Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’
So you have a blog, and you have started to get traffic. Yippee. However you have decided you want to go further and really improve your blogs search ability on the web. How do you do it?
One really handy free tool that you can use is Google Webmaster Tools- after all we all know that Google is the biggest search engine and of course we want to be on the good side of Google!
First of all you need to make sure your blog is signed up on the tool. Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and log in using your google account. (or register for one free if you haven’t got one) Then on the main dashboard page on the right hand side there is a big red button which says ‘Add a site.’
You will then need to verify your blog so webmaster tools will be able to pick it up. To do this really easily on wordpress go on to ‘alternate methods’ and use the html meta tag method. If you need to do it on another blogging platform, it is also really easy.
You will then need to make sure that you have installed the ‘Google Webmaster Verification’ WordPress Plug In. You can find this easily by searching under ‘Add New’ Plug In. Once you have done this go to the ‘Google Webmaster Verification’ plug in which you will find under the ‘Settings’ menu on your wordpress dashboard.
Simply then add the code from Webmaster tools into the google site verification box at the top. Remember to only install the code rather than the whole thing. Please see below as an example.
Save changes and voila! Your site is now verified. It will take some time for it to fully update your information- the details I am using below aren’t fully up to date for I heart Snapping but it doesn’t matter as it will give you an idea.
There are a few things which are really useful for bloggers within Google Webmaster Tools. Here are just a few of them.
1. Firstly pay attention to your searches as it can give you a really valuable insight into why people are finding your blog.
Impressions are the number of times pages from your site were viewed in search results- the number of days per period defaults to 30, but you can change it at any time. Clicks are the number of times your site was clicked in search results for a query e.g instagram post, and the percentage increase and decrease in the average daily clicks compared to the previous period. (again default of 30 days) CTR is the click through rate of your site for that particular query and the average position is where it will appear in the search results for that particular query. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look that great to start with, it can take some time to collect all your data.
2. Submitting a site map- It is really important to submit a site map because it helps google know what pages to index. As blogs are slightly different to websites which have hundreds of different pages, you can get away with using your RSS feed. Just go to optimisation, click sitemaps and add a sitemap by typing in your RSS feed to the URL box.
3. Links to your site- this is so important as good quality, stable links are essential for good SEO. Go to ‘Traffic’ and then links to your site. From there you can see how many links you have in total, who your top linkers are what your top linked pages are. It is really interesting and you may find sites linking to you which you didn’t realise were doing so.
There are lots of other really interesting aspects to Webmaster Tools, we have only just scratched the surface. If you haven’t set it up already, it is well worth doing so, especially if you are like me and nosey about just what is going on with your website.
On the Friday and Saturday we just had, the I Heart Snapping team were at the BritMums Live conference in London. It was a great opportunity for us to get together and also to meet up with other lovely bloggers, hear great speakers, take part in inspiring workshops and generally feel glad to be part of the world that is blogging.
We picked up so many little tips and ideas to share with you all and just like when we went to Cybher last month, we want to give you the lowdown on what we heard.
It all opened up on Friday afternoon with a keynote speech from Ruby Wax and then we were straight into the business of workshops.
We chose a workshop on writing about parenting for our first session, as we both do this on our personal blogs. There was a lot of discussion about parenting blogs that are either too positive, too negative or too preachy, but the overall feeling was that if you are authentic and honest then people will enjoy reading it. It came back to things we have said here on I Heart Snapping before; which is that your voice IS your blog, so be true to yourself and don’t try to be something you’re not, people see straight through it and would always rather read a ‘real’ post from the ‘real’ you.
The evening was all about the BiB awards, which celebrated bloggers doing great things across a variety of categories. Go and check out the winners if you get time, you are bound to come away feeling inspired.
Saturday was a day cram-packed with sessions which were varied and fantastic. The choices of workshop session available were really great and there seemed to be something for everyone. We attended a quite frankly awesome workshop by Julia Boggio on photography, which I will write up separately in a different post as there was so much she said that we want to share with you.
We went to a Pinterest session too which was really fab and informative, I know for a fact that I’m not using Pinterest to its full potential so expect a post with more information on Pinterest to come your way very soon.
We also attended a discussion session on blogging for happiness. I think the strongest message to come away from this session was that blogging can and has changed people’s lives through the opportunities it has given them and the community it puts them in touch with. There was some great advice from the panel and from the people attending the discussion on how to keep it real, but one of the best was to go back and read people’s first posts so that you can see why they started and what they are all about. And also not to over think blog posts that you write, but to stick with being honest and being yourself. A recurring theme it would seem.
In between the sessions there was plenty of time for networking, chatting and eating lots of cake. It was lovely to meet so many I Heart Snapping readers and to hear so many of you saying great things about how helpful this site is and how much you love it. We really hope this site will go from strength to strength and we don’t see ourselves running out of ideas any time soon. And you can always comment, tweet or email us if you’d like us to look at something in particular. We don’t know it all and we don’t pretend to but if we can help then we will.
Anyway, back to BritMums Live. The weekend finished with a keynote speech from Cherry Healey who had some really interesting things to say about how blogging has an increasing impact on her work as a tv journalist and presenter. It seems like we’re on the cusp of something quite big in the UK with regards to blogging and we’re really excited to see where it leads.
The conference ended with the Bloggers Keynote speech which was a definite favourite with a lot of the delegates. It made such a nice ending to the conference to bring it all back to why we were there; the blogging, the writing and the community. Blog posts can often be emotive when you read them, but there is something about hearing posts read aloud by their writer which is extremely powerful and the thirteen posts selected took everyone through an emotional roller coaster. There were tears, smiles, joy, laughter. It was a definite high point to end on, even if a lot of people’s mascara was looking the worse for wear.
BritMums Live was a brilliant weekend. It was inspiring and informative as well as giving us a great chance to meet blogger friends new and old. We’ll be putting it in the diaries for next year.
We got lots of lovely feedback for the hand drawn social media icons we gave away last week, so we thought as we are super generous we would give away some more. This time we have some rather snazzy glittery heart icons for your blog. Now obviously we are appealing to those who like their blogs to look a little girly and pretty- if that is you then you will love these icons!
As usual all you need to do is download or grab the image off this post (I have made them large so you can resize them to fit in with your blog dimensions) and then put them in to whatever you use to edit your photos. (e.g Photoshop, Pixlr, or Picasa) Just cut around each photo using the cut out or crop tool and then resize and add to your blog. If you need any help in doing this please let us know and I will be happy to talk you through it or help you add them.
We have done them in two colours just to have some variety. We hope you like them.
FREE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY.
IT’S FRIDAY!!!!! Is it just me or do the weeks seem loads longer the week after a bank holiday? But it’s finally here… the weekend and the links we love.
We love seeing people putting our tutorials to good use and will try our best to share your handiwork if you let us know about it. Lauren at Real Housewife of Suffolk County used our Picasa tutorial to make herself a new blog header. Go check it out because it looks lovely.
One of our lovely readers has been showing off some of her art work this week and talking about the creativity in her life. If you haven’t checked out Aly McLoughlin Harte’s blog yet then you should. We loved her post on doing more of what you love.
We featured the lovely Chloe Bridge this week in our first ‘Leave It To The Pros‘ post and she’s been talking work on her own personal blog. It’s great to read stories about people finding happiness in creative jobs.
The fantastic community that is BritMums have been running a fun photography hashtag on Twitter and challenging people to take a photo on a given theme everyday. You can find out more here if you’d like to take part or just search the #snaphappybritmums to see some great pictures.
And speaking of BritMums, the I Heart Snapping team are off to the BritMums Live conference next Friday and Saturday. If you’re going then too then don’t be shy and come and say hi to us. We get a bit giddy with ideas and inspiration when we are together but we won’t bite. You can find a picture of us on the About page so you know who you’re looking for (and the blonde one has a big baby bump too!). Please do say hello.
Last week we launched a fabulous competition for you all and you’ve still got a week left to enter. The lovely people at Blurb who make the most gorgeous photo books ever, are offering some of our readers a voucher towards making their own book.
If you’ve never used Blurb before then this is the competition for you because 3 of our readers will be getting a £30 voucher to spend on any product they like. You can make planners and notebooks as well as photo books of your favourite images, there are so many possibilities. There is one condition, you have to be new Blurb customer to enter.
And all you need to do to enter is subscribe to I Heart Snapping which you can do over in the sidebar).
Plus for extra entries you can like our Facebook page,
follow us on Twitter
or tweet “I want to win a Blurb voucher with @IHeartSnapping http://www.iheartsnapping.com/2012/06/08/links-love-heart-snap-competition-all/ ”.
Make sure you leave a seperate comment for each entry and we’ll let you know next week who our lucky winners are.
So all that’s left is to open up your I Heart My Snap linky. There are no rules, just link up a photo you love; old or new, in it’s own post or part of a larger one. Last weeks linky was a bumper one so get linking up your photos for this week.
Have a great weekend.
You have started a blog, you have started to get some readers…but how many? Some people are interested in how many people are looking at their blog and how they are finding it, and if you want to attract PR companies in order to do reviews, then it is useful to find out what your ‘stats’ are.
Blogger has a free statistics tool that you can use if you have a blogger blog. It is really useful in checking out the basic information you need to know- like the amount of visitors and the amount of page views.
Just go to your main blog dashboard and click stats…
The tool is really easy to use, and has more than enough information. It is measured in real time, meaning you can see exactly what is sending you traffic and when.
The next tool worth mentioning is probably the most famous- Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a powerful, free tool that helps you monitor a huge amount of information about you site and it can be used on any blog platform.
To sign up you will need a google account which is quick and easy to set up. If you then go to www.google.com/analytics you will be able to sign up for a analytics account. Once you have done this it will ask you for a little detail about the blog you want to track and then it will take you through to a page which looks something like this.
You will need to paste the above code into your website just above the
</head> tag. If you get stuck then just ask us as it is really easy to do.
Once that is done you are ready to use Analytics! You can track your visitors, traffic sources, keywords and it really gives an insight into who is visiting your site.
Another great free site is Stat Counter and that is the one I use for my personal blog. It works very much in the same way as Google Analytics but I just find it a bit more visually easy to use. It is free, straight forward to use and does the same things as Google’s Analytics tool.
You can see how people are finding you through search engines and break it down either by year, month, week or day…
Here is an example of how people have found my blog via search engines this morning.
You will see that they are really quite random! But they can be a lot worse than that- I have had literally the most crazy keywords! If you click on the magnifying glass it gives you some more details about the search, including how long they stayed on the site and what google ranking result you were.
You can also see links of where your traffic is coming from- this is the part I use the most as it shows you how people are finding you- it is always useful as sometimes you won’t even realise that someone has linked to you.
You can do so much but another thing I like is that you can see what each visitor is doing on your site and what links they are using to exit and what posts they are looking at. For example this one….
You can see how often they have visited the site and what they did on their last visit.
It is certainly worth checking this tool out because you can do so much more than what I have mentioned, it is just to give you an idea.
Finally the last statistics tool which I think is worth a mention is Hit Sniffer. This site is similar to the others, but it just again looks different. It is another quite visual tool and uses a lot of graphs to show you where your traffic is coming from. You do have to pay for it but depending on your traffic, it can work out as just a couple of pounds a month. You can also have a 7 day trial to see whether you like it enough to pay the monthly fee.
It does all the same things that the other tools I have discussed but one thing that it does too which is totally crazy is that you can see how many people are visiting and actually live chat with the visitors that are on your site. I would never ever do this because can you imagine how freaked out you would be if you were the visitor, but I still find it a really clever tool!
So there we have it- our top stat tools for your blog. All the tools I have mentioned here I have tried at one point and I can recommend them all. I nowadays just use Stat Counter as it does all that I want it too, but it is worth having a further look into them to see which one suits you best. They all basically do the same thing, it just depends on the feel you get for them as to which one you prefer. Some people may get on ok with just the basic Blogger stats but some people may want a little bit more information.
The main thing to remember is that whatever your stats are, unless you are blogging for business or to make an income, blogging is just a bit of fun and therefore you shouldn’t get too hung up on checking them too often. However when you do want to check, these tools certainly are a great way of seeing who is looking at your site.
Here at I heart Snapping you may have seen that we like to share things. Over the next few months we will be sharing a lot of freebies and exciting things to make your blog look pretty. Today is no exception- below are some lovely, snazzy social media buttons for your blog. These beauties are for anyone who wants them, but please only for personal use.
We will also be giving away some other free buttons over the course of the next few weeks but these will do nicely for starters.
All you need to do is download or grab the image off this post (I have made them really large so you can resize them to fit in with your blog dimensions) and then put them in to whatever you use to edit your photos. (e.g Photoshop, Pixlr, or Picasa) Just cut around each photo using the cut out or crop tool and then resize and add to your blog. If you need any help in doing this please let us know and I will be happy to talk you through it or help you add them.
That’s all from us today. Hope you enjoy them. And please do ask if you need any help getting them on your blog.
Have you ever seen those buttons on the side of some blogs and wondered what they are? Well those are grab badges. A grab badge is basically a way of publicising your blog- if people like what they read they may put your button on the side of their blog with your link- it is a way of increasing your readers and opening you up to new people you might not necessarily find.
The first thing to do is make a grab badge- over the coming months we will be design ideas. If you have an elaborate design in mind then it may be worth asking a designer to do it for you, (cheeky plug, my hubby and I do blog design at Pink Egg!) however it is really easy to whip up a simple photo grab badge yourself using any number of editing packages we have been showcasing over the last few weeks. I am going to use PicMonkey. Here is a step by step guide to making a super simple badge.
1. Open up PicMonkey and upload the photo you want to use.
2. The first thing you need to do is crop your image so it resembles something of a square. Don’t worry about resizing properly as we will do this later. Just click on crop and then drag the free box around until it resembles a square- it doesn’t have to be exact but get as near to a square as you can.
3. You may want to add some effects to make the photo look a bit more interesting. On PicMonkey just go to the second icon down which looks like a test tube type thing and you will find loads of great effects. Pick one that will make your badge stand out- after all you want people to be drawn to it enough to click to have a look.
4. Now it’s time to add the text. Just click the fourth icon down on the left hand menu which resembles a ‘P’ Here you are greeted with a load of fonts, have a play around with it and add your text on. Remember you can also change the colour and size of the font- it is worth having a few attempts to see which you like best.
5. Finally the last thing to do is resize your photo- if you go on to the first icon- basic edits and right down at the bottom there is resize. It is totally up to you to decide what size you want your badge to be, but around 200 x 200 is a good size- if your photo isn’t exactly a square just make sure you untick ‘keep proportions.’
6. Finally save and voila your new grab badge is ready! This is just a really simple way of getting a badge- but do have a play around because you will be able to make some really nice ones that really sum up what your blog is about- especially put some thought into your photo- you want one that reflects your blog.
Once you have made your badge you now need to create an html code for your image so you can place it on your blog. The best place to do this is using an online photo saving site like photobucket. Below are some step by step instructions- it is really simple.
1. Upload your image to Photobucket.
2. Go to the album which you have placed the photo in, hover your cursor over the photo and you will find a box comes up that has a number of links. Copy the html link which will look something like this.
<a href=”http://s1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/?action=view&current=grab.jpg” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/grab.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a>
5. You need to add your blog url into the html code so it knows to link back to you. All you need to do is substitute your blog name after the first a ref section.
<a href=”http://www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/grab.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a>
6. You then need to add it into an widget/gadget or html box on your sidebar. This obviously fully depends what package you are using. For example on blogger you would ‘Add a Gadget’ and then choose html
7. Add the following code into your site. Make sure you change the bits in other colours to your own details.
<a href=”IMAGE LOCATION HTML CODE“ target=”_blank”></a><a href=”YOUR BLOG URL“><img src=”IMAGE LOCATION HTML CODE“></a></a>
<textarea id=”code-source” rows=”3″ cols=”13″ name=”code-source”><a href=“YOUR BLOG URL“><img src=“IMAGE LOCATION HTML CODE“ border”0″ alt=“TITLE OF IMAGE“ /></a></center></textarea>
The image location html code is the code from Photobucket.
Therefore say for example for my old blogger blog it would be something like this-
<a href=”http://s1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/?action=view&current=grab.jpg” target=”_blank”></a><a href=”http://www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.blogspot.co.uk”><img src=”http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/grab.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a></a>
<textarea id=”code-source” rows=”3″ cols=”13″ name=”code-source”><a href=”http://www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.blogspot.com”><img src=”http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t372/mummydaddyme/grab.jpg” border”0″ alt=”mummydaddyandme” /></a></center></textarea>
8. Once you have done that you should have made your very own grab badge.
9. That’s it! It is that simple. Now be sure to spread the word and get adding other badges- networking is what will make your blog get more hits.
We said it before when we were talking about giving your blog a ‘look’ and a brand image, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again. Your blog banner, or header or whatever you want to call it, is your business card. It is the first thing people will look at when they visit your blog, and a lot of people will make the decision to stay and read on or leave, completely based on your banner. The whole look of your blog is important, but the banner should tie your whole blog together and tell people what you are about in a quick and visual way.
There are a lot of beautiful banners out there, and it’s really daunting to know where to start, so today I’m going to take you through a hopefully, really simple tutorial of how to make a photo banner. I’m doing a photo banner because that’s what I do best. I use a photo banner on my own personal blog because it is the best way of telling people what I’m all about; my blog includes a lot of photos and is all about a little boy. Thats what Dear Beautiful Boy does and so that is what my banner tells you.
I use Picasa to do all my blog making and designing. Its a free download software for your computer and once you get to grips with it, it’s brilliant for creating photo banners, grab buttons (which we’ll be talking about in a few weeks) and collages. It doesn’t cost anything to give it a try, so why not download it and see what you think.
The great thing with Picasa is that making a photo banner is easy because it automatically shows you all the photos that you have saved in various folders all over your computer. So on launching the software just go to the correct folders to find the pictures you want to use in your banner.
Directly underneath where the folder name and details are, you can see a play button. Next to that is a collage button. By pressing that you go through to the collage editing part of the software and it will automatically take the photos in that folder and place them in your collage for you.
To the left hand side you will find a drop down menu which gives you a selection of different sized boards on which to arrange your pictures. At this stage it doesn’t actually matter what board you use as you will crop it later, but I like to work on a board that has the rough proportions of the finished article so that it is easier to arrange things how I would like.
On the left hand side there is also a tab entitled ‘Clips’ which allows you to add and remove photos that you would like to include. By pressing ‘Get More’ you will go back to the original screen where you selected your folder and you can select more folders of photos to include in your banner.
Then it’s simply a case of arranging the photographs as you would like them. You can resize and angle them to your hearts content. For this design I wanted the pictures the same size and an equal distance apart.
You can change the background colour of your board here too. For a clean look on your blog, it’s a good idea to make sure this background colours is either the same as the background of your blog, or a contrasting colour to make it stand out. When you are happy with your background and photo arrangement you simply click ‘Create Collage’.
This takes you to a different editing screen when you can edit the whole collages as if it were one image, but you can always go back and change the collage around if you need to by clicking ‘Edit Collage’ in the top left hand corner. Once through to the editing stage you need to trim down and tidy up any uneven edges on your banner, using the crop tool. You can also add text and retouch anything you aren’t quite happy with.
You can manually decide the proportions by eye or you can use a preset crop, but with this design I needed to chop off the excess background board to the right of the design.
I left a space at the bottom of my banner to add my blog title. So you simply use the text tool to select your font, size and colour and then move the text into position. Then click ‘Apply’ to make those changes to your banner. The final thing left to do is to export your finished banner to a folder on your computer by clicking on ‘Export’ at the bottom of the screen.
This window will pop up and you need to resize the image to however many pixels wide your blog is. This will differ from one blog design to the next, but is generally somewhere between 800 and 1200 pixels. You can check this first or export a few versions with different pixel sizes and see which one fits best.
And voilà! One simple and easy photo banner for your blog. I would like to apologise for the unexciting and unoriginal banner and blog title I’ve used in my example. It’s simply to give you an idea of how you might go about making a photo banner for your blog.
And remember that this is just a basic idea. Once you’ve got to grips with using Picasa in this way, the restrictions are only on what your head can come up with. Try more pictures, or less pictures. Text at the top, the side, over the pictures, in the middle of a circle of pictures. It’s just a case of letting your creativity flow. You could change your title font and back ground colour each month or season for a different look. You can swap pictures in and out to keep it up to date.
Just keep in mind at all times what your blog is about and how your banner represents that. This is probably one of the reasons why photo banners are so versatile, because you can simply include some of your best blog pictures and you are automatically representing the blog as a whole in your banner. Just take the I Heart Snapping banner; it tell you what we’re all about.
Last Saturday the I Heart Snapping team ventured off to London to the first ever CybHer conference. To say we were excited about going would be an understatement, we’d practically been counting down the days. And for those of your who weren’t as lucky as we were and didn’t get to go, we thought we’d share our day with you.
CybHer is a blogging conference for women bloggers of all different genres. There were fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, parent bloggers, lifestyle bloggers; you name it, they were represented at CybHer. There were a wide variety of different session topics covering everything from photography and design to vlogging and erotic blogging. And of course in the interest of keeping you guys informed on the latest tips and tricks, we made sure we attended the sessions for things that would help us to help you.
The day started with a lot of talk about the latest blogging buzz issue, that of follow and no-follow links for paid posts, links or advertising. I think it’s fair to say that this has had a LOT of exposure over recent weeks and months so we won’t go into the details. If you want to find out more then check out this really clear and simple post on the Tots100 site.
But as discussions moved on there were some interesting examples of different ways of making blogging income. One of the things that I think all bloggers should consider is that you’ll only ever make money (or be paid in kind with items for review) from your blog if you have built up authority on your topic and a loyal group of readers first. We’ll go on to how you might go about achieving this in a minute.
Lots of comparisons were made between blogger and journalists during the day. Yes, both write and may even be writing on similar topics, but bloggers ARE NOT journalists. Bloggers are a personality in their own right, so your personal endorsement of a product or service is more powerful to your readers than if a journalist wrote it. Journalists may have bigger readership but the conversion rate of people reading and then buying is far higher with bloggers than journalists. So remember this if you are dealing with PRs and brands and don’t sell yourself short.
We went to a fabulous session by Jo Gifford about making your blog beautiful. This is a lady who is singing from the I Heart Snapping song sheet and we were really inspired by her talks and presentation.
Basically a good blog needs both substance and style. It’s important to write good content that is honest and of quality, but without style you are missing a crucial step. Things that look good are more appealing to us and are therefore more communicative. So while content is key, making your blog pretty WILL make people stay and read it for longer. People engage more on attractive sites and your writing is therefore more likely to be read, so think about what your blog image says about you and about your content and make sure these are in sync.
Instagram and Pinterest are huge right now and their popularity speaks volumes about how visual we are. We like beautiful imagery and to communicate with it and through it, so joining these networks tells people what sort of person you agree via the things you like, photograph and share. Use them as a way of promoting you and your life and it can be a great way of promoting your blog.
The basic message was that the images and visual appeal of your blog sell it, so use this. One really great tip given was to make sure that images you use in posts are consistent in size. It looks neater and cleaner, which is more pleasing on the eye. I would also add to that to keep them similar in style, if you use retro style filters on he majority of your pictures than suddenly sharing a very bright, modern image will sit uncomfortably. Your images become part of your brand so try to make them in keeping with what you are already doing.
He reiterated the point that natural light is best. Don’t be afraid to move; either yourself or your model so that your “bum is to the sun” and your model has light on their face. He reminded us that you have to consider the background and whether it is too busy and distracting from the subject of your photo. But then you all know that already from this post on composition.
One thing that we haven’t really talked about on I Heart Snapping yet (but we will be) is props and how they can make a picture tell a story or explain more about the portrait you are taking.
Here are the portraits we took of each other. We were pretty pleased with our handiwork.
We had a fabulous day at CybHer12 and can’t wait until next year.
You have taken the plunge and signed up for a blog. You may have even written a few posts and started to immerse yourself into reading others. However every time you click on another blog to read you get SERIOUS blog envy. How does everyone get their blogs so pretty? What are all the different things on their sidebars? What does it all mean? Some bloggers have so much information on their blogs that it can get confusing for new bloggers.
Here is our quick break down on the essential things you need for your blog.
Social Media buttons…
See those little buttons that appear in different places on people’s blogs….they come in all shapes and sizes and could be icons or could be badges…either way these little guys are super important to your blog- it means that all the people who randomly find and love your blog can follow you on all your social media sites.
The main ones you will see are twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram and google + and most blog platforms have social media buttons you can use, you can design some yourself (we will show you how soon!) or get a designer to design some for you. Most of the sites also have widgets you can use to add your social media to your site.
(image from www.thelifeandtimesoftheworkingmum.co.uk)
On the side of some sites you will see icons advertising other blogs and on a lot of blogs you will see something that says along the lines of ‘grab our badge’….these basically are little badges advertising your blog. If you have a grab badge on the side of your blog and your followers really love it, you may find that your little badge will start appearing on other people’s blogs. It is a great way of promoting your blog and getting traffic from other sites too so it is always worth adding a grab badge to your site. They are really easy to make, and we will show you how in a later post.
Subscribe by email…
You want people to read your blog….therefore it is important to have a subscribe by email box on your site. People can still subscribe by RSS (see our recent post) but if you put a subscribe by email box in it can give another option for potential subscribers. Blogger and WordPress have pre-made widgets which you can install which will help you do this.
About me/Contact me…
It is always important to have a page or section on your blog that explains a little about you. After all a lot of people want to know how your blog started, who you are and what you do. It doesn’t have to be an essay, just a little insight into your life. If you blog anonymously you can still have an about me section- just explain about you but keep your name and major details secret. If you would like your readers to get in touch with you or like the idea of PR’s being able to contact you it is also important to leave your email address….you can ask people to submit queries by a form (again blogger and wordpress have widgets for this) or just put your email address link on there.
Tag Cloud/Search box-
If someone lands on your blog and likes what they see then they may want to read more of your posts. By putting a tag or category cloud on there with an instant link to some of your most written about topics, it helps readers to find things that interest them. Try not to use too many tags as you don’t want a massive section, it is useful to categorise your most used topics. Likewise a search box means that someone can find posts via keywords that interest them, or if someone has read a great post and wants to find it again- this can help.
Recent or Popular Posts…
Obviously you want your readers to get a taste of what you are really about- therefore it is always useful to add a Popular post link on your sidebar, Blogger has a widget that will do this for you meaning that it will automatically load your posts that have had the most interaction or page views, but if you don’t have this option you can always add a link yourself. For my personal blog I use Joomla and so therefore I have a badge on my sidebar which says ‘Favourite posts’- in here I add in all my posts that I have written that I love or that have for whatever reason had the most page views.
Blogroll or Blogs I love…
Blogging is all about sharing the love and networking is one of the best ways of getting yourself new readers. If you like a blog and read it regularly why not add it to your sidebar via a badge? Or blogger has a blogroll widget meaning you can list all the blogs that you really like. Some blogs even have a separate page listing their favourites. It is important to promote other blogs as it means that you make friends and may even get recognition on theirs one day too.
Here is a blog roll example from Mum2babyinsomniac.
So there you have it- that is a quick overview of essential things to have on your blog. Obviously there are loads more things that you could put on there but for beginners this is the best place to start.