12 Elements of a Successful Blog

It seems like everywhere you turn, people are telling you, if you want to market your business online, you need a blog.

They’re right.

But just having a blog won’t cut it- there are some essential elements that your blog needs if you want to maximize its potential.

There are a ton of things I could mention, but I want to stick with the basics in this post:

 1.

 Blog Header 

This is the first thing that you notice when you go to a site, right?  Lots of people have their picture in their header.  I think this is a great idea.

Why?

Well, Transparency is key online.  People want to see the person behind the computer.  And seeing your smiling mug in the header is a great way to start earning your readers’ trust. 

In your blog header, you’ll want to put your website’s name and perhaps a “Tagline” to let the reader know what they can expect on your site.  For example, mine says “Empowering Entrepreneurs to Build Their Brand Online”.

Having a nice blog header can really set the tone for a visitor. If you have just the standard boring type without any customization, it can indicate that you are just starting out, and perhaps don’t know much (even if you do!).

I think that having a professionally designed header is a solid investment – and will assist in positioning you as a go-to person in your market because it adds “legitimacy.”

 2.

 Opt-In Form

If you’ve been in this industry for any length of time, you’ve probably heard that:

“The Money’s In the List”

To grow a list, you need a way of capturing people’s information.  Most autoresponder systems allow you to create a form to put on your blog to capture your prospect’s information.

If you’re just starting out, you can just say something simple like:

“Subscribe to My Newsletter for the Latest Home Business Building Tips”

Ideally, though, you are going to want to have a “free offer” (i.e, eBook or video) to offer your prospect in exchange for their contact information.

3.

Syndication Widgets 

The power of Social Media is ENORMOUS!  The best way to reach a larger audience is to have your readers share your content with their friends.  The way to do this is through syndication widgets. 

Here are my favorite syndication Plug-Ins on WordPress:

Sexy Bookmarks- A list of buttons that appear at the bottom of your posts.

Tweet Meme:  The little “Tweet This” button at the top (or bottom) of your posts and pages.  When a reader pushes the button, it will allow them to connect to their Twitter account, and then it automatically posts your post title and  a link to your post/video in their Twitter feed.

FB Meme:  Like the Tweet Meme, this is the little Facebook syndication button that you can put at the top or bottom of your posts and pages. When a reader pushes the button, it connect s them to their Facebook profile, and allows them to Post your article on their wall.

4.

Social Profiles 

You need to have links to your social sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked In, etc.) on your blog, so that your readers can connect with you in other ways. 

  Two great Plug-Ins which allow you to have the “Social Icon” buttons that linke to your social profiles are:

Social Bookmarks

Cute Profiles

 

5.

Your Story 

Like I said, transparency is crucial! Your readers want to know more about you- what your story is and why they should listen to you.  Your personality should shine through your story. 

 

If you prefer, shoot a video and just tell your readers your story- all the better! 

6.

 Contact Form 

Posting your email address can be a bit hazardous because sneaky SPAMbots (or whatever they’re called) can snatch your email address and start spamming you like crazy. 

 

Unfortunately people know this and use that as an excuse not to put any contact information on their blog.  If you want to talk to prospects- they need to be able to get in touch with you!  So at a minimum, put a contact form. 

There are several contact form Plug-ins for WordPress like Custom Contact Form, or Contact Form 7.

7.

Your Business Information 

Sometimes people get a little too carried away with the whole “don’t lead with your opportunity” and literally are afraid to mention their opportunity anywhere on their site. 

 

That’s not good- if your goal is to build your downline, right?!?   ; ) 

So, consider a “Partner With Me” or “Work With Me” Page on your blog, where you can either have prospects apply to work with you, or just simply review information about your business opportunity.

8. 

Ways  For People to Buy Stuff From You

Similarly, people are also so worried about providing only value, that they forget that they can and should sell stuff too! 

 

Trust me, if you provide enough value, someone (or lots of someones) are going to be thrilled to be able to repay the favor by purchasing something from you.

I remember one person in particular, that Rich and I got so much value from, that we felt compelled to buy from them as a “Thank You” for the great things we learned for free!

9.

Good Content 

Ok, this may be obvious, but I had to include it on the list!  Just spamming articles about your opportunity won’t help you build a large readership.  I mean, do you want to watch a TV program made up of nothing but commercials?  Not me (unless it’s that show about funny advertisements) ; )

 10.

Clean Layout 

Make your blog “easy on the eyes”.  If you have a ton of animation, ads, pictures, etc, people aren’t going to want to stay on your blog for very long.  You have to make visiting your blog an enjoyable experience for your reader. 

Don’t make them wade through the ads to get to a piece of content.

Avoid having a black website with write writing too- that’s not a fun read either!

11.

Comments 

You must allow your readers to comment on your posts!  In fact, what’s best is if you get the Comment Luv plug-in for WordPress.  This plug-in allows your readers to insert their website address when leaving a comment, and it automatically pulls in their latest post at the bottom of their comment- providing them with a link to their article on your blog.

Why does this matter?

Well, for one, when you go and comment on other people’s blogs- your latest post will show up on their site! 

Secondly, having a potential link on your site is an incentive for people to comment on your content.  The more comments you get, the higher your “social proof”.  People can’t help but want to be part of “the crowd”- and when you’ve got lots of comments, people want to be “in on the action.” 

With that said, make sure that you respond to comments that you receive too. It’s a way to interact with your readers and  once again let your personality shine through!

12.

Legal Stuff

If you are providing business advice or selling products or services (even if you haven’t made one red cent yet) you need to have certain disclosures on your website.  Sadly, a lot of people in our industry believe that they only need to worry about this stuff once they make a lot of money.

 

WRONG. 

If you make some claim (i.e, that Moon Juice cures cancer) and someone takes action based on your advice, and gets deathly ill….guess who can be sued? YOU!

 

Now, I know that lawyers can be a bit expensive, and fortunately, I was able to locate a great alternative if your budget is tight:  A product that generates the necessary forms for you based on your particular business!  Just go to http://www.mylegalformgenerator.com

PS:  Yes, this is my affiliate link and I will receive a commission if you buy through that link (thanks!), but I happen to know the creator of these forms, and he’s a fellow SMU Law alum AND focuses exclusively on Internet law.  As with any product, you need to do your due diligence before spending your hard earned money! J

PPS: See that paragraph above?  You need to make sure that when you post links to products that you have a financial incentive for recommending (or if you get a product for free in exchange for your review) you must disclose this fact to your readers!

Did I miss anything? Like this article?  Let me know what you think by sharing your comments below!

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13 Responses to “12 Elements of a Successful Blog”

  1. Cindy Says:

    printed the whole thing and going to implement it!!! Goal is to get the blog up and running!! Thanks for all the advice!

  2. Natasha Nassar Says:

    Any time Cindy! I know your blog is going to be great! :)

  3. Janette Stoll Says:

    Hi Natasha,

    Excellent list of tips on blogging! I’m glad you brought up the disclosure for affiliates. I usually add affiliate in parentheses. I think people don’t because they think people won’t buy if they know they’ll get a commission for it. What are your thoughts?

    Thank you for sharing!

    Janette Stoll

  4. Natasha Nassar Says:

    Janette-
    That’s a great observation! You know, I haven’t seen any noticable decline in my affiliate sales as a result of the disclosure. That’s probably because of a couple of things: 1) People who follow my blog know that I’m not the person who’s always touting “the next big thing”. So, if your readers know and trust you- they not only will not be discouraged to buy the product, they’ll want to- as a “thank you” for the value you provide to them! 2) I usually mention something like- “I would recommend this product even if I wasn’t being compensated- but as with anything that you spend your hard-earned money on, make sure to do your due diligence to ensure that the product/service is right for you”.

    As with everything online- Trust is the key!

    All my best,
    Natasha

  5. Dela Says:

    Great post…thank you! I especially appreciate the legal info. Best to you! Dela Soumitte

  6. Larry Says:

    Natasha,

    Recently purchased the gold package and I am going through it now. I have been in the network marketing industry part time for 3 years now. Sponsored a few people. I am getting frustrated doing this kind of marketing. I created a blog
    and just started blogging before I purchased the gold package. My question on
    my blog. I created it on bloggers.com. The question is how do I get people to
    first read the first post first instead of the very recent one? Because I noticed when I do a post on my blog it goes on the top of all the other posts.
    Is there a way to create links of my older blogs -placing those older links to the side of my blog? Any help is welcome, thanks.

  7. Ted Says:

    Hi Natasha,

    Thanks for this information. I have been reviewing my blog and finding ways to make improvements.

    Ted
    Ted recently posted..Optimize Press Review-How to Create a Capture Page Using WordPress

  8. Natasha Nassar Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it Ted! : )

  9. Candice Michelle Says:

    It is my first time to understand how important disclosure is. It is a good thing that you’ve mentioned it because if not, probably a lot of people online will sure endanger their reputation and business.
    Candice Michelle recently posted..שליחת SMS

  10. Roger Reed Says:

    Thanks for the blog info… Just reaffirms what I need to do for my own blog. Looks like its time to find a designer!

  11. Monique Hackett Says:

    Wow great info and in the right time, i am in the middle of setting up my blog Thanks Natasha you are awesome!

  12. chad and janet Says:

    Please take a look at our blog. We are new at this and are looking for some feedback on how we are doing. We’ve only done 8 blogs in the last 10 days, we think we are heading down the right path but could use some guidance on where/what we could improve on.

    Thank you,

    Chad and Janet
    chad and janet recently posted..Touching Lives with SendOutCards

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