You might have heard that I don’t spend a lot of time reading blogs.

But one thing I do spend quite a lot of time doing is visiting the best blogs and websites in different niches in order to “borrow” ideas from them.

You see, one thing that bloggers often do is get stuck in their own niche. If they write about the moon landing then they only read other blogs about the moon landing or related space travel geekery.

I think this is a mistake.

Quite a lot of my ideas for content or different future projects have come from looking at sites in niches I have absolutely zero interest in. In this post I’m going to show you a few things I’ve learned from my travels about what the best blogs do on their sites. Hopefully you’ll discover something you can apply to your own.

1. A darn good content plan
One of my main passions here on Blog Tyrant is helping my readers learn more about how to develop a content plan. In fact, this special announcement that I’ve been talking about for a while now will be focused quite a lot on this very topic.

Just take a look at guys like Chris Ducker who recently ran a 10-part series (yes 10 parts!) on how to work with a virtual assistant. This type of thing takes planning and it reeks of high quality, useful information.

The professionals like TIME, the Guardian and National Geographic would all have very strict ideas about where they want their content to go over time. The random posting of bloggers really worries me.

2. Long term goals
Closely linked with the last one is the idea of long term goals. This doesn’t just refer to content goals, of course, but things you want to achieve with your blog and then thing you want your blog to help you achieve.

For example, one of my personal goals of 2013 is to make Blog Tyrant my primary focus and stop working so much on my other online businesses. This means a big re-focus for the work that I do on a day to day basis.

Think about some long term goals that you’d like to achieve and then work your blog into that plan. It’s very important to make sure you’ve got the short and medium term goals sorted out as well.

3. A killer About Us page
If you read my post last week on how to get traffic you’ll know I probably don’t want to link to my post on the best about us pages. But, I guess it’s kind of relevant.

A good About Us page is vital for any blogs success. It is usually the second page that people visit and can go a long way to making a random visitor a little more interested in your content or even your mailing list.

yTravel Blog
Caz and Craig and the kids.

My blogging friends Caz and Craig have a really nice example of this. It’s personal, it has photos and it gets you deeper into their content. This is how you should use a page like this to help people get to know you.

When writing a good About Us page consider including:

    • Your story
      Make it a personal story, not just the story of the blog. Talk about who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
    • Some good photographs
      More on this later but for now let me just say that a good photograph is really important to help people connect with you personally as well as taking your blog seriously.


  • Get some feedback from readers and consider showing that on this page down the bottom. Helps people feel part of a group.
  • Old content
    Remember, new visitors don’t know about your classic posts. Why not show them a few of your pillar posts to help them get a feel for your blog?
  • Your mailing list
    Of course – make sure there is an option for them to become a subscriber.

Put all of this together and you’ll have a nice little section for people to get to know you.

4. An orderly and very sexy mailing list
I put a lot of emphasis on growing an engaged and very sexy mailing list. It allows you to promote content, affiliates, new products, new websites and so on.

My preference is to use AWeber because they have a lot of great stats, opt-in form creators, and they allow you to segment your lists in a very simple and orderly way. You can also redirect your new subscribers to get a free eBook.

However, the focus of this point is that you need to keep your email subscribers orderly and on a specific funnel. Make sure they know what they are getting when they sign up. If they asked for a weekly roundup of your posts don’t send them every single update.

5. Their own domain name
If you’re new to blogging (and a lot of my readers are) you’re probably going to be a little bit scared by this one.

The fact of the matter remains that it is very hard to grow a professional blog on a free domain like Blogger or Tumblr. Sure, it happens. But it’s not ideal.

In my video on blog hosting I talk about why I think you need to move away from the idea of a free domain name and get one that represents your brand – something that you own completely. I just really hate the idea of people building up their blogging assets on a domain name that they don’t own.

6. Some reliable blog hosting with a WordPress backend
This is something I mention quite a lot but need to keep mentioning because it is so important. Your hosting is really important – as is the content management system that you use.

For beginners looking to host their own blog I have made some recommendations here and instructions on getting set up here. This is so important because, again, you don’t want to be building up an asset on a platform that you don’t fully own and control.

Some of the main reasons I recommend getting your own host with a WordPress backend include:

  • Thousands of plugins
    There are thousands of free plugins that you can use to change the way your site functions. These features can cost a lot of money if you were to custom build them on a different platform.
  • A crap load of themes
    As with the plugins, there are thousands of free and paid themes that you can use and tweak and change.
  • Ease of use
    WordPress really is one of the easiest CMS to use and beginners can pick it up quite quickly while experts will easily delve deeper and make it work a lot harder for them.
  • Infinite customisations
    I am always blown away at how much you can do with WordPress using plugins, custom coding or a combination of the two. You can turn a page on your blog into an online store, take bookings for events, run a download site… the list really is endless. If you have a good coder like Crazy XHTML you will find that almost any feature you want is a possibility.
  • Complete control
    When you own the server you have complete control over your emails, server space and all the things that go along with that. It’s a bit more work but totally worth it.

The best blogs and websites, however, have super fast dedicated hosting and use things like Content Delivery Networks to deliver images and graphics at a faster rate. This will be the topic of a future post as I suspect there are a lot of Tyrant Troops outgrowing their shared hosting environment.

7. Multiple content battlegrounds
A few months ago I wrote a three million word post on how to choose your social media platform. I tried to detail the main sites in a way that would help you get a grasp on what each one offered and how you could use it for your business.

And that is a really important point – you need to choose carefully but not give one so much weight that you neglect others. As Pat Flynn always says, be everywhere. But as I always try to clarify, not at the expense of your main asset – your blog.

If you can use Pinterest, Google+, Facebook and Twitter to drive sales and subscribers then do it. But if you are just finding that it is a time waste that doesn’t convert then give it up.

The most important point about having multiple content battlegrounds, however, is that you really need to try to move away from just using text and get into video, photos, images, eBooks, webinars, podcasts and all the other varieties of media that are out there. This diversity really helps to protect your blog from the Google ups and downs.

8. A bit of an advertising splash
A long time ago I wrote a post on ProBlogger about how you can use advertising to help grow your blog into something bigger. I think this is something a lot of bloggers needs to re-visit.

For some reason we bloggers think that blogging should be free and it should grow organically without any help from a cash-injection. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work like that.

Neil Patel advertising on Facebook
A screen shot of one of Neil Patel’s ads on Facebook.

All businesses advertise. We should to. Even if you just do a little bit of a Facebook spend like Neil Patel does when he is pushing a new service it will help you get in front of new people and hopefully drive some targeted traffic.

Be warned, however, this stuff is really addictive and it’s easy to get wrong. Make sure you do a lot of testing and tracking so you’re not just throwing money out there.

9. Some professional photos
A few weeks ago I jumped on a Skype chat with the very intelligent Chris Ducker and one of the first things he mentioned was the photo I use of me sitting on the couch in a forest with my laptop. Initially I had some doubts about the concept (I don’t work in a forest!) but after hearing one of my internet heroes talk about the fact that he noticed it I was really glad we went along with the concept.

Tim Ferriss
An example from Tim Ferriss who always has fun and professionally done photos.

Professional photos are so important for taking your brand to the next level. Not only do they help your readers connect to your face and personality, they undo all the negative effects that a cheap photo does to your blog. I instantly feel a little less interested in some blogs when the photos (especially the About Us) are just stock images or done with an iPhone.

Do a search for photographers in your area and see if you can set aside $200 to get some quick photos done. Make sure they express who you are and what you do and aren’t just traditional headshots. You don’t want to end up with a photo on Awkward Family Portraits.

10. A well developed and consistent brand and logo
Something that you instantly notice when you visit great sites like Nerd Fitness is how consistent the branding is. The logo is well incorporated into everything that they do and the colours and vibe are the same everywhere.

This is really important for blogs to do because it is part of standing out from the crowd. If you can come up with something distinctive and apply it to your voice and all that you do you’ll find people are more interested in you content.

I’ve been a bit naughty on this front as I’m moving away from the Blog Tyrant sceptre with the upcoming changes in favour of the more military style text logo. I know some of you won’t be happy with that.

11. A clear (and loud!) voice
When you read content on a really good website (like Dooce), blog or in a book you’ll notice that there is a very clear voice. The author knows what they are trying to say and how they are trying to say it. Most importantly, they know who they are talking to.

It’s so important to develop a clear writing voice on your blog – it’s something I spent a lot of time talking about in my post on how to write better.

For me, it really helps to read the type of people I want to sound like as much as I can. And then when I sit down to write I pretend I’m talking to a particular person I know in a very informal setting. That person makes me feel like I should be kind of humble (because I respect them) but also really casual because we’ve known each other for a very long time.

12. Something that makes them different
The previous three points all really come back to this – you need to find a way to be different to the rest. Whether it’s done simply with your branding and logo or, better yet, something you carry throughout all your content and the way you approach your product. It needs to be different.

Now, a lot of people say that you need to be original – I don’t believe that. There are thousands and thousands of successful companies who are making a fortune doing the exact same thing as someone else. Think about all the major fast food chains, all your local plumbing companies, news sites telling the same stories, etc. The big thing is that you need to stand out somehow.

The best blogs all have ways to differentiate themselves from the rest. Whether it’s through a particular historical event (like selling a few blogs and working on a couch!) or through a way you deliver an every day item like the news. SourceFed – a YouTube news channel – gets more viewers than mainstream news by doing their hilarious five stories of the day. They do it differently.

13. A good mobile site
We all know that mobile is growing. There is now a significant portion of web traffic coming from smart phones and tablets. This means that we bloggers need to make sure our sites work across as many platforms as possible.

What a lot of bloggers don’t realize, however, is that Google has indicated that a site will need to have a mobile version in order for them to rank it highly. This is another example of Google trying to pass on quality websites to the people searching with their engine.

When it comes to mobile versions you can either go a responsive design or a plugin that creates a mobile version of your website. I’m not a fan of either personally but the responsive design is better in that it showcases all of your content as usual. There’ll be a responsive version of Blog Tyrant coming out very soon!


For a good example of a mobile site just take a look at the way Copyblogger shrinks down for the smaller screens. Brilliant.

14. Some writers who know what the kids are sayin’
This is a really lame way of saying that you need to have a writer (it could be yourself) who knows how to keep up with things that are trendy.

I’m not just talking about language, of course. Rather, it’s important to have your finger on the pulse when it comes to trends like infographics, SEO changes, WordPress updates and new features and, most importantly, the things happening in your niche.

So how can you stay across all of these things?

  • Set up a Google Alert
    Set up some Google Alerts for keywords that are relevant to your blog. Just check them every now and then and see if anything stands out.
  • Hire a writer
    In my guide to content writing I talked about the different types of writers you can hire. Why not find someone who works quite cheap to brainstorm some new things for you?
  • Keep an eye on the top blogs
    Find the top blog or two in your niche and just keep an eye on what they are doing. The most successful blogs like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post will always be on new trends before the rest. This is partly because they start the trends.

Remember, trends aren’t the be all and end all but it is important to have some understanding of what’s going on so you don’t get left behind.

15. A clean sidebar
Not all of the best blogs have a clean sidebar but you can bet that most of them have some clear goals to their sidebar. That is the important part.

I am often really surprised at how cluttered the sidebars of my fellow bloggers are. Even mine has way too much stuff in it at the moment. Take the social media links as an example – I don’t reckon they get used, and I don’t reckon the social media icons that people use do much either.

A sidebar should be used to funnel people towards your desired outcomes. It could be to your mailing list or best content. Try not to clutter it up and confuse people too much.

16. A basic understanding of how SEO works (does anyone really know?)
SEO is changing a lot. Companies like Moz (formerly SEOmoz) are changing from a “pure” SEO firm to one more focussed on content. Other people reckon that it hasn’t changed that much and the old SEO tactics still work.

If you aren’t familiar with SEO then have a read of my beginner’s guide to SEO for blogs as well as my slightly weirder article on SEO secrets.

The basic concept here is that you, like the big blogs, need to look at writing for humans but also ranking for humans. It’s really important. If you don’t have an understand of what Google is after you could be missing out on a lot of new traffic.

17. A focus on evergreen content that people want to share
Have a look at any of the top blogs and you’ll notice that they all have a focus on evergreen content – content that is always relevant and (if possible) appeals to beginners.

This is important because it helps you reach new audiences by appealing not just to your existing readers but to people that might not have otherwise known about your stuff.

Write your content for new readers as much as possible. If it’s any good you’ll find all your readers get something out of it and your audience will keep growing.

What do you wish your blog had?

Let’s turn it over to you guys and girls now – what features, ideas or successes have you seen on the best blogs and wished was present on yours? Leave a comment and let us know.


Join in. The comments are closed after 30 days.
  1. I used to find Google Alerts to be really helpful, but I miss the fact that they aren’t sent out in an RSS feed anymore.

    1. Ah yes, that’s true. It’s all changing!

  2. Hey Ramsay,

    Totally agree with no. 12 – being different is way more important than being original. Living and breathing your USP is a great way to get people excited about you and your content (IMO)

    Being in a bit of a weird niche, I definitely need to expand the types of blogs I read, even if just to “borrow” ideas form other niches and see if they work in mine…

    Oh yeah, Is your sidebar converting better since you changed it round?

    1. Hey Patrick.

      I’m still testing things with the sidebar (don’t want to call it too early) but the sidebar opt-in form is doing a bit better than it was. I still find sidebars kind of low.

      How’s your stuff going?

      1. I know what you mean, while I do get some sign ups from the sidebar opt-in, it doesn’t perform anywhere near as well as post end forms or the Viperbar thingy does.

        Thanks for asking – things are going well. Conversion rates are up after a mini re-design and i’ve just hit front page for my ‘big three’ keywords.

        Don’t suppose you fancy letting me in on your upcoming big reveal. I won’t tell anyone… πŸ˜‰

        1. Can’t even wait a few days huh Pat?

          1. Ha – i’m far too nosey mate!

  3. liz@lifedreaming on July 29, 2013

    Hi Ramsay
    Lots of practical tips as usual mate and lots to think about as well.

    I need to develop a content plan that mixes up longer content with shorter posts.

    What I’ve decided to do is have a researched and lengthy post every 10 days and on Thursdays I’m calling it Thursday Fun. I can write about anything that delights me – other bloggers; travel; new apps etc

    I’m also looking at developing a series on topics such as Habits and Distorted Thinking with practical hints and links.

    After more hours than I care to remember the new Life Dreaming site is up and running.

    I took a lot of your practical hints from heaps of posts and put them into practice on the new site. I think you’ll be able to see your influence Ramsay.

    There’s fine tuning to do and the launch of the Life Dreaming Expedition in 5 weeks but I’m really happy with the bulk of the site.

    I’ve already got 2 small products up and am using an interesting pricing model called Pay What You Want and 10% to Charity.

    I read some interesting research on the model and wanted to make my products accessible to people. I sold a few last week when the site was opened and that’s before any pr!

    I’m emailing you the 2 products as a thank you for how much your posts have helped me think through all the details to create a good site.

    Best wishes

    1. I’m really thrilled to hear that I’ll be able to see my influence Liz! Ha ha. I hope it’s a good influence!

      It sounds like you’ve been putting a lot of work into this project. I can’t wait for you to make a million dollars and take me on a holiday.


      1. liz@lifedreaming on July 29, 2013

        Your influence has been excellent mate and has totally helped me with key areas such as the sign up form; About Page; structuring posts; and putting sign up forms at the bottom of posts – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

        You and I have talked about how important it is to feel passionate about what you do.

        It becomes sooooo important when you’re in the thousandth hour of designing your site and you lose stuff or keep getting error messages!!

        When I’m stuck in the trenches of the work it helps me to be able to look up and remember why I’m doing all this.

        When I make my first million you’ll be one of the first people I’ll send a present to!!


        1. This made my day. Thank you.

    2. Love the idea of Thursday fun Liz. Gives you the opportunity to refresh your mind a bit πŸ™‚

  4. Ramsay, I always make a note to check your blog when I receive an email about your latest posts.

    The first thing that occurred to me when I read the title is that they would have ‘content’. I’m just setting up a new site, I have had a fair amount of experience creating websites in the past, but this one is a new area for me, one that interests me! I’m having to get over my inclination for perfection, which results in procrastination kicking in full time.

    Anyway, I could comment on each of the 17 points you’ve listed, but will choose just one at random, number 13.

    Mobile compatible sites are very important, depending upon where you source the figures from, mobile is or soon will be more important than desktop versions. Many sites don’t seem to realise that Flash does not work with iPhone. Google presents different search results depending upon whether you are using a desktop or mobile – so having a mobile site (either responsive or independent) is essential if you are hoping to do well in Google search.

    Responsive sites, or separate, neither is ideal, but it is better to choose one rather than not have either.

    Thanks for your excellent blog πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Patrick.

      Don’t get me started on Flash! It wasn’t a good idea even before phones had the web on them! Ha ha.

      The perfectionism thing is hard – I get really anxious before I publish a post wondering whether people will like it.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Bryan Haines on July 29, 2013

    One of my blogs has a responsive design and works well on mobile devices but my other, more mature blog doesn’t.

    And I’m dreading the redesign. I know I need to do it, but all the tweaks, feature images, etc will need to be redone. With more than 300 posts, it’s going to be a beast. When I created it 4 years ago, mobile wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

    Thanks for the post – nice overview of the factors.


    1. Yeah I’ve been putting mine off for a long time for that reason. The design has been done for ages. Ha.

      When I first read that comment I thought you meant “mature blog” as in adult blog. Why doesn’t he want responsive design for that, I thought?


      1. Bryan Haines on July 29, 2013

        Whoops! Mature – like good wine… not like mature audiences. 🙂

        This is my “mature” travel blog

        By the way, I’m impressed that you respond to all the comments – as you know, this is very uncommon. Well done!

        1. Thanks Bryan. It takes some time but it’s my favorite aspect of the site.

  6. Thanks. This is a great list. But where should one start? What would you say are the top 3 attributes of great blogs (of this list of 17)?

    1. Content strategy, content strategy, content strategy.


  7. One other thing that I would add is a clear idea of their target audience. There is some overlap with your point about a content plan, but I think they are still kind of separate points too. If you look at any successful, popular blog they will almost certainly have a very defined type of reader that they are trying to reach. When I talk to people who are struggling to get visitors to their blog, when I visit these blogs the content is very often all over the place. Personal posts, articles on several different unrelated topics… These types of blogs are going to have a hard time growing.

    1. Yes this is a really good point. Thanks Marc. I’ve found that has made a big difference to my writing lately.

      Nice one.

  8. How can one blog give me so many to-do’s on a Monday morning? Well, yours can. Thank you Ramsay. I started my blog about 6 months ago on a trial to actually see if I could keep it up. So far, so good. Next month when I get my school-vacation son out of the house I’ll sit down with this list and figure out how to take this thing to a more professional level. Just wanted to note on the professional photos–something I have been thinking about but had been worried getting photos taken of myself is a little vain so I haven’t done πŸ™‚ but I think you are 100% correct….

    Thanks again, and good luck with your big goal!

    1. Yeah I’m not a big fan of Monday morning blog posts!

      Defo do the photos – someone one told me that no one cares about it as much as you do. I think that’s true.

      Thanks Robin!

  9. Stephanie on July 29, 2013

    Hi Ramsay!

    Great post–I’m relieved to say I have quite a few of these implemented on my blog. Being a pretty new blogger, I find I am still working out #10 (brand and logo) and #12 (finding my unique niche). I feel like the more I write, the closer I get to pinning those 2 things down.

    It’s all a process and I’m trying to be patient πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the great ideas.


    1. Sounds like you’re well on your way Stephanie.

      Thanks for commenting!

  10. So much good stuff as always.

    I actually agonize over the About page. I hate being the center of attention in general so imagining my legions of readers (maybe someday) staring at my pic makes my skin crawl.

    But I know it’s important for credibility and I know I always look for the About page on others’ sites. I originally had my About page in the main navigation bar but I couldn’t deal with that idea so I buried a link in the main post. But I learned the Google gods like About pages so I added it to the sidebar, at the very bottom. After reading your post today I moved it up several notches.

    Do you think that’s acceptable?

    1. I know how you feel about being so “public” but it’s a really important part of your brand. Perhaps you just need the right photo that you’re happy with?

      1. Thanks for the quick reply.
        That is the only photo I show in public and only because I have to! I RUN screaming from cameras. But I guess it’s time to consider a professional photo. Uhg.

        1. I reckon especially in a niche like yours it’s a good idea. Good luck!

  11. Please tell me, you talk so much about online marketing and related stuffs. Why only 2000 likes you have on your fb fan page? I am not criticizing, just want to know whether you haven’t worked over there or you are unable to attract?

    1. Hi Deepak.

      Good question. I don’t spend a lot of time talking about Facebook (or talking on FB) because I really don’t like it much. To be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time on social media in general. I try to just do blog stuff.

      People who have a lot of followers on FB like Glen or Pat usually have them because they’ve done tools or popular videos about FB.

      1. It is hard to handle multiple social media effectively. I find FB awful, it is not an easy site to navigate and I wonder how it has become popular for anything more than posting pics for your friends of what you ate for dinner last night. I’d recommend anyone who feels it necessary to set up a social presence, to consider Google+ rather than FB, as it has far better potential with things like Circles and the Hangouts.

        I think it wise to focus on this blog, word of it will spread via those who use FB and they will direct newcomers here. This blog is where you want people to be, not split between here and FB.

  12. Hi Ramsay,

    I’ve been meaning to write a really neat “about me” page. It is true, and although I don’t have a lot of visitors, it is the second most visited page on my blog. It’s like you telling me to work on that “about me” page already! LOL

    Thanks for this wonderful post.

    1. Glad you liked it Gwen.

  13. This is a comprehensive list Ramsay. It looks like you’re giving away the formula for successful blogging all for free — Thank you.

    Aside from learning about blogging from sites like yours, right now I’m still developing my writing skills. Though, I’ve been doing a little promotion every now and then.

    It’s not that I’m procrastinating at getting serious about blogging. To describe it metaphorically, I want to be that muscular guy who attracts attention when I enter the room — what the people inside the room doesn’t know, though, is that muscular guy was once a skinny kid.

    1. Don’t wait too long Michael! Sounds like you’re pretty good at it.

  14. So much to think about Ramsay. I’m gearing up to launch a couple of blogs (different companies) and it’s awesome to have a list like this to make sure I’m on the right track. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Mike. Glad it helped.

  15. Dear readers, PLEASE use a high quality logo. I’ve seen sites that I’ve dismissed because the logo looked like something designed by a 1st grader.

    A simple tip is for those that do design their own logo;
    Create it at the size for your header – don’t resize it via html. I can tell these right away – blurry edges and all.

    1. Totally agree with this. It’s not just about getting a professional one designed but also implementing it properly.

  16. curt rice on July 29, 2013

    great post, thanks! one thing you did not address that i’m struggling with is the name of my blog. i’ve been at it for a couple of years, using my own name ( but i want to “re-brand” and use a more meaningful name related to the content (like your ‘blog tyrant’ approach). the downside is that i have something already built up on my personal name, and people find my blog extremely easily when they attend talks etc, since it’s the first thing that comes up when someone googles my name. but the upside is that i think i can promote it into something much bigger if i use a more content-oriented name (already have it, and the domain!). current thought: keep the website based on my personal name, but have the “blog” part of that website go to the new domain name. bad idea? workable?

    1. Hi Curt.

      Take a look at what Pat Flynn does with his stuff. His main site is Smart Passive Income but he also has which points to all his different projects.

  17. John Shea on July 29, 2013

    Hi Ramsay,

    Great tips here, I always find it difficult to keep up with what everyone is doing, each blogger seems to have a various opinions on different topics. I’ve always been so interested in what everyone is working on I find myself reading a ton of different blogs through my RSS feed.

    I’ve now started to entirely focus on an interview show for my blog so I can learn and connect with all different kinds of people having success in different ways.

    P.S. I sent you an e-mail about an opportunity but never heard back!

    1. Hi John.

      Which email did you send that to? I’ve been a bit flat out recently so might have overlooked it.

  18. Kelly Martin Speaks (@MagicHappensxx) on July 29, 2013

    Hi great tips, one question if you put more photos on your about me page what photo does Google Authorship choose? This may be completely wrong as I am not sure how it works, I just know I have a photo next to posts.

    1. Kelly Martin Speaks (@MagicHappensxx) on July 29, 2013

      Please ignore above I was having a funny moment, I know where photo comes from now LOL

      1. πŸ™‚

  19. Hey!
    I’m intrigued with your discussion on sidebars, but I’m having trouble pinpointing exactly how to use that side space. Right now on my blog, I have a cluttered sidebar that I’ve tweaked for hours on end and just can’t get right. Since I’m mostly ad supported, I figured ads are important, but it feels so cheap (oh, and yes I know they don’t fit properly–fixing it as quickly as I can). What things would you recommend go in that space? Top posts? Navigation?


    1. Hi Bek.

      Those ads don’t look too bad – but it would be nice if they fit the sidebar.

      Perhaps you could go for some of your own content that promotes useful affiliates? That way you keep people on your stuff.

  20. Hi! I really appreciate all the information. I am really new and there is so much to learn.
    So far, I only have about 6 posts – so, I am really new. I have been researching ways to start a blog for over 3 years, and just kept putting it off. Always finding someone else who says to do this or that, differently. That past research was mostly via Blogger blogs, so when I finally wised up to self-hosted WordPress, I thought I better just get it going, or I might not ever start. blah, blah, blah… so, what are the best things I can do as a brand new blog/website to get off on the right foot. I have only a couple followers on any social media.

    I fully realize I already need to tweak the blog to make it look more professional.
    Also, where would you place ads, if you need to have some on your sidebar?

    Thanks so much for the great information!

    1. Hi Susan.

      Congrats on getting started!

      I’d recommend just spending time to really get your brand down. Know what you’re trying to do and who you’re trying to pitch it to. And then focus on developing long and extremely useful content both for your blog and to give away as guest posts.

      That should be a good start.

      1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your response !

        1. Any time.

  21. Finding high quality writers (One’s that don’t charge hundreds of dollars for a blog post) is something I struggle with for a long while now.

    Ramsey, do you have any recommendation as to where can I find writers like you suggest. that have a clear and loud voice and have a reasonable price?

    Great post as always.

    1. Hi Idan.

      This post might have something useful for you:

  22. HI Ramsay,

    I have visited your blog first time two weeks back. By then I become addicted to your blog and checking every day. You content are very unique and good. Thank you for providing such great details.


    1. Thanks Krishna! That makes me really happy. I spend a lot of time working on these posts so I’m glad it helps someone.

  23. Sheesh… all of a sudden I feel like a TOP BLOGGER ;). I am about to switch to Copyblogger’s responsive platform!

    I do need to incorporate google alerts, though! Shamefully, I never used it! I check out analytics and webmaster to see how people end up on my site (what search words they use to get to me), so I can keep promoting that “in demand” content in more ways.

    I am also rethinking and redoing my drip mail campaigns to make them effective, to keep my subscribers engaged.

    1. Are you getting a custom design done Elena?

  24. Is there a way to get visitors to my website today? | Bulk Email marketing Services & Tips on July 29, 2013

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  25. Thumbs Up! Ramsey, You have Fed the hungry birds right, . I could not think of anyone else to add up…. to your best wits. I Love it! Just keep rolling….and rule it!

    1. I don’t really understand the birds part but I think it’s a compliment so thank you. πŸ™‚

  26. Carole Raschella on July 29, 2013

    Two sites recommended in your Comments section… and dustincurtis does not have a sign up page at all. If it’s there, it’s useless if it’s not easy to access. hypertransitory has a sign up link on his About page, nowhere else, and the link to sign up does not work. the page itself is OK, considering what he does but the site in general is WAY too busy. dustincurtis the exact opposite, so stark and empty that it’s just plain boring. There seems to be a trend towards these minimalist sites. And finally, Copyblogger just redesigned its entire website and in so doing, traded a really cool site for a really dull one. A plain but great site is And is a very good example of a site that runs on her personality and personableness. Another favorite is Got carried away – I was just meant to comment on the first two sites mentioned at the outset!

    1. Hi Carole. Where are these recommendations? I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

  27. Love the comments to do with the about us section. its hit home and i’ll definitely heed the advice. Thanks Ramsey!

    1. No problems EJ.

  28. Isis Marques on July 30, 2013

    Hi, Ramsay!

    What a wonderful post! It took a little to read everything but it was worthy! I’d say that is cool to “borrow” from other domains too, not just from web. I live biology and it’s influences can be seen in lots of my projects and in my visual identity too!
    Here some few exemples:

    I think the hardest – from what you pointed here – is find a voice that you feel comfortable with and that pleases your public. I think you nailed it! =)
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!!!

    1. Thanks Isis. Glad you enjoyed it. You’re drawings are really cool.

  29. Great list, added reference to my wiki.

    1. Thanks Derek. Which wiki is that?

  30. I’ve decided I’ll work my way through the list – I’ll tackle one point each week. Should you start a mailing list straight away or wait until you have a regular supply of traffic?

    1. Hey Matty.

      Start it right away! You never know if a post is going to “go off” and bring you lots of potential subscribers.

  31. ブルガγƒͺ 貑布 on August 1, 2013

    Can blogging/setting ” up ” a webpage enable a smallish in order to meduim volume internet business grow?

    1. I’m not really sure I understand, sorry.

  32. Ana Hoffman on August 2, 2013

    Well said, Ramsay – it’s amazing how many simple things bloggers often overlook like getting their own domain name (or even publishing under – big mistake in my opinion).

    One thing to add and you’ve touched on some of it, is overall blog design. Clean, slick, professional (doesn’t mean expensive), and unique.

    1. Great to see you here Ana! How have you been?

  33. Great read Ramsay. I am more of a reader than I am a blogger, but I love what you have written. Great advise and insight. This article is a keeper for me, just in case I go crazy and start writing a blog !

    1. Go for it!

  34. Monday Must-Reads [08/05/13] - YESENIA VARGAS on August 5, 2013

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  35. Brad Dalton on August 5, 2013

    You mentioned awhile ago about developing and selling your own theme.

    Are you still going to do that?

    1. Hi Brad.

      I’ve designed a few. I was thinking about starting my own WordPress theme marketplace but I’m not sure I want to go off on side projects like that anymore so I’ve been re-thinking things. I might just release them for free.

  36. Mansi Padhya on August 6, 2013

    Hi Ramsay,
    Great post, Thanks for sharing such a great post about Blog. I do like it & appreciate this great post ! Keep sharing this kind of valuable posts.

    1. Thanks Mansi.

  37. Hi Ramsay,
    Every time I read one of your awesome posts, I open up a bunch more tabs to read after this one. Thank you again for all the great information and have a super day.

    1. That’s what I like to hear!

  38. Great post with some interesting points that my blog is definitely missing. i will look to implement them as soon as possible and see what results I can get.


    1. Thanks Matt.

  39. Thanks for sharing information for us. The topics is really help for me. Besides thank for giving opportunity for giving comment for us.

    1. No problems Eugene. πŸ™‚

  40. Thanks for another great post and all your articles. I started the site/blog SocialKloud 4 months ago and just sold it on Flippa for $10K. Working on a new site/blog that I will hold for long term cashflow. I will join your SubscriberSpecialOps site to get better.

    1. Congrats Darius!

      1. Thanks

  41. On travelling light(er) on August 12, 2013

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  42. Hi Ramsay,

    Great post!!! I am having trouble with the Google Alerts, since my name is just as a soccer player… Carlos Coto… so I get alerts everytime that HE gets mentioned… what a bummer!

    Thanks for the info… I Have to Declutter my sidebar!!!

    1. Ha ha! That is a bummer!

  43. Hey one again thanks BT great post, i just wish that point 16 (SEO) was easier or changed less cause all your points can be implemented with ease but 16 will always be the one thing most never get a full grasp on.

    Thanks again learnt allot.
    ps: any place you know where one can design a mobile site that plugs into wordpress

    1. There are a lot of mobile-ready themes out there. Check out StudioPress for some nice ones.

  44. Thanks Ramsay for the great post and checklist. I particularly like the idea of professional photographs as been thinking about this for a while.

    One question you might be able to help with. If looking at creating a blog for a company, should it be hosted on the same server as the rest of the company site or does it not matter from an SEO perspective?

  45. online racing game on August 19, 2013

    very good list of specifications. thanks

  46. mobile advertising on August 19, 2013

    This is actually a great list! I agree, a mobile version of the site is very, very important. I can never stress it more. Great work as always, Ramsay!

  47. very informative ,Thanks for sharing this post..

  48. This is definitely a useful post i keep coming back to put a tick on each item. Slowly but surely getting there! have also got my little sticky widget on my page now for sign up. One question though, do i always have tolog in to the sticky label creations to see who is subscribing or is there somewhere on my blog page/wordpress menu I can see it? Do you recommend/not recommend having amount of subscribers to be able to be seen by everyone on the blog page?

  49. Have realised my blog address was not updated. This is correct one.

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