Tuesday, June 5, 2012

MUST-HAVES For Your Blog

~ Please permit me a mini-rant this month. ~

First of all let me say that I LOVE blogging and I LOVE reading blogs and encouraging other writers/bloggers. I'm serious y'all - I LOVE IT. But I'm growing increasingly frustrated because so many people lack of a couple of critical blog elements.


I'm constantly amazed at how many bloggers DON'T have their name anywhere on their home page! I can't tell you how many "site safaris" I've gone on in search of a name!

Your name should be visible somewhere near the top of your sidebar or
on your top menu on a tab/page. Lots of bloggers have their name in their header, which is helpful, but that's a personal preference. (I love the one on my SusanStilwell.com site.) Even if your name is in your header, it still needs to be SOMEWHERE in the TOP your sidebar.


Nobody cares that you don't look like Brad or Angelina, but it is helpful to be able to put a name with a face, especially if you link to other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. It's really helpful if you use the same profile pictures. It gives you a more uniform, professional look and therefore a more professional social media presence.

If you don't have a photo, check out Step 5 on my tabs: Add Your Picture. Let people get to know you!

Follow by Email

Since not everyone is savvy with Reader and other news aggregators, give them the option of subscribing to your blog. That way they will be notified by email each time you post.

If you'd like to GET savvy and learn how to read all your blogs in one place, check out my easy-to-follow tutorial: Tips on Using Google Reader. Learning to use this handy-dandy utility will save you a TON of time!

Last Minute Rant Items

Fonts: PLEASE use an easy-to-read sans-serif font as your Page Text. The absence of the serif really does make your blog more readable. You can stick with an old-school Arial or Trebuchet, or try out something newer like Droid Sans or Nobile. Check out my post for more details: Design Tips - Fonts.

Comments: Allow them! Blogging is about community and it's rude to hog the stage. Even if it IS your stage. Bloggers are an encouraging group, so let them share their thoughts! Here are some helpful hints: Comments and Notifications Settings.

Links to Other Social Media Sites: If you have a Twitter account or a Facebook page, add that gadget so your readers can follow you.

Thanks for bearing with me and letting me get that off my chest. I feel MUCH better. Check back next month when I'll talk about Link-Ups!


I appreciate your comments and feedback - please leave yours below!


  1. Susan,

    Thanks for your step by step help with blog design. I am also teaching a hands-on workshop this summer and will give your blog as a reference for them to use once they go back home.



    1. Thanks so much, Jeanne! I'm going to be polishing up some of the earlier posts and improving the screen shots. I appreciate the referrals!

  2. You know I love and appreciate your knowledge in this area. You are my hero!

    1. Thanks, Di -- You're sweet!! But you know I'm nobody's hero -- Just sharing techie tidbits as I think of them! Come back next month and comment on Link-ups. Lots to share about that, and your'e doing a great job with that on your site!

  3. You are allowed a rant or two! Since I've been a devout follower form the beginning, I think I have all these items covered - but I'll check just to be sure ;). Future post ideas: link ups, adding a "labels" gadget, blog hops, and how excited should we get about those "blogger awards."? Thanks Blogmama!

  4. And, how do I get that cool little Pinterest button? Add This?

  5. LOL Julia, you're at the top of the class!! Link-ups is scheduled for next month, so stay tuned.

    And yes - The Pinterest button is available from AddThis. And I see you added the "follow me" button on your sidebar -- woohoo!!

  6. Susan Great information! I will be using your blog as a guide to improve mine! :D

  7. Thank you for posting this. I am trying to build my readership but I am trying to do it right. =)

  8. Awesome thoughts! Thank you talented lady!

  9. This is perfect timing as I'm really trying to use my blog more effectively. I've love blogging but spend so much time writing my post that I run out of time in the day to work on my book, so then I skip writing on my blog. Ugh! I think the more I learn of effective blogging, the easier it will get to stay faithful. You're a big help! Thanks! If you have any suggestions on my blog, I'd love to hear from you! www.jeanwilund.com


Thanks for the feedback!