OK, so before I get started here, I think most of us would probably agree that the most important page on a blog is the homepage: it’s normally the first page new visitors see, after all, and it’s what creates that all-important first impression. While most bloggers will put a lot of thought into the way their homepage looks, however, there are a few other pages on your blog that are almost as important, but which are often neglected. Here are some of what I consider to be the most important pages on a blog – with the hopefully-obvious-but-I’ll-say-it-anyway caveat that these are just the pages I’ve personally found helpful to include on my site: as always, they’re not intended to be a list of “rules”!
After my homepage, and whatever posts are the most recent, my “about” page is almost always one of the most viewed pages on my blog. This totally makes sense to me, because that’s how I tend to read blogs, too: when I come across one I like, I’ll normally take a look at the first few posts, then head straight to the about page to find out a bit more about the author. I’ve talked about this a lot, so I’ll try not to repeat myself (I’ll try, I said – not promising anything…) but most people are fairly curious: they like to know a bit about the bloggers they follow, which is why I’m always surprised by the number of blogs that don’t have an “about” section of some description.
An about page is such a great opportunity to turn a first-time visitor into a subscriber by telling them a bit more about your blog, and letting them know exactly why they should be reading it. There are a lot of blogs out there to follow, so use your “about” page to tell your visitor what’s different about yours, and give them a reason to want to know more. Exactly what you say on it is totally up to you, of course, but at the very least, it should contain your name and approximate location, plus a little bit about yourself. I’ve used my about page to tell my backstory (or the short version, anyway!) and let new visitors know what kind of content they can expect to find on my blog. I also link to some of the other important pages on my blog (more on those later) and end with a call to action, in the form of a sign-up form to encourage people to sign-up by email.
* If you don’t want to use your real name, I’d suggest using a pseudonym of some kind – it’ll help make you and your blog a little more memorable than simply being thought of as “that girl who has that blog I like” or “whatsername”. As for the location, again, you don’t have to be exact (and I’d strongly advise against it, in fact!), but even just saying which country you live in will give your posts a bit of context, and make people feel like they know you a bit better.
Some bloggers put their contact information on their homepage, or in the “about” section, and both of those options are totally fine, if that’s what you prefer. In my case, I’ve set up a separate page for my contact information, because I get a huge amount of email every day , and I like use the contact page as an opportunity to try and cut down on that by explaining what kinds of contact I welcome, and what types of things I’m not able to respond to. I’m not totally convinced this makes a huge amount of difference, because I still get daily emails asking me to enter blogger contests (You know those, “You spend several hours writing a post to promote us, and in return, we’ll enter you into a competition in which you might win something you didn’t need anyway?” emails? I hate those emails…) or publish guest posts, but at least the fact that I’ve said on my contact page that I won’t answer those emails makes me feel a bit less guilty about ignoring them…
POPULAR POSTS / BEST OF
One of the downsides of producing fresh content every day/week/whatever your posting schedule is, is that some of your best work can end up getting buried amongst all of the other posts that come after it, and push it off the front page of your site. It would be a shame to just let those posts be lost forever, so it can be a good idea to showcase them by setting up some kind of popular posts or “best of” page, which not only allows your best content to continue to be seen, but also helps give new readers a taste of what your site’s about, rather than simply judging it based on whatever post happens to be the most current.
I’ve combined some of the most viewed pages on the site with some of my own favourites and published them on their own page here. I also have a “most commented” widget in the footer of the site, and if I wanted to, I could use widgets to highlight those posts on the sidebar or elsewhere on the homepage. If you’re using WordPress, there are plenty of plugins which allow you to do that, so you don’t necessarily have to create a separate page for this if you don’t want to.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you start to notice that the same questions come up over and over again, and when that starts to happen, you might want to think about creating a Frequently Asked Questions page, to try to cut down on the amount of time you spend answering them. Mine is here, and is linked from the “about” and “contact” pages, so anyone looking to contact me with a question will hopefully be able to check and see if I’ve already answered it first. There will always be some people who miss it, of course, and that’s fine, but I did notice a drop in the number of emails I was getting after I created it, so it has helped in that respect!
RATE CARD / ADVERTISING INFORMATION
If your blog isn’t monetised, you can obviously skip this suggestion, but if you offer advertising or sponsorship opportunities on your blog, it can be a good idea to have some kind of rate card, which lays out all of the different options available, so you’re not constantly being asked what your rates are, and if you accept guest posts. (Note: you will still be constantly asked these questions, but at least you’ll be able to just point the questioner to the relevant page on your blog!)
My advertising page also contains the current stats for the site, plus some links to brand collaborations I’ve done in the past, so that anyone considering working with me can get an idea of the kind of coverage they’ll get. Some bloggers prefer to keep their stats and rates private, and create a .pdf media kit which they can send out to anyone who asks for it, instead, but I’ve always preferred to just put the relevant information on the blog itself, again to at least try to cut down on un-necessary emails.
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Anything I’ve missed? I’d love to hear what kind of information (other than the posts themselves, obviously) you like to see on the blogs you read?