5 More Qualities of Successful Blogs

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  • July 28, 2009

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.

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About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

39 Comments

  • Eric B. says:

    I agree that all of these are very useful. But make sure you don’t only focus on SEOing your posts, focus on the readers more, and less on the search engines.

  • Luis Lopez says:

    Excellent article, you catch all good thing of a successful blog i think you maybe forgot the presence on social media, or the timeless content they have, it could work any time, eve years later their content still can be useful.

  • Bruce says:

    Good read. The thing that bugs me most are those people who put all those counters and garbage in their side menus. I hate an ugly blog. Even if it has great content I probably wouldn’t read it. I tend to use my sidebar as free advertising for myself at the moment. I try to get people to read other things on the blog.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Bruce » I tend to avoid blogs that are cluttered or don’t look nice also. Style really means a lot to me and it demonstrates to me a certain level of discretion and professionalism of the blog author. If it doesn’t look nice then I feel like they have already failed on the very first impression that I am looking at. Who wants to learn from a disorganized messy individual? Free advertising is a great way to promote your content. Self promotion is the key at the beginning to building repeat visitors.

      • Ani says:

        I agree with you both. I can’t stand a cluttered blog. As an aside (not totally related to clutter but more content), I actually love images more than any other content. If there’s no images, I tend to go away. If there’s interesting images I’ll stay and read (and post on Social Media).

        • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

          Ani –> That’s a good observation and based on it I’m going to try to include more images in my posts. Thanks for the idea.

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  • Jeff B. says:

    »Successful blogs have optimized post footers.

    I have to be honest–after reading that section, I had thought that directly under the blog was the comment section. I have never noticed the Related Posts and can only remember a time or two of noticing the Subscription and Share areas. Any chance those could stand out more? Regardless, those are great areas to stick all of those items.

    Regarding the sidebar on this site – very well done. It flows with the page and it’s the perfect size. Not sure if I’ve seen a better sidebar to date!

    Easy navigation: Always a key. And I always find myself clicking the top logo of the many sites I browse. Great idea!

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Jeff B. » Good observations Jeff. Your honest feedback is always worth more to me than you can imagine. I’m going to reassess my post footer in light of your feedback. Does anyone have any observations about post footers like this?

  • Bruce says:

    I actually find your footer very noticeable. At first anyways. Like all things on a site you get use to seeing it and skip over it, but all the icons and titles for it are rather large and colorful. In a classy way of course.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Bruce » I think that one thing Jeff faces is an aversion to ads and non-essential portions of the web page. Many internet users build up an immunity to seeing advertisements and an immunity to seeing parts of the website that isn’t the content that they are there to see. The other night, he and I were chatting in Google Talk (feel free to hit me up at holas84(at)gmail.com) and he told me that he dislikes ads and he never clicks on them and he most of the time never sees them. That’s not a unique situation. There are many internet users who are the exact same way towards that stuff.

      So I guess the next question is this: what are you going to do about it? Have you been able to formulate a plan to improve your own post footer and help direct the readers at your site?

  • Satkrit says:

    Nice read. Like the search Optimization and easy to navigate. Those to me are very important.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Satkrit » Those are definitely important aspects to it. Often people shoot themselves in the foot because they do all the right things but Google never lists them because they don’t put the keys in place to make it happen.

      Tycoon Blogger » I think that a lot of people end up neglecting their post footer. I’m going to put together a post that will show off some of the best post footers that I have seen. I think its important that we use those to direct our readers and to demonstrate our creativity.

      Sherry » Titles are one of the most determining factors for readers in deciding whether or not to read your articles. They can be extremely important.

  • Tycoon Blogger says:

    Great article and I especially like the point you make about the post footer. I am following all the points that you make on my blog.

  • Sherry says:

    I don’t know that title can be so important.

    • akira07 says:

      Hi sherry, you’re also here :D
      Anyway, of course title is so important. You’re clicking to read article is because the title, right?
      So, learn to make good title. Also read about 10 tips awesome eye jerking titles article in this blog

    • Ron Boracay says:

      I know Im too late to answer this but, I love to.

      Title of your blog or your articles plays a major important thing for:

      Your Visitors
      and
      Search Engine Spiders.

      SO see to it that, your titles are well optimized for both of those visitors.

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  • Arisu says:

    Also, people tends to jump from element to element in websites, so unless you put several icons/buttons in different places of the site you won´t know if your readers actually see them.

    Unless you have a really compact site -one page, 600 pixels height-, but blogs usually ain´t compact.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Arisu » I completely agree. I have my RSS links at the top of each page and at the bottom of the post pages. I also have my DOFOLLOW banner located at the top and bottom of the sidebar. I think that you should definitely double things that are important.

  • Matt Longley says:

    I do believe that your blog is one of the easiest that I have seen to navigate, and it is very pleasing to the eyes. =) Having easy ways to get people to subscribe to your rss feeds and to promote your posts socially is always a plus.

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Matt Longley » Absolutely right. Thanks for the feedback. It seems like the social networks are the prominent trend of the internet. If we’re not making it easy for people to associate & share our sites among their network of friends then we are just missing out!

  • Arisu says:

    Nicholas>>

    I know! I usually scan all the page, but you can´t help but follow the things that grab your attention, like icons -mmm, people sure overestimates the power of icons. Your´s are really nice and pushable ^^

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Arisu » Great. That’s certainly the goal. I’ll try to post some more links in the near future for great places to find free icons for blogs.

  • Arisu says:

    Nicholas>>
    I know lots of bloggers would be grateful ;)

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      Arisu » Great! I’ll get right on that and I’ll be sure to include some thoughts as to how I decide which ones are useful and which ones may look amazing but are not useful.

  • HelpfulAdvisor says:

    Nicholas,

    Thanks so much for the awesome tips! I had done some post footer add-ons quite accidentally as it seemed like the right thing to do. However, your tips will help me solidify my attempts to take my blog to the next level.

    Thanks so much Nicholas!

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      HelpfulAdvisor » You’re welcome. Everything that you add to your website should have a specific purpose working toward helping keep more visitors at our sites and working to get them to come back again and again. Take your time and set it up to accomplish exactly what you want it to.

  • satria says:

    I agree that all of these are very useful. thanks

  • draxc0la says:

    Thanks so much for the awesome tips!. keep sharing my friend

  • wayne says:

    Great stuff! I’m a beginner and I need all the help I can get.
    Now to put it in action!

    • Nicholas Z. Cardot says:

      wayne » That’s right. Learning something isn’t good enough unless you can figure out how to take it home with you and put it to real, practical use. Good luck!

  • Volksphone says:

    “Successful blogs have organized sidebars”

    I think this is the most important reason for a successful blog because the visitors can navigate easy through the blog and find fast what they want to find. If the usability of a blog is good the visitors will com again and that is the point for successful blogs.

    Best regards,
    Volksphone!

  • akira07 says:

    Thanks for the tips, it’s become my introspection source because my blog is not reach “success” yet.

    About effective headline, i become victim of some article. There is a blog have good title but the contest is not special. Haha…

  • Kok Siong Chen says:

    Yes! SEO is important too. No matter how good the design and content you are, no person can find your blog if the SEO is not good.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Cri du Chat Syndrome – Human with Cat-like Cry =-.

  • Brad says:

    Good tips – Dig the kitty in your signup form…

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