3 Must-Have Elements for Your Blog Design

Friday, July 24, 2009

When you are hiring a blog designer, here are three things to keep in mind as you collaborate on what your blog will look like and how it will function.  While it is important for your blog to be aesthetically pleasing, it is also important for it to be findable in search engines under every day search terms that your clients will use.

A Working RSS Feed at the Top of the Page
The RSS feed is what allows readers to subscribe to your blog so that they can easily receive updates via email, Google Reader, or another reader.  Your RSS feed should be at the TOP of your blog, not buried at the bottom of the page or at the bottom of your sidebar. It's okay if it's at the bottom, but only if that is not the sole place it appears.

I recommend setting up your feed through Feedburner and not using the general feed your blog will give you.  There are other feed services out there, but I prefer Feedburner because it offers a simple-to-use automated email delivery subscription service (for example, everyone who has subscribed to Think Splendid via email receives an email each morning with the most recent blog updates and I don't have to do a thing to make that happen except write the posts). I also like it because it was recently purchased by Google and I love them about as much as I love Apple products and good coffee. 

Post Title Permalinks with the Keywords In Them
When you click on the permalink or title for a blog post to pull up its own page, it should have the words in the post's title incorporated so that it looks similar to this:
http://www.thinksplendid.com/2009/07/how-social-media-forces-you-to-be-more.html

If your post links currently look similar to the link below, the coding on your blog needs to be fixed so that it looks like the above example:
http://www.thinksplendid.com/index.cfm?postID=627

Search engines give more weight to keywords in the title link, so make sure that yours are coded properly!

Your Previous Blog's Posts
If you are designing a new blog and are switching to a Wordpress.org (not .com) platform (which I recommend as it is hands down the most powerful blogging platform available), make sure to migrate all your old blog's posts over to the new one.  Wordpress has a plug-in that makes this process relatively simple and painfree.  This will give your current blog more data for the search engines to crawl, and more importantly it keeps your traffic consolidated to one site, which is important for tracking and analytics. 

If your blog designer insists that any of these are not important, hire a new one. After all, if your blog is pretty but it doesn't come up until page 60 on Google, does it really matter?

What are some other must-have elements you would recommend for a blog?

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