I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Adding the basics around your blog content

Last week I asked what features do we expect to find in a blog, beside the actual content. So this week I will answer the question 🙂

I think there are many features but using them all creates a cluttered look that can overpower the content so it is worth deciding which features best suit your needs and your readers. However, here are some of the basic features that I think are important and pretty much form the base level of reader expectations:

  • an about us page (regardless of what you actually call it) gives background information that can be really important and interesting. For example, it tells me if you are an expert or an enthusiast and whether you provide a service/product related to your topic
  • a search function is handy either because I only want to read certain information or because I want to reread something I read previously
  • previous posts gives me a better idea of what the blog covers – and confirms that there are actually other posts available (not so obvious in the essay-style posts I mentioned last week!)
  • a list of categories is something I find very useful in blogs I visit – it lets me read about topics I am particularly interested in rather than wading through posts on other topics. This is especially important in a blog with a broad appeal – for example, a blog on business may have categories of marketing, accounts and sales techniques which I could ignore if I just wanted their time saving tips
  • many blogs include a blog roll so therefore many people expect to see  one and I’m adding it to this list although I personally don’t pay much attention to blogrolls when I visit blogs

While perhaps not a basic, some form of subscription notice is also a common and useful tool to offer on your blog – make it easier for people to keep up to date with your blog and you are likely to have more loyal readers. You have various options – a RSS feed, email notifications or a newlsetter susbcription are probably the most common and obvious.

Are any of these features you find more important when visiting a blog? Any that you have chosen not to use on your blog for some reason? Why?

Good blogging

I recently read a post by Jeff Attwood in his Coding Horror blog. He wrote thirteen blog clichés that he doesn’t like seeing in blogs – it is like a list of what not to do for a good blog, and was quite an interesting read.

While his post stands as is, some of his points particularly stood out to me so I will discuss them in my blog 🙂

One that I very much agree with is his point 5 – the big blogroll. He writes about the waste of listing many blogs in your blog roll, and wrote “It feels artificial and insincere.” Personally, a selective blogroll is a value-add; a long blogroll is ignored.

So what is wrong with listing so many blogs? For starters, a long list doesn’t give any sense of referral or recommendation to the listed blogs, compared to a select listing is likely to be meaningful. It is also hard to find anything from a long list – so at least break the list in to sub-lists to make it more user-friendly.

A particularly long list can also distort the look of a page, especially for short posts.

Having said that, what are the advantages of including some blogs in your blogroll? For starters, it builds the blogging community to link and refer to each other. A crafted blogroll can also help your readers find more information on relevant topics, which they will appreciate.

Links to and from your blog can help with your traffic and search engine rankings, so that in itself makes a blogroll and reciprocal links worth considering. But remember that links within your posts are also effective for rankings and readers, so a minimalist blogroll doesn’t mean you can’t link to additional blogs.

What do you think? Are you impressed by a long blogroll when you visit a blog?

Happy writing!