What should you aim for when you start blogging? There are thousands of blogs online but they vary a lot in quality. So how can you give your blog the best chance of being noticed and enjoyed by readers?
Good blogs have a number of characteristics, which I’ve listed below. You can use this as a checklist and it will keep you on the straight and narrow as you create and build your own blog, whether for business or just as a hobby.
1. Attractive appearance
It’s really very simple. Is your blog nice to look at? Does the writing have space to breathe? Are the photos good quality? Is the text a comfortable size to read? Using a free blog hosting platform like WordPress.com gives you a choice of theme and layout, but some are nicer than others, so take your time and think about the reading experience and how your blog will look to visitors.
2. Consistent colours, fonts and branding
Be conscious of what colours and fonts you are using on your blog. Choose a small palette of colours and maybe one or two fonts. Make sure they are used consistently across your blog. Too many colours or fonts can be overwhelming for a reader. Keep it simple.
3. Easy to read
Make sure that the blog post titles and the text of each blog post are large enough to be read comfortably. Avoid overly artistic fonts that are pretty, but difficult to read. Avoid using pale text on dark backgrounds: it’s easier to read black text on a white background. Make it easy for your visitors to read your blog.
4. Clear navigation
Use a menu across the top or along the side of the page so that it is quick and easy for people to browse your blog and find the blog content that interests them.
5. Categories and tags
Use categories and tags to organise your blog posts to make it easier for your readers to find what they want. A category is a way of broadly grouping together blog posts on a similar topic, while a tag is a more specific way of highlighting blog content.
6. Updated regularly
Create a blog posting schedule and stick to it. If you can update your blog once every week, you’re doing very well. Even if you can’t update you blog every week, let people know when they can expect a blog post from you and then make sure you deliver a blog post at that interval.
7. Share buttons for social media
Social media is a great tool for attracting more visitors to your blog. Benefit from social media sharing by making sure that there are social media sharing buttons below each blog post. These are easy to add using free blog hosting tools like WordPress.com. Make it easy for people to share your content!
8. Interaction with readers and comments
If people take the time to leave a comment on one of your blog posts, do engage with them even if it is just to say thank you. Blogging is about a conversation and the more interaction you’re getting from readers, the more engaged they are. If people are engaging with you on social media, try to reply to each comment. Of course you don’t have to respond to trolls but if it is positive feedback or even constructive criticism it is good to engage.
9. Knowledge and passion for the subject
This should come naturally as if you are putting in the effort to set up a blog about your topic, you likely have a lot of knowledge and passion for it! There is something so authentic and believable about a blog where the blogger is genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about their subject so let yours shine!
10. Thoughtful, compelling and honest content
Work on your writing technique and give people “a good read”. You will get better at writing the more you read and write. Really think about what you are trying to say and then write it in the simplest way possible. You don’t need to show off with big words. Think about how you would explain your topic to a friend. It’s important to be real and to be honest in your writing – people are interested in what you have to say and will respond well to honesty.