15 Things Your New Blog Needs For Success
If you’ve recently created your own WordPress blog – well done, you’re one step further into the blogosphere! Now, as you’re still getting to grips with maintaining and building your own blog, there are a number of additional things you can do to help increase the success of your blog, and reduce potential headaches further down the line.
From increasing your Google rankings to protecting the security of your blog, there’s a vast array of things you can utilize, so we’ve put together some top tips below, including some of the best plugins that are available through WordPress.
1. Review Your Competition
Before you start blogging, make sure you’ve checked out all of your competitors first, because you need to stand out from the crowd. Analyze what keywords they’re using, what backlinks they’re placing in their work and what these backlinks are related to.
Top recommendation for competitive data:
2. Visual Content
This has been important for several years now because of how effectively images convey a message and engage your audience. And, with the rise of Instagram, Pinterest etc. it doesn’t look set to slow down, so purchasing images to use on your site or taking your own when you create a blog is a must. Don’t forget to share these on your social media pages too.
Top recommendation for stock images:
3. Be Contactable
As you’re learning how to create a blog, getting feedback and being able to hear from people who have been on your site is invaluable. Add a simple contact page to your blog using the WordPress plugin Contact Form 7; this is a popular plugin with WordPress users as it can be customized to requirements.
As mentioned before, using keywords to create a blog that will rival your competitors is crucial and the plugin WP Keyword Suggest can help you do just that. It’s designed to help offer you keyword suggestions and ideas, which will ultimately help to improve your Google rankings and make it easier for your readers to find.
5. Mobile Friendly
If you want to know how to start a blog, one of the most important things you can do is ensure that your blog is mobile platform friendly. As many of those visiting your site will be using tablets and mobile phones, your blog needs to perform well on these. Using the plugin WP Rocket can help to improve your functionality and provide a better user experience.
6. Link Building
Just as keywords are an essential part of your SEO so too is link building, which involves getting hyperlinks that link to your blog from other websites. As search engines will crawl these links on websites, they will see how many are linking to your blog and what quality they are. In essence, the more high-quality backlinks you have to your site, the better you will rank. You can use a WordPress plugin like LinkPatrol to improve this linking strategy and whilst it is a premium plugin, it’s a must if you want to get ahead with your links.
Another recommendation for researching backlinks:
7. Broken Links
As important as it is to build links, it’s equally as important to remove any broken links from your blog. Not only are they annoying for people using your blog, but they can have a negative impact on your SEO and Google rankings too. So, utilize a plugin like Broken Link Checker to indicate where these hidden nasties are.
8. Website Security
Whilst you may have cryptic passwords for your WordPress site, you’ll still be vulnerable to attack, so it’s imperative that you install a form of security on your blog. WordFence Security is highly recommended and helps to block malicious networks, checking for any potential threats and more.
9. Backup Your Website
Once you’ve gone to all of the efforts you have to create a blog, the last thing you need is for all of this to disappear into cyberspace, which is why you need to perform regular backups. There are a number of plugins you can use to do this, including VaultPress, which not only provides you with automated backups of your blog but daily security scans too.
10. Removing Spam
There’s nothing more annoying than comment spam and with your WordPress blog, you’ll find there are hundreds of pieces of junk mail that come through. However, there are plugins that can help you get rid of these so you don’t have to manually do it yourself – try something like Akismet as this will remove comment spam and can be set to delete any junk without you having to see it.
11. Internal Linking
Integrating internal links into your blog is another crucial element as it not only helps with the navigation of your site but will also help pass ‘link juice’ (ranking power) through to your other pages. A valuable plugin when it comes to building links is RB Internal Links, which will help you to manage these internal links within your blog. It works by using the ID of your blog posts, rather than the URLs, which will reduce the risk of unsightly 404s if you make any changes to your blog.
Monitoring all aspects of SEO for your blog, from the Meta titles to your linking strategy, can often be a bit of a minefield; however, with plugins like Yoast SEO, you can tie all of this together into a manageable form. It’s available as a paid and free plugin, so you can utilize this to help with your SEO as much as you require.
13. Checking Your Sitemap
You may think you’ve done everything in your power to optimize your website, but if your sitemap isn’t clear, it can make crawling your website difficult, thus affecting your rankings. Creating an XML sitemap on your blog will help to ensure that it’s easy to read and crawl.
14. Regenerating Your Thumbnails
Once you’ve gone to all the effort you have to create a blog, the last thing you need are thumbnails and images that look blurry and messy when you decide to change themes. That’s why it’s important to have a tool like the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin, which will help to remove this problem and regenerate your images into each new theme you choose.
15. Caching Your Blog
Your blog needs to be reliable and fast or your readers might leave before the pages have even loaded, so think about utilizing a plugin that will cache your website. Try WP Super Cache, which is incredibly easy to use and will help to keep your website up to speed.
Making your blog stand head and shoulders above the rest is easy when you know how and you can find more priceless tips on our website, How to Start a Blog 101.