Does your blog have these? A checklist for new bloggers

Jan 2, 201959 comments

Starting a blog is not a simple task. If you add the yearly goals and plans to it, it can easily become overwhelming. At least it does for me. But it all changes the minute I get a new follower or a comment on my blog. I am sure many of you will agree. Isn’t that what we are all striving for?

One of the major issues that new bloggers face is lower engagement (ie, comments, shares and likes) and that can be huge discouragement, especially when they just start out. We all need those approvals. I was in that position not a long time ago

I used spend hours scouring the Internet trying to learn everything and read everything. I still do that, but not for the basic things. So I thought I will share with you those little things that made a huge difference in my blogging statistics and engagement rate. 

Here is a checklist for the new bloggers to ensure you have everything you need to increase your blog engagement and follower count. They are not going to be general advices nor highly technical. These are stuff that you and I can work on. So let us get on with it, shall we?

A checklist for bloggers, old and new, to increase blog engagement

1) Is your Home button easy accessible?

This may sounds really silly but I have had a few long conversations about the home tab on the menu bar, or the lack of, in some of the blogs with other bloggers who regularly blog hop. If you do not have one, you are losing out on the valuable readers who want to read another post but are not able to.

I know it seems like a small thing but having the ability to go back to your main page matters to blog hoppers and new visitors. While you are at it, just ensure a click on your blog header leads to your home page as well.

2) Are your graphics easily shareable?

It comes as a no brainer that every post of yours should have some image attached, a feature image or a book cover at the least. While how you use these images is up to you, just make sure these blog graphics are easily shareable across the social media.

Some of the places that I recommend for downloading such high quality, copyright-free images are: Freepik and Pixabay. And I use Canva to edit them into blog graphics. Canva even has templates with recommended sizes for each social account. 

Related:  Bloggers' Comment Junction

If you are a GIF lover like me, before you unload a tonne of them on to your post, make sure they are of good quality and will fit to a common size. Having different sized animations or just too many of them for that matter easily annoys the reader. We do not want that, do we?

3) Do you have a follow button?

Be it a blogger or WordPress blog, you definitely need a FOLLOW button. It is indispensable and you cannot skip it.

Be it a blogger or WordPress blog, you definitely need a FOLLOW button. Do you have these essentials on your blog? Check the post!Click to Tweet

I am not talking about the follow icons to your social accounts (GREAT if you have them as well) but I am talking about a way to follow your blog post through RSS – basically a WordPress reader follow button, Bloglovin or Feedly.

Many readers like me will be reluctant to share their email addresses and we are all drowning in the unread mails (okay, it might be just me) and might be unsubscribing after a few weeks. So no, subscription by email is not the same. ADD A FOLLOW BUTTON RIGHT AWAY.

4) Do you include short paragraphs?

As you would have seen in my posts, I love to write or talk to my readers. And my posts are usually long winded and I like it that way. But the Internet is full of studies that tell us what is the perfect post length and I am sure writing 1500+ worded posts are not that. 

My suggestion: Long or not, write what you want to write but make it easy for the reader to enjoy them by breaking it up into lot of short paragraphs. I mean paragraphs with 2- 3 sentences. Let us face it, our attention spans are not getting any better.

New blogger checklist

While you are at it, consider including headings and subheadings to the post. Make them simple. Make them witty. Make them catchy. They can be however you want, but just add them!

5) Do you interlink your posts?

Another simple thing that you can do to make your blog sticky (making readers hanging on for a long time) is to hyperlink to relevant older posts. All you have to do is to add the link to your text and point them to go to yet another of post in your blog, just to keep the traffic juice flowing.

Related:  Sunday Musings #42: One About A Short Holiday And The Spring

The key is relevance. For instance when I talk following your blog, I can link it up to my ‘Why I follow your blog‘ post, but not the ‘Five Must have elements for your author website‘. (See what I did there! *insert evil face*). Just don’t overdo it, a mistake I often commit.

You can also consider including a ‘Related post / You may also like’ section at the end of each post! I do both. Bonus points if you set these link to ‘open in a new page’.

6) Is your blog comment friendly?

A trouble that many new bloggers have is increasing the blog engagement and comments. The blogging community is really welcoming and me love meeting new bloggers. But it goes without saying that you should make it easier for your readers to leave comments on your blog.

I might be biased but I know there are many bloggers like me, who dislike using the Google+ commenting form. It gives very few options to sign in and links back to only Google profiles. Sigh it is quite cumbersome.

I strongly suggests going back to Blogger’s comment forms if you are using Blogger. Disqus is a great alternative if you are self hosted on Blogger. 

Since we are talking about things that I hate about comment forms, I do not understand why some themes do not show comment form directly below the post and ask us to open another window to comment. I will add an image just to make what I am saying clearer. 

New blogger checklist

Please do not your readers jump seven hills and seven seas to comment on your blog.

Please do not your readers jump seven hills and seven seas to comment on your blog. Make commenting easoer #C4CCClick to Tweet

If you are looking to improve your commenting game, you should check out the Comment 4 Comment Challenge and join the Blogger’s comment Junction to meet the coolest gang of book bloggers!

7) Is your blog SEO friendly?

I am definitely not the most qualified person to tell you about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but I am going to tell you the simplest things that can help you to improve your SEO, that even a #newbie can do easily. 

Related:  5 Reasons why you can't stick to a blog schedule

If you are self hosted install the Yoast plugin right away and you can follow the wizard to set everything up. And you are good to go!

If you are not using Yoast, it is still alright. There are smaller things that you can do anyway. 

Try to include the keyword (or the word that you want Google to associate with your post, in the simplest terms) in your title and headings of your post. For instance, I can add “new blogger checklist” as the keyword for this post. 

Also mention the keyword in the first paragraph of the post. But the key here is not overusing the keyword. 2-4 times in a 500 post is good enough. 

Bonus points if you add in the keyword in the ‘Alt text’ of the blog images. It generally helps the search engine to understand what the image is about.

I will add more to this list or make a new post as and when I learn more. (Update: which I finally did!)

8) Are your images Pinterest worthy?

Okay, I am currently obsessed with Pinterest and have been reading a lot about, and this is applicable only if you are focusing on Pinterest for your blog. If you are thinking if you should sign up for Pinterest for your blog, you definitely should.

Try to images that are well proportioned to fit the Pinterest vertical scheme. Add at least two pinnable vertical images to your post so that you have more pins to be re-pinned.

If you think these large images are disturbing, you should try the trick to hide images in a post

That is all for this post people! It doesn’t matter if you are a new blogger or experienced, give a quick check on to you blog to make sure you have all these on board. 

And newbies, if you have problems implementing any of these or would like to hear more on these feel free to ask me. 

Pin me!

New blogger checklist

Let us chat

Do you have all these on your blog? New bloggers, what are the problems that you need help with? And the experienced bloggers tell me what are your essentials and if I missed out anything. Let us chat. 

59 Comments

  1. TJ

    Hi! Great post! I really like all of the easy, applicable information on blogs. Now, I just need people to start commenting on my blog! (:

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad to be of help.

      Reply
  2. Kara Simone

    Such great tips! I feel like this is information I could have used as a new blogger and even now it is still useful.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Oh thank you!

      Reply
  3. Emily Nicholas

    Yes, pinterest worthy pictures are a must! I get the majority of my views from pinterest alone!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I should do better on Pinterest!

      Reply
  4. Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict

    I am absolutely terrible when it comes to images. I struggle to fit in blogging and taking the time to make a new image for each post is hard. I see everyone doing that though and really wish I could pull a few extra minutes for it. I find that in searching for images I fall down a rabbit hole though and end up looking forever at what’s available. I have premade images for each type of post I’m normally doing, so use the same ones over and over again. Definitely something I should look at. Thanks for the great post!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I use Canva for making images and it is so easy and takes less time. Give it a try!

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad it was helpful!

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      That is the aim Jenn!

      Reply
  5. Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages

    Lovely list, Gayathri 🙂 I think I cover almost all of these. I am sure the new bloggers would definitely get help from this list. SEO still is a difficult topic for me to understand, but I am trying 😀

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am sure you are doing a great job.

      Reply
  6. Renee Guill

    Oh thank you for these great tips. I was confused on the SEOs but you made it sound so easy, I will have to try that next time. And I will check my comment thing, I think I use the google plus one, didn’t realize I had an option. Now, if I can learn to read faster, I’d be all set. lol

    Reply
  7. Daniela Ark

    I’m still struggling with SEO. I have to carve out time to really get into it. I love Pixabay and Canva. Canva is such a time saver! I use pinterest a lot as a wirter but I don’t really take advantage of it to promote my blog! I should! oh wow Gayathri great post! Very helpful for all of bloggers, new or not!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad you liked it Daniela. It means so much.

      Reply
  8. Megan | Ginger Mom and Company

    This is a great post! I heard recently that Google likes longer posts (I think you are right about the shorter paragraphs, though!). And SEO is definitely something to focus on 🙂 I hadn’t thought about the HOME button or WordPress follow button. I have switched to self-hosted so I don’t think the WordPress button shows up anymore. Still, bookmarking this for when I have more time to check out each of these things on my own blog 🙂

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Oh you can add a wordpress button even on a self hosted blog. Do not skip it.

      Reply
  9. Melissa's fandom world

    great article with great tips! I’m having trouble with the WP follow button since I’ve switched from WP to own domain and hosting so I’m working on that because it’s so frustrating and annoying – I do have a mail follow thingy atm.

    I’m really trying to write with paragraphs since I tend to write a Lot in my reviews and other articles haha. With Yoast/SEO, I’m getting there, lol.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      If you need help putting that WP button let me know, I will share a relevant article.

      Reply
  10. Jo Linsdell

    Excellent advice for bloggers. Very helpful tips.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Glad you appreciate it.

      Reply
  11. Floryie

    I have been blogging for a few years but honestly I have never put in as much thought as you have in getting my blog ready for everything. I am bookmarking your post for learning and for bettering my blog. Thank you so much. It’s full of very useful information.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am so glad that you found mine interesting.

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      Happy to be of service, Gemma.

      Reply
  12. JJ @ This Dark Material

    These are all such great tips, Gayathri! I’m behind on SEO just because I’ve found it difficult to find relevant advice for using Blogger as a host, but I think I have most of the other boxes ticked 🙂

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I will make a post on SEO as soon as I can. Kudos on ticking them all off!

      Reply
  13. Jennilyn V.

    Thank you for this very helpful post. I am not a newbie but it’s good to be reminded of these things. Canva is of great use for me, too. I also use Unsplash and Kabbompics for free graphics. And you are also the one who reminded me to put follow buttons on my sidebar and I listened and I am glad I did. I am still working on learning Pinterest but I think I got the others covered. 🙂

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thanks for introducing me to Kabbompics!

      Reply
  14. Stormi

    This is such great advice! SEO is something I’ve never looked into, but probably should.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Let me know how that works for you.

      Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thank you!

      Reply
  15. Lisa @ lilistarreads

    I have started to link to other posts, so I’m getting better at it. I definitely need to look at the SEO, I always forget to put my title in the Image alt text.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I do that as well, but then I come back to add it later.

      Reply
  16. DJ Sakata

    Excellent advice! I will admit that I’m such a lazy blogger I have never thought about setting goals for my blog, I just read and write reviews without care if anyone reads them or not.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      That is the best way to read!

      Reply
  17. Charvi Koul

    Love this list, Gayathri ❤️
    I think I have about 90% of these ticked off 😁

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      You are on the right track Charvi!

      Reply
  18. Sue

    I absolutely LOVE this post. It is informative and to the point. Because of this post, I installed Disqus for my comments. Pinterest I started an account but I’ll work out how to use it later 😬. As for SEO I would love to see a post on that becausenhonestly, i’m clueless ☹️.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am so glad this one helped you Sue. And I will add in a SEO post soon.

      Reply
  19. Rachael | Pingel Sisters

    For me, it’s Disqus comments that I despise. I can never remember my password, so I usually just avoid leaving a comment. Great post!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      A lot of book bloggers use Disqus and I created one just for commenting on theirs. But I agree they are cumbersome.

      Reply
  20. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    WAIT NO HOME BUTTON?!?! Wow, I second this.

    Short paragraphs is something I’ve been working on in 2018 and I think I’m doing a decent job at it? Since the move to wordpress I’ve started to make use of headers… even though I should have done that on Blogger, LOL. I don’t know why I chose different font size instead until years later.

    I LOVE Yoast SEO – I know some hate the readability function, but I personally enjoy it. I feel it’s been helping me write better blog posts?

    I recommend a search button and not a very cluttered sidebar. Whenever someone writes a really good post and I want to refer back to it months later, I want to be able to look for it… not look for the search bar to look for it, lol. I also get why everyone wants to put so many badges and accomplishments, but I feel too much isn’t necessary… such as blog tour banners, blitz banners, giveaway banners… all those images add up to page load time and if you don’t have fast internet, it’s ANNOYING to wait for ages to load.

    Pinterest friendly images is something that I need to work on and maybe I’ll get to it this year (if only Canva free allowed auto resizing, lol.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Amen to Canva’s resizing option. I am not paying for it though. I am not for the cluttered sidebar either.

      Reply
  21. lottie @ lottieiswriting

    This is a super helpful post! I recently relaunched my blog and this was a great way to check I’m doing everything right. I need to work on making my featured images more shareable, and I want to expand more into Pinterest. SEO and keywords is also something I’m working on, but I think I need to do more research into it.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Yay for doing everything right!!

      Reply
  22. Jayati

    Wow! These tips are great and I’ll be sure to use them to improve my blog.
    Thank you for sharing them!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am glad it helped you.

      Reply
  23. Laurie

    I struggle a lot with images and that’s basically due to my visual impairment. My images are probably a mess and sometimes I have trouble with them tagging along to my Facebook autopost. Maybe because they are too small? Well, I have to find out. For that matter I don’t use Pinterest either.

    I absolutely didn’t like Yoast SEO, the installation wizard confuses me. Oh well.

    Yes, I absolutely agree on the follow button! That’s why I can’t follow most of the people who joined the comment 4 comment challenge. They don’t have a follow button or its hidden. I find it hard to follow Blogger blogs, especially if they’re not on Bloglovin. Blogger is not comment friendly either. I’m so happy to be back on WP!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      If Facebook doesn’t include your images along with the link you should check out their debugging site. That might help you find the problem.

      Reply
  24. Ara @ Open Pages

    I’m far from a new blogger, even if I feel it sometimes, but this is super helpful! Certain things I should also definitely check if I’m doing correctly. Thank you for these tips!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I am happy that it was helpful.

      Reply
  25. Debjani

    Thanks, Gayathri, for sharing these tips. Can you please elaborate more on how to make a blog SEO friendly?

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I shall make a post on that soon. I am glad you appreciate.

      Reply
  26. Kristina

    I think the graphics is the only one my blog is really missing .. 🤔 i love to do paragraphs and interlink older posts when applies.

    Then, I nor my blog arent on pinterest and im not too sure about the SEO xD

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      SEO is not all that difficult. At least the baby steps that I have made weren’t.

      Reply

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Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

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