5 Simple Blog Basics you need NOW!!!


Welcome fellow traveler in this crazy but wonderful world of blogging! Today I’m sharing 5 simple blog basics that are essential for your blog’s brand and soooo easy to implement that it is RIDICULOUS! And speaking of branding, there’s a giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win a complete design package from Tailor Brands, that you definitely don’t want to miss out on!

5 ridiculously simple blog basics that every blogger needs to implement now! Super quick and easy actions to take that will enhance your blog presence.

Let me first start off by saying that my favorite part of blogging is… well learning MORE about blogging! Discovering the ins and outs for making a successful blog is really very exciting to me.
 
Thanks to so many bloggers sharing their tips and tricks, I haven’t needed to purchase a single book on the subject. Tutorials from designing and coding to networking and affiliate sales, are all at your fingertips if you are willing to put in a little time to search. Pinterest is FULL of pins from blogger’s sharing what worked and didn’t work for them (I could study there for hours!).
 
Here and there I have come across several excellent blogging tutorials answering questions and solving ones I didn’t know I even had. Simple blog basics that I saw implemented by successful bloggers everywhere but was clueless on how to put into effect.
 
I have seen several others in the same boat as I was, so to jump start your journey, I wanted to share 5 simple blog basics that will help enhance your blog presence.

1. Keep your permalinks date free.

The permalink is the URL of your post. Keeping your blog permalink date free allows you to update and republish an old blog post without changing the url (keeping all your social shares intact, ie pins, likes, etc.). It also looks much more professional. For example, which one looks better to you?

  • aspenjay.com/2016/04/07/simple-blog-basics-you-need-now
  • aspenjay.com/simple-blog-basics-you-need-now

The first one, is a lot longer, not as pleasing to the eye, and gets out dated fast. If you are like me, when I see a post that was published back in 2011, I’m less inclined to read it. 

So how do you change your permalink settings? Pretty simple actually, in WordPress, go to Settings -> Permalinks -> click on ‘Post Name’.

permalinks

And that’s it! Now you have great looking urls and are free to republish your posts.

But… what about us that have been blogging for awhile and already have many published posts? Won’t changing the url mess up links to my site? Is it too late?

Nope! There is a simple fix.

I had been blogging for almost a year using a date in my permalink when I came across a great post entitled How to Easily Redirect Permalinks in WordPress from Budget Girl. She writes on the importance of keeping your posts evergreen and then walks you through how to redirect your permalinks. It only took me a few minutes to make the changes and I’m very glad I did. My urls look sooooo much cleaner and I haven’t had any problems updating and republishing an old post.

A heads up though, when I redirected my permalinks my pin count on each blog post went to zero. Yes this was very, very sad to see. However, it did not affect the pins and links that people had pinned from my site which is much more important.

2. Have a photo of yourself by your comments.

Having your picture next to your name when leaving a comment on other blogs helps your blog look legit and makes your comment more personable by putting a face to a name. You just need to get an avatar.

avatar photo appear next to your comment

I was clueless for awhile about avatars and how others photos ‘magically’ appeared when they wrote a comment. I was so excited when I finally figured it out that I wrote a tutorial on How to make your Photo Appear Next to Your Comments which takes you through the entire process. It is ridiculously simple to implement (you may be kicking yourself for not getting an avatar earlier) and only takes a few minutes.

3. Customize your favicon. Your what?!

The favicon is the little square icon that you see next to your site in the browser tabs.

a favicon (the tiny icon on next to your blog name in the browser) is so simple to set up and makes you look that much more legit!

If you don’t create a favicon, then your blog will receive the default image of your hosting company.

BORING!

And very unprofessional. By having your own favicon it makes it easier for your viewers to identify your site when they are jumping around from site to site and have multiple tabs open (don’t we all?). I found this tutorial on how to create a custom favicon for your blog that I definitely recommend referring to if you need help setting up your favicon.

4. Add an email signature.

As a blogger, you will be corresponding with other bloggers, followers, and clients through email. Having your own customized signature complete with social media links will help give you a more polished look. 

5 simple blog basics- custom email signature

Setting up your own personalized email signature is A LOT easier than it may seem. Believe me, I was completely daunted by this task! Then I found this tutorial on Creating a Custom Email Signature that helped me through my email signature intimidation.

5. Set up rich pins.

Rich pins are pins that include additional information about each pin–the website name, favicon, and headline. Take a look at the difference of a pin with and without having the rich pin enabled.

How to add rich pins to your pins to better brand your site.

Makes a difference, huh?

Setting up rich pins is super simple and so beneficial to your site. First off, you must have a Business Pinterest account.

Install WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin (this is a search engine optimization plugin that I strongly recommend even if it weren’t for rich pins). Once you activate the plugin, in your wp-admin, go to:

SEO –> Social –> Facebook –> check the “Add Open Graph meta data” box and save your changes.

Setting up rich pins tutorial. Super simple to do

Next go to the Rich Pin Validator. Click on “Validate your Rich Pins” and then enter a link to one of your blog posts and click validate. You will receive a message that says:

“Your pin has been validated! Apply now.” Click on the “apply now”. Pinterest will review your application and let you know via email that you have been approved. I received my email approval in a matter of seconds but I have heard others waiting a few weeks to hear back.

That’s it! Now all your pins are fancy rich pins. πŸ™‚

Super quick and simple blogging tasks right?

Now onto the Giveaway!

But first…

Back to the blogging basics, do you have a logo for your blog or business? Do you like it? Good design branding can be expensive, but is crucial for establishing your blog presence. 

I am excited to team up with Tailor Brands to offer a giveaway for one of their design Premium Bundles (a $99 value). Tailor Brands believes that great branding should be accessible to everyone and makes it possible to get great design at an affordable price. You should definitely check out their design packages!

*GIVEAWAY of premium logo bundle from Tailor Brands

The Premium Bundle includes:

  • 21 logo sizes
  • Logo in web & print formats (PNG and EPS)
  • Business card design
  • Letterhead design
  • Cover images for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
  • Profile images for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more
  • Email signature and banner images*GIVEAWAY of premium logo bundle from Tailor Brands

 Giveaway time! Here is your chance to win the Design Premium Bundle (a $99 value)!!!

To enter: Just fill out the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway ends April 21st at 11:59pm. The winner will be chosen and notified via email within 24 hours of giveaway’s end.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thanks to Tailor Brands for providing this fabulous design package for our giveaway! I was not compensated in any way to write this post–I just wanted to offer you something awesome! πŸ™‚

 

For more helpful blogging tips, check out this complete list of blogging resources.A complete list of Blogging Resources- really helpful tools to use for your blog.


Click here to see where I like to party.

107 comments

    • Aspen Jay says:

      You are most welcome Jessica! Glad that they helped you out. It’s funny all the little things in blogging you see others have/do but you have no idea how to do it yourself!

  1. Jenny says:

    This is so great thanks for all your amazing tips and knowledge on the url post name redirect i have been blogging about two years and wanting to change that so badly but didn’t want to break my site either. Off to hopefully fix it. now Thanks for linking up to #ShareWithMe

  2. Erlene says:

    Great tips. I think bloggers should customize their sharing buttons to reflect their handles so they know when people share (Twitter) their posts.

  3. Life Loving says:

    That’s five amazing tips there AJ. I hadn’t given too much through to the URL string until you mentioned it. Luckily I set mine up so they wouldn’t date (unbeknown to me!) but I would have definitely considered changing them if not, you’re absolutely right about the recency thing.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie
    Life Loving recently posted…BibigoMy Profile

  4. Christina says:

    Lovely post! One other basic I would add: make sure you have enough clear pictures in your post and structure your posts out so they are clear and easy to read

  5. Candace says:

    Love the tips; just starting out again blogging after a year break and find the resources and information out there on how to improve your site have expanded exponentially. Definitely need to change my permalink settings, but someone who has the info on how to in Blogger. #ShineBlogHop
    Candace recently posted…Spring Capsule Wardrobe for FaithMy Profile

    • Aspen Jay says:

      Hi Louise,
      Glad to have helped! πŸ™‚ Isn’t it crazy how simple so many of the things are to do that we see others doing… its just a matter of knowing how!

  6. Ashley says:

    These are all great! I’ve done the majority, but there are a few that definitely need some attention, like getting my photo on my website πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing and for hosting the awesome giveaway.

  7. Abby says:

    Great tips! I definitely have a couple to work on. I’d that it’s vital to add a description to the alt tag of your photos, so the pin description is what you want it to be.

    I’m hosting a link party and I’d love for you stop by and link up with us!

    • Aspen Jay says:

      Thanks Abby! Oh, I definitely agree about the alt tag! Really helps because very few people ever customize the description when they pin images. And thanks for the invite! I’ll be there this next Tuesday! πŸ™‚

  8. Carol Blanchet says:

    Thank you so much for all the information. It really is so helpful to have the questions answered that you don’t even know to ask. πŸ™‚

    Carol from WA state

  9. Elaine Matthews says:

    Great tips! I’m going to do them…Hey BTW your post was the Most Viewed last week and will be featured tomorrow! Thanks for sharing on My 2 favorite Things on Thursday! See you again tomorrow!! Pinned!

  10. Charlotte says:

    Thanks for the tips! I am still a new blogger.
    I had thought about changing my permalinks but wasn’t sure what to do about the posts I had already posted.
    I also need to work on a few other things you talked about.
    Thanks for posting the helpful info! Everything that I have learned, I learned from other bloggers and with hard work. I appreciate how helpful fellow bloggers are πŸ™‚

  11. Marjan says:

    Thank you for posting this, I will need to imlement some of these tips! Some I have already but it seems that you never keep up with all of it.

  12. Leslie says:

    Great resources! I did not have a Favicon but used your tutorials to create one. Our blogging community would be blessed if you shared this great blogging how-to at the Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup.

  13. debbie says:

    Im a new blogger but I could have never gotten to the point I am so far without the help of books and group pages, so you are amazing. I was reluctant to click on your post because I figured I would already know the 5 basic things, but I was totally unaware of the perma link dates so I am glad for that info. I am not sure I have the flavicon either, so again, a very informative post!

    • Aspen Jay says:

      Hi Debbie! Ha, that’s funny that the title almost sent you away! πŸ™‚ Glad you clicked on it anyways. I’m with you, bloggers sharing their tips has helped my blog SO much! Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Ruthie Gray says:

    What an absolutely fantastic list!!! You’ve taught me so much in this one post! I have implemented several of these already – however, I’ve got to do the signature thing and that’s what I’m doing as soon as I get done typing this.

    You’ve got it rocking over here, girl. Thanks for sharing this at Tuesday Talk – I’ll be featuring this next week on my blog because ALL bloggers need to know these valuable tips!

  15. Lisa notes says:

    It’s crazy to me, but I find that I love learning more about blogging itself as well. I don’t always DO what I learn, but I like the learning part anyway. πŸ™‚ Your suggestions are all good; the one I need to do most is to do is # 4, add an email signature. I’ll check out the tutorial today. Thanks for the advice.

    • Aspen Jay says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Glad to know I’m not the only one out there! πŸ™‚ It’s hard to implement everything we learn about blogging- because there is so much out there! Baby steps I guess. πŸ™‚ Good luck setting up the email signature today.
      -AJ

  16. Calli says:

    AJ! This is such a helpful post. Thanks for writing it. Being such a novice, I don’t have any to add. Heck, I haven’t done most of these!

    • Aspen Jay says:

      Hey Calli,
      Well you have your avatar which is more than some so that is great! πŸ™‚ I know you would rather be writing… but these are a must! Good luck implementing these!
      -AJ

  17. Bread says:

    I don’t have my face next to my comments etc, I don’t want it there not matter how personable it is. i have my avatar though, it’s the same everyone I am. Good tips though. I’d never considered getting a business account for pinterest.

    • Aspen Jay says:

      Hi Bread,
      I can see why some may not want to have their face next to their comments, so another great alternative would be to create an avatar having your blog’s logo and/or blog. Just helps with branding. Thanks for sharing this added point Bread, I think I’ll go and add a little bit to that section. Thanks!

  18. Maria says:

    These are fantastic tricks! Isn’t blogging great? I have to agree with you the amount of information about blogging that’s out there is fantastic. Like you I havent had to buy any other supplementary materials to help me out. Thanks so much for sharing such a useful post with us on #shinebloghop!

  19. Meg says:

    Thanks! I hadn’t even realized that since switching to self-hosting my pins weren’t rich anymore. I just fixed it! And, I’m excited to work on making my own custom favicon. Your post was seriously one of the easiest to understand and follow for practical blogging tips and tutorials that I’ve found. If you EVER want to share more, I’m all ears…especially about Google keyword planner or analytics, which are currently the bane of my existence for their complexity. πŸ™‚

    • Aspen Jay says:

      Thanks Meg, you are so sweet! I’m so glad that it was helpful and good for you for taking care of your rich pins right away! What are you confused about with Google Analytics? I don’t know if I can help much in the Keyword Planner, but the analytics I might. πŸ™‚

  20. Victoria @DazzleWhileFrazzled says:

    Thank you for this list. As a newbie, this was probably one of the very few posts about blogging that didn’t make me Google what they were talking about! Happy that the post signature was the only one I was lacking – phew! Visiting from The DIY Collective.

  21. Krista says:

    I am a fairly new blogger. I really appreciate you tips and especially the screen shots and step by step. So many bloggers give tips, but forget to inform those of us who know so much less, how to do it.

  22. Emily says:

    These are all great suggestions…and not your usual tips. I am 5 for 5, but my e-mail signature is not nearly as nice are yours. πŸ™‚

    One other basic I would add: add descriptions to the alt tag when adding images to posts. That way when someone goes to pin a photo to Pinterest, there is already a great description ready for Pinterest!
    Emily recently posted…April With Grit & Grace – a monthly goal linkupMy Profile

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