Beach Cottage Real Girl Blog Tips 5 Blog Essentials

Fri 23rd, Mar, 2012

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Beach Cottage Real Girl Blog Tips 5 Blog Essentials

G’day Beach Cottage ladies, well I thought it was time for some blogging tips here today, alongside a few nice flowers and shells ;-) 

I was recently part of a blogger discussion group over at Kidspot and a couple of hours later had a few questions from girls who couldn’t make it to the live chat, one was on my Facebook page and one via email, the Facebook one I will deal with in another Real Girl Blogging Tips post…the email one asked me what essentials do I think every blog needs?

Well I have been around here for a while now doing the blogging thing, so I should know this, yeah and I mused this on my walk by the sea this morning I thought well what do you only need?

…I think it is really very easy when blogging, whether or not you are blogging up there in the lofty heights of the Super Bloggers or you are just dipping your toe in the water, to get side-tracked by 101 million different things that are ‘essential’ to your blog and if you are someone like me who actually gets a thrill from reading blogging tips then you are in an even worse place because you will find yourself literally buzzing with these essential things to add/do/implement on your blog.

Beach Cottage Real Girl Blog Tips 5 Blog Essentials


However, walking along, gulping down that brisk sea air today (no sunshine & clouds) I thought you actually don’t need any of that professional blogging stuff to be successful…but there are a few things that are pretty much crucial …and once I started to think about it I got it down to about 5 – these are the only things that you need to concentrate on…once you have read through take a look at some of the big girl’s blogs…you’ll see that actually they don’t have bundles of stuff on their blogs…but they do have all of these…

So here are my top things that your blog must have



Beach Cottage Real Girl Blog Tips 5 Blog Essentials

1. About Page

There are all sorts of About Pages out there, and if you search on it there are many different tips and ideas for what to have on yours

Whatever blogging platform you use, adding an About Me Page is easy, quick and simple and will do everything to grow your blog.

I like a long-ish About Page, I am inherently nosy and I like to know a bit more about the person but at the least you should have on it your name and where you are located.  I also think a photo is good too…over the last year or so I think this has become more important in blogging – if you are hesitant about that as I was, you can try using sunglasses or a behind shot until you get comfortable.

There is nothing worse than stumbling upon a new blog and going to find out more to only be faced with a piddly little one liner About Me Page…well there is something worse, not having one at all!


2. Contact Page

The chances are someone, somewhere will want to contact you and you will be surprised what lands in your inbox once you put yourself out there on the world wide web with a blog.

Many bloggers also use this page to include details for PR’s/brands that may want to contact them and some bloggers put their stats on there too.

A short, to the point and simple Contact Page works really well…whenever I have wanted to contact another blogger I am often very busy and have limited time so I don’t want to hang around sifting through information looking for an email address, so concise and clear is a good idea in my book….include whatever information on there that you are comfortable with but essentially your email address….however as social media takes off and, for instance, you know that you respond quickly & efficiently via Twitter etc then include that too and point out that that is the best way to get in touch with you.

You will be surprised at how many blogs you come across where the contact details are hard to find…have a look around the next time you visit a blog and check out what you like on a Contact Page and then implement that on yours.

You can see mine here, it also includes PR information (I get a lot of these enquiries every week and the aim of the page is to be clear on what a PR/Advertising/Marketer wants to know BEFORE they waste either of our time), my email address and my snail mail addy…


3. Social Media Links

Link the other places where you spend time on the web on your blog – once you have a follower, most people will have made the decision whether or not to add you to their reader/rss etc pretty carefully and once you are in their radar, congratulations, you can get to know them and interact…to do this they will like to see more of the places you hang out….so make sure these people can find you!

My blog is about to get a lovely new look and the other places I hang out on the web will be a lot more easier to find on my blog, it’s something that’s been niggling me about my blog and I am changing that very soon!

And very imporant*  you need your RSS feed right there on the sidebar…don’t know what an RSS feed is?  Find out.


4.  A Search Facility

OK, this doesn’t have to be all wham bam thank you mam but I think it is a really good idea to have one.  Often if I find a new blog I will want to look around more and sometimes it might be something quite specific that I am after…for example I might have just about died at your white vase next to the new cookery book you are reviewing and so I want to find out more about that white vase…I will probably never get to emailing you about it, it’s really not that important in my life, but I would like to have a quick search through and see if I can find out more…enter the search box conveniently situated on the side of your blog and ready and waiting for my question.  Easy.

You can see mine down there on the right, it’s nothing fancy but it is functional and fits in quite nicely with my blog…most blogging platforms have a search facility…so add one to your blog for your readers.


5. A User Friendly Comments Process

OK, you got those people through the door of your blog, heck they even read it!  Now you would love a comment wouldn’t you?  Well make sure it’s VERY easy to comment on your blog…I have lots of girls here telling me about lovely things on their blogs and links to them…I will always try and visit them and comment too but soooooooooo many times, those blogs make it extremely difficult to comment, and my comment doesn’t end up making it for various reasons.   …bottom line here though is that you don’t make your readers jump through 65 hoops to say hello to you or answer a question your asked, or just say ooh that looks nice…I wrote a whole post on the reasons I won’t leave you a comment you can find that here. 

There are a whole host of different commenting platforms out there to try out, I recently moved to Comment Luv which makes the whole comment area easy and more interactive, however I am looking into other options right now, but really the commenting platform you have with your blog is fine, don’t waste time changing it all around if you don’t really know what you are doing that much…but do make sure that you check/uncheck options that make it easy or difficult for your readers to add a comment before they move onto the next blog.

Beach Cottage Real Girl Blog Tips 5 Blog Essentials


I hope those might be of some use….sometimes getting right down to the nitty gritty is great isn’t it?

Kinda like one of my favourite TV shows, Back to the Floor…it’s like yeah, scrap all that messing around and get back to what matters….

Now, let me know what you consider essential when you are reading a blog…whoever you are, a Top Lurker, a Blog Reader, another blogger, a Blogging Superstar (any of those read this little old blog from the beaches I wonder?? ;-) ) …well c’mon let me know what you think is essential in a blog…

Cheers Beach Cottage girls




Beach Cottage Real Girl Blog Tips 5 Blog Essentials


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69 Responses to “Beach Cottage Real Girl Blog Tips 5 Blog Essentials”

  1. I REALLY enjoyed reading this and hope I am doing at least half of this correctly ;o)
    There is a link at the bottom of your post……7 tips you don’t need etc……the info doesn’t appear to be there
    but I am busting to read it???
    Tania Maree xx

    • sarah says:

      yes it seems to have been eaten by cyberspace, I will look into it, glad you enjoyed the tips x

  2. Selby says:

    Yes yes to all of your tips but especially the easy to comment thing- I get fed up really quickly if it’s too hard to comment and just won’t bother trying:)

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi Sarah

    Thanks for the tips on blogging, very useful and helpful. I have been wondering what an rss feed is and will look into it, also the search option is a really good idea too and will have to look into that as well. I’m still learning all the features of blogger and some of them are tricky and just don’t work all the time and I have been wondering if there is a more reliable blogging site to use so if you know of any I’m open to suggestions.

    You are definitely world of blogging knowledge and I’m happy to have found you, thank you. :)


    • sarah says:

      thanks Michelle, I have learnt as I have gone along which I think is the great thing about blogging and it is always changing!

      I think Blogger is a great place to start…x

  4. Caz says:

    Good tips. I only have about 2 blogs that seem to consistently engage me, maybe I’m fickle but it doesn’t take much for me to say adios to a blog that just doesn’t continue to grab me. I have said it before but your blog is numero uno to me and you just nail it each and everyday with the style in which you write and what you say, your gorgeous pictures and the mix of subject matter. The things that turn me off (or make me yawn)
    1) how some people tell a story arghhhh!!!
    2) when the blog is filled with pictures from other blogs and websites
    3) its hard to comment
    4) they don’t reply to your comments ever (I take the time to not be a lurker I’d like to think they can take the time to acknowledge that ) or worse still some delete your comment even when you were complimentary (they are truly wiped forever on this one).

    • sarah says:

      interesting Caz, I am with you on number 2 and it surprises me how many blogs there are using content from websites and magazines – I think that will change soon as blogs become mainstream more and copyright issues will be huge

      replying to comments is tricky I think – from the bloggers point of view it is very time consuming if you have lots of comments, even if you have only a few comments but as you say it’s time consuming for the commenter too!

      thanks for the feedback and the blog love x

    • Michelle says:

      Wow Caz I’ve never heard of anyone wiping a comment even when it’s complimentary but then I am still fairly new to blogging, only been going for six months. I have to say that it is very rude to wipe a comment or to even not acknowledge comments. I love it when I have comments from people who enjoy my blog and I always make sure I thank them for taking time to comment and respond to them. It’s funny how manners even seem to be lacking in the virtual world as well as the real world.

      Well to those of us who love to lurk and be lurked at I say keep up all the good work and we will all just support each other. Lurk away, leave a comment and we polite bloggers will get back to you.

      And Caz I love your blog :)

      • Caz says:

        Thanks heaps Michelle :-) Agree on the manners thing too although most people I see here at the BC are really nice. I’m in the blogging/creative doldrums at the moment but that doesn’t stop me visiting, reading and commenting away and yeh a little bit of lurking ;-). Love your blog too!

    • lesley says:

      @ Caz I really appreciate your comment to this post. As a blogger I have often wondered how readers feel about some of the things both you and Sarah have addressed. I have tried so hard to keep up with original content and steer clear of reposting images from other sites. Not to say there’s anything wrong with that, but I do think it can be overdone. I am glad to know that you appreciate replies. It’s a little easier for me to reply to everyone because I am a new blogger and I don’t have thousands of comments and I also have my mom as a partner so she can reply as well. Thanks for the honesty. It’s really good to know.

  5. Getting to work on these things NOW. I know I need a better ABOUT page and I don’t even have a CONTACT page. Whoops.

    I hear you on the comments. If I have to work to hard, I am not going to comment. Quite honestly, you have the comment thing DOWN, and I am not sure how you can improve.

    I recently read that you have a WP plugin that auto emails your reply. Can you share the plugin? I love that about your blog, your interaction with your audience. I feel like this is a conversation that we are having together and you are truly building a community here.

    Another question I have is about replying to other people’s comments (as a fellow reader). In other blog genres (financial/budgeting), I find that readers are all over the comments, helping each other out and answering each others questions. I have found in this genre (home/DIY) folks don’t do that AT ALL. I have wanted to enter a conversation from time to time but have not because I don’t want to step on the bloggers toes. Ya know, like it is their blog, they shall be the one to reply, thank you very much.

    Your thoughts?

    • sarah says:

      my thoughts on that as a blogger is that I am very happy for readers to interact with each other and I know that on my Facebook many of the girls have made friendships b/c they are in the same area or have the same likes…however I would just be a tad cautionary on promoting links etc…not just your own links but for example if a reader asks a question and you reply with ‘oh yeah I know so and so here’s the link…’ – sometimes bloggers purposely don’t want the link on their site for many different reasons…

      yes I have Reply Me plugin – and a contact page is a good idea!

      cheers x

      • Thanks for the great advice and feedback, Sarah. The only time I share a link is when an opportunity is offered, such as with commentluv. I think that it is rude to do otherwise :). Thanks again.

  6. Glennie says:

    Great tips – thank you!

  7. Veggie Mama says:

    I love all of these. I do find it hard to stay on a blog long-term if I don’t gel with their writing. I try to be supportive of the blogosphere, but it’s hard to want to return! Content is key. Also dislike share buttons being nowhere to be found. I want a one-click Facebook or Twitter update to share the amazing post people just wrote.


  8. Nadine says:

    Archives! Preferably by month. If I find a new blog that I love, I want to read ALL of it right back to the beginning. Monthly archives make it easier for me to keep track of where I am up to.

  9. Great points Sarah. The one thing that bugs me the most about commenting on someone’s blog is the hoopla that they set up
    just to comment. For example: word verification. Not letting someone comment unless they have a google account..
    etc. etc.

    • sarah says:

      me too, or those thingies where you have to be a member…

      I love blog lurkers like you sweet x

  10. Great tips! I have been blogging for about 7 months and always looking for ways to improve :) Thanks so much! I found you via (Centsational Girls FB page)

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a great set of tips you have…. I’ve been itching to start a blog and have googled my little fingers raw looking at “how to start a blog” sites. You make it sound so easy. I just need to get over the nerves and just do it.
    Thanks Sarah.

  12. Kari says:

    Ha. As my husband and I were setting up our site he asked my top 5 most annoying things about blogs I’ve read, and my #1 thing was being unable to comment or having to jump through hoops. I love your comment set-up, easy peasy. Thanks for the other great blogging tips. I really do enjoy reading these…. Have a great weekend!

  13. rebecca says:

    How am I gonna start a blog if I can’t even remember to put my name on my comment… ha
    anonymous is not my name!

    • sarah says:

      haha very funny rebecca

      it is actually very easy…if you go to Blogger, you can be up and running in minutes…dive right in, it’s free! x

  14. Leah says:

    Great tips! I have to look into a few of them. I get bored by all the technical add-on things and don’t research them enough. As to blogs with images from other websites, I like blogs like these, that showcase certain designs and styles through others images. I get to see things from magazines etc that I may never come across in this country and find them truly inspirational. I use them in my own blog, to depict a style that I love (and credit the image). I also love day to day personal blogs like yours as you are a great writer that draws you back everytime, but some blogs about day to day life, I find a bit boring. Yours is definitely not one of those. I LOVE it and always come back for more. Leahx

    • sarah says:

      thanks Leah, too kind, the techie stuff can be boring but have to say I love finding new things for my blog!

      I am getting a new look and can’t wait! x

  15. Jennifer says:

    Well great… I do not have an About Me page. I am getting a fancy blog design done this week and that was already on my list of things to add. I’m gettin’ there, I’m gettin’ there…

    • sarah says:

      it all takes time Jennifer and you seem to learn a new thing every day in blogging – well I do anyway! x

  16. It’s interesting because I have read many people talk up the About Page, but according to Google Analytics, no one hardly ever reads mine. So I’m not sure what is up with that?? Personally, I don’t like to share my location up front. I guess everyone is different in what they are willing to risk. This is a great post! Thanks! :)

    • sarah says:

      just being comfortable with what you share is good…

      i am surprised to hear your About Page doesn’t get views…interesting! x

  17. Hi! I found you via Tina Gray dot me. I’m a fairly new blogger and appreciate any tips I can get! I am still learning so much though… and only seem to get around to writing about one blog post per week because “life” and all the “other” blogging stuff seems to get in the way. Do you think it’s better to try and concentrate on getting more posts out per week? Ps the pics you used above are just gorgeous!

    • sarah says:

      Hi I think it is a good idea to concentrate on content yes, a couple of times a week keeps the momentum up for your readers if you can manage it.

      thanks for visiting!


  18. Alice says:

    I get disapointed when the only way I would be able to interact with a blogger is through facebook (“continue the conversation on facebook”):-(… I am not on facebook for my own reasons but don’t make me an outcast because of it….. It’s a big wide world in cyberspace why limit yourself like that? It’s so frustating….There’s a particular blog that you Sarah introduced me to that does this and I follow it because (lucky for her – well actually me really I’m the lucky one) I absolutely love what she posts! But I would love to ask her questions but I can’t….

  19. Oh, thank you :) I’m inspired! xx

  20. Ellie says:

    I love your blogging tips. Its great to have the benefit of your wisdom and experience Oh Wise One!!
    Keep the tips coming. Actually, give me a chance to work on my blog first, I think I have a lot of work to do after your suggestions today. ;)

  21. Hi Sarah,
    I agree wholeheartedly on every single one of your fabulous tips! I am fairly new to the blogging world, and love the community of bloggers. I have found the same thing about other blogs….so I made sure to NOT to those same mistakes on my blog. I recently had my blog redesigned, and made those very important changes. I was thrilled when I saw that you listed the same things. Great advice, as always…and I sure do love your blog.
    I always wonder about the comment section too. Wondering if there is a plug in where the commenter can leave a comment, and only get the reply from the blog author, rather than ALL replies. Know what I mean ? This is especially handy, if there are hundreds of comments, and I wouldn’t want to fill someones inbox up with hundreds of other comments. ( Not that it has happened on my blog yet) hahaha!!
    And keep up the fantastic work. I learn so much from you, and I adore your blog !!! You are like my blogging mentor :))
    Lynne xx

    • sarah says:

      hey thanks for the feedback Lynne

      ummm I think you only get all the comments if you check the box….

      good luck with blogging! x

  22. Patty says:

    Excellent tips! I just found your blog and I love the look of it and the content too!
    I especially like the Saturday club idea.I’d love to join.
    Will you please add me?
    A Texas Girl

    • sarah says:

      welcome to Beach Cottage land Patty…we have not had Saturday Club for a few weeks, but it’s back soon, you are in x

  23. Barefoot Liz says:

    Great tips! Now I should check my own blog to see if I have the basics in place. heh heh.

  24. DeAna says:

    You are superwoman. Can you blog about that please? :) Seriously. No, really.

  25. Sharon says:

    Thanks for the tips. I am considering starting a blog (it was one of my goals for this year) but I keep getting frightened away by wanting it to be perfect right out of the gate. I think there is something to be said for jumping in with both feet, though I tend to be the type to get in one toe at a time.

    I absolutely agree about the user-friendly comments section. Your blog is the best with that, you make it very easy to comment and I do appreciate the way you interact with your readers.

    Anyway, I do appreciate your advice about blogging and your willingness to share all the things you’ve learned through the years with others.

  26. As always you have given me a realistic, rational view of blogging and at least three things to act upon. Ta!

  27. Mandy says:

    Such great tips – I completely forgot about a “contact” page! Must do this weekend :)
    Mandy@ Little Maison

  28. Marcie says:

    Thanks for the tips – I don’t have a white vase on my blog – but I’m sure there is something people might want to search for so I’ll add a search engine
    I know sometimes trying to put comments on blogs is really difficult – and then when you do and you don’t get a reply it can be a bit disheartening for the less confident blogger. I’ve stuck with the basic google comment thing om mine – I don’t think that is too hard – or is it??

  29. Marcie says:

    PS – it doesn’t help the promotional side of things when I type in the wrong blog address…as I did on my last comment… a lesson there too – check your spelling….

  30. alison says:

    Thanks for mentioning those “hard to comment” blogs. I thought I was having an off day when the comment process on another blog was such an ordeal. I never returned to the blog.

    I like upbeat blogs with healthy discussion on some serious stuff but some blogs have sent me running. Blogs that are very introspective and deep. Somewhat scary stuff.

    abeachcottage is a moment of joy, fun and ideas in my day. The content is so applicable to my life.


  31. Susan says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I just realized that I didn’t have a “contact me” page or link. In the older blogger interface, you could have your e-mail address in your profile, but with the new google+ interface, going to my profile automatically brings up my first AND last name. While I don’t mind people I know knowing my last name, it’s not necessarily something I want to have out there (although at this stage it’s probably pointless since I link to my FB page ha!). Anyway, my point was that I don’t like the profile in google+, so I didn’t have my blog pointing to it. It was only when someone left me a comment that they couldn’t e-mail that I realized I needed to have my e-mail address on my blog somewhere. I remedied that this morning…

  32. Lisa Tomlin says:

    Thanks so much for the blog tips! I LOVE following blogs and would love to start my own, but a little scared. My writing skills are terrible! Not sure I want to show that to the whole world….LOL. Love, love, love your blog.

  33. Such great basic advice. Love it. I changed my comment system this week from the WordPress/comment luv/reply me plugin combo to Disqus. I’d been thinking about it for some time as I find it easy to use on other people’s blogs. I like the “like” button – and it replies to the commenter via email. Cutting down the no. of plugins already has helped my site load time. The only thing missing is the “last post” comment luv option – but I figured the majority of my commenters are not necessarily bloggers. So far, so good.

    PS. Would love you to link this post on my Saturday blog post x

  34. Heather says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this advice… I put a lot of these pieces of advice into action on my little ol’ blog today!

  35. Jasmine says:

    Oh dear. I only have one out of five of those :-/ Time to rectify that!

    x Jasmine

  36. Karlee says:

    More tips…Love it! Thanks a bunch
    I’m still struggling with some of the technical stuff lol…I’m bloody hopeless when it comes to that! One of my friends who has a blog is going to help me with a couple of things haha
    I think I’m going OK though hehe

  37. Thanks for the great advice! I’m still having to filter my comments though. Probably because it’s a relatively new blog and I’ve had one real comment and 568,970 spam comments. But anyways, your blog is beautiful and I’ll definitely be following you from now on!

  38. [...] 2.  Sarah from A Beach Cottage has done a few articles on blogging tips called “Real Girl Blog Tips”.  This one gives “5 Blog Essentials”. [...]