A guest post contributed by George Baker, who regularly writes for SparesNextDay.co.uk
1. Use Pages on Your Blog
The most important thing that you can do to improve the fluidity of your blog experience is to add pages. Pages make it much easier to find what people are looking for. Pages don’t get lost in the infinite black hole that is an archive; instead, you can put them anywhere you want on your homepage and, actually, on every page within your blog. This means that pages are always vying for attention and will, as a result, get that attention.
2. Use Pages on Your Blog Well
Just having pages doesn’t mean that your blog is automatically well organized. It takes work and the intelligent, calculated use of pages. Don’t have too many pages and make sure that the information entombed in your pages remains relevant, easy to navigate, and aids, rather than hinders, the organizational process. What this means is that your pages should closely cluster blog posts from related topics.
Think of pages as a tent that you invite a party to discuss a relevant topic; the party is a bunch of like-minded people getting together to make points around a topic or two, but if you invite too many people with opinions that are way out there or have nothing to do with your topic, then the party quickly degenerates into a bunch of arguing back and forth or, worse, inane statements and meaninglessness. You must have vital connections and a vital discourse withing the page. Therefore, group your pages precisely and according to definable topics.
3. Group Posts According to Categories
Pages are nothing without categories. Categories and sub-categories are how you define what a post is about. The most important thing with categories is to find, with each and every blog post, just what it is about and label it accurately. Otherwise, there is not only misdirection but a cornucopia of information. Contrary to popular belief, more information is not automatically better information. Better organized information is better information.
Don’t categorize every single blog post independent of all your other blog posts. Find common ground and cut down on excess categories. By cutting down on over-categorizing, you can simplify not only your life (because you are the one who has to fit blog posts into categories) but your blog reader’s lives. This is because it makes finding what they are looking for a breeze. Nothing deters curious readers than having to pick their way through an endless, dark labyrinth without so much as a map. Categories are the map. Give your readers a readable and understandable map, with a good legend and a clear key. They aren’t looking for bewilderment and chaos; they are looking for a blog! Give them a blog. Otherwise, it is highly likely that they will no longer be your reader.
4. Legitimize your Blog with Linked Sources
Far too much of blogging is nothing more than opinion and pure fluff. The surefire way to counter this is to include your sources. If you have been writing about the economy, throw in a link to an online Wall Street Journal article that talks about either what you have been talking about or something similar. If you get some information from another website, link to that website. If you liked an idea from another blog, don’t try to pass it off as your own; link to that blog and build a virtual friendship.
Also, by including links to authoritative and interesting articles outside of your blog, you broaden the minds of your readers by giving them another view on whatever topic you were writing about. Sincere and intelligent readers will treasure the additional information and meaning that you have made possible. Plus, this helps to improve the collective consciousness of our planet. What can be more important than that?