51 Ways to Explode Your Blog’s Awesomeness

How do you create an awesome blog?

Great content is the cornerstone, of course.

But once you’ve got great content, then it’s all the little things here and there that add up to explode into awesomeness!

Here’s my list of 51 ways to make your blog more awesome.

I’ve linked some of them to previous blog posts where I explained how to do things, to other resources, or the plugins or themes I’ve mentioned.

Get Setup

Because it’s Where You’ve Got to Start

1. Get your own domain name.

2. Host your blog yourself and use WordPress.

Get Customized

Because Branding Matters–Be Unique

3. Get your own logo or header banner designed. (Try Fiverr for inexpensive graphics design if you’re just getting started, if you’ve got the budget hire a good designer.)

4. Customize your theme.  (I recommend Genesis Framework & StudioPress Themes.)

Genesis Framework for WordPress

5. Modify your colors and fonts so they’re easy to read and compliment your graphics.

6. Make your links a different color and/or underlined so they’re easy to identify.

7. Add a copyright date and info to the footer of your page.

8. Add appropriate disclaimers and legal information to the footer of your pages.

Get the Basics in Place

Because You’ve Got to Have the Foundation

9.  Give visitors a reason to share your content.

10. Choose a social sharing plugin like SexyBookmarks to install.

11. Install CommentLuv.

12. Consider DoFollow links.

13. Add a “Subscribe to Comments” feature.

14. Make your site easy to navigate.

15. Add a search box.

16. Make sure you’ve got spam control in place.

17. Add a contact form so visitors can contact you easily.

18. Add links to your social networking profiles.

19. Create a cool “About Me” page.

Get Creating

Because Great Content is What Your Readers Want

20. Add new content on a consistent schedule.

21. Use images in your blog posts to grab the reader’s attention.

22. Consider audio and video posts for variety.

23. Invite guest bloggers and leverage their networks and promotion to get more traffic.

Get Out There & Get Listed

Because Every Link is Another Door For Traffic to Find You

24. Get listed in directories.

25. Promote your blog on sites like Blokube, BizSugar, etc.

Get Busy Promoting

Because They Won’t Come Unless You Tell Them It’s Here

26. Automate social network sharing.

27. Go comment on other blogs in your niche.

28. Get active in forums or groups to network.

29. Create a cool email signature and link to your blog (and last blog post) in your siggy.

30. Share your posts on social bookmarking sites (like StumbleUpon).

Get Interacting

Because it’s About Building Relationships

31. Make it easy for visitors to comment.

32. Make sure your theme supports threaded comments (where commenters can reply to each other) or install a plugin to enable it.

33. Create a comment policy.

Get Tracking

Because You’ve Got to Know What’s Working & What’s Not

34. Install Google Analytics or another stats plugin like JetPack. (Stats info.)

35. Use Lijit Search or Search Meter to see what your visitors are searching for.

36. Add the PostRank plugin to see which posts are really most popular (not just most visited, commented or tweeted).

Get Improving Your Skills

Because There’s Always Room to Grow

37. Learn to write better, faster.

38. Study basic SEO.

39. Install a good SEO plugin (like Scribe SEO).

Scribe. SEO Made Simple.

40. Practice writing headlines that rock.

41. Work to improve your editing process and copywriting skills (Premise from Copyblogger rocks at making it easy to create sales and landing pages–and it’s a plugin, not a theme, so you can keep the website style you like).

Premise Landing Pages Made Easy

42. Choose 1-3 blogging “mentors” to follow and subscribe to their blogs.  Watch what they doFigure out whyThen do it.

Get Building Your Fan Base

Because Fans Give You the Inspiration to Keep Blogging

43. Offer an easy button for visitors to subscribe via RSS reader. (I recommend FeedBurner–here’s why–but you can also do it with Aweber, MailChimp, and some other mailing services.)

44. Offer an email subscription for new blog posts.

45. Create a Facebook fan page for your blog.

46. Get on Twitter if you aren’t yet.

47. Get listed with NetworkedBlogs and add the follow box to your blog.  (Bonus tips for NetworkedBlogs.)

48. Write and submit guest posts to other sites with your best content.

49. Put together a freebie to offer new subscribers.

50. Reply to your commenters and get to know who’s commenting.

Get Your Blog Safe & Secure

Because it’s Awesome Not to Get Hacked or Crash

51. Install a backup plugin or know how to regularly backup your blog.

52. Secure your blog with security plugins.

53.  Keep everything up to date!

Your Turn

What would you add to this list?

Did you find anything you haven’t done yet, but will do to make your blog more awesome?

Photo Credit: Dolgachov/StockFresh

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  1. What a great list Michelle! This is something every new blogger should have and older bloggers should just check out from time to time to make sure they on track.
    Danielle McGaw recently posted… 10 Ways to Build a Killer Web Presence Without Social NetworkingMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Danielle – and I loved your post about building a web presence without social networking. Excellent strategies.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Blog Branding: Company vs. Promise vs. NameMy Profile

  2. This is the most comprehensive to-do list for setting up and promoting a blog, that I’ve ever seen. Anyone interested in starting a blog or even improving an existing blog, will get all the info they need from this post. I know I’ll refer to it several times. Great job!
    Lisa Kanarek recently posted… 7 Stupid E-mail Mistakes to AvoidMy Profile

    1. Hey Lisa, I appreciate that. I realized this month as I was launching my second blog how much easier it was and these are the things I’ve learned that I wish I’d known a couple years ago. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Show Off Your Popular PostsMy Profile

    2. I agree with Lisa. This is the most comprehensive list of blogging anything I’ve seen and I’m about to use this to increase my blog’s awesomeness. Thanks for this!

  3. Thanks! I stopped at #3 to check out Fivver. Sooo cool! This is going to take a while to digest, it’s such an awesome list.
    Lori Ferguson recently posted… Walls or Bridges?My Profile

    1. http://fiverr.com/ is great! There’s some weird stuff there, but also some great deals on products and services.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Don’t Miss These Essential Plugins for Your BlogMy Profile

  4. Michelle, I love lists. I will be bookmarking this page. Thanks!

    1. I’m a fan of lists, too. Easy to check off as I go through them. Thanks for bookmarking it, Traci!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 51 Ways to Explode Your Blog’s AwesomenessMy Profile

  5. Awesome Awesome Awesome! I am going to share with my fan page right now.
    Michele Scism recently posted… How to Make A Great VideoMy Profile

    1. I appreciate that, Michele, thanks! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Show Off Your Popular PostsMy Profile

  6. Hi,
    I am saving this blog to go through each of your points with my own blog.. Mine is a wordpress.com. I worry about having my own domain name does it really matter that much?
    I know my blog really needs some work with the content and I never seem to find a quick and easy way to deal with that and commenting on other peoples blogs.. So many jobs to do and not enough hours in the day!! LOL

    1. The biggest reasons I recommend your own domain and hosting space are: (1) ownership (right now your at wordpress’s mercy as far as owning the space goes–if they see a violation of their terms, get hacked, etc. your blog can be gone — and on your own hosting space you’re more in control), (2) brand building (all the links you build to your blog right now are actually to wordpress.com since the main URL), (3) freedom (with your own hosting space you’re free to use any templates and plugins you want and hack WP as much as you’d like to customize and power it up).

      That said, WordPress.com can be a great place to start blogging for personal bloggers especially. Here’s a comparison from WordPress: http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/ And here’s some info that’s important for business bloggers to know about WordPress.com: http://en.support.wordpress.com/advertising/ Basically you can’t run ads, affiliate links, etc on a WordPress.com blog and since I do, wordpress.com wouldn’t work for my blog (or I’d risk having it terminated for violating terms of use). Professional blogs are allowed (http://en.wordpress.com/types-of-blogs/) they just have to be careful not to violate the advertising terms.

      If only we had 48 hours days, right? LOL Or, an extra couple of hours at night where the clock pauses only for us! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Don’t Miss These Essential Plugins for Your BlogMy Profile

  7. Inspirational stuff. One of u will have to do a write-up on article submission services and networks that SERPs actually like. Thanks for introducing all these ideas, Michelle.
    Saul Fleischman recently posted… Ranking & Reaching 2/3: Your Ideal TribeMy Profile

    1. Hi Saul, there’s a great topic idea! I’ll have to reach out to some smart SEO friends and see if we can borrow their brain over here for a post on that. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Weekend Fun: The Evolution of the EntrepreneurMy Profile

  8. And the reason this awesome everybody-wants-to-know-it information isn’t in the form of a paid tutorial/ebook/guide was what again? I must have missed that memo. :)
    Melanie Kissell recently posted… Quick Happiness Workshop for Increasing Profits at Times of Seeming UncertaintyMy Profile

    1. LOL Eh, more fun to just share it. ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Looking for Blog Post Ideas?My Profile

  9. Hi Michelle,

    I immediately installed the security scan plugins on my site. Thanks for those. I am also considering installing the mod_security module on my Apache server – have you used it before?

    For a new blog with low PR and not many incoming back links is it a good idea to install comment luv? What are your thoughts on alternatives such as disqus?

    This list of resources and tips is so useful I have added it to my checklists notebook in Evernote. Awesome stuff.
    Danny recently posted… Famous Quotes By Five Famous PeopleMy Profile

    1. If you’re on a VPS/dedicated and have the ability to run phpsuexec or mod_security I’d look at it seriously.

      I’ve found CommentLuv to really work for motivating bloggers to comment. I think it depends on your target audience some though. If they’re going to be interested in building links back to their blogs, then they’ll love it. But if your audience isn’t blogging or doesn’t have websites, it may not have as much value for you. It won’t hurt to install it though and see whether your commenters use it. :) It also has the benefit of letting you add links to your other posts each time you comment back (like my link below to “Looking for Blog Post Ideas?”).

      Disqus is a nice system and works well for controlling spam. I used it for a month or two, then switched out of it mostly because I wanted CommentLuv back. If you do use it, I recommend not forcing people to login though. Let them comment with Name/URL as well as allowing the accounts. Otherwise a lot of people will skip commenting because they don’t want to create one more account/password and login before commenting.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Looking for Blog Post Ideas?My Profile

  10. I am new to bloging so this will be a great help! Lots of things i didn’t know aboutand had just been wondering if i should get domain name, so thanks for the info.

    1. Hi Dianne, I’m glad this was helpful for you. Welcome to blogging — jump right in, it’s a blast! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Blog Branding: Company vs. Promise vs. NameMy Profile

  11. Epically detailed! Dang!

    “Because it’s About Building Relationships” This is my favorite tip out of the whole page. You can do all of the rest, still get traffic, still generate prospects, but if you aren’t building relationships in the process – you may as well throw in the towel! It’s essential! :)

    Sweet stuff Michelle!

    1. Ain’t that the truth! Without building those connections, the rest of it isn’t going to work well.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Weekend Fun: The Evolution of the EntrepreneurMy Profile

  12. What a great post Michelle! Installed the PageRank after reading your post. I just had a little bit of trouble going back and forth between this current post and your other linked posts. I’d loose my spot where I was reading and so forth.
    Loved the content!
    Diana Samalot recently posted… SEO Service Company: Avoiding Undesirable SEO Service ProvidersMy Profile

    1. Hey Diana, I have considered doing new windows for links. Would that be better for you? Or more annoying? I personally get annoyed when a website opens like a thousand new windows on me (lol – okay maybe not a thousand) but I can see where with something like this it would be frustrating to keep losing your place when you click through to the links. I’m open to feedback and doing the new window thing if it makes more sense. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Leadership Lessons From the Shirtless Dancing GuyMy Profile

  13. This is an awesome checklist on steps to improve blog, Michelle. I will look though the security plugins you recommend, I’m no familiar with some of them.

    Thanks, this is bookmarked for reference.
    Stella recently posted… Great Magnetic Headline Examples PLUS 10 Techniques To Write Click-Irresistible Headlines in MinutesMy Profile

    1. I’ve switched security plugins several times over the years — I keep watching for recent updates and if the ones I’m using aren’t being updated regularly I switch to ones that are.

      Happy to hear this is a “bookmark worthy” post! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Looking for Blog Post Ideas?My Profile

  14. We have to use all of these things or else we are a goner!!

    Lawrence Bergfeld
    Lawrence Bergfeld recently posted… Smart Network Marketing Truth Revealed Is Without Flexible Planning Your GoneMy Profile

    1. I like to think of my blog as something that’s always a work in progress. Small steps forward are awesome, so if we can make just a few improvements at a time, eventually we’ll get them all. :) Each item on the list is something I’ve found helpful.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Leadership Lessons From the Shirtless Dancing GuyMy Profile

  15. […] Michelle Shaeffer- “51 Ways to Explode Your Blog’s Awesomeness” […]

  16. […] 51 Ways to Explode Your Blog's Awesomeness […]

  17. Excellent information. Thank you Michelle.

    1. You’re welcome, Gavin, thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Weekend Fun: Don’t Miss These Cool LinksMy Profile

  18. Looking forward to working through this list. Thanks!

    1. You’re welcome – thanks for commenting. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do Visitors Beg to Stay At Your Website?My Profile

  19. Thanks for inspiring me, appreciate you for sharing the list !

    1. Thanks! Happy to be an inspiration.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do Visitors Beg to Stay At Your Website?My Profile

  20. This the biggest and most put together list I’ve ever seen for blogging success. You did great with this one.
    Michael Keyes recently posted… A Different Facebook StrategyMy Profile

    1. I appreciate that, Michael, thanks for commenting.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do Visitors Beg to Stay At Your Website?My Profile

  21. Hi Michelle,

    This is a great list. I really appreciate the work you do!
    Amy Putkonen recently posted… 10 Ways to Improve Your Trade Show Direct MailMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Amy. I had fun putting it together. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Do Visitors Beg to Stay At Your Website?My Profile

  22. WOW!! thanks for the great list michelle, I’m just starting out so this helps alot:D
    Aaron Hung recently posted… Money is not everything, but does it guarantee your happiness?My Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Aaron. Glad this is helpful.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to Steal Blog Traffic Like a PirateMy Profile

  23. […] 51 Ways to Explode Your Blog’s Awesomeness (by Michelle Shaeffer) […]

  24. Great tips! again thanks so much! I signed up with Networked blogs and other directories. Hopefully this helps.
    Sharlene recently posted… 10 Lessons Learned After A Group DiscussionMy Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Sharlene. Yes, build those links! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing (Funny Videos!)My Profile

  25. Woah! I can add no more.
    You discuss every parts of blogging, big or small in the simplest way ever.

    Thanks for this. Gonna work on my blog more. I’ll follow your 1-53 steps. I really need to work smart for it to gain traffic.

    Thank you so much for this!
    Ashley Casas recently posted… Chemical Fumes Blamed for Death of Fullerton Paint Company EmployeeMy Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Ashley. Little steps add up to big results!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… A Visual Pinterest Tutorial #infographicsMy Profile

  26. I came to your blog from linkedin and after going through some of your post especially this one, I must say that you are a genius blogger. Michelle, you are not just a professional, but someone who knows information delivery. Keep it up
    Henry recently posted… How to remove blogger favicon from your blogspot blogMy Profile

    1. Thanks Henry, I appreciate that!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Four Words That Will Destroy Your BusinessMy Profile

  27. I am saving this blog to go through each of your points with my own blog.. I’m a fan of lists, too.
    Liz Davis recently posted… Swiffer MopsMy Profile

    1. I like lists since it’s easy to check things off and see progress. :)

  28. Love this post!

    I jumped right in and started using your helpful advice. Especially: Get Out There & Get Listed, Get Improving Your Skills, and Get Creating.

    Thank you!

    1. Awesome! Glad this was helpful, Peter, and thanks for commenting.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Get in Front of 40,000+ Entrepreneurs a MonthMy Profile

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