Updated January 11, 2016
Have you guys been liking my blog tips posts? You’re supposed to vigorously nod your head yes. Humor me, okay? I have really enjoyed writing them, and you guys have given some great feedback. Given that great feedback, I thought I would kick off this week with another blog tips post!
Side note: if you haven’t downloaded my free blog post checklist, you can do so below!
I read a lot of blogs. Whether it’s for entertainment or drawing inspiration from others, blogs are a fantastic resource and a “continuing education” source for my own blog. I have come across many of blogs in my time that are hard to navigate and don’t give me the information that I want or need. Yes, of course, you need an About page, but I also need to know how to contact you immediately or how to find what I’m looking for. I’ve compiled a list of things that I constantly look for/use when I am browsing blogs, and I hope you find it helpful! These are all simple things you can start working on right now, if you don’t already have these on your blog!
1. A Search Bar
I use the search bar on my own blog (and others’) multiple times a week! It is right under my bio pic. Search functions are so helpful to your readers. Sometimes organizing our navigation bar into categories isn’t good enough. What if I remember you writing something years ago about a DIY Hot Oil Treatment? I’ve got to recreate that recipe for my hair this evening and I need to find it immediately! Just by typing it into a search bar, I will find it quickly without having to sort through categories and navigation menus. If you haven’t done so already, get a search bar for your sidebar or navigation menu. It will also encourage readers to stick around and visit more pages.
2. Social Media Icons Above the Fold
If I like your blog, I want to be able to follow you on social media. Tell me how to follow you by displaying some social media icons (I like the Simple Social Icons plugin for WordPress). Put those icons in a place where I can see them without having to scroll (or, “above the fold” as we bloggers may call it). Make them as visible as possible. I have been on countless blogs where I have scrolled up and down and found social media icons halfway down the page. Not cool, man! Let me follow you without having to scroll! I know that sounds like a total first world problem, but you really want that visible! Most readers don’t know to scroll around to look for your social media icons, so make it super visible for them.
3. An easy way for visitors to leave comments
I love commenting on blogs. If I love your post, I will try my hardest to comment on it. However, I do get frustrated with some commenting systems. It seems as if many Blogger blogs like to eat my comments and not display them. More than often I will just give up and move along. If you are on Blogger, I highly suggest installing Disqus onto your comments so it is easier for people to leave them, and easier for you to respond to them. Make your blog easy for your readers, particularly non-bloggers to leave a comment. For my blog, all you need to do is type in a name and e-mail to leave a comment (standard WordPress commenting system), and it seems to work very well for me.
4. Top posts in the sidebar
Displaying your most popular posts in your sidebar encourages your readers to click around and read other posts. I know that I almost always click around to popular posts on blogs that I love. You don’t have to pick the most popular posts. Pick some that get lots of traffic and that you want your readers to see. It also tells them what you are an authority on. I am a beauty, family, and lifestyle blog, so I try to display a good amount from each category on my sidebar. I’ve got 6 posts displayed, but even just 3 will be a great start. Ever since I’ve started doing this, my pageviews saw a slight increase and my bounce rate a slight decrease. You can make clickable images for your sidebar, use a plugin, or even a link list to encourage readers to click around.
5. Mobile-Friendly Template
Did you guys know that about 65% of my traffic is mobile? That’s crazy talk! But it makes sense, because we will click on links from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram while on our phones. My WordPress theme comes optimized for mobile viewing, and after some kinks to work out, I think it is looking really good and easy to navigate. Did you also know that Google is dinging sites that are not mobile friendly? What that means, is Google will show other posts above yours in search results, as their pages are mobile friendly and easy to navigate. Don’t let yourself miss out on potential traffic. Choose a blog theme that comes with a mobile optimized view included. Not sure if your blog is mobile-friendly? Visit this link to check your blog.
And that’s it… for now, at least! What else would you put on this list?