent spam blocker for my blog, but it’s not available on all platforms. People do what they need to do to keep spam at bay. That said, I much prefer the ones that make you do math or tick a box.

  • I think I have this fairly well covered, but one of my goals is to make pretty buttons for various social platforms. I also think I want to change where I’ve got most popular posts to favorite posts as you suggested. There’s no need for readers to be pointed to old giveaways. Good suggestion!

    Word verification bugs me, too.

  • I like seeing a “top of page” button. Though this can go for any information-filled website (not just blogs,) some blogs have WAY to many (10+) entries per page, and/or entires are very long and/or photo filled, which makes it a small pain to scroll up, to go back to interesting links/ads/posts/etc on the top or sides of the page.

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