20 Things All Great Blogs Have in Common
If you own a blog, are thinking about building a blog, and are wondering how to take it from good to great, you have come to the right place. It is easy to look at successful blogs and know they are great. However, determining why different blogs are significant is a little more challenging. That is because so many things go into creating a great blog.
When I started writing, I knew I did not want to settle for mediocre – so I took a great interest in what I liked about the great blogs. In this post, I have a great list that describes 20 different elements that all great blogs have and feature some of the best in the blog world. So read on to learn more!
1. Email Signup Area in a Prominent Place
Whether you want to admit it or not, email is a massive part of any blogging business. And when you come across a blog that asks for your email address right up front, it lets you know that they mean business. But unfortunately, so many successful bloggers put their email signup forms above the fold.
If you’re serious about their email list, you should be doing the same thing. Find an excellent design and put it above the fold. Convertkit makes it very easy to create beautiful signup forms.
And the best part is, this is included with their service. You can give them a try for free with the link below. Sign up for a FREE trial of Convertkit here.
2. Social Media Share Buttons
You need social media share buttons if you want traffic to your site. It’s as simple as that. The one you probably recognize the most is the one that floats alongside a blog post like the one below.
This feature makes it easier for your readers to share your content. And if your readers share your content, you’re more likely to get more traffic. So why not make it easy for your readers to do that for you?
There are many tools out there that have floating buttons for free. First, however, you need to double-check your Theme to see if it is already included. For example, I use Grow by Mediavine.
3. Recent Posts Section
The new post section on your blog lets your readers know you regularly post content. It also makes it easy for them to get to the latest content since the last time they were on your blog. Many top blogs have a section like this on their website.
It does not have to take up your entire homepage. Having two to three posts is good enough.
4. Brand Colors and Consistent Fonts
Branding consistency is so important. Decide your colors, choose a couple of fonts, and stick with them.
Over time, your audience should be able to recognize your pins and imagery without even seeing your logo. Again, Everyday Spokane does an AMAZING job with this.
As you design the look of your brand, including colors and fonts, you can use Canva to help. In addition, Canva is a site where you can create your media kit, social media images, and anything else you’ll need for your blog.
We use it here at Blogging Money Life! You can identify colors, fonts, templates, and more that you will use to define your brand. So get an account with Canva today!
5. Two to Four Categories, Tops
The best blogs choose only a few categories to focus on. They are not talking about everything under the sun. They pick a niche, and they stick with it.
If your blog has too many categories, you may want to narrow it down. A more focused blog does well for SEO and your overall traffic.
6. Quality Content
This one should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it. The best blogs have the best content. Their articles are longer, more in-depth, and well-researched.
Writing quality content is a great traffic strategy for SEO and keeps readers coming back to you. If they read a great article on your website, the likelihood of them returning to find another great article is high. So give them what they’re looking for the first time, no matter the type of blog you may have.
7. Social Media Channels
When I visit a blog I like for the first time, one of the first things I do is check it out on social media. Nothing is more annoying than when you’re trying to find social media accounts, and they are nowhere to be found on the website.
The best blogs make it easy for their readers to get in touch with them on social media.
Most WordPress themes have this built-in already, but make sure you have a place to showcase the social media channels that you’re on.
8. Email List
We touched on this a little in the first point. The best bloggers have an email list. Regardless of what your overall strategy is for your blog, you should be collecting emails.
It doesn’t matter if you have 1 million followers on Facebook if you cannot contact your audience directly. However, you need email addresses because you never know if there will be an algorithm change where you won’t be able to reach your followers.
Building an email list is an asset to your business. It will help you make money over and over again. If you’re unsure how to make money with your email list, you should read our post, 11 Easy Ways to Make Money With an Email List! Trust me, you’re going to want an email list.
9. Unique Product
It is a fact that bloggers who make the most money have a product of their own. It does not matter if they make thousands of dollars with affiliate marketing or advertising. The fastest way to cash in with a unique product.
This is not to say that if you just started your blog, you should already have a product. However, this is something to keep in mind as you’re growing. If you have not thought about this before, it’s time to start brainstorming and getting a feel for what your audience would like to buy.
10. Search Box
We live in a Google world. So why should search boxes have to stop at search engines? Most WordPress themes have a search box feature included. Just make sure you have a search box that’s easily accessible so your readers can find the content they are looking for on your site.
11. Comment Section
Comments are a fantastic way to engage with your audience, so you never wanna turn them off on your posts. For one, you can learn more about your audience. Also, comments are something Google looks for when driving traffic to your website.
This area is a place you want to check from day to day to monitor engagement and make sure you are responding to all the comments. Replying to your readers shows that you are interested in what they say!
12. Clear Target Audience (Avatar)
I have a question for you: Who are you writing to currently? When writing any blog post, you want to know who this is in mind. It could be your friend, mom, sister, or anyone else.
Whoever the avatar is, you want to keep them in mind when it comes to what you write about and how you write it. But don’t know what an avatar is or how to define your target audience? Learn more about it by reading our article How To Get Your Blog Ready To Start Earning Money.
13. Popular Posts Section
A popular post area on your blog is essential for a few reasons. The first reason is that it makes it easy for people who are just coming to your blog for the first time to know where they should go first. You want to put your best foot forward with new people, so give them the best content when they arrive.
Another reason why it’s so good is that when you put your most popular content on your homepage, you’re also telling Google that these pages are essential. Therefore, Google will treat them as such.
We already discussed the importance of email lists and prominently having an email signup form on your homepage. We have not discussed getting people to give you their email addresses. Many popular blogs give something away in exchange for their readers’ email addresses.
Freebies, also known as content upgrades, can range from checklists, spreadsheets, e-books, or even email series. A few freebies we offer include our List of 150 Influencer Networks and our Blog Goal Worksheet. Check them out to get an idea of items you could offer to grow your email list!
15. Mobile-Friendly Layout
Nowadays, the majority of traffic that goes to blogs is from mobile devices. Kind of crazy, right? What’s even crazier is that blogs still do not have mobile-friendly versions of their websites.
When you choose a theme for your blog, ensure it is responsive. This means that your website will adjust to the device on which the reader is viewing your blog. Restored 316 has some awesome responsive themes that you can use! Check them out now.
16. Clear Theme
We talked about how important it is to have an avatar and narrow down your number of categories. But it is also essential to have a clear theme or central idea for your blog.
One Theme makes it easier for you to rank higher in Google because it allows you to establish yourself as a subject matter expert on that topic. If you are blogging about all the things, not only does it take you longer to establish credibility, but it is also not likely that anyone will consider you a subject matter expert on any of the things you are going about.
17. Consistently Creating Content
Ever go to a blog with a great design, and then you look at their recent post section and realize they hadn’t published anything new in over a month?
If you have experienced this, you probably assumed that the blog is no longer active. Unfortunately, Google makes this assumption too, and therefore it stops crawling your site. But, of course, you don’t want this!
The best blogs write content consistently. While how much content you should write varies from blog to blog, it is crucial to be consistent. Based on my knowledge and research, you should blog at least once a week. If you want to publish more frequently than that, be prepared to do it consistently.
18. A Logo
Unless you want to be perceived as an amateur, you should have a logo on your blog. All great blogs have a logo with their brand colors and font(s) in it. Your logo should be in the header of your website instead of typing out the name of your blog. It looks more polished and established.
If you want to present yourself as a professional, that is one thing you must do. You could pay someone for a logo or create one yourself.
19. Unique Domain Name
Similarly to my last point, all great blogs have their domain name. What I mean by your own domain is that your website URL should look like yourname.com instead of yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.wordpress.com.
There are so many reasons you should have your domain name that I can’t even begin to cover them here. However, one of the main reasons is that you have more control of your website when you own your domain.
For example, if you are on the WordPress.com website, you cannot download a plug-in. This is because plug-ins are apps for your phone but for a website.
They allow you to customize your site features and stand out from other blogs. So if you’re dragging your feet about purchasing your domain name, I suggest avoiding all the nonsense and going for it.
20. Lots of Evergreen Content
First, let me explain what evergreen content means. Evergreen content is content on your blog that is high-quality and timeless. Your blog post is a great resource that does not expire. I’ll give an example.
Here is an example of an article title that is not evergreen: 10 Tips For Your Finances in 2019.
Here is an example of an evergreen title: 10 Financial Tips Everyone Should Know.
The second article is better because it does not matter if it is 2019, 2020, or five years from now. Therefore, that article will be relevant. However, with the first article title, once 2020 rolls around, readers will think that article is no longer relevant.
This becomes more important as you incorporate affiliate links in your content. Writing evergreen content is how you are paid for affiliate links repeatedly.
So much goes into blogs that it’s hard to get them right. As you can see, it is a combination of things, not just one. If you are looking for steps to make more money with your blog now that you’ve incorporated these tips, I highly recommend you join our Blogging Money Formula Waitlist.
Blogging Money Formula is an online course that shows motivated bloggers how to go from making a few (or no) dollars to making consistent money with their blogs every month. I show you how to set up the foundation you need to make REAL income with your blog that will make a difference for you and your family in the long run.
The program will teach you:
- How to establish yourself as a professional blogger: I’ll show you everything your blog needs to be recognized as a professional blogger.
- How to properly apply for sponsored posts, so you get selected for more opportunities: I will show you step-by-step how to use it so that brands choose you more often!
- How to get brands to reach out to you: I’ll show you what you need to set up on your blog so that brands reach out to you and where to go to put yourself on their radar.
- How to build long-term relationships with brands: This way, you can get recurring business with brands instead of pitching new ones all the time.
- How to write content that appeals to your audience and the brand: Great content does not need to be either-or!
- How to drive traffic to your blog posts: Great results produce repeat customers, and I will show you how to make that happen.