Nearly there just got to tie up a few loose ends like things you must have on your site. Or things you really should consider. You don’t want to set all this up and then fall flat on your face.
First, we have the ‘really need to consider but not law’ ones.
About Me Page
Yes, this will be the hardest thing you ever write as not many people like to talk about themselves that much. But when a new reader lands on your blog and they read a post or two they will want to know more about you. Especially if you’re recommending something they should buy. They will be thinking why should I listen to you. Plus people are nosey and they want to know more about the person who is talking to them. Have a look at other blogs and read theirs About Me pages. You will soon discover what really doesn’t work like boring generic ones and what does work.
Social Media Buttons
As we live in a social media world and social media is your new best friend at getting your posts out there, you will need social media buttons so that your readers can find and follow you. It’s so much easier to click a button and there’s your profile and bam they have followed you. If you don’t have the buttons very few readers will go off and search for you then follow you. Don’t make it hard work for them.
A Search Box
There will be times when a reader is looking for something they read before on your blog or if you have blogged about something. Your reader has made the effort to be on your site so make the rest easy and provide a search box.
Do you want to be contacted? So make that easy and have a form for them to fill in. I am not a fan of having just an email address on a page as for one you the email owner might get lots of spam and second it looks smarter to have a form. Just check it works before pressing live. You know you don’t have to leave the form all lonesome on its own. You can use graphics on your contact page so that it looks good too.
Email and/or Subscription Sign Up
It’s so important to be collecting readers emails so that you can keep them informed of new posts but also, depending on the monetizing route you take, you can see to them. You don’t want just a piddly little form in the footer of your site either. You want it in your blog posts, in your sidebar and anywhere else. If you can offer a freebie in exchange for the email address you will get more email addresses as everyone wants something for free right? Not just any old rubbish but something that your ideal reader would want, something that solves a problem or helps them.
Adverting or Media Page
At some point, hopefully, someone will ask what you’re advertising rates are. Having a page or pdf that you keep updated will save you time, look more professional and easy to hand out.
How will you know how your site is doing if you don’t monitor its success? Analytics is a bunch of coding that reports back and tells you how many people have been to your site, where they came from and loads of other cool stuff like where they on a phone or tablet, etc. Google Analytics is probably the best you can use and it’s all free.
Now the ‘must have’ by law stuff — don’t skip this bit
Disclosure, Privacy and Comment Policy
If you make money or hope to you have to have a disclosure policy. So if you have a sponsored post on your site you can’t assume your reader knows you were paid for that post. You have to make sure you point it out with your discloser. Also note if a company contacts you and asks you to not to put the discloser on the post, you both can be taken to court. Companies know you need to disclose sponsored or paid posts but they try and get away with it.
A comment policy lets your readers know what you tolerate and what you don’t. It sets ground rules.
If you are new to blogging:
- Decide on a host and sign up
- Install or have WordPress installed
- Decide on a WordPress theme and install
- Decide which plugins you will need and install
- Create a blog style – Handy pullout for you to fill in
- Make sure you have your policies in place and have checked your countries law.
- Make sure your analytics is set up
- Contact and search bar all working too?
If you already have a blog:
- Check your hosting is up to scratch and being backed up
- Look at your theme through fresh eyes. is it ready for the next level? Does it do what you want it to do?
- Are there any plugins you don’t use anymore if so delete them. Any new ones you could be using?
- Is your blog constant with its colours and fonts? Your logo in keeping with the overall feel of your blog? There is a Blog Checklist Overhaul in the pullouts
Here are all the posts in this series so you pick and choose where to go next
What is a Successful blog
Deciding your niche
Domain and hosting
Sorting your categories and tags
Picking a platform
Choosing a theme
Must haves for your blog
What will readers want to read
Writing for your reader
Photos and graphics