People are normally clear about what they are passionate about. Hence they are clear about the topics they would be best Blogging about.
What´s a bit hazy to some of them is:
- What additional pages should their Blog site deliver
- Why should their Blog site deliver those additional pages
This happens because while people are often very good at their core topic(s), they just a little puzzled about additional pages their Blog site must deliver and why. Often first time Bloggers need reassurance that specific additional pages actually add value to their Blog site and by projection to their Blog site visitors.
I recommend that those starting to Blog for the first time do a careful page analysis of Blog sites which deliver similar or parallel content. What they have to do is simply make a list of all additional pages on he Blog sites they are analyzing.
When they do this for about 5 to 10 Blog sites, they will be able to recognize a definite pages pattern, simply because there will be common pages ( and page content ) across all the Blogs they are analyzing. Hence, it stands to reason that their Blog site should also have a similar number of pages.
After making such an effort, some individuals, are more puzzled then ever about the specific value addition that these pages bring to their Blog site.
Hence, I thought I’d list out the essential additional pages that any Blog site must deliver. These additional pages actually encourage Blog site visitors to revisit often. This is the very special value add to the Blog site and by projection to its visitors.
I’m also sharing my reasons why I consider these additional pages important to any Blog site.
A Home Page
Your Blog site Home page and your Blogsite Posts page must be different.
First time Bloggers tend to neglect their Blog site, Home page, which is not a good thing to do. The Blog site, Home page is often the very first page that a site visitor lands on when coming in from Search Engine Result Pages ( SERPs ).
Site visitors, driven to the Blog site via SERPs, are tempted to stay read the Blog posts as well as navigate through the Blog site because of the content its – Home page. Hence, a Blog site´s Home page is pretty important. As a Blog site owner you must spend a sufficient amount of time making the Blog site, Home page, aesthetically pleasing with great content.
A Blog site, Home page must spell out exactly what the Blog has to offer. This message must be short, precise and crisp. Site visitors have horribly short attention spans. Most site visitors spend between 5 to 15 seconds on a landing page ( i.e. Home page ), before deciding to continue on the Blog site or navigate away.
5 to 15 seconds is really very little time in which to Sell The Blog site to a site visitor. Fortunately there are several things that a Blog site owner can do to capture and hold the attention of the Blog site visitor.
- Make sure that the Home page does not have a ton of information. Most site visitors cannot take in a whole lot of information quickly. This also makes the Blog site Home page vertically long.
- Do not have a clutter of paragraphs, with spelling mistakes and bad Grammar. This makes for a horrendous Home page. This is a sure shot way of sending Blog site visitors away.
- As far as possible deliver Home page content in the form of bulleted text. This makes the content a lot crisper to read. It also reduces the vertical size of the Home page as well.
- Have a well laid out Menu system.
- Ensure that it is simple and intuitive to navigate, without too sub-menus. Remember that most Blog site visitors want to reach the information they came looking for within one or two key clicks.
- A great way to turn off a Blog site visitor is to have them them navigate through menu items, and associated sub-menu items. Do your very best to help a site visitor find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Neither you nor your site visitor will ever regret the effort you put in to make this happen.
The Home page is a great place to display excerpts of your latest Blog posts, with a read more link. This tells a site visitor that you are an active Blogger and that they have access to the latest information on your Blog site.
Google ( and all other search engines ), love to access the latest Blog posts. The search engines register that your Blog site has fresh content, regularly inserted, and return to re-index your Blog site often. This is great for the Blog site, page rank within the search engines.
Have the Home page display featured posts. If a site visitor can quickly locate what they are looking for they will stay on the Blog site. Find creative and aesthetic ways of displaying featured posts. Featured posts are normally extracted from various categories creatively and aesthetically.
For WordPress, there are a ton of plugins available that can handle the job of displaying featured posts. Use them. This will pay off handsomely when visitor bounce rate reduces sharply, and your Blog’s search engine page rank goes up exponentially.
Create different and interesting categories on your Blog. All Blog software permits this. Bind appropriate Blog posts under each category. This approach helps site visitors to locate what want quickly. However, a word of caution, creating too many categories could fragment Blog posts.
A rule of thumb taken from experienced Bloggers, having too many categories on the Blog could be an indication that the core topic being Blogged about is too broad. Maybe some pruning of the core topic would be worth it.
RSS feeds are pretty straight forward to set up. All Blog delivery software such as WordPress, My Blog have made delivering an RSS feed a two click job.
All Blogs must deliver an RSS feed to their Blog readers. Place an RSS link on the Blog site in such a way that your Blog site visitors can subscribe to Blog post content delivered via an RSS feed using a single click. Make the link as obvious / convenient as possible for Blog site visitors to subscribe to the Blog’s RSS feed.
About Us Page
The About Us page is a much viewed page on any Blog. Blog site visitors are almost always curious to know who you are, what your pedigree is, and only then make a decision to read your Blog.
The About Us page content must be a great advert for yourself ( i.e. the Blogger ). Sell your academics, work experiences, life experiences, personal information and other interesting stuff about yourself on the About Us page.
Site visitors often – Get A Feel – of who you are when they read the About Us page on a Blog site. Blog site visitors often begin to trust the Blogger after reading the About Us page on the Blog.
Product/Service Promotion Page
Some Bloggers may have product(s) or Service(s) that they want to promote on their Blog site.
Perhaps they have written an E-book that they wish to sell. Perhaps they are interested in selling their services as consultants. They may want to promote an E-Learning course they have created and so on.
Placing such information in a Blog post, will make it impossible to find after a short period of time has passed.
Create a separate Product / Service promotion page. Next display a well crafted and aesthetically pleasing link in the Blog sidebar, for every Blog site visitor to locate and navigate to with ease.
If you have products or services that you would like site visitors to promote via their Blog / websites then create an affiliates page on your Blog site.
Ensure that the page content is explicit on how becoming an affiliate will benefit the site visitor.
Make site visitors an offer they would find hard to turn down. Having a ton of affiliates, marketing your products / services is great for business.
This is a page that all Blog site visitors navigate to and sign up for your newsletter, ( i.e. voluntarily subscribe to your mailing list ). Should a site visitor wish to link to your squeeze page make it simple to do so. They are then actively marketing your squeeze page via their Blog / Websites.
Whenever anyone subscribes to the mailing list, it’s always great if they are re-directed to a Subscription confirmation required page. This is a custom coded HTML page that reminds the subscriber that they will receive an Email which contains a link in its content.
Only when this link is clicked on will the subscription be confirmed.
Only after a confirmation of their Email address will they start receiving the ( Email based ) newsletter.
The page could explain that this is largely for their own safety, i.e. This approach helps prevent anyone who knows your Email ID from registering for a ton of perfectly useless newsletters on your behalf and flooding / crashing your web server’s mailbox.
Thank You For Subscribing Page
After someone completes the Subscription confirmation of their Email ID, they should be re-directed to a customized Thank you page. This is a really nice touch. Most Newsletter subscription systems permit this.
Already Subscribed Page
Sometimes, the same person tries to subscribe to your Newsletter more than once. Most modern Newsletter subscription software can detect this. If this happens then it’s perfect to have the individual re-directed to a You are already subscribed HTML page.
A contact page empowers a site visitor to get in touch with you. This page provides a convenient way to engage your site visitor in a conversation.
It’s also a good idea to indicate all the social networking websites that you have an account on.
Advertising Space Page
If you offer advertising space on you Blog, which is one way of monetizing your Blog, ensure that you have a Advertising Space Page on your Blog site. This page must explain exactly what someone has to do to advertise their products / service on your Blog site.
It’s a really great idea to have a Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ ) page on your Blog site. This is especially true if you’ve noticed that a lot of your site visitors are posting the same questions to you repeatedly. An FAQ page helps by providing standard answers to frequently asked blog site visitor questions.
A sitemap is an important page for any Blog site. The site map page helps search engines traverse through your Blog site and index its pages with the greatest of ease. This makes it a whole lot easier for potential internet information seekers to locate your Blog site using search engines.
Site visitors also find a site map very useful. They can locate information they are looking for via the sitemap. There are multiple plugins for WordPress that help automate Sitemap generation for your Blog.
404 – Customized Page Not Found – Error Page
A 404 page ( i.e. Page Not Found – error page ) is a page that is displayed by a webserver, whenever a site visitor clicks on a link which is broken.
It’s a great idea to create a custom 404 page instead of depending upon the default 404 error page delivered by the web server.
A custom 404 can carry content that would be a whole lot simpler to understand for the Blog site visitor than the default 404 error page of the web server.
These are some of the pages that your Blog should have. They help in giving your Blog a nice fleshed out look and feel. You also know the reasons why these pages should be on your Blog. Now feel free to pick and choose any / all of the pages I’ve described and ensure that they exist on your Blog. Believe me they do make a big difference.
Why not share the pages you have on your Blog in the comment section. This will be a valuable learning for all those who read this Blog post. Thanks.