Last Updated on August 17, 2020 by Michael Brockbank
A blog features more than just content. To really connect with an audience, you have to go above and beyond just putting words on the site. Today, it’s all about engagement and what you can do to keep people coming back.
And depending on the niche of your site, that’s much easier said than done. However, there are several key components that can help you build an amazing website.
Today, I’ll show you eight of the most prominent blog features my clients and I use on a regular basis.
8 Must-Have Blog Features for Success
This article is only going to cover the most common and effective methods for building up a blog. The bells-and-whistles will depend on what kind of site you’re creating.
For example, I’m not going to tell you to install a nutrition plugin for WordPress if you’re blog has nothing to do with food.
But I will dive into the means to build a strong foundation for your site.
1. Consistent Content, Obviously
The first, and probably the most obvious, thing I will point out is creating a constant flow of high-quality content. Without blog posts, there’s nothing for visitors to read.
But it takes more than just slapping up an article once per week and hoping for the best. The more you create, the more topics you have available for people to search.
Not to mention how a regular publishing schedule can help with building a subscriber or email list. Many people like the idea of depending on when you’re going to publish.
And using something like Yoast SEO can vastly help with engaging an audience. Its blog features for readability alone are worth the install as it helps you create content that is understandable to the average Internet user.
2. Contact and About Pages
Creating contact and about pages are vastly important today. This is because it lends to credibility and helps enforce authority. And because Google is pushing the E-A-T aspect of search, you’ll need these to score well on the results page.
I know, some experts say how EAT has no impact on search results. But, I’d beg to differ as I’ve seen several sites get decimated because of authoritative standards.
It’s a good idea to have the contact page up for several reasons. But most of all, it gives sponsors and possible advertisers a way to contact you directly. And this can help you make more money from your blog.
The About page gives readers and search engines a way to identify you as an expert. It lends a more personal touch to the site and helps people make mental connections.
If you want people to explore your blog, you need to add an easy-to-use navigation method. Luckily, WordPress comes built with this in mind. But you still want to make sure important areas are easy to find.
Some of these blog features include:
- Not overloading your nav menu. Only put the vastly important pages and links in this area.
- Provide an easy-to-find search field. People will browse your blog looking for specifics.
- Implement related posts. Visitors are more likely to explore content if it already piques their interest.
- Make sure all elements are easy to click and tap. Test your site in a mobile view to make sure it looks good.
- Always monitor for broken links. Nothing upsets a visitor more than getting a 404 error when they click.
Some experts also suggest making the category list available for your blog. Over the years, though, I have yet to see more than a handful of people actually explore the categories. So, this is something you’ll have to test for yourself.
Your audience is going to be much different from mine.
4. Good Security
First of all, it’s quite common knowledge that you need an SSL certificate. Most sites nowadays will have this attached to the site. As there are plenty of free SSLs available today, it doesn’t take much to get one.
Coincidentally, you can easily add a free SSL to your website through GreenGeeks. I often use the Let’s Encrypt cert.
You’ll also want to add something like Wordfence or another security plugin. A new blog is just as much of a target as one that’s been around for a while. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to security measures and other blog features.
5. Push Notifications
Push notifications work extremely well to get repeat visitors. If they’ve subscribed to the feed, they will get a pop-up any time you post new content.
I use OneSignal for push notifications as it’s a free platform that’s worked exceptionally well over the past few years. At any point, I can send a general message to advise any subscribers of emergencies or share important information.
For example, YouTube is big on the notification bell. That’s because it works for keeping people coming back to the site when a creator uploads a new video.
You can do the same thing from your own blog.
6. Social Sharing Buttons
One of the more important blog features you can include is that of social sharing buttons. This helps get your content in front of more people even if the Google search algorithm is treating you poorly.
It lets you turn visitors into marketers by letting them share your content with their friends and family. This means you can reach an audience who probably doesn’t even know you exist.
Luckily, there are a slew of social sharing buttons available for platforms like WordPress. In fact, I had a hard time trying to decide which plugin I wanted to add.
And I’m sure I’ll probably change them again at some point in the future.
7. The Comment Section
Some bloggers will disable comments. But if you want to add engagement, you should really consider leaving comments active. It gets a conversation going and promotes return visitation.
Since there are many anti-spam plugins you can add, maintaining your comment section isn’t as rough as you might think.
Just remember to respond to those who leave a comment. People like to know they’re being listened to, and interacting with them adds to the credibility of your blog.
8. Analytical Tools
And lastly, don’t skimp on analytical tools. Even if you don’t want to add Google Analytics, there are plenty of other methods to track visitor behavior.
Visitor data will let you see what posts are the most effective for your audience and help guide you to what to write next.
Personally, I’ll use Google in conjunction with Jetpack and various heatmap plugins. Knowing how people use and interact with the blog lets me plan future updates and changes.
What Blog Features Are Most Important to You?
These features are some of the most vital. Sure, you’ll want to add things that are more niche-specific when you start building. But the above eight elements are those which every blog can benefit.
Once you establish these, all that’s left is to create amazing content people will want to read. And that is something that is purely on you.
For more information about blogging, check out WriterSantuary’s YouTube channel. I try to add a new video at least once per week…time permitting.