What Are the Basic Elements of a Blog?
By Aaron Charles
The basic elements to a business blog are similar to basic elements of the human body. Four elements, in particular, that are vital to the body are also vital to the blog -- structure (skeleton), content (breath), navigation (coordination) and connections (relationships). In addition to these things, there are certain elements that would be considered "basic" by some bloggers, but nonessential by others. But focusing on the aforementioned basics will help maintain a dynamic blog that complements your business.
The human body would be a pile of mush without the skeleton. So, too, a blog needs some solid structure to help it stand its ground. A good header is a part of that structure, and it's also referred to as the blog title. Some sample blog titles come from Time Magazine's Top 25 Blogs of 2011 list: The Everywhereist (a travel blog), MLB Trade Rumors (a major league baseball blog) and A Hamburger Today (a food blog). As you can see, some titles are clearer or more creative than others, but any title should at least give a hint of what your blog's about. Additionally, sidebars are great places to put information as well as helpful tools to organize blog material. And creating multiple pages in addition to your home page, such as an "About Me" or "Contact" page, will help you give your readers valuable, easy-to-find information.
Your blog's content is really what will bring your blog to life, as does breath give life to an otherwise limp body. For a business blog, your blog material should, naturally, be relevant to the world of business or to your specific industry. Know what your readers are interested in and provide fresh, helpful info that will satisfy them and leave them hungry for more. Also, keep your blog scannable -- easy to scan and pull information from. The website Pro Blogger notes that only 16 percent of people read websites word for word. Furthermore, avoid lengthy posts that seem more like scholarly essays than helpful articles. Additionally, a good title, a generally respectful tone and a consistent posting schedule will help keep your blog top-of-mind among your readers.
A living, breathing body does poorly in life without skillful coordination. Similarly, info on your blog should be well coordinated. Readers should be able to easily navigate around your blog and find what they're looking for or be able to easily notice info they weren't necessarily looking for but found because you featured it well. To help with this, create a bog archive of your older posts that's easily visible on your pages, such as in the sidebar. Also, enable a search feature on your blog. As already mentioned, blog pages outlined in a well-defined menu bar or sidebar will help your readers freely navigate on your site.
For human life, it all starts with conception and continues in the womb. There is no body without the existence of other bodies. In like manner, your blog can't stand alone, but needs sustained connections with readers and other blogs. Writer Monica Bhide put it this way: "Blogs don’t stand on their own; readers need to be able to find them. This means you need to promote your blog so that it will be linked to on other blog rolls, and talked about on social media like Facebook and Twitter. This is what really helps build and drive traffic." To do this, put an email subscription form on your blog for your readers. Link to as many social networks as you can. Link to and comment on other blogs. Also, consider allowing readers to obtain a RSS subscription to your blog.
- Blogging All-In-One For Dummies; Susan Gunelius
- Intermedia Consulting: 10 Basic Elements of a Corporative Blog
- ProBlogger: Make Your Writing Scannable
- Time Specials: The Best Blogs of 2011
- ProBlogDesign: 7 Essential Elements of Blog Design
- Writer's Digest: 10 Ways Writers Lose Blog Traffic and Alienate Readers
Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."