6 Essential Things Your Blog Needs Now

6 Essential Things Your Blog Needs Now

So it's the best it can be.

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Is your blog as ready as you are when it comes to stepping into the online world? The excitement of creating a blog can quickly wear off once you start to get your hands dirty.

Blogs are like newborns. They need to be tended to almost every minute and there are essential things needed to ensure they grow healthy and strong.

To make sure yours is the best it can be, let's go over some of the things every blog needs, especially yours. Ready to see what they are?

Here we go!


A Good Hosting Platform

It doesn't matter whether your blog is a few days old or a few years old. Everyone needs a good hosting platform. Why?

This is to ensure your site runs as smoothly as possible. No one likes to visit a site where it's loading slow and isn't up half the time.

However, a good hosting platform won't promise 100% uptime either. That's just unrealistic. Things happen.

What to look for is a company with good reviews and one that offers 99.9% of uptime. Uptime is what keeps your blog alive on the internet. It also means visitors won't see an error page.

Along with making sure their uptime guarantees are suitable, another area to research them on is cyber attack prevention. What lengths do they go to so your site is protected?

With a hosting platform, you're technically leaving your site in the hands of others. That said, it's crucial you know what steps they take should their own servers be hacked or your blog is infected with a virus.

Contact Form/Page

It doesn't matter what niche you're in or if you're not selling any type of product or service, you need a contact form or page! What if readers have questions? Or perhaps a brand wants to collaborate?

You need a way for them to get in touch. Not only that but a contact page or form shows that you're reachable. Without one, visitors might get turned off seeing that the blog owner refuses to be contacted.

Let them know there's a human on the other side, waiting to answer questions and respond to comments. Even if you get no takers on a daily basis, at least you'll have a way for them to contact you should they have questions.

Search Bar

Sure, there might be tags and categories to sort your blog posts accordingly. However, some people don't want to take the time to sift through years of content. They may be looking for something specific on your site.

To make it easier for them, include a search bar on your blog. They might've really liked the topic you wrote about in one post and then want to find more content on the same subject. The easiest way for them to do that is to use a search bar to type in keywords to find more related content.

Email Newsletter

A lot of bloggers don't realize the importance of a newsletter. Some think it's a waste of time while others believe that readers will continue to visit without one.

That's simply not the case. An email newsletter is crucial because of two things.

First, you've gained access to their inbox. That means you're reaching them directly.

Secondly, you're reminding them that you're still around. Hoping readers will come back without the assistance of a newsletter isn't a good idea. They have busy lives and the last thing on their mind would be to remember to visit your blog.

Your newsletter doesn't have to be anything spectacular or sent out every day. You can choose to alert subscribers of new content when it's posted.

As for the number of times to send it out, that's really up to you. You want to make sure you're consistent with whatever amount you choose. If you're really not sure, twice a month is a good start.

An Easy Way to Comment

What's a surefire way to make sure no one comments on your posts? Captcha requests (especially the one that is a picture and you have to click on the appropriate squares), confirming contact details or signing up for a commenting website.

All of those things mentioned contribute to having no comments on your posts. We understand you want to make sure you don't get spam but think of those who have thoughtful things to say. They won't spend the time confirming minute details to tell you what an awesome post you wrote.

Legible Fonts

This may seem like a no-brainer but we've seen a lot of bloggers get this one wrong. While you want to make your blog stand out, one way to NOT do that is by picking illegible fonts and colors.

While your audience may be young, they shouldn't have to get close to the screen to read what you typed. Nor should they have to spend minutes staring at your headline because it's in an impossible-to-read font.

For color, go with black. Sure, grey or even blue seems more appealing brand-wise but it's a no-no. People are used to fonts being typed in black. There's no point in deviating from that.

As for fonts, serif or sans-serif is a good choice. Choosing handwritten fonts are great for your blog name but not for anything else relating to your posts.

Simplicity is best in this case. Go all out when it comes to your brand but keep the fonts used for your posts legible.

While these may seem like essentials you would know to put, all too often bloggers forget the basic. To ensure your blog is the best it can be, keep these tips in mind.

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You Don't Have To Agree With My Major, But You Don't Get To Bash It, Either

My life, my choices.

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From the moment I stepped onto the University of Kentucky's campus, I knew I wanted to major in journalism.

After taking a broadcasting course in high school, I found myself enamored with the idea of production and seeing something I helped create on TV and other media sources throughout the country. For me, this dream seems normal because of its mine. Its what I envision for my future, and its what I aspire to do with my life. However, the idea of me majoring in something that isn't related to the medical field or engineering didn't sit well with certain people in my life. To this day, my major is still considered the joke of whatever conversation I may be having with these people.

Just because I am not in the medical or engineering field does not mean my degree isn't good enough.

This isn't to say anyone studying in either of these fields is invaluable or wrong, but to ridicule others because they aren't aspiring to be a doctor or a mechanical engineer isn't right. Careers within the medical field are just as necessary as careers in the communications field. Not everyone on this planet can be a doctor, and not everyone wants to be. Each of us is different in how we think and act, and not every person's personality or desires fit into the mold of something within the medical or STEM fields. Trust me on this, you would not want me to be operating on you someday.

Journalism does not mean I want to be a news anchor or giving reports on the weather.

A common misconception about a journalism degree is that it strictly prepares you for either being a news anchor or writing for a paper. While it definitely does prepare you for those career paths, journalism is an all-encompassing major that equips you with the tools to do so much more. Communication is key in any and every career path you take, and my major simply focuses on that aspect more than other majors. So no, I don't want to be a news anchor or "weather girl" because that is not the path I aim to take with my degree (and BTW if I wanted to give weather reports, I'd be studying meteorology).

College is all about finding yourself and your niche in life - whether that be in the sciences, mathematics, arts, or anything in between.

Any major is a good major, especially if its the right one for you. At the end of the day, college is what you make of it, and I'd rather be doing something I absolutely love despite the ridicule than pushing myself through a major I cannot stand. This is my college experience and this is my future. No one can tell me how to experience life except myself.

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Unexpected House Repairs You Should Know About

It's best to be prepared.

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As a first-time homeowner, the excitement of your newly purchased home leaves you blind to the dangers in the future. While your house is a symbol of safety and comfort, it's also susceptible to damage.

Damage that you didn't plan for. That said, unexpected house repairs can leave your wallet drained or your home in ruin if you can't foot the bill.

To make sure you're completely prepared for the future and your new house can stay looking the same, here are some unexpected house repairs you need to know about.

Take a look!

Roofing

Your roof is what takes hit after hit either it's rain, hail, even lightning. It's the thing keeping your head and your family's head nice and dry.

If there were to be damages, your roof becomes susceptible to leakage, holes, and tears. To keep you and your family safe, check your roof regularly.

If you notice anything off within the shingles (especially after a bad storm), contact a roofing company immediately. They'll come out to access the damage and what'll need to be done along with the cost.

HVAC

The piece of equipment that keeps your home cool in the summer and warm in the summer needs regular maintenance in order to stay operational. Once every six months is when you should have a professional come out to conduct a checklist of what needs to be done.

After that, you can take care of the maintenance yourself. Some of the things that'll need to be done is changing the filter, cleaning coils, and lubricating moving parts.

If you decide to ignore the regular maintenance that should be done on your HVAC unit, repairs could run as high as four digits.

Driveway

If your home has an asphalt driveway, the harsh elements can wreak havoc on it. That said, constant damage can cause it to crumble or develop cracks.

If left untreated to the point of breakage, you're looking at a hefty bill. To prevent that, clean it every so often and apply a sealer to keep it looking new.

Wooden Deck

Decks are great for hosting summer barbecues and enjoying those cool nights. However, if you don't take care of it properly, deck repairs can cost upward of $10,000.

Rather than dread the day you get that high of a bill, it needs regular upkeep. Making sure debris such as twigs are pulled out in between the floorboards isn't enough. After that, you'll need to scrub it with a solution that's made specifically for decks then apply a sealant.

The sealant is the most important step as this is what'll keep moisture out of the boards. This will prevent rot and bugs.

Foundation

The foundation of your house needs to be in tip-top shape in order to prevent structural damage. But most importantly, it should prevent water from pooling beneath your home.

Water is the enemy of houses. A slight leak can turn into a major one which will become an expensive repair.

To make sure your foundation is good, pay close attention after it rains. If there's water where the house and ground meet, there's a problem. You should immediately get this issue corrected.

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