From the Trenches

9 Simple Features Your Blog Should Have

Will Davis | August 20, 2009

A blog is a great way to add to what you do online; regardless of if you are approaching this as a company, an individual or a group.  We’re often asked by people what elements a good blog should have.  The easiest answer of course is great content — Write well and be interesting.  Without that, the rest of the items contained in this post are fairly useless.  You can have all the functionality in the world but if you don’t write well and aren’t interesting it probably won’t matter.

So, let’s presume you’re covering those bases.  Now, what are some of the key elements a blog should have to make it more useful?  Below is a list of 9 simple features your blog should have – feel free to add your own suggestions in our comments section:

1).  Have an Easy to find RSS Button – This one seems like it would be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people miss this.  Even better, make it easy for people to subscribe via email as well, notifying them via email when a new post is up.

2). Implement Analytics – Again, this one is on the can’t miss list, and again I’m constantly surprised by how many miss.  Adding in Analytics will let you easily get a deeper view into your blog’s activity.  How many folks are coming to your blog, where they are coming from, what they are reading and how long they stay?  Maybe you’ll find out certain topics are more interesting than others and write about them more. Maybe that post you thought stunk got you more visitors than any other.

3). Display Categories – By categorizing posts and showing those categories you allow visitors to easily find content related to what they are interested in.

4). Provide Easy Access to Archives – Let visitors look at post posts easily, by month/year, popularity, most commented, or another way that may be interesting to your audience

5). Add Commenting Functionality – Blogs are intended to be social, let others have a say and foster an environment for conversation

6).  Include a Social Bookmarking Tool – Make it easy for readers to share information through their social bookmarking tools and networks.  Tools such as AddThis and ShareThis are a couple easy to use popular ones, there are many others as well.

7). Provide a Search Feature – Everybody loves to search

8). Include a Blogroll – What’s a blogroll?  By providing a section with links to other interesting/relevant blogs you help your visitors find more useful content, as well as help out fellow bloggers.

9). Include Imagery – With all due respect to Jack Nicholson “All text and no pictures make blog a dull boy.”

If you follow these simple steps you’ll find your blog is a lot more useful for visitors, and for you.

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