Last week, I showed you how to review your blog like a pro. I went over theme settings, WordPress settings, user profile settings, and recommended plugins for your website.
In case you missed part one you can read it here.
And now on to part two.
In this post I’m going to walk you through the SEO settings for your website, essential pages your website should have, recommend widgets and placement as well as other important notes.
Let’s get started!
How To Review Your Blog Like A Pro – SEO For Your Website
If you want your website to rank well in search engines, you need to optimize your website for it.
The way your site is configured, the content your write and how fast your site loads plays a major role in how your site ranks in search engines.
In part one I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin works particularly well with WordPress.
The plugin is easy to install and to configure but if you need help, Yoast has a great SEO for WordPress eBook available. It covers the SEO settings that are most important for your site to rank well.
Now let’s go over your site’s design and layout.
Design and Layout
When deciding on a theme be sure that it’s a mobile-friendly one. I haven’t come across a theme that isn’t but it still bears repeating.
A lot has changed in web design.
For example, push notifications lets folks know when you’ve published new content – that is trending big time right now. You can find a list of push notifications plugins in the plugin directory of WordPress.
Another thing that’s trending right now is chatbots. Chatbots help bloggers stay connected to their audience 24/7. They are designed to help bloggers convert their audience into subscribers and/or customers.
In the words of Woody from Toy Story when he wanted the toys to make sure they had a moving buddy, “if you don’t have one, get one!”
If you want to know more about chatbots, Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging wrote a great post about it called Why Should Bloggers Quickly Join the ChatBot Revolution.
Your website should include the following essential pages:
Your ‘about’ page should tell visitors who you are, what you do and how your own journey began.
When writing about yourself choose if you’ll tell your story in first person or in third person but don’t alternate between the two.
Talk about your passions and accomplishments but don’t embellish and don’t boast.
This is also the chance for your readers to get to know the person behind the blog so tell ‘em about yourself and what you do when you’re not blogging.
And just like you write a blog post, use your own voice.
You also want to include things like:
- An opt-in form to your mailing list
- Links to your social media pages (my friend Ravi put a great tutorial together to show you how to add your LinkedIn profile widget in WordPress)
- And some of your popular blog posts
A contact page is still an essential page a website should have.
Even if you use a chatbot to engage with your customers when you’re not online, think of your contact page as another way for potential clients, advertisers or readers to get in touch with you.
A landing page is used for lead generation to capture a visitor’s contact information. But a visitor isn’t going to just type in their info. You need to give ‘em a WIIFM – what’s in it for me.
Visitors will share their information with you if you give them something in return. Something of value, like an eBook, how-to guide, printables. Just make sure it’s something they need.
Some other things for your landing page:
- Keep it short and to the point
- Don’t include a lot of links that’ll prompt visitors to click off your landing page
- Add social media sharing links
I don’t have a landing page here but you bet your patootie I’ll have one up soon!
You can put anything on your homepage but I would recommend the following:
- Content offer like an eBook or guide
- Social Proof – think testimonials
- A Call to Action
- Accolades, recognitions
You will need to have the proper legal disclosures on your website.
This lets visitors know what kind of information you will collect, what you’re going to use their information for and how you will protect that information.
Other disclosures like an affiliate disclosure to let visitors know when you’re using links in a page or blog post that can result in a commission for you.
Now let’s move on to the navigation bar and categories.
Put the navigation where visitors can easily find it. A standard placement is usually across the top of the webpage or under the header but I have seen navigation menus placed vertically on a site as well. It’s what your preference is.
The only thing to keep in mind is to put it where it can be seen quick-style. If a visitor finds what he or she is looking for on your nav bar, it helps reduce bounce rate, increases page views and can improve conversion rate.
Here are a couple of best practice tips for creating an effective nav bar.
- Don’t overload the nav bar with too many items
- Use descriptive words, not common ones such as “products”
- And use keywords related to your niche when possible
Categories are used to group blog posts together that are within the same topic. This makes it easy for visitors to find your blog posts.
There isn’t a limit to the number of categories you can have. That all depends on what you’re blogging about. Just remember that a huge category list might overwhelm your visitors.
Some best practices when coming up with category names are:
- Use niche-related keywords when creating categories
- Keep category names to 1-2 words
- And use words your audience will be familiar with
There are a lot of keyword search tools you can use but the one bloggers are using now is Ubersuggest.
Now let’s go over widgets for your website.
Widgets are designed to give your blog extra features. You can place them wherever widget areas are placed on your theme, usually on the sidebar, footer, and on the homepage.
So what kind of widgets should you have on your site? Here’s what’s in:
- Popular posts
- Recent posts
- Featured page
- Search bar
- Opt-in form
- Social Media follow buttons
- A chatbot
What’s out are things like:
- Traffic stats
- Tag cloud
If you add widgets to the sidebar of your site be sure the order you put them in has some relevance.
For example, if you want to grow your email list, put the opt-in widget at the top. Below that you can put a social media follow widget, then a chatbot widget, and so on.
And now the piece de la resistance…your blog post format.
Blog Post Format
There are some key elements you should always include in a blog post. That’s the title (of course), subtitles, featured images, a close, a call to action.
Here’s a breakdown of each one.
When writing a blog post, keep these goals in mind:
- Keep a friendly, conversational tone.
- Make a connection with your reader by sharing a personal experience they can relate to.
- Deliver a clear message of the topic you’re blogging about.
- Point out any benefits to your reader.
- Provide helpful advice or easily-implemented how-to’s your readers can use right away.
First and foremost, your blog post has to have an attention-grabbing headline. It’s the first thing a reader sets their eyes on so you have to make sure your headline will get a reader’s interest to click over to your post.
If you ever get stuck writing a headline, and who hasn’t, help is just one click away. When I can’t come up with a topic to write about, I use Content Idea Generator.
All you do is type in a couple of keywords and it will generate a list of headlines/topic ideas.
Some folks tend to skim through a post. A good subtitle will let a reader know what you’re going to talk about next. Then he or she can read what part is relevant to them and continue skimming.
Subtitles are also picked up by search engine spiders. So be sure to use specific keywords in phrases of two to three words.
Format and Style
Don’t lose your readers with long paragraphs. Keep them to no more than three sentences.
Add subtitles to introduce a new paragraph or section of your blog post.
And put some style in your content with text formatting like <H2>, <H3> or
H1: This is the main title
If you have a WordPress blog, the WP Edit plugin adds more editing features such as text format to the WordPress editor.
After you install the plugin, go to the WP Editor settings. Under the “buttons” tab, just drag and drop the “Formats” or “Paragraph” buttons from the button container to the button rows.
Every blog post should have at least one featured image. The images you use for your blog post should be relative to the topic of the post and connect emotionally with readers.
Images should also be optimized for SEO. Make sure to include keywords in the title of the image as well as the alt description text.
Call To Action
Now that you’ve connected with your reader, it’s time for call to action. This is where you either get your reader to buy a product or subscribe to your mailing list. A Call to Action is placed at the end as part of the closing text and should be written in a way that will tempt a reader to, well, take action.
For example, if the goal is to get a reader to subscribe to your newsletter you can write: “Subscribe to our newsletter to get more posts like this when it’s hot off the press! Click here to subscribe.”
Tags and Categories
Add associated tags and categories. Remember those keywords when tagging your blog posts.
Keep readers on your site after reading your blog post with a list of related posts. Showing related content helps reduce bounce rate and increase pageviews.
If you use the Jetpack plugin, you can turn on the related post feature in their settings tab.
But if you don’t, you can use one of 9 of the best related post plugins WPKube blogged about earlier this year.
Finish your blog post format with a comments section. A comments section is THE place where your will build your community and engage with your audience.
There are lots of comment systems for your blog. The most popular ones are
- Jetpack comments feature
- Facebook comments
There are other comment systems available. For a list of those you can read the post by Kinsta that gives an in-depth look at the four best WordPress Comment Systems.
If you want your business to be recognized and win customers, you need a brand.
A brand is made up of a logo, images, a tagline, and colors that represent your business.
When visitors land on your website are they going to see images and colors that reflect what your business is about?
Does your logo represent your business and can it be seen by visitors?
How about your tagline? Does your tagline deliver a clear message about your business?
These are the things you should ask yourself when you review your blog.
Wrapping It Up
To wrap things up, here are some other notes for your blog review:
When selecting a color palette, stay away from loud and dark colors.
Use fonts that are legible and avoid typography such as Comic Sans and Amatic SC – unless your site calls for it like a children’s party planner website.
Keep banner ads to a minimum. For two reasons, one too many ads can slow down your site’s page load speed. And the other, it can distract readers from your content.
Free Download & Special Offer!
I know the last two posts covered a lot of information and there was quite a bit to soak in. But not to worry, I have something for you!
I’ve put a DIY Blog Review checklist in a PDF document so you can follow along with the blog posts.
If you’d like a copy enter your name and email address below and I’ll email it to you along with a special offer!
Over To You
Well that does it for the DIY Blog Review series. I really hope you found the posts helpful. Don’t forget to get the free download!
Before you go, I would really appreciate it if you shared this post with other bloggers on social media. Thanks!