Having a blog is great for any business!
But, there are certain characteristics required, that many people don’t seem to realize, in order to stay in the good graces of your readers and search engines alike; especially in today’s over-saturated Internet world.
Below you will find 8 characteristics that, if done right, will put you ahead of your competition.
8 Characteristics of a Healthy Blog – Quality Standards to Meet
Let’s Move On…
1. The Design of Your Blog
The look and feel of your blog will play an important role in the success of any website. Using appealing color schemes and consistent design will be a great contributor.
Overuse of Flash and an excessive amount of images may irritate your viewers… simplicity is usually best.
On the other hand… you can have one of the best looking websites on the Web, it can be flashy with the most gorgeous and sexy looking graphics, but it won’t mean a thing if you don’t get visitors.
NOTE: if you are not receiving the quantity of viewers that you desire, it might be time to learn some basic search engine optimization, along with keyword research to boost your traffic and rankings.
2. Branding Yourself – Choose One Topic for Your Site
Find one topic and stick with it! Search engines and people respond well with branding… I.E. – ONE Central Topic.
Brand yourself in your field of expertise; whether you are an SEO Guru, a Marketing Expert or Health Junkie, etc.
You can write about other stuff too, but make sure your writing is geared around your primary topic.
3. Your Site’s Layout and Structure
You have two main audiences to keep in mind when designing the layout and structure of your site… the search engine, and most importantly the human.
Search Engines – these robots/crawlers/spiders should be able to follow each and every page from the highest level of your site (Home Page), all the way to the lowest depths of your site.
If the search engine can follow your structure properly to the lowest depths of your website, you are good as gold in their algorithmic eyes.
The Human Factor – your site should be appealing to the reader and easy to navigate.
In terms of SEO, if the person can find his or her way around your site without any problems, then the search engines will have no problem navigating either, scoring you brownie points with them, which brings me to the next subject.
4. Site Maps for Your Blog
There are two forms of sitemaps for a blog… the first one is the XML sitemap which is strictly for the search engines. The other is the HTML sitemap for humans.
Without getting too in-depth about sitemaps; a sitemap is exactly how it sounds, it’s a map of your whole site. This sitemap is one single page that will show the structure of your site, link by link, category by category.
The XML SiteMap for Search Engines was created to structure, store, and transport information. This XML sitemap will store all sorts of information about your site, dates of submission, last time pages were updated etc, and is for the algorithmic eyes of the search engines.
This sitemap will help with search engine optimization for your site by making sure that all the pages can be found.
If you use the Yoast or RankMath plugins, they automatically create an XML sitemap for you.
If for whatever reason you don’t use either of these plugins, another alternative is to use a plugin that will create one for you. My highly recommended sitemap plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/
The HTML Sitemap for Humans is a method that will allow your readers to navigate through your whole site. It’s a one-stop-shop (single page) and is usually in the form of a textual outline of your sites navigation.
Matt Cutts (ex-director of Google’s WebSpam team) says “It’s a sitemap for users… it’s very handy, it has good usability and it can be great for your search results.”
If you have an HTML sitemap, it’s an important SEO move to have this page available from any page on your site, but most importantly the home page.
If Google finds a sitemap on your home page, it will see it as important, follow the link to the HTML sitemap page, and begin crawling each link on that page.
5. Consistent Blog Updates
This is two-fold… sticking to a regular schedule can create loyal readers and also increase your search engine traffic.
If a person knows that you’ll be posting on a certain day and time of the week, they will visit your site with the knowledge that you will have fresh, new content waiting for them.
This idea is easy to grasp… when you create a pattern, your readers will adapt to your schedule.
This will give them a reason to keep coming back, so don’t disappoint them by wandering off your schedule.
Regularly updated content can equal more visits and higher search engine rankings.
Search engines love unique, fresh content. Each time the search engine robot visits your blog, it will scan for new content. If it finds new or modified/edited content, it will index it.
6. Create Value-Based Blog Content
Create Content Worthy of Reading and Sharing! Over-Deliver, as it’s said in the marketing world.
If you’ve heard of attraction marketing, you will know that one of the rules that attraction marketing is based on is value, to over-deliver beyond the readers expectations.
So, if you want people to flock to your blog for information, then you must create high, value-based content that will educate, inspire and motivate your readers to want more.
Giving value and expertise, that offers solutions to their problem, is VERY Attractive to readers.
Providing this worthwhile information will create a spellbinding magnetism causing your audience to develop a thirst for more, I.E. Attraction Marketing.
This action alone will build trust and in turn your readers will begin to like you and look up to you as an authority in your niche.
7. Page Loading Time
Whether you are aware of it or not, your site’s loading speed is a Factor in the Google ranking algorithm.
Below are a few reasons why the Google engineers decided to implement your site’s page speed into their algorithm.
- Faster websites create happy users
- Improving site speed reduces operating costs
- Users place a lot of value in speed
So, if you have a site that loads slowly, like many WordPress sites notoriously do, you’re going to have to work hard in finding ways to speed it up.
The main point here is to make sure you remove any unnecessary elements that are slowing your site down.
For bloggers, removing any unnecessary plugins that you aren’t crucial to your business, reducing image sizes that are too big, along with compressing those images for the Web are a great starting point.
To find out your site’s performance follow the link: https://tools.pingdom.com/
8. Mobile Ready – Mobile Optimized
Is your site mobile optimized?
With today’s fast-paced world, more than 50% of people are using their mobile devices to search for information on the Internet.
Your website should be compatible with different platforms as most of the users now will use phones and tablets for different tasks.
If your site is not mobile ready, it will be difficult to read and impossible to navigate.
I know you are probably thinking to yourself, but John, mobile ready sites are common today. Well, they may not be as common as you think.
I still receive emails from bloggers that have not done much to make their site mobile friendly; their wording is way too small etc.
Just to confirm your site didn’t take a turn for the worst, follow the link to test your blog in different mobile phones and tablet emulators: https://mobiletest.me/
Conclusion – Quality Characteristics That Your Site Should Have
I know it’s sometimes easier said than done, but in my opinion over-delivering with your content, and providing superb navigation for your reader to find additional information, is probably going to gain you the most followers no matter how your site looks.
On the flip side, if your site is not mobile optimized, as mentioned above, the difficulty factor of reading your information and navigating to other pages will be virtually impossible, so you will lose a large amount of traffic.
You will get the same results for a slow loading site… if your site takes too long to load, the person will hit the back button at lightning speed.