How To Start A Blog: 10 Key Elements of a Blog

August 10, 2014 Hannah Eisenberg 0 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with the principal of a company I have been writing blog posts for over the past few months and she said: "I am sorry, but I still don't get this blog thing". And I stopped to think. I am using blogging terms like blog, blog post and editorial calendar without explaining them - because they are so commonly used, I expected her to know what they mean.

So, let us take a step back and define the most common blogging terms. (And if you are completely new to blogging, you might want to also check out How to write a blog post if you are not a writer and 10 Common Blogging Mistakes that can kill your blog and how to fix them.) So without further ado:

How To Start A Blog: 10 Key Elements of a Blog

Blog

The term blog is short for "Web Log" and refers to the website or webpage which is either self-hosted (on your website such as http://3pcreativegroup.com/blog/) or on a blogging platform such as WordPress.com and it comprises a running collection of blog posts - most of the time they are sorted by date, the newest one on the top. Blogging is the process of writing a blog as a continuous process, usually not the writing of a single blog post. The person blogging is called a blogger - genius, eh?

1) Blog Post

What you are reading right now is a blog post - an individually published article published on a blog. It has a headline, a permalink, an introduction, a body, an outro and a call to action for further reading. Usually it is marked with further meta information such as the publishing date, the author as well as a meta title and description.

Tip: When you hit publish on your latest article, you have written a blog post, not a blog - lots of people confuse those terms.

2) Blog Post Title

A blog post title is the headline to the blog post. In this case right now it is "Complete Beginner's Guide to Blogging Terms". It helps to write the blog post first and then spend some time to really nail down a headline for the blog post you have just written.

Tip: Keep your headline shorter than 50 characters. This allows the reader to quickly understand what you are writing about as well as leaves enough space to tweet it and write a short comment.

3) Sub Headers

Break up your content into logical sections (see blogging outline). Use the H2 and H3 format to define second and third degree headings to structure your content. Every content management system allows you to mark-up your headlines that way - use them. Not only will it format all of your content consistently across your website and blog but also lets users and search engines know that your headline marked up in H2 is more significant than your headline in H3.

4) Featured Image

A featured image is the image that represents the blog post visually in the blog page, archive page, category and tag page. It also gets pulled over when you or readers share your blog post on social media. I use Canva.com for a lot of my blog graphics like this one.

Tip: If you are in an industry that could drive a lot of traffic with Pinterest, include the headline in the image and use a Pinterest optimized side graphic.

5) Call to Action (CTA)

Including a call to action is one of the most overlooked opportunities to generate leads from your blog and contribute to your bottom line! A Call to Action can be a simple button clicking through to a landing page or a beautifully designed graphic giving the interested reader the opportunity to take the next step: download the Business Blogging eBook, Get A 25% Coupon or Follow Us On Twitter. The important part is that the call to action is matched with the content of your blog post, your buyer persona, and their stage in the buying cycle.

6) Author Box

Usually below the blog post of a multiple author blog you will find a little box or section where the author is introduced. It can contain a short biography, social media profiles and a link to a page containing all the other blog posts the author has written for this blog.

7) Social Media Sharing Buttons

Every blog needs social media sharing and follow buttons. If you take the time to write great content you should make sure readers can share it easily. By adding sharing buttons, readers can click on the Facebook icon below your post and a little dialog box will pop up ready to share your thoughts or just the link with your friends.

8) Social Media Follow Buttons

Often confused with the social media sharing buttons are the follow buttons. A follow button allows a reader to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter and put you in their Google Plus circle. If you delight readers who found your insightful blog post via Google search, they can follow you for further updates.

Complete Beginner's Guide to Blogging Terms - Subscribe To Blog9) Blog Subscribers

Blog Subscribers are the people who enter their email address in your "subscribe to our blog" box, subscribe to your RSS feed. I love that on HubSpot I can set up RSS Feed emails based on my reader's preferences. Many readers appreciate the option to get all blog posts in a weekly or monthly email instead of instant notifications.

Tip: Go ahead and take a minute to subscribe to our blog. It will only take a second. I will wait right here.


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