In a recent article entitled 5 Irrefutable Qualities of Successful Blogs, I presented you with five of the most powerful blogging principles that you can use to transform your blog into a powerhouse of success. I opened that article with the following lines:
“Do you want a blog that is highly successful? Do you want visitors to flock to your site, readers to leave comments, and advertisers to fill your wallet? I know that I do!”
I hope that you took the time to study that post and apply those principles to your blogging because in this article were going to be building on what you’ve already learned. I’m going to present you with five more principles that I’ve observed at the most successful blogs on the internet.
Successful blogs have optimized post footers.
If you have a visitor that just read one of your articles and enjoyed it then what would you like for them to do next? Regardless of your answer to that question, optimizing your post footer is the key to achieving it.
I have five things that I would like my users to do after reading an article and you can see these five options at the bottom of every post at Site Sketch 101. I recommend that you develop something similar to this.
- View and read other similar articles.
- Subscribe to the RSS or Email updates.
- Bookmark the article at Twitter, Digg, Facebook and other social bookmarking sites.
- Click on a pay-per-click ad.
- Leave a comment.
You can see that I have my post footers designed specifically to support these five goals. If a reader enjoyed one of my articles then I am prepared to try to hook them in as a faithful reader in the future.
Successful blogs have organized sidebars.
This is really one of my pet peeves. It’s also one of those things that really separates the professionals from the amateurs. Amateur bloggers float around the internet looking for ‘cool’ stuff to put in the sidebar of their blog. They end up loading their sidebar up with countdowns, the latest tweets from their dog Fido, their daily astrology fortune and all kinds of other nonsense.
Take the time to clean up your sidebar. Get rid of anything that doesn’t support the overall topic of the blog. It’s better to only have a few items that focus on and compliment your content than to have dozens of widgets that distract your users and subtract from your effectiveness.
Successful blogs are search engine optimized.
I take the time to create a meta description that is between 100 and 160 characters long on every post at Site Sketch 101. I manually create between 8 and 10 tags that I also use as meta keywords. I use h2 for post titles and h3 for headings within my titles because Google and other popular search engines use these titles to determine what keyword to list your site under in their index.
Google and Yahoo can be your largest source of traffic but you have to let them know what your site is about. Don’t try to spam your meta tags with bogus keywords. Take your time and input what your articles are actually about.
Successful blogs are easy to navigate.
Most casual web surfers don’t want to have to solve some sort of a puzzle to figure out how to find what they are looking for on your site. Let’s accommodate them by making our site very easy to navigate. Place large links to your categories across the top of your pages. Include a link to the homepage on every page perhaps in the form of a logo so that if a user feels lost they can head to the homepage and start over.
Successful blogs have effective headlines.
If you haven’t read my article ’10 Tips to Awesome, Eye-Jerking Post Titles’ then you should hop over and check it out. Here is an excerpt from that article:
Most bloggers fail to realize that their post titles are the number one advertisements for their articles. Post titles have to put on the gloves and go head-to-head with dozens of other post titles in people’s RSS readers, email accounts and search engines. It’s your job to get your post titles ready to perform like the champs they have the potential to be.
Improving your headlines drastically increases the number of readers that check out your articles so take the time to make sure that each post title really packs a punch.