I do like the chance to review a blog from time to time, so that I can show what elements of a blog could be added to enhance it and improve it to make it more successful.
But ’successful’ is so subjective. It’s important never to lose sight of the fact that people have different perceptions of what their blog should be, what’s it for, what they are trying to achieve, what they think looks nice. Does your blog have to look nice to guarantee it does incredibly well? Usually success is due to the personality and reputation of the author, plus the quality and consistency of the posts, how old the blog is (longevity certainly stimulates the search engine index criteria), the subject matter or niche, and how extensively the blog has been fed to the blogging directories and other social networks.
I look forward to reviewing other blogs (with the author’s permission) in the future, but today I shall use a brand new blog to highlight a few things that could be done to enhance it.
First of all I would like to congratulate Emma on starting her blog (click on the image above to go to it). This is a fantastic step she’s taken, and her first post is extremely good. She’s avoided the boring ‘welcome to my blog’ post, and has launched into her news with great gusto! Long may it continue Emma, I look forward to the next one. (Incidently, by the time you read this post I sincerely hope she will have written many more!)
The theme’s colour matches her website, and I note that she has a pink flamingo for her logo: perhaps some more attention could be drawn it. The descriptive header has a quote explaining her profession and her logo links back to her website.
I note she hasn’t put many widgets in her sidebar. One of the most important elements to include would be a RSS feed. Subscribe to Feedburner to create a RSS URL, and obtain a chicklit (the litttle orange square so commonly recognised as RSS) to feed her blog to a search engine reader page, plus a sign-up form to collect readers’ email addresses so they can receive her new posts in their in-boxes.
Emma, why not encourage your readers to connect with you on social networking sites? Use the relevant badges and buttons that are available, or alternatively use images of each social media and link them to your relevant profile page. You could also use a widget to show your latest Twitter feeds, obtainable from the ‘Goodies’ link right at the bottom of your Twitter profile, which can be customised accordingly.
If you’re new to blogging, think carefully about your categories, or topics, that subdivide your blog’s niche or subject into manageable chunks. These are used for archiving or finding posts within a particular area, and also help the search engines to search for new content. Once created they will be listed in the categories widget, and remember to allocate your posts to them before you publish. I also note you’ve included a tag (keywords) cloud widget; when you post more you’ll see the most frequently used tags increase in size to show their importance.
Add to your recent posts widget one for the most popular posts, and one to show the comments your readers leave you. Text widgets are suitable for pictures, icons linking to elsewhere, to contain code for special effects or badges, list testimonials or quotes, and anything else you’d like to share with your readers. Use a plug-in (blog application available from WordPress.org) to enable your readers to share your post on social media if they like what they read, excellent for wider exposure and to increase your audience.
And last, but not least, don’t forget to update your About page. People like reading about the author, and it gives you a chance to plug your business, add in testimonials, and paste in a nice picture of yourself. And there is no reason why you can’t add in more pages that could enhance your blog’s subject matter, or explain your business further. This blog has over 20 pages (so far) to present my free blogging resources, so the world could be your oyster!
If you would like to learn more about any of these suggestions, ask the fairy blog mother by clicking on her logo at the top!