Adding a blog to a website can be a daunting task. It might seem arbitrary to some, but when you really start to think about all that goes into creating and maintaining a blog, it can quickly become overwhelming. More often, you might not even know what considerations to make when implementing a blog. The following is a list of questions I ask when looking to create a new blog, whether it’s for myself or a client. These questions are best discussed in a group setting that includes the content creators/bloggers and the design and development teams, as each decision will affect the whole group.
- What platform will the blog be on (WordPress.com, Ghost, Medium, your own website, etc.)?
- How many authors will there be? Will they all be posting directly through the site, or will one person handle all of the posting?
- How do the authors prefer to write (markdown, plain text, HTML)?
- How will posts be organized (by categories, tags, etc.)? What types of categories will be used?
- Do you want to promote social sharing for each post? If so, what social media will you support sharing to? Will any text in the post itself be tweetable?
- Will you allow comments on the blog? Will they be moderated? Who will manage this?
- Will there be a subscription option for the blog? How will this be managed, and where will the calls-to-action live on the site?
- How will the user get back to the blog landing page? Will we include breadcrumbs, or is there a readily-accessible link?
- Will we link to related or sequential posts? How many of these should be displayed? Should they be determined grammatically or curated by the author?
- Will there be a way to navigate to the category pages? How will these be displayed?
- Will there be any archives the user can navigate to? How will these be accessed and displayed? How will archives be sorted?
- How will the blog landing page be displayed? Will it list a certain number of posts, sorted by newest first, and feature pagination? How many posts will be displayed at once? Will there be any featured posts?
- What information, aside from the post itself, should appear on the page (date, time, author name and/or information, post category, tags, etc.)?
- Will there be any additional formatting that will need to be included for authors to use (pull quotes, buttons, etc.)?
- How much control should authors have in laying out the post content (aligning images, adding captions, aligning text, etc.)? Will there be multiple templates for authors to choose from?
- What types of media will authors want to embed in posts (tweets, photos, videos)?
- Do you want to display any information about the authors? If so, what information will you display (full name, social media accounts, short bio, etc.)? What assets (profile images, social media icons) do you need, if any?
- Do you have a content calendar, or a list of ideas for future blog posts to work with?
- How often will you produce new blog posts?
- What types of content will you produce (long-form essays, brief overviews, technical articles, video blogs, weekly recaps, etc.)?
- How will you promote new articles? Do you have a social media plan?
As a last piece of advice, remember that a blog is large endeavor and that it isn’t as simple as “just putting some articles up”. Take a look at some of your personal favorite blogs and try to dissect them. What do you like about them? What do you think could be improved? Why do you keep coming back? Take those ideas and discuss them with your team to push your blog above the rest. Good luck and happy blogging!