Sharlyn here. I ran across a video recently from Amy Schmittauer titled “My Blogging Essentials”. It’s worth viewing, especially if you’re thinking about including video blogging in your unretirement.
But it also sparked me to think of what my blogging essentials are. Because blogging is more than simply writing. It includes marketing and technology. You’ll want to look for things that will make your life easier on many fronts.
When I shared this post idea with Keith, we started thinking of our own blogging essentials list. I found that my go-to’s were more reader facing and his were more behind the scenes. So, for this post, I’m going to list my four blogging essentials and Keith will list his.
Sharlyn’s List of Blogging Essentials
- An easy way to subscribe. If you’re writing a blog, you want people to subscribe. Make sure your subscribe information is easy to locate. Have a handful of strangers try to find your subscribe button to confirm. Sometimes what we think stands out on the page, really doesn’t.
- Images! Articles with images get more page views and shares on social media. Don’t believe me? Here’s an article on “5 Powerful Reasons to Add Images to Your Blog Posts”. There are lots of royalty free image sites and you can always take your own pictures.
- Social sharing buttons. If you’re writing a blog, you want readers to share your work. Make it easy for them by having social share buttons with each post. Also make sure the share populates correctly. I can’t tell you how many times I click a share on Twitter button and what comes up doesn’t have a post title or the link or the Twitter account mention.
- A way for readers to mention you. Speaking of mentions, provide readers a way to give you a shout out on social media. Make it easy for them to know your Twitter handle or Facebook page. I know some people are anti-Twitter, but it is still a great way to market your blog.
Keith’s List of Blogging Essentials
- WordPress. There are many blogging platforms and they all have their pros and cons. But more than 75 million websites are built using WordPress – that’s nearly 20 percent of all sites on the interwebs. WordPress is intuitive, secure, agile, and easy to keep updated. That’s good enough for me.
- High quality theme. Many free themes can be found and many are probably pretty good. But this is where you need to think like a marketer. You want a theme that does a lot more than just look good. You need a mobile responsive design with clean SEO friendly code. It will cost a little, but it’s worth it.
- Image editing software. As Sharlyn mentioned, you want images in your posts and they need to be easily shared on social sites. Unfortunately, almost every platform prefers a different image size. Images can consume a lot of time if you don’t find helpful image editing software.
- SEO help. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been around for years. But it’s more important than ever to help you stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, there are many WordPress plugins and even themes that can guide you. Do your research and find quality help to take the guesswork out of SEO.
If you’re committing to blogging, commit to doing it right. That takes a little exploration, some learning, and a bit of financing. In the end, your efforts will be rewarded!