10 Characteristics of a Blog That’s Bound To Be Successful

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It's not enough to simply write. Successful blogs all have similar characteristics that make them stand out. Implementing these tips might just help you become one of the great ones.

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A good blog post contains a lot of different qualities. They’re well written, aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate among other things. Depending on the type of blog you’re looking to create, your approach is going to be different.

But what are the main characteristics of a blog that stands out? One constant across all great blogs is this: relevant content with a unique personal touch.

Implementing some of these features into your blog will definitely help your readers overall experience. Here are ten main characteristics of a blog you’ll want to take note of.

Simple and unique design

Most blogs are going to have a design that doesn’t tire your eyes out. Facebook pioneered the timeline that’s now used unanimously across most social media platforms. When it comes to blogging however, design can be a bit different.

For example, social media companies usually have their navigation bar on both sides of the page, with the timeline being straight down the middle. For someone reading content from a desktop device this makes a lot of sense.

A simple and clean website by Paul Jarvis
This is how Paul Jarvis’ personal website used to look. Very clean and simple.

For 2BuilldAWebsite, you can see that we opted for a straight down the middle approach with the content slightly off centered and to the left a bit.

The reason behind this is because english readers are typically going to be reading left to right. It didn’t really make sense to add navigation down the middle because then it would crowd our table of contents on the right.

We took this design approach from Medium.com, a publishing platform for readers and dynamic thinkers, has spent millions in their formatting, font and overall UX/UI design. This has ensured that our web design was clean and simple.

Great blogs follow the same design principles. They usually have one or two action colors and the rest of the website is black, white or grey. Not only are the layouts of the website simple but so are the color schemes.

When it comes to blog design, less is more.

Easy navigation

Depending how big your website is, you may or may not have drop down sub-menu’s. For bigger websites like Amazon, you’ll notice that they have these crazy mega-menu’s.

A standard blog is going to have a clear and concise menu structure. This is going to be in the form of your header menu (the menu at the top) and possibly a footer menu (the one at the bottom of each page or post).

Header Menu Example
Simple menu header example from TravelWanderlust.com

Website header example

  • Home
  • About
  • Blog
  • Contact Pages
  • Resources

You might even have a tab on your header menu that navigates users to an individual landing page where readers can enter their name and email. These are the general characteristics of a blog that you’ll often see.

Footer Menu Example
Clean footer menu from TravelWanderlust.com

Footer menu’s usually contain your privacy policy, terms of use, disclosures and more legalities than anything. Or it could be simple with some logo branding and your socials.

Responsive across all devices

Desktop, tablet, and mobile responsiveness is a must in today’s web. In fact, if you’re just getting started on creating a website, most website builders and WordPress themes are going to come responsive by default.

Desktop view and mobile view as seen on the Buffer.com blog

Some of the best websites I’ve seen look great on desktop, tablets and on mobile phones. If you want to check if your website is mobile friendly, check out this mobile-friendly test that Google made.

You can enter your website URL and know for sure how users are viewing your website. Just because your website looks good on desktop, does not mean it looks good on a mobile device. Always check!

Site structure

Another characteristic of a great blog is website structure. If you want a more detailed breakdown of what website structures are, you can check out this great resource by Adobe.

For blogs however, website structures should be simple and to the point. The point is to make your website as easy to navigate as possible.

Typical blog site structure

  • Home Page (Static page)
  • Pages
  • Posts (Single posts)
  • Categories (These help organize your content by topics)

Blog structure example

Blog website structure example
Blog site structure example

This would be known as a hierarchal site structure.

For example, let’s say you had a blog about fly fishing. Well you’d want to organize your blog posts in such a way that could be easily navigated. It might look something like this:

  • flyfishingsite.com/ (Home page)
  • flyfishingsite.com/blog (Archive of all your blog posts)
  • flyfishingsite.com/blog/best-fly-fishing-rods (post)
  • flyfishingsite.com/fishing-rods/gx2-stick-pro/ (category)

Enjoyable blogs keep their content organized and easily accessible. The larger your website gets, the more categories you can add. Creating parent pages and child pages is also a great way to organize your content.

Search engine friendly (SEO)

Google wants to index your content so that people can find your best blog posts. Sadly, many new bloggers fail when it comes to getting found in Google.

This is why having a fully optimized website is super important when it comes to content marketing. What’s the point of creating amazing content if no one can find it? This is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes into play.

Here’s how the RankMath SEO optimization tool looks for WordPress. It sits right beside your blog post for easy optimization.

I recommend creating your website with WordPress, the webs most popular content management system. You can create pretty much any website you want with all the SEO features any content creator would want.

  • RankMath
  • Yoast SEO

Website builders like Elementor have SEO compatibility built right into the page builder with RankMath. You’re able to add the correct title tags, meta descriptions and can even preview the correct URL structure.

Elementor and RankMath SEO Compatibility
RankMath + Elementor. Optimize your pages within the page builder.

If you’re using website builders such as Wix, Squarespace or Webflow, they also have their own built-in SEO capabilities but WordPress is still the best in my opinion (millions other think so to).

A blog post with proper on page optimization, good internal linking and good schema markups are the one’s that get found in Google. So while you want to write for your readers and create high quality content, you also want to make sure you’re optimizing your blog for search engines.

Creating high quality blog content that gets picked up in search engines is also a great way to attract relevant links to your website. The more relevant backlinks you have, the higher the likelihood of ranking for specific keywords.

Call to actions

Imagine you built a massive audience on social media. You’ve got millions of followers on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and so on. Then one day.. poof! Your social media accounts get banned.

What would you do? How would you communicate with your audience?

This is the one thing many bloggers fail it. They create an amazing website, build an audience through and then never ask to connect off the website through an email newsletter. This is the surest way to guarantee your latest reader will completely disappear.

This can easily be fixed by adding call to actions on all of your blog posts.

Feature Box Optin

Feature box call to action
Feature box call to action as seen on the NomadicMatt.com homepage

End of post

End of post email call to action
End of post call to action as seen on SmartPassiveIncome.com

Exit popup

Exit Popup Example by Keap
Exit popup by Keap.com

Blogs that offer an email subscription option on the sidebar, at the end of posts, on exit pops, or as a feature box are doing it the right way. You not only want to own the data, you want to be able to connect with your readers through as many mediums as possible.

It’s also a great way to offer exclusive deals, run surveys, update readers on the latest posts and just an overall great way to engage with your audience.

Share buttons

This feature used to be a standard around 2014 in the blogosphere. You’d see floating sidebars showing social share icons. The most popular one at the time was Digg Digg by a company called Buffer.

Social Media Share Icon Plugin
Social media share icons next to your content. This particular plugin is by SocialSnap.

As of 2022 social share icons are hit or miss. Some blogs prefer them and other blogs don’t. And since 63% of Google searches currently happen through mobile devices, the web browsers already have the share option built in.

If you want to add share buttons as a promotional strategy, that’s totally up to you. This topic is still an open debate among many bloggers. I’d suggest testing and seeing how it works for you.

Table of contents

A great blog is going to have a table of contents, especially if the blog post is a long form piece of content.

Table of contents are a great way for your readers to easily navigate your blog posts without having to scroll and find a specific section.

Table of contents example
The best blogs have table of contents sections!

One of the main benefits is user engagement. Sure some readers will just find the info the way and exit your site. But if you can get your visitors to start clicking around, your engagement goes up and your bounce rate goes down.

This means more pages visited, more time on your website, and better signals for Google. Plus, it provides a much greater user experience. Be sure to add a table of contents to all of your blog posts If you run an informational website.

Engaging content

The difference between a good blog post and a great blog post is engagement! Decent blogs share subpar content and hope to get away with it. It’s not very entertaining, doesn’t really engage and more or less feels like you’re sitting through a boring classroom lecture.

Fresh content ideas

  • Listicles (Think top 10 lists)
  • Entertaining (Funny or lets your personality shine through)
  • Informational (Reviews)
  • Controversial (Encourages debate)
  • Video (Embedding videos in your content)
  • GIFs (Those images that move)
  • Educational (How-to’s)
  • Case Studies/Success Stories
  • Resource (Tools, Helpful Resources to accomplish said goal)
  • Infographics
  • Tables and Charts
  • Unique Photos

Publish content so valuable it leaves your readers wanting more.

Specific knowledge

What separates most blogs from the best around is specific knowledge. One of my favorite quotes is by former Naval Ravikant. He’s an Indian-American entrepreneur, investor, and is the co-founder of AngelList.

Specific knowledge can be taught through apprenticeships or self-taught. It’s high paying because society has not yet figured out how to teach or automate it. It tends to be creative or technical. Build specific knowledge where you are “a natural.”

Naval

The absolute best blogs and overall content on the internet is specific knowledge. Another way to put this is topical relevance.

Whatever your blog is about, make sure you’re offering specific knowledge on a specific topic. Talking about fishing one day and then talking about coat hangers the next is scattered knowledge. Be as specific and consistent on your topic as possible.

Bonus: community

Create a Facebook group, Discord server, or GroupMe chat. These are great ways for your audience to connect with other like minded individuals who also read your content.

It’s also an opportunity for culture to be built. You can even give your audience a tribal name sort of how ClickFunnels calls their members ‘Funnel Hackers.’ It creates a bit of tribalism that can create a snowball affect that builds your online brand.

Frequently asked questions

This has been a decade long debate among many bloggers. Popular bloggers have swapped WordPress native comments for Disqus and others have said it creates clutter and slows down your website.

Adding a blog comments section isn’t necessarily a bad thing but is it actually any good? We recommend testing this on your website to find what works best for you.

The best way to grow a blog is by posting consistently. However, you want to make sure the content you’re creating is of value.

Everyday if you can but only if it doesn’t compromise on the quality of your content. A good rule of thumb is 2-3 articles per week.

This will give you a consistent content output. Something your readers will enjoy but also Google.

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