5 More Qualities of Successful Blogs

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In a recent article entitled 5 Irrefutable Qualities of Successful Blogs, I presented you with five of the most powerful blogging principles that you can use to transform your blog into a powerhouse of success. I opened that article with the following lines:

“Do you want a blog that is highly successful? Do you want visitors to flock to your site, readers to leave comments, and advertisers to fill your wallet? I know that I do!”

I hope that you took the time to study that post and apply those principles to your blogging because in this article were going to be building on what you’ve already learned. I’m going to present you with five more principles that I’ve observed at the most successful blogs on the internet.

Successful blogs have optimized post footers.

If you have a visitor that just read one of your articles and enjoyed it then what would you like for them to do next? Regardless of your answer to that question, optimizing your post footer is the key to achieving it.

I have five things that I would like my users to do after reading an article and you can see these five options at the bottom of every post at Site Sketch 101. I recommend that you develop something similar to this.

  • View and read other similar articles.
  • Subscribe to the RSS or Email updates.
  • Bookmark the article at Twitter, Digg, Facebook and other social bookmarking sites.
  • Click on a pay-per-click ad.
  • Leave a comment.

You can see that I have my post footers designed specifically to support these five goals. If a reader enjoyed one of my articles then I am prepared to try to hook them in as a faithful reader in the future.

Successful blogs have organized sidebars.

This is really one of my pet peeves. It’s also one of those things that really separates the professionals from the amateurs. Amateur bloggers float around the internet looking for ‘cool’ stuff to put in the sidebar of their blog. They end up loading their sidebar up with countdowns, the latest tweets from their dog Fido, their daily astrology fortune and all kinds of other nonsense.

Take the time to clean up your sidebar. Get rid of anything that doesn’t support the overall topic of the blog. It’s better to only have a few items that focus on and compliment your content than to have dozens of widgets that distract your users and subtract from your effectiveness.

Successful blogs are search engine optimized.

I take the time to create a meta description that is between 100 and 160 characters long on every post at Site Sketch 101. I manually create between 8 and 10 tags that I also use as meta keywords. I use h2 for post titles and h3 for headings within my titles because Google and other popular search engines use these titles to determine what keyword to list your site under in their index.

Google and Yahoo can be your largest source of traffic but you have to let them know what your site is about. Don’t try to spam your meta tags with bogus keywords. Take your time and input what your articles are actually about.

Successful blogs are easy to navigate.

Most casual web surfers don’t want to have to solve some sort of a puzzle to figure out how to find what they are looking for on your site. Let’s accommodate them by making our site very easy to navigate. Place large links to your categories across the top of your pages. Include a link to the homepage on every page perhaps in the form of a logo so that if a user feels lost they can head to the homepage and start over.

Successful blogs have effective headlines.

If you haven’t read my article ’10 Tips to Awesome, Eye-Jerking Post Titles’ then you should hop over and check it out. Here is an excerpt from that article:

Most bloggers fail to realize that their post titles are the number one advertisements for their articles. Post titles have to put on the gloves and go head-to-head with dozens of other post titles in people’s RSS readers, email accounts and search engines. It’s your job to get your post titles ready to perform like the champs they have the potential to be.

Improving your headlines drastically increases the number of readers that check out your articles so take the time to make sure that each post title really packs a punch.

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37 Vibrant Comments

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  1. July 28, 2009

    Eric B. said:

    I agree that all of these are very useful. But make sure you don’t only focus on SEOing your posts, focus on the readers more, and less on the search engines.

  2. July 28, 2009

    Luis Lopez said:

    Excellent article, you catch all good thing of a successful blog i think you maybe forgot the presence on social media, or the timeless content they have, it could work any time, eve years later their content still can be useful.

  3. July 28, 2009

    Bruce said:

    Good read. The thing that bugs me most are those people who put all those counters and garbage in their side menus. I hate an ugly blog. Even if it has great content I probably wouldn’t read it. I tend to use my sidebar as free advertising for myself at the moment. I try to get people to read other things on the blog.

    • July 28, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Bruce » I tend to avoid blogs that are cluttered or don’t look nice also. Style really means a lot to me and it demonstrates to me a certain level of discretion and professionalism of the blog author. If it doesn’t look nice then I feel like they have already failed on the very first impression that I am looking at. Who wants to learn from a disorganized messy individual? Free advertising is a great way to promote your content. Self promotion is the key at the beginning to building repeat visitors.

      • August 25, 2009

        Ani said:

        I agree with you both. I can’t stand a cluttered blog. As an aside (not totally related to clutter but more content), I actually love images more than any other content. If there’s no images, I tend to go away. If there’s interesting images I’ll stay and read (and post on Social Media).

        • August 26, 2009

          Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

          Ani –> That’s a good observation and based on it I’m going to try to include more images in my posts. Thanks for the idea.

  4. July 28, 2009

    Jeff B. said:

    »Successful blogs have optimized post footers.

    I have to be honest–after reading that section, I had thought that directly under the blog was the comment section. I have never noticed the Related Posts and can only remember a time or two of noticing the Subscription and Share areas. Any chance those could stand out more? Regardless, those are great areas to stick all of those items.

    Regarding the sidebar on this site – very well done. It flows with the page and it’s the perfect size. Not sure if I’ve seen a better sidebar to date!

    Easy navigation: Always a key. And I always find myself clicking the top logo of the many sites I browse. Great idea!

    • July 28, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Jeff B. » Good observations Jeff. Your honest feedback is always worth more to me than you can imagine. I’m going to reassess my post footer in light of your feedback. Does anyone have any observations about post footers like this?

  5. July 28, 2009

    Bruce said:

    I actually find your footer very noticeable. At first anyways. Like all things on a site you get use to seeing it and skip over it, but all the icons and titles for it are rather large and colorful. In a classy way of course.

    • July 28, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Bruce » I think that one thing Jeff faces is an aversion to ads and non-essential portions of the web page. Many internet users build up an immunity to seeing advertisements and an immunity to seeing parts of the website that isn’t the content that they are there to see. The other night, he and I were chatting in Google Talk (feel free to hit me up at holas84(at)gmail.com) and he told me that he dislikes ads and he never clicks on them and he most of the time never sees them. That’s not a unique situation. There are many internet users who are the exact same way towards that stuff.

      So I guess the next question is this: what are you going to do about it? Have you been able to formulate a plan to improve your own post footer and help direct the readers at your site?

  6. July 28, 2009

    Satkrit said:

    Nice read. Like the search Optimization and easy to navigate. Those to me are very important.

    • July 29, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Satkrit » Those are definitely important aspects to it. Often people shoot themselves in the foot because they do all the right things but Google never lists them because they don’t put the keys in place to make it happen.

      Tycoon Blogger » I think that a lot of people end up neglecting their post footer. I’m going to put together a post that will show off some of the best post footers that I have seen. I think its important that we use those to direct our readers and to demonstrate our creativity.

      Sherry » Titles are one of the most determining factors for readers in deciding whether or not to read your articles. They can be extremely important.

  7. July 28, 2009

    Tycoon Blogger said:

    Great article and I especially like the point you make about the post footer. I am following all the points that you make on my blog.

    • September 17, 2009

      akira07 said:

      About Click on a pay-per-click ad as a post footer, i fear this will against the PPC company rules.

  8. July 28, 2009

    Sherry said:

    I don’t know that title can be so important.

    • September 17, 2009

      akira07 said:

      Hi sherry, you’re also here 😀
      Anyway, of course title is so important. You’re clicking to read article is because the title, right?
      So, learn to make good title. Also read about 10 tips awesome eye jerking titles article in this blog

    • September 25, 2009

      Ron Boracay said:

      I know Im too late to answer this but, I love to.

      Title of your blog or your articles plays a major important thing for:

      Your Visitors
      Search Engine Spiders.

      SO see to it that, your titles are well optimized for both of those visitors.

  9. July 29, 2009

    Arisu said:

    Also, people tends to jump from element to element in websites, so unless you put several icons/buttons in different places of the site you won´t know if your readers actually see them.

    Unless you have a really compact site -one page, 600 pixels height-, but blogs usually ain´t compact.

    • July 29, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Arisu » I completely agree. I have my RSS links at the top of each page and at the bottom of the post pages. I also have my DOFOLLOW banner located at the top and bottom of the sidebar. I think that you should definitely double things that are important.

  10. July 30, 2009

    Matt Longley said:

    I do believe that your blog is one of the easiest that I have seen to navigate, and it is very pleasing to the eyes. =) Having easy ways to get people to subscribe to your rss feeds and to promote your posts socially is always a plus.

    • July 30, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Matt Longley » Absolutely right. Thanks for the feedback. It seems like the social networks are the prominent trend of the internet. If we’re not making it easy for people to associate & share our sites among their network of friends then we are just missing out!

  11. July 30, 2009

    Arisu said:


    I know! I usually scan all the page, but you can´t help but follow the things that grab your attention, like icons -mmm, people sure overestimates the power of icons. Your´s are really nice and pushable ^^

    • July 30, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Arisu » Great. That’s certainly the goal. I’ll try to post some more links in the near future for great places to find free icons for blogs.

  12. July 30, 2009

    Arisu said:

    I know lots of bloggers would be grateful 😉

    • July 30, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      Arisu » Great! I’ll get right on that and I’ll be sure to include some thoughts as to how I decide which ones are useful and which ones may look amazing but are not useful.

  13. August 2, 2009

    HelpfulAdvisor said:


    Thanks so much for the awesome tips! I had done some post footer add-ons quite accidentally as it seemed like the right thing to do. However, your tips will help me solidify my attempts to take my blog to the next level.

    Thanks so much Nicholas!

    • August 2, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      HelpfulAdvisor » You’re welcome. Everything that you add to your website should have a specific purpose working toward helping keep more visitors at our sites and working to get them to come back again and again. Take your time and set it up to accomplish exactly what you want it to.

  14. August 4, 2009

    satria said:

    I agree that all of these are very useful. thanks

  15. August 4, 2009

    draxc0la said:

    Thanks so much for the awesome tips!. keep sharing my friend

  16. August 8, 2009

    wayne said:

    Great stuff! I’m a beginner and I need all the help I can get.
    Now to put it in action!

    • August 8, 2009

      Nicholas Z. Cardot said:

      wayne » That’s right. Learning something isn’t good enough unless you can figure out how to take it home with you and put it to real, practical use. Good luck!

  17. September 14, 2009

    Volksphone said:

    “Successful blogs have organized sidebars”

    I think this is the most important reason for a successful blog because the visitors can navigate easy through the blog and find fast what they want to find. If the usability of a blog is good the visitors will com again and that is the point for successful blogs.

    Best regards,

  18. September 15, 2009

    akira07 said:

    Thanks for the tips, it’s become my introspection source because my blog is not reach “success” yet.

    About effective headline, i become victim of some article. There is a blog have good title but the contest is not special. Haha…

    • September 25, 2009

      Ron Boracay said:

      Yeah, they are so misleading. Some shady SEO practitioner tends to do that to gain traffic and higher serps.

  19. February 11, 2010

    Kok Siong Chen said:

    Yes! SEO is important too. No matter how good the design and content you are, no person can find your blog if the SEO is not good.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Cri du Chat Syndrome – Human with Cat-like Cry =-.

  20. May 20, 2011

    Brad said:

    Good tips – Dig the kitty in your signup form…