51 Ways to Explode Your Blog’s Awesomeness

How do you create an awesome blog?

Great content is the cornerstone, of course.

But once you’ve got great content, then it’s all the little things here and there that add up to explode into awesomeness!

Here’s my list of 51 ways to make your blog more awesome.

I’ve linked some of them to previous blog posts where I explained how to do things, to other resources, or the plugins or themes I’ve mentioned.

Get Setup

Because it’s Where You’ve Got to Start

1. Get your own domain name.

2. Host your blog yourself and use WordPress.

Get Customized

Because Branding Matters–Be Unique

3. Get your own logo or header banner designed. (Try Fiverr for inexpensive graphics design if you’re just getting started, if you’ve got the budget hire a good designer.)

4. Customize your theme.  (I recommend Genesis Framework & StudioPress Themes.)

Genesis Framework for WordPress

5. Modify your colors and fonts so they’re easy to read and compliment your graphics.

6. Make your links a different color and/or underlined so they’re easy to identify.

7. Add a copyright date and info to the footer of your page.

8. Add appropriate disclaimers and legal information to the footer of your pages.

Get the Basics in Place

Because You’ve Got to Have the Foundation

9.  Give visitors a reason to share your content.

10. Choose a social sharing plugin like SexyBookmarks to install.

11. Install CommentLuv.

12. Consider DoFollow links.

13. Add a “Subscribe to Comments” feature.

14. Make your site easy to navigate.

15. Add a search box.

16. Make sure you’ve got spam control in place.

17. Add a contact form so visitors can contact you easily.

18. Add links to your social networking profiles.

19. Create a cool “About Me” page.

Get Creating

Because Great Content is What Your Readers Want

20. Add new content on a consistent schedule.

21. Use images in your blog posts to grab the reader’s attention.

22. Consider audio and video posts for variety.

23. Invite guest bloggers and leverage their networks and promotion to get more traffic.

Get Out There & Get Listed

Because Every Link is Another Door For Traffic to Find You

24. Get listed in directories.

25. Promote your blog on sites like Blokube, BizSugar, etc.

Get Busy Promoting

Because They Won’t Come Unless You Tell Them It’s Here

26. Automate social network sharing.

27. Go comment on other blogs in your niche.

28. Get active in forums or groups to network.

29. Create a cool email signature and link to your blog (and last blog post) in your siggy.

30. Share your posts on social bookmarking sites (like StumbleUpon).

Get Interacting

Because it’s About Building Relationships

31. Make it easy for visitors to comment.

32. Make sure your theme supports threaded comments (where commenters can reply to each other) or install a plugin to enable it.

33. Create a comment policy.

Get Tracking

Because You’ve Got to Know What’s Working & What’s Not

34. Install Google Analytics or another stats plugin like JetPack. (Stats info.)

35. Use Lijit Search or Search Meter to see what your visitors are searching for.

36. Add the PostRank plugin to see which posts are really most popular (not just most visited, commented or tweeted).

Get Improving Your Skills

Because There’s Always Room to Grow

37. Learn to write better, faster.

38. Study basic SEO.

39. Install a good SEO plugin (like Scribe SEO).

Scribe. SEO Made Simple.

40. Practice writing headlines that rock.

41. Work to improve your editing process and copywriting skills (Premise from Copyblogger rocks at making it easy to create sales and landing pages–and it’s a plugin, not a theme, so you can keep the website style you like).

Premise Landing Pages Made Easy

42. Choose 1-3 blogging “mentors” to follow and subscribe to their blogs.  Watch what they doFigure out whyThen do it.

Get Building Your Fan Base

Because Fans Give You the Inspiration to Keep Blogging

43. Offer an easy button for visitors to subscribe via RSS reader. (I recommend FeedBurner–here’s why–but you can also do it with Aweber, MailChimp, and some other mailing services.)

44. Offer an email subscription for new blog posts.

45. Create a Facebook fan page for your blog.

46. Get on Twitter if you aren’t yet.

47. Get listed with NetworkedBlogs and add the follow box to your blog.  (Bonus tips for NetworkedBlogs.)

48. Write and submit guest posts to other sites with your best content.

49. Put together a freebie to offer new subscribers.

50. Reply to your commenters and get to know who’s commenting.

Get Your Blog Safe & Secure

Because it’s Awesome Not to Get Hacked or Crash

51. Install a backup plugin or know how to regularly backup your blog.

52. Secure your blog with security plugins.

53.  Keep everything up to date!

Your Turn

What would you add to this list?

Did you find anything you haven’t done yet, but will do to make your blog more awesome?

Photo Credit: Dolgachov/StockFresh

Comments

  1. says

    This is the most comprehensive to-do list for setting up and promoting a blog, that I’ve ever seen. Anyone interested in starting a blog or even improving an existing blog, will get all the info they need from this post. I know I’ll refer to it several times. Great job!
    Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 7 Stupid E-mail Mistakes to AvoidMy Profile

  2. says

    Hi,
    I am saving this blog to go through each of your points with my own blog.. Mine is a wordpress.com. I worry about having my own domain name does it really matter that much?
    I know my blog really needs some work with the content and I never seem to find a quick and easy way to deal with that and commenting on other peoples blogs.. So many jobs to do and not enough hours in the day!! LOL

    • says

      The biggest reasons I recommend your own domain and hosting space are: (1) ownership (right now your at wordpress’s mercy as far as owning the space goes–if they see a violation of their terms, get hacked, etc. your blog can be gone — and on your own hosting space you’re more in control), (2) brand building (all the links you build to your blog right now are actually to wordpress.com since the main URL), (3) freedom (with your own hosting space you’re free to use any templates and plugins you want and hack WP as much as you’d like to customize and power it up).

      That said, WordPress.com can be a great place to start blogging for personal bloggers especially. Here’s a comparison from WordPress: http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/ And here’s some info that’s important for business bloggers to know about WordPress.com: http://en.support.wordpress.com/advertising/ Basically you can’t run ads, affiliate links, etc on a WordPress.com blog and since I do, wordpress.com wouldn’t work for my blog (or I’d risk having it terminated for violating terms of use). Professional blogs are allowed (http://en.wordpress.com/types-of-blogs/) they just have to be careful not to violate the advertising terms.

      If only we had 48 hours days, right? LOL Or, an extra couple of hours at night where the clock pauses only for us! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Don’t Miss These Essential Plugins for Your BlogMy Profile

  3. says

    Hi Michelle,

    I immediately installed the security scan plugins on my site. Thanks for those. I am also considering installing the mod_security module on my Apache server – have you used it before?

    For a new blog with low PR and not many incoming back links is it a good idea to install comment luv? What are your thoughts on alternatives such as disqus?

    This list of resources and tips is so useful I have added it to my checklists notebook in Evernote. Awesome stuff.
    Danny recently posted… Famous Quotes By Five Famous PeopleMy Profile

    • says

      If you’re on a VPS/dedicated and have the ability to run phpsuexec or mod_security I’d look at it seriously.

      I’ve found CommentLuv to really work for motivating bloggers to comment. I think it depends on your target audience some though. If they’re going to be interested in building links back to their blogs, then they’ll love it. But if your audience isn’t blogging or doesn’t have websites, it may not have as much value for you. It won’t hurt to install it though and see whether your commenters use it. :) It also has the benefit of letting you add links to your other posts each time you comment back (like my link below to “Looking for Blog Post Ideas?”).

      Disqus is a nice system and works well for controlling spam. I used it for a month or two, then switched out of it mostly because I wanted CommentLuv back. If you do use it, I recommend not forcing people to login though. Let them comment with Name/URL as well as allowing the accounts. Otherwise a lot of people will skip commenting because they don’t want to create one more account/password and login before commenting.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Looking for Blog Post Ideas?My Profile

  4. says

    I am new to bloging so this will be a great help! Lots of things i didn’t know aboutand had just been wondering if i should get domain name, so thanks for the info.

  5. says

    Epically detailed! Dang!

    “Because it’s About Building Relationships” This is my favorite tip out of the whole page. You can do all of the rest, still get traffic, still generate prospects, but if you aren’t building relationships in the process – you may as well throw in the towel! It’s essential! :)

    Sweet stuff Michelle!

    • says

      Hey Diana, I have considered doing new windows for links. Would that be better for you? Or more annoying? I personally get annoyed when a website opens like a thousand new windows on me (lol – okay maybe not a thousand) but I can see where with something like this it would be frustrating to keep losing your place when you click through to the links. I’m open to feedback and doing the new window thing if it makes more sense. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Leadership Lessons From the Shirtless Dancing GuyMy Profile

  6. says

    Love this post!

    I jumped right in and started using your helpful advice. Especially: Get Out There & Get Listed, Get Improving Your Skills, and Get Creating.

    Thank you!

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