Before you go live with your blog and start writing, you need to ensure that you have sorted out your blog pages.
So far in the series, we have looked at everything you need to get your WordPress site up and running.
Now we are going to look at your blog pages.
The pages that you choose will not only affect the look and feel of your site, they will also contribute to how well it actually functions.
As a minimum, you need to ensure that you have a logical structure to your blog pages so that visitors know where to go for certain information.
If you are ever looking at monetizing your site with Google Adsense, this is one of the criteria that they like to see prior to approving you, so make sure you tick all of the boxes.
Take a minute and think about your site, what do you want it to look like?
Do you want all of your blog posts to be held in one location or are you going to split them down into categories?
All of this will affect the structure of your blog pages, so nail it down now to get the best start.
Below, I will give you 8 essential blog pages that you should create prior to making your site live.
These pages, along with the obviously awesome content that you are going to put on them, will put you in the best place to succeed, from day one.
Recommended Blog pages
The pages below are my recommendations.
As far as I am concerned, these are essential blog pages that you need when you first start your blog.
If you take a look at my site structure, you will notice that I have a separate landing page for each of my categories.
Whether you do this or not is up to you, but as you release more content, it does make the site easier to navigate.
Ok so your Homepage is not an option, it is a critical part of your site.
However, you do have a couple of options as to how you lay it out.
On your WordPress homepage, go to Settings – reading.
On this page, you will see options to set your Homepage to display either your latest posts or to set it as a static page.
Experiment with this.
Most will set it as a Static page so you have a landing page for your entire site. From there, you can then set your posts to automatically populate your Blog page, which you will create next.
So we have the bare bones of your Homepage and we’ve set it to a Static page.
As we mentioned before, this will set your Blog page as the default for all of your posts.
If we take another look at the screenshot, you will notice that you can set how many posts you want to display on your Blog page.
I found that having this at anything more than 1 just confuses things.
You would read one article and then it would start straight onto the next one.
Setting your Blog page to show at most 1 post will keep it much cleaner.
This will then mean that you require another page to show ALL of your posts.
That is where your Archive or Blog Archive comes in.
Your Archive page doesn’t need to be anything special, it is purely a place for all of your blog posts to live.
Mine is as simple as they come.
Yes, I have added an image and a small body of text, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Using the Ultimate Post List plugin which we spoke about in the last article, you can easily automate the process.
The Plugin allows you to create your rules and simply add a small body of code into the page which will generate your list of posts for you.
You can see how simple my Blog Archive page is below.
Note the Shortcode at the bottom, this is what you will get from the plugin and is what will create your list of posts.
The next page you really need to create is your About Me page.
This is the chance for your readers to get to know you, so go to town.
Make sure you are including a picture, preferably of yourself, and include as much detail as you are comfortable doing.
If you are creating a personal blog, or something giving people advice, then a good About Me page will give you that extra credibility.
Readers are more likely to return and/or subscribe if they feel some form of personal connection so make the most of it.
A Disclaimer page is not the easiest thing to create, I warn you now.
It is a requirement and if you do not have one, you are potentially leaving yourself open to a world of hurt.
There are many ways to create a Disclaimer page, the best being to use an online Disclaimer generator.
I will leave links to a couple of them below. I have not personally used these and am not affiliated with them in any way but please check them out.
They will make the process a lot easier for you and will help ensure that your site is legally compliant.
I will say now that I am by no means a Disclaimer expert so feel free to look around, there are many excellent articles on the subject.
For now, just know that you need one. Have a look at popular blogs or sites, check out theirs and you will get a good idea of what needs to be included.
This is ESSENTIAL to protect you, and if you want to get approved for Google Adsense, you must have one.
Remember that whenever someone comments on your blog, they are entering personal details so you will need one straight away.
Even if you are not offering a subscription, people are still entering personal details so this is a must.
There are also a few plugins that can help you create one so take a look on WordPress and find what works for you.
A Contact page gives your readers a way of getting in touch.
Again, this does not have to be a huge page, just make sure you include a way for people to get in touch.
On my Get In Touch page, I have used a contact form created with WP Forms lite.
It’s a free plugin, and very simple, drag and drop, so should only take you 5 minutes.
The last page, and one that I do not have, is a Product/Services page.
This is quite specific depending on what you are doing with your site.
If you are selling anything, or providing a service of any kind then this is a must-have.
It will act as your central hub where you sell your wares.
Make sure you have linked to it from your Homepage and advertise it like crazy.
Other than that, I’m sure you can find a wealth of knowledge and experience online. As I said, I don’t have one so there is only so much I can tell you.
Your site structure and how you layout your blog pages can be a critical element when it comes to the look, feel and functionality of your site.
Get these pages right straight off the bat, and you will have a much easier time in the future.
There is always scope to change things or add pages, but as a basic layout, these will serve you well.
Also, remember that you do not have to show all of your pages on your menu.
Most, like me, will have links in a pop up for people to accept. If they want to read it, then they can simply follow the link.
Look out for the next article where we are FINALLY going to look at writing your first article.
For all other articles in the “How to start a Blog” series, click the link below.