I’m always surprised when I’m asked to analyze a blog for someone and find that their blog is missing something fundamental. But I really shouldn’t be surprised. Why not?
Well, for one, some of my blogs fall into the same category (Look at the plank in your own eye before criticizing the speck in your neighbors’). But also, not everyone runs a blog as a full time job. Many bloggers are primarily part-time writers, not full-time blog technicians.
But what if I told you that in order to drastically increase your chances to succeed, you need to make sure that at least 5 fundamental things are in place at your blog?
Well, don’t fret. That’s what we at Performancing are here for, after all…to help bloggers succeed. Just make one improvement at a time, and soon you’ll be on your way to success.
In my opinion here are 5 things that all blogs should have:
1. Static, Title-Reinforcing URLS
Instead of the dynamic URLs with meaningless numbers, you should use static URLS with semantically relevant keywords
Bad URL: http://www.yourblog.com?p=123
Good URL: http://www.yourblog.com/ten-things-blogs-should-have/
2. Strong, Descriptive Titles
Instead of generic, pronoun loaded, bland headlines, why not kill two birds with one stone: 1) grab your reader’s attention 2) make sure the search engines know what your article is about.
Bad Title: He Got Sick
Good Title: Jeopardy Host Alex Trebeck Has Minor Heart Attack
Bad Title: What Was She Thinking?
Good Title Jessica Alba Not-So-Hot in Pink Tutu Dress
3. Backlinks from relevant sites
Until you get links from other, relevant sites, your blog sits in isolation from not only the great World Wide Web, but also smaller “niche” networks. Your goal from day one should be to network with and engage other topically relevant sites.
How do you network? Well, for starters, you should spend sometime on other blogs leaving high-quality, insightful comments. You might do the same on some forums.
The worst sin of blogging is to speak a monologue. Get out and network. It’ll make your job a whole lot easier in the end.
4. An attractive, distinctive design
At some point, to really succeed, your blog is going to have to do better than a cookie-cutter theme template. Now I’m not diminishing the role of free, template themes. Afterall, Performancing releases a free WordPress theme each month.
However, you aren’t going to make it into the “big time” without a sleak, customized theme that screams “we care enough to make ourselves look good” (note to Performancing team – > get that redesign done sooner rather than later!)
5. Top-Of-The-Class Content
Most bloggers are under the illusion that they need to write 10 posts a day to be successful. Not so. Especially at the beginning, you are much better off writing a few EXCELLENT articles, rather than a bunch of medicore, rehashed articles.
The goal here is to set yourself apart as an expert. Spend the time you need up front to create a killer resource base. When you’ve developed five or so EXCELLENT resources, then feature them in your sidebar.
Many of you have probably heard these tips before. If you have…then great. But over 90% of the blogs that I analyze are missing one or more of these features. More often than not, a blog is just a collection of short 200-500 word posts that do absolutely nothing to distinguish the blog from all the others in its niche. More often than not, a blog does not feature its best content for everyone to see. More often than not, new bloggers use terrible URL structure and make-me-cringe headlines. More often than not, a blog has a terrible link portfolio.
So how’s your blog? Do you have these five fundamental things in place? If not, then stop your daily routine for a few weeks and make sure you get the foundation of your blog in proper order.
If you’d like Performancing to not only get your blog’s foundation in place, but to have it built into a mansion, then consider using one of our Blog Management Services.
A good archive structure is missing on performancing.com from the very 1st days. A good chance to look up articles for beginners, etc. is really missing.
How many folks start blogging every month? Probably a few. All of this is great advice for them and those of us who maybe heard it before but put it on the back burner or forgot some of it.
The hard part for me will be the social networking because I have always been an introvert. But the web evens the playing field a great deal in that regard. The other problem I have is my memory. At 58 it is not as good as it was 20 years ago. So once again I say keep on pounding the basics into my brain. I need it and appreciate it!
I have been hearing about keywords and the basic necessity of them for months now but only last week did something about it. Now I have a list that’s 500 keyword phrases long from Google Analytics and am seeing as much traffic at 8 am and I was at 10 pm just a couple of weeks ago.
In order to really learn something new about the internet most of us need it repeated at least two or three times. For the old folks probably more
Essential points indeed.
I think the most important is top of the class content. At least in the beggining you can get away only with that, then as you gain more popularity you will be able to afford someone to take care of the others.
“these tips are nothing new”
I find that the really, really, really important advice is worth repeating about once a month.
But hectril, I don’t use AdWords and my blogs make 4 figures per day. Can you explain? I’ve managed to make several very, very successful blogs without the help of AdWords. So either I’m the exception, or “bloggers would like to earn money through blogging” NEED NOT learn about Adwords Strategy.
Thanks Ryan for the post. Thats how blogging should start, after those 5 guides you post are met. Bloggers who would like to earn money through blogging must learn more about Adwords strategy to have a successful income generating blogging site.
Thanks Ryan… as always, appreciate the helpful hints! I’ve definitely seen the value of those descriptive titles.
These tips are nothing new but having them once in awhile is a good reminder to bloggers.
I’ve noticed that some of the more popular and successful websites are using dynamic urls. (Youtube and Yahoo for instance)… what could be their reasons?
Good tips Ryan.
Hard work does pay off.
I wrote about my life this year travel blogging.
One tip I give to every new blogger
Explore your niche and network with other bloggers and experts, it opens up so many new gateways.
I pretty much know where my referrals are linking to .. and the most popular ones, for those taking the time to ‘vote’ .. but I’ve kept on meaning to actually compile HART’s favorites and place these Top-Posts in the sidebar even.
If only there was 50 hours in a day …
hey guys. thanks for the compliments. my goal going forward is to write more of these “basic blogging tips” articles. i know sometimes i wander a bit into SEO and whatnot.
Thanks for this post. It really does make things as clear as can be. And I’m feeling good about four out of five. Now it’s time to socialize more and try to get some more good backlinks.
One thing more I would mention. Desire. As with so many things if you want it badly enough and jump every chance you have to improve you will succeed. And someone said recently you should expect to take a year or two to see results.
Great bookmark worthy post. Oftentimes it’s ignoring the fundamentals that keep our blogs from increasing in traffic and revenue.
My blog post today was all about having a good Alex Trebek-inspired headline!