This is a follow-up post to last month’s very popular “6 Things No One Wants to See on Your Blog.” A Thinking Outside the Sandbox reader suggested that doing an article about just the opposite would be interesting.
So here’s my second list! These are things I love to see on a blog:
Social media buttons: Make it easy for people to follow you by putting social media icons at the top of your home page, in a very conspicuous location. They don’t have to be big. In fact, they can be tiny. But they should be easy to find and grouped together.
Email subscription: One of the most frustrating things for me is visiting a blog and being hugely impressed, then not being able to figure out how to subscribe by email. This is another feature that should be easy for visitors to find. Reaching people by direct mail is your most powerful tool as a blogger. It’s easy to add an RSS subscription option to your sidebar; you can also group it together with your social media icons (see above). Or, sign up for a full-featured mail subscription service like Mad Mimi or Mail Chimp, and you can further customize a subscription box to imbed on your blog.
Attractive design. A lot of what we see with our eyes is subjective, of course, but there are some near-universal likes and dislikes when it comes to web pages. Dark backgrounds with white or colored text is hard on the eyes. Too much animation, flashing graphics and auto-play videos are highly distracting. Overly busy site templates (too many colors or patterns crammed together) get a thumbs down. Think of your blog as the living room in your house. You want people to come in, sit down and stay a while. So pick pleasant colors and a streamlined design with the reader’s comfort in mind.
You! People want to know who you are. So post a real picture that represents you well. Cartoon images are cute, but much less personal. Or, just use your company’s logo if it’s a business blog.
Good stuff. A lot of bloggers take flack for not posting enough content. Other bloggers sneer at the sponsored and promotional content they share on a regular basis and write them off as second-rate writers who will eventually lose followers. But this not a hard and fast rule. The importance of posting good content can’t be denied, but what qualifies as good content depends on your blog’s purpose. I can’t stress this enough. If I follow a coupon blog, then that’s exactly what I want to see. Coupons! Not heartfelt parenting missives or drop-dead-gorgeous photographs. If the coupons are relevant and useful, then I say that’s good content for that blog. Similarly, a good food blogger does not have to be a literary genius. Appetizing photos, step-by-step recipes and an easy-to-print format are the main ingredients for success. So just make sure that whatever you post, it’s of good quality and stays true to your blog’s niche, because that’s what people are following you for.
Easy comment system. Bloggers like interaction on their posts. Your comment feature should be simple to use and not require any complicated steps. Most people are already in a hurry, so if they are actually inspired to leave a comment, make it easy or they’ll give up.
What do YOU like best about the blogs you follow?