9 Things you Absolutely Need on Your Blog


Because let's get real, there is reasons no one is staying on your blog!

Is your bounce back rate at it's highest? Are you finding that people aren't responding to your blog content and aren't coming back to you time and time again. There may be some reasons behind that and  one of those reasons may be because your blog just lacks personality and cohesion! Today I want to share with you 9 things you can do right now, starting today, to make your blog better!

9 things you need on your blog now! From design tips to your about page, here are a list of the top 9 things you need to include on your blog!

1. A Logo Design and Tagline

People need to know what you are all about! So get yourself a cute logo design and add in what your blog is all about! Take for instance my blog logo. Nothing too fancy but it gets the point across! It tells who I am  and who I cater too! I created this in Canva and added my signature butterflies that I've been rocking since literally 2012 from Picmonkey! Over time if you want to make your blog into a business you can upgrade your logo but I'm a sucker for DIY Projects! Below is what my previous header looked like! As you can see I was a big fan of these colors and gifs for a long time. I was stay consistent without even realizing it!  I used gifmaker.me to blend 4 pictures together!

2. Navigation Bar

You want people to look around your blog so get a freaking navigation bar already! You can have a static navigation bar that stays at the top or you can have a navigation bar that scrolls down like mine! Before I got a new template I manually went in and did it myself. Now I use blogspot so it may be different for wordpress but here's the website that helped me get that navigation bar looking awesome! She has helped make all my blog templates look awesome and actually made me love html coding!!!

How to Create a Basic Navigation Bar in Blogger
How to add a Navigation Bar to the Top
How to make navigation to top when scrolling

Things you need on your navigation bar
  1. About Me or you can name it Start Here (So people will know where to look at next)
  2. Your Categories (I put mine in a dropdown box but you can have them lined up too)
  3. Search Section (This helps people look for specific things on your blog)
  4. Social Links (This is an easy way to get people to follow you)

3. An About Me Page

I'll preach it till it's instilled in you! Get an about me page! This helps people get to know you better especially if they really like your blog. Make it personal, provide little tidbits into your life, and for goodness sake show a picture of yourself, you pretty thang! Check out this post all about how to do your About Me Page.

4. Linked Social Media Accounts 

Include your social links in at least 2 places! You can make cute little social media buttons with picmonkey or get a free template. Some great places to put them is in your navigation bar as I mentioned before and your sidebar. I made the below social media buttons with picmonkey!

5. Social Share Buttons

In order to get people to share your stuff you have to give them a way to do just that! As you can see I have social share buttons in my blog post as well as on the side (at the bottom on  mobile versions).  I use Shareaholic to make and customize my social share buttons!

6.  Email Opt-in Form

Another great way to get people to come back to your blog is by creating a email opt-in form! I use Mailmunch for this. I created a blogger toolkit with tons of printables, workbooks, checklist, stock photos, etc for bloggers as an opt-in incentive that they can download straight away(like now hehe). Find something that you think people will find interesting and create it for your opt-in incentive. I also create a pop up that will pop up (lol) when you leave my page! Pop ups are good only when they aren't the first thing you see when you go to their site. That's my biggest pet peeve! So my biggest tips if you want to do Pop ups make them pop up when they exit.

7. Comment Section

Make it easy for people to comment! Stop with the moderation and just let people comment! Stop with the robot testing and let people just comment. Try to find a comment system that do not just require people to put in their name, website, email address. People sometimes just do not want to do all of that. Let them login using their social media for ease of mind! I'm not too much of a fan of wordpress commenting system or squarespace's commenting system, because sometimes it just will not let me comment or the fill out form is just too lengthy! I used to use Disqus which is a great way to get people to comment. I switched back to the google version after I changed my template but  find one that works for you.

8. A Consistent Color Scheme

Get a color scheme for your blog! It doesn't have to be super bright like mine lol just find something that works with the mood and personality of your blog. Think about your personality. Are you funny and bubbly or calm and relaxed? Do you like vibrant colors or do you like more minimalistic colors. Find your favorite colors, usually about 1-4 colors, and use them across your blog and social medias. Don't forget to right the hex code colors down so you can remember them (example #ff008c is the hot pink color I use often)

Places to add color:
  • In your title
  • In your Headers, Subheadings. etcs
  • Bolding certain words or phrases
  • Highlighting certain words or phrases
  • Social Media buttons and links
  • Graphics 

9. Beautiful Pictures

Now finally Beautiful pictures are important! Blurry pictures are a no go now! You have so many resources for stock photos that you can use so there is really no excuse! I have over alot of stock photos that I give out each month! Check out these 15 stock photos that you can get now plus more! You can see 50 free stock photos websites that I've used in the past or you can get some new stock photos straight from me here and here's how to use them. Now literally 100% of my photos are taken by me!

Check out these photography tips! More coming soon ;)
So there you go these are 9 things you absolutely need on your blog in order to make a good first impression! If you want to  really brand your blog correctly and get people raving about your blog then you need to get my workbook! It takes you step by step on branding and creating a blog that speaks to your current audience or the audience that you really want! Click here to find out more!

In the Comments: What are you missing on your blog and what will you be adding, I would love to know!

9 Things you need to make your blog successful. Create a first impression that will leave people wanting more!

Guest Post: How Learning to Build Websites Changed My Life


I never thought of myself as a creative. My friends were creatives. They could paint, draw, and design the interior of their homes like professionals. I was the friend who couldn’t draw a straight line, rarely decorated, and drooled over spreadsheets. I was too literal to be creative, in my own opinion.

It’s funny how wrong we can be about ourselves.

The entire time I thought I wasn’t creative, I was blogging to keep friends and family updated. I wrote poetry and short stories. I learned to cross-stitch. I made clay figurines with my children. Many weekends, I painted watercolors with my toddlers.

Years later, I look back and see that it’s not that I wasn’t creative. I was stifled, depressed, and overwhelmed. My environment and bad choices didn’t leave room for creativity. Everything was survival, denial, and chaos. Alcohol became the crutch that I used to function and quiet the demons.

My life crashed and burned in a fury. My husband and I separated, and I asked for a divorce. It felt sudden, but it was actually a slow burn that hit a can of gasoline and exploded. Everything crumbled into ashes. It was a wake-up call, and it was devastating.

I didn’t even know where to begin to rebuild my life. All I knew was that I had to get out. There were no goals, no dreams, only survival. It was all I could do to get out of bed. The divorce was high conflict and highly traumatic, and it took a lot out of me.

How to rebuild your life after obstacles.

I fell into web design and development by “accident” (I don’t believe in accidents). God put a man in my life who eventually became my husband, and he owned a technology services company. He was a programmer who also managed IT services for other businesses.

For about a year, I was going on job interviews and doing any extra work I could find to support my children and myself. His work intrigued me though, and it was fun to watch him program. The problem-solving aspect was attractive to me, and the logical creativity involved jumped out at me as well. I had dabbled with coding and customizing free websites over the years, but I had no idea what it really was.

Eventually, I wanted to try it myself, and he encouraged me to do so. The ability to learn a new skill at my own pace, with a mentor who had 15+ years of experience (and was successful with it) was too good to pass up. I wasn’t anywhere near mentally ready to learn full fledged programming, but I started small.

Over the next year, I quit drinking altogether. By early 2016, I had almost a year of sobriety under my belt. My fight-or-flight instincts had calmed significantly.

I began to dive into building websites with a renewed energy and focus. I already had about a year of experience, but this time I had some experience plus an intense desire to learn more.

I found podcasts about WordPress while searching for web design podcasts, and an entire world opened up that I didn’t even know existed. WP Innovator was one of the first podcasts that I listened to, and that led me to other incredible people, tools, and resources. Every day, I learned something new that I could put into practice right then.

For addicts, instant gratification is a pretty big deal. In recovery, we have to learn how to take things slowly and let God control the outcome. We only control our actions and decisions, not the outcome. Learning to delay gratification requires a completely new mindset, and it came into play with web design.

While building websites, I could get both instant gratification and take things one day at a time. I could build a page in a day, but the overall site still took time and patience. Small results were visual, and that satisfied something in me. One day, I would learn how to create a widget, and the next day I could learn how to adjust the header logo image. Every day it was something, and they all worked together to build the overall product.

Over time, I moved into to learning more about the strategic part of building a website. I studied content marketing, SEO, design, user experience, I could go on and on but I won’t. It’s been a challenge to narrow my focus, because I love something about all of it, but I’m getting there. Every piece of it has something that I love, something that satisfies both the creative and analyst in me. Every project was a little different, and I need variety to keep my engaged.

Learning a brand new skill taught me a lot about myself and life:

  • We are all creative in some form or fashion. Your accountant, web developer, and financial advisor are as creative as your photographer, author, or musician. It’s all different levels and parts of the brain. Don’t compare yourself to others.

  • Problem solving isn’t always preventing a negative. Often, it’s proactively looking at a situation and making it better, or changing it completely. Things don’t have to be falling apart before you fix a problem. Chasing urgent problems all the time is exhausting.

  • Instant gratification isn’t always a bad thing. If I’m feeling overwhelmed and like I’m not making any traction, it’s ok to pick a small task and complete it to get that “win”. 

  • One bite at a time. I get more done by focusing on winning the small tasks, rather than completing the big tasks. Duh, right? That’s where “one day at a time” and “eat the elephant one bite at a time” comes from, but it’s still a mindset I have to cultivate myself.

  • People may love you, but they still won’t buy from you unless it benefits them in some way. At first, I was frustrated that nobody would just come to me for a website. Didn’t they know I needed the money? How silly and self-absorbed I was! I started talking about how much I loved certain results, sharing newly completed sites, and gushing about my job in a genuine way (because I seriously love my job, it’s like playing all day). People started to remember what I did, messaging me for questions, and sending referrals my way because they remembered that I do websites. Not because I was spamming them with sales offers. You still have to speak to the right people, not expect your friends and relatives to fund you.

  • You can’t perform your best when your life is in chaos. You can and should persevere, but give yourself time. If you are struggling with depression and anxiety, get help. There are situations that take time to resolve, and some that can be fixed with better decisions and boundaries. Getting a clear outside perspective can help. 

  • Self-care is as much of a financial investment as it is a time and emotional investment. I ran on empty for years and years. Now that I’m taking better care of myself, I see a huge difference in the days that I don’t do as well. I’m more tired, I can’t think straight, and I’m rarely very productive. When I’m eating healthy, exercising, keeping clutter at bay, and taking first things first, I’m ridiculously productive.

I’m so thankful that I found work that fuels me! Building websites allows me to challenge myself daily. It hones my writing skills, technical skills, love for analytics and design all at once. If you have dabbled with WordPress or have wanted to, don’t be afraid to jump right in. It’s a valuable skill, and there is so much support out there.

Whatever you want to do, we are living in an age that allows us to learn just about anything with the click of a button. Hone your skills, learn something new, and keep moving forward. There’s so much opportunity out there! Get ready, and take life by storm.

About the Author
Ashley L is a writer, mother, self-improvement junkie, and Reese’s peanut butter cup enthusiast at Bloomin’ Ash. If you are a parent in recovery, sign up at my site to get access to my resource library just for you!