Personal finance and development, health and fitness, beauty and fashion, and everyone’s favorite – food blogging – are the most popular blogging niches. Features of a blog differ greatly though. Blogs, like online diaries, can be deeply personal and introspective. And blogs have enough power to influence purchasing decisions, consumer opinion and even politics when written by businesses or professional journalists.
Isn’t there something they all have in common though? In a niche that is otherwise diverse, is there some universal characteristic that successful blogs share that you can emulate for your own blog, whether it is a business based offering or a personal accounting?
To help, we’ve drawn on our collective experience, as writers, as SEOs and as web designers, to come up with this list of 10 features of a blog that successful examples have in common.
A Blog Should Be Dynamic
A common question about features of a blog is how it differs from a website – are they essentially the same thing, or do they differ? The answer is they most certainly do.
While websites are primarily intended to present information, successful blogs are always intended to engage readers. As a result, a website is mostly static, as opposed to a blog, which must be dynamic.
Website information is presented on static pages in the form of evergreen content that does not require frequent updates. Blog posts, on the other hand, are similar to diary entries in that they include a publication date as well as meta tags. Any type of blog, to be effective for whatever its purpose, requires frequent new entries and regular updates.
Blog Posts Should Be in Reverse Order
Unlike a notebook diary, blog entries are displayed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent posts at the top. The most recent ones push older ones further down the list until they vanish entirely from the landing page. Older posts are usually archived on the following pages, but they can also be sorted by month or year of publication.
The Blog Structure Should Feel Familiar
To declutter the page and make a great first impression, create a post template that readers can become familiar with, and, preferably, recognize as ‘you’ right away.
To do so, start with a header with the menu or navigation bar. It should be followed by the main content area, which lists blog posts in chronological order or by relevance. Contact pages, privacy policies, and relevant links look best – and provide a better user experience – neatly organized in the footer below. A sidebar displaying social profiles and call-to-actions in addition to highlighting favorite entries is also an engaging addition.
The Content Should be the Star of the (Blog) Show
Different types of posts are published on different blogs, but the majority succesful blogs rely on the power of the written word. Such features of a blog can be an opinion piece, an instructional guide, or a news item, depending on the author’s intent. Images or videos are used to break up long stretches of text.
A picture with little or no text – an infographic – can also be used as a blog post. It’s a common – and very effective – trend in fashion and travel blogs, but infographics instead of instructional articles aren’t uncommon in business-related niches. However, regardless of the medium, the quality of the content published on a blog is always a defining factor.
Captivating Headlines are Essential.
It’s an art in and of itself to name a blog post. There’s an entire philosophy behind writing article headlines: a compelling one can truly drown out the noise, generating clicks, driving traffic, and enticing a reader to continue reading. Nowhere else on the internet do titles get the same amount of attention as they do when used as features of a blog.
The Importance of Pertinence
Though relevancy is required for all engaging content, this rule is especially true for blog posts. They come in a variety of types, mediums, formats, and styles; they must be original and unique in order to pique interest or elicit debate; and, in order to be read at all, blog posts must always deliver on their promise. the one offered in the important headline we just discussed.
Links and Blogs
Although link building is not limited to blog posts as a promotional strategy, it is a feature that all decent blogs share. Even when marketing isn’t the goal, blogs and links go hand in hand.
Internal linking, for example, CellTrackingApps.com, a website about spy apps is a great example of how internal linking can result in a better reading experience. On the contrary, we can also get rid of the branded anchor and just say website about spy apps.
It Should Feel Real
The term “blog” is derived from “weblog,” which originally referred to personal online journals. Before the early 2000s, when blogs became marketing vehicles, they were simply a way to make private thoughts and opinions public. The personal touch, on the other hand, has remained a key feature of the most successful blogs to this day.
A blog post should feel real. As in a human wrote it with care. That touches on everything from subject matter to relevancy to both the topic and the business/person behind the blog to the care taken with grammar and punctuation. Yes, you can get software that writes blogs. But your readers will know that they are reading auto generated pulp and they’ll be turned off right away.
You Should Encourage Debate.
Another shared feature of successful blogs is the comment section. It’s usually found at the bottom of every post as a place for readers to participate in a discussion and provide honest feedback. Some blogs prefer to encourage that debate on social media instead. Wherever you choose to stage the debate make sure there is one, it will give even more life to your blog (and improve traffic and SEO)
Communication Is Everything
Whether or not there is an open debate, the goal of each and every successful blog post is still to communicate. If the blog is promotional, the goal is to draw in readers and start a conversation with them in the hopes of persuading them to buy what the author is selling. It’s all about spreading the word if it’s not about sales. So make sure you have the right communication tools and your team is using a communication template as per your buyer’s persona and make sure to personalize it according to your client’s communication style.
Blogging is a fantastic way to reach out and communicate with the rest of the world, whether it imparts knowledge, provides solutions, promotes a company, cause or product or simply entertains. Without a doubt, the single most feature of any successful blog is its transformative power of an exchange of information and ideas.
Need help with your blog? Pearl Lemon can provide assistance with content creation, SEO, blog design and more. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you add features of a blog that will add yours to the ranks of successful blogs.