Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Things every blog should have

Oh, look who got a makeover last night (it was my blog in case you were wondering). When I work on designs, I've had several people ask me what they should include on their navigation bar (those little links under your blog header) and my answer is usually the same. I think there are a few things that every blog should have, whether you have two or two thousand followers.

About Me Page
I could write a whole post about "about me" pages but I'll try to keep it short and simple. When I find a new blogger, this is the FIRST place I go. I want to know who I am reading about. I want to know if we have anything in common or if they have dogs or kids or pet snakes. Does this make me a stalker? Maybe. I just think readers connect better with people that they can relate to and how are they going to know if they relate to you if you don't tell them?

Things "about me" pages should include: A picture of you. Duh. Your home page should have this, but have at least one or two more. It should also have any pictures of people you frequently mention (boyfriend, roommate, dogs, parents, etc) so that we know what they look like when you talk about them. A little tidbit of yourself outside your blog is nice too. Your readers want to know why you're a person. And I don't know about you, but I love reading about why people started their blogs.

Things an "about me" page should not include: number of sexual partners. Your address. Your social security, bank account, or credit card number. Shoe size (I mean, you could, but why?)

Popular Posts section
Whether you want to list this on your sidebar or make it have it's own page (like mine) I think it is very important to have a "Popular Posts" section on your blog. I do not mean the little widget you can add from blogger. (Because if we're being honest my actual most popular post is a giveaway and that doesn't count). These are posts that YOU think are important.

Things a "Popular Posts" section should include: posts that tell more of your story (facts about me, things I like, things I'm good at). Posts that you are proud of. Posts that received great feedback. Any post that helps your readers get to know you better and gives them a better sense of what you like to write about.

Things a "Popular Posts" section should not inlcude: Weekend updates - they're okay to read once, but no one wants to re-read them. Giveaway posts. 

As you can see, I am breaking my own rule because I don't have a contact page anymore. However, my email is located in three different pages so I think I'm okay. I can't count the number of times I've wanted to email a blogger and I CAN'T FIND THEIR EMAIL and it is so aggravating. Also, do yourself a favor and create a separate email account for your blog.

Things your "contact" page should include: email address. Social media (but only if they aren't listed anywhere else).

Things your "contact" page should not include: Home address. Cell phone number. Work email. Personal email. Anyone else's email that isn't yours.

Links to your Social Media sites
Another thing I do when I find a new blogger that I love is follow them on essentially all of their social media accounts. I know tons of bloggers that do this. I think as bloggers we are equal parts over-sharers and stalkers. Because of this, it is important that you put your social media accounts where everyone can see them. Mine are easily accessible as little icons right after my profile picture/intro. Some people also include them in their post signature or contact pages. I also like to drop mine in an occasional post here and there, just to make sure you're paying attention.

Social media links should include: links to any social media account you would like to share with your blogging friends. This can be including, but not limited to, instagram (my favorite), twitter, pinterest, bloglovin, youtube, etsy, and facebook (if you have a page for your blog).

Social media links should not include: your personal facebook (unless you're cool with strangers finding your personal facebook). 


Have you ever wanted to have brunch with some of your favorite bloggers and talk about all things blogging over mimosas or coffee? Why am I even asking that, of course you have! Ashten, of Always Ashten, is hosting TWO blogger hangouts (also known as #happyhourhangout) this weekend, except you'll be brunching instead of happy hour-ing. And the best part? I'm co hosting with her on Sunday! 

If you're interested in talking about all things blog related over your favorite brunch beverage, CLICK HERE and join us for tons of fun! 


Libby Boyes said...

I LOVE your new design and layout!!! And think this post is super helpful and a great reminder to all bloggers!

Casey Aslan said...

Crap I should really remove my social from my blog ;)
You crack me up! Great tips! And loving your simple design

Kayla White said...

Love, love this post!

Rachel said...

Amen! I do a lot of blogger outreach during my day job and it's crazy how many people don't have thier e-mail is an easy-to-see place. DRIVES ME NUTS

Katie @ A Beautiful Little said...

Great post! I really to get to work on a popular post page. Also, about me's are always SO awkward. I'm never satisfied with mine, but I LOVE reading other blogger's bios. Ah, what a conundrum!

The Handey Way said...

I love your clean look! And to each of those points, amen. I definitely need to update my about page.

alyssa said...

Great advice! I just scrubbed and relaunched my own blog after a year+ hiatus and it's a totally new "genre" for me, so I'm basically a baby blogger once again. Perfect day to get some tips like these :)

Eva Marie Taylor said...

I have been working on putting together a popular posts page. I really need to finish that! I love to check out people's about me pages, too!! I have most of my social media widgets on my sidebar but need to get my little icons up there. I hand drew them all to go with the rest of my hand drawn graphics but need to change the colors since I changed my color scheme recently and just haven't found the time to do that! Great tips! I am doing the happy hour hangout with Amber and Ashten on the 14th, and I was tempted to do the hangout this weekend but I'm not free this weekend. Have fun!!
Eva Marie

Abby A said...

Way-wa-Wait!? Are there bloggers out there crazy/stupid enough to put their social security, bank account, or credit card number on their blog?!? It made me laugh that you put that up. :)

Kay said...

These are good tips! Especially for any "new" blogger!! But it also reminded me that I need to update my About Me page and my Popular Posts page! That's something you should mention too, that you should update these pages every once in a while to keep them recent!

Steph G said...

The About Me page - I'm still stuck. I really need to makeover mine... UGH. I feel like my whole blog needs a makeover :) Great tips though.

Jenni@FlyingOnARainbow said...

Great tips! I have so many things I want to do to improve my blog, but I'm glad to say I have these basics covered at the moment. They just need some prettying. Phew!

Jessa @ Life of A Sports Wife said...

I love these tips and I love the new layout!! BTW So excited to spend another weekend with you.. kinda at least one day!

Night Owl said...

i wish i knew how to add the social media to my page. that would be lots of help. instead of just putting a post up with it

Kaysie said...

You are so fresh and so clean! I love this design. Also, like you said, it's good to know who you're reading. in your case, I think I connected over your mention of cheese, which is an instant follow factor for me ;)

Fairy Princess Jord said...

These are great tips girl! My blog needs a total facelift but paying for a new wordpress layout is practically like signing over my first born child.

K @ Keeping Up With K... said...

I'm so mad that I'm going to be out of the country this weekend - would've loved to have a few mimosas and chat it up about blogging!

brooke lyn said...

loving the new spruce up! i am afraid to really start figuring out design for fear i would want to change it every other week!

Anna said...

Can't wait to hangout with you guys on Sunday!!! whoop whoop!

Anonymous said...

I hope people can come to Saturday's hangout but Sunday's will be off the chain!

Rachel said...

Love the new design! And thanks for the great advice :)

The Running Nurse said...

Your new design looks so professional! ;)

jessica nicole said...

I need to work on that stuff. Too bad I'm not hip with how to spice up my blog nor have the money to have someone do it. Booooo :-)

Amanda - Voyage of the MeeMee said...

I agree with you on ALL of these things... they're definitely key!!!! CAN'T WAIT FOR SUNDAY!!!!!!!

The Artistic Brunette said...

Such a great post! I have yet to create a 'favorite' post page. That will be my spring break goal! :)

Amy @ No Longer A Dreamer said...

Love this! This was super duper helpful to me as I have been procrastinating on each one of those things. And this pretty much summed up a good starting point for each.

Thank you ma'am!

Amber Thomas said...

So basically I almost got rid of my popular posts page because... I wanted to?

And also, I hate managing my blog's facebook page. So i almost ditched it and linked to my own... but then I didn't want personal mized with blogging. Oh my soul this shit's hard.

Whitney Alison said...

I really like your new design! I've had a blank about me page for ages....I really need to work on that this weekend.

Lisa @ Two Martinis said...

FINE, I'll take off the number of sexual partners I've had from my 'About Me' page. But I still think it's relevant. And I'll take off my shoe size, too, but I don't know how anyone is going to buy me shoes now.

Way to ruin all of my fun, Kalyn.
(But seriously, love this post. Great points, entertaining per usual!)

Terra Heck said...

I just now found out about the blogger hangouts. Sounds fun. These are all great pointers. I have a small 'About Me' section on the right of my blog but it probably wouldn't hurt to have headers like you suggested.

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