Posted on May 2, 2018

What Your Blog Needs Right Now

During the time it takes you to read this entire blog post, hundreds, if not thousands, of other blog posts will be published and shared on the Internet. Use this live blog counting meter, shared and automatically updated by WorldOMeters, to see just how many. Additionally, Statista currently projects that there will be 31.7 Million bloggers in the U.S. alone by 2020.

So, whether you’re a novice or an expert, your blog will need certain things to remain competitive in the years to come as the online arena for blogging becomes even more saturated.

Here are a few things you’ll want to make sure your blog has right now.

A Targeted Domain That’s Easy to Remember and Find

When you decide on and register a domain name for your blog, make sure it’s easy for your target audience to find online. It should  be easy for them to remember, and easy for them to type. You’ll want to determine the search terms your target audience uses most, then try to include one or more of those terms in your domain. For instance, sales organizations might want to include terms like “drive”, “pipeline”, “leads”, etc. in their domain. And, they would want to avoid using domains like, “www.mar4tu.com” for a blog about marketing or sales tips because it’s not easy to type, spell, remember, or to find in search engines.  

Reliable Hosting and a Content Management System

When building your blog, you’ll need a reliable hosting service and content management system so that your visitors don’t receive error pages each time they visit your site, and so that the blog posts they try to view upload quickly and accurately. Most content management systems will also offer a variety of pre-designed templates that make it easy to create a professional looking website or blog. If your blog isn’t visually appealing, or hosted on reliable platforms, it will sink in online ratings and no one will want to visit it because images, text, and video may become distorted or worse, it can’t be accessed at all.

Mobile-Responsive and UX-Centered Design

A majority of the people who access your blog content will do so on a mobile device. Make sure your blog pages have a mobile-responsive design that’s centered around the mobile user’s experience. You can do this by making it easy for them to navigate blog content from a touch screen and by making your content easy to scan. Ensure all buttons and links are easy to locate and click on from a mobile device, and that video content is easy to view on a mobile screen.

Helpful Plugins

If you want your blog to remain competitive and relevant online, you’ll need to use a few plugins. Plugins are pieces of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a blog or website and are very prevalent in WordPress. They are basically used to extend the functionality of your blog or website, or to add new features to it. With plugins, you can extend your blog’s marketing functionalities, make it easier to share your blog posts on social media, optimize your blog posts for search engines, and more. Here’s a list of 20 recommended plugins by Buffer, and another 24 recommended plugins by WPBeginner, so you have an idea of what they are and where to get started.

Content Calendar

To ensure you’re always developing and sharing the most relevant blog content possible, you’ll want to create and follow a content calendar. With a content calendar, you will always have a backlog of fresh topics or themes, and it helps you to publish regularly on a pre-defined schedule. Creating relevant and regular blog posts can help put you ahead of the online competition.

Home Page

Welcome your readers to your blog with a well-organized and visually appealing home page. Sort “most popular” and “most recent” posts for them, so they don’t have to sort through long lists of content to find what they’re looking for each time they visit. You can also sort content by type (i.e., text posts, videos, infographics, etc.). Include a link to your blog archive as well as a search box so users can look through all your blog content at their leisure. And, include a menu bar with other pages on your blog that might be helpful to your reader.  

Author Bio and About Page

Tell your readers more about who you are and why your blog is important. Does it focus on world-health issues? Does it highlight cutting-edge industry information? What makes you or your business an authority on the topics you’re blogging about? And why should people care about what you’re sharing? This doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it should simply state why you started blogging and why your blog is valuable. Even if you decided to host a blog about gardening tips, you can share a paragraph about why you love gardening, how you got started gardening, etc. You’ll also want to leave your contact information on this page so that subscribers can reach out to you.

Logo and Tagline

Include a logo that represents what you’re blogging about. For instance, if you’re blogging about gardening, you could use an image of a gardening tool or a plant. It will make your blog stand out and remain memorable against other blogs about gardening. Including a tagline like, “Helping gardeners grow since 1995,” can also help your blog remain memorable, as well as further display your authority and expertise.

Video Content

According to Cisco, over 80 percent of all Internet traffic will be video content by 2021. So, if you want your blogging content to be easy to find in search engines, you’ll need to determine how you’ll incorporate video content into your overall blogging strategy.

Different Types of Posts

While you should always strive to give your target audience what they want, you’ll also want to keep your blog posts varied and interesting to ensure they’re engaging. Offer a variety of different types of blog posts that your target audience will find valuable. Offer video content, surveys, how-to posts, guides, image collages, etc.

SEO Optimized Posts

Make sure your posts include keywords, metatags, and descriptions that are easily found in search engines. And, make sure your images and video content are high-quality and are optimized for search engines. Read more about how you can optimize your blog posts for search engines in this detailed post published by HubSpot. You can also rely on helpful plugins to keep your posts optimized too (see above for more details), and check out our comprehensive list of SEO must-haves for websites for more information.

Opt-Ins and Subscriber Options

Without a growing subscriber list, your blog may fall into the background online and fall behind its competition. To continually gain more subscribers to your blog, you’ll want to include opt-in forms and make it easy for readers to subscribe to your blog.

Comments Section, Social Media Engagement, and Sharing Buttons

Let your blog readers engage with your content and with one another by letting them post comments at the end of your blog posts. And, let them share your blog posts with others on social media and via email. By doing this, you’re continually growing your audience and gaining more loyal readers.

Analytics and Metrics Tools

You’ll want to know who’s reading your blog posts, which posts are the most popular and receive the most engagement, and more. To gain access to these insights, your blog will need analytics and metrics reporting tools. Oftentimes these tools will be available via helpful plugins. But sometimes, you may also need to use other tools to gain access to analytics for your blog—here are some helpful analytics tools for smaller businesses.

Overall, if you want your blog to rank high in search engines, continually increase its subscriber rates, and remain valuable to its target audience, you’ll want to make sure it has each item listed above.

 

Feature image: Pixabay

 

Sources Cited

Buffer. “20 WordPress Plugins You Can Install Today for Easier Sharing, Better Posting, and a More Powerful Blog,” https://blog.bufferapp.com/best-wordpress-plugins. Accessed 2/22/2018.  

Cisco. “VNI Global Fixed and Mobile Internet Traffic Forecasts,” https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/index.html. Accessed 2/22/2018.

Kolowick, Lindsay. “Blog SEO: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content,” https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/seo-friendly-blog-post-checklist-ht. Accessed 2/22/2018.

Statista, “Number of Bloggers in the United States from 2014 to 2020,” https://www.statista.com/statistics/187267/number-of-bloggers-in-usa/. Accessed 2/22/2018.

Worldometers. Blogging Statistics: Live Meter, http://www.worldometers.info/blogs/. Accessed 2/22/2018.

WPBeginners. “24 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Business Websites in 2018,” http://www.wpbeginner.com/showcase/24-must-have-wordpress-plugins-for-business-websites/ . Accessed 2/22/2018.

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