5 Steps to Building a Better Blog

by Derek Halpern · 21 comments

How can you take your blog from zero to hero?

Follow these 5 simple steps and you’re set.

How do I know?

Zero to hero rhymes. Sort of.

And if it rhymes, it must be true!

(Case in point: no pain… no gain)

Step 1: Create an Amazing About Page

By now you know that your about page is one of the most important pages on your blog.

Don’t take my word for it though. Fire up your analytics, and you’ll find that it’s one of the most visited pages on your entire site.

That’s why over the next few days you should invest your time in making sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

How can you do it?

Refer to this article on DIYthemes: How to create amazing blog about pages

Step 2: Fix Your Blog’s Sidebar

What’s more important than your blog’s about page?

Your blog’s sidebar.

Think about it… Your blog visitors will see it on almost every single page they visit (aside from your landing pages, of course).

The big problem with most blog sidebars is that people put too much junk in them. People slap recent posts, opt-in forms, graphics, ads, social media badges, awards, logos, and whatever else they can think of.

And that’s a huge mistake.

The more junk you put in your sidebar, the better chance you have at confusing new visitors.

What should you put in a sidebar that works?

Refer to this article on DIYthemes: How to Create a Blog Sidebar that Converts

Step 3: Write your articles with keywords in mind…

…but never write an article just for a keyword.

It’s a simple idea, but most people get it wrong…

Most people think about what keywords they want to rank for, and then write articles for those keywords.

However, what I’m saying is this: When you write your articles, you should come up with a “dream keyword” that you’d like that article to rank for.

And make sure you do that for each one of your articles—both new and old.

You can learn more about this strategy at DIYthemes here: The #1 WordPress SEO Tactic Every Blogger Should Implement

Step 4: Start using a Feature Box (if you haven’t already)

Last year I started talking about how great the feature box is for conversion rates, and since then, COUNTLESS people have taken my advice.

(For good reason, too. If you’re building an email list, the feature box is one of the best ways to do it).

However, there are still some people out there who don’t have a feature box.

So, now is the time to add one!

Luckily, if you’re using Thesis, it’s easy.

To learn how to add a Feature box into your Thesis design, read this article here: How to Add the Feature Box Into Your Thesis Design (new download)

Step 5: Create your first resource page

No matter what type of blog you’re building, you’re building a resource with an insane amount of content available.

How can you make that content easy to find?

Resource pages.

I’ve tlaked about this before, but I’ll asy it again: If you want your new readers and loyal subscribers to find what they want, resource pages are the solution.

Usability benefits aside, resource pages are also great for ranking in search engines.

I’ve personally used them to grab highly competitive keywords that send my sites a ton of traffic.

To learn more about creating resource pages, read this: How to Create Insanely Great Resource Pages

What are you going to do first?

The right answer is “all of them,” but I’m going to level with you:

If you can’t do all of them, do at least one.

So, which one will you do today?

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

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Isn’t this amazing to see that we get so much good, valuable info from you and the DIYthemes but we can’t manage to implement everything. (we can’t always anyway)

But you can rest assure that I often refer to the DIYthemes blog when I am putting together a new site or when I am revisiting my sites.

Thanks Derek.


Arafin Shaon

Nice Share@Derek like always:) tnx buddyy..


Thank you so much for posting this at just the moment I was starting to work on my about page and sidebar and offer. Zero to hero. Much nicer than “No pain, no gain.” 🙂


Hey Derek, thanks for the advice! I’m still pretty new to blogger so I can sure use it. In fact, I don’t even know what a resource page is. But hey, I’m gonna find out right away 😀

Rich O'Brien

Hi Derek,

Another diamond post. I’m loving the extra activity on the blog of late. Keep it up!


Thanks again Derek for the fantastic tips. I implemented your ideas from last week’s post and am excited to work on the list you created above. Really look forward to your weekly blog posts here on DIY Themes. Have a great weekend.

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Good stuff, kid.

And nice one with the rhymes.

Oscar Ventura

I’m one of those who don’t have a feature box and as you said now is the time to add one!

Philos Mudis

Feature box you say? I should try this one out.

I liked the rhyme.


I am glad your tips are practical and short.
And that they keep coming.
Thesis certainly has a lot of support as promised.
Thank you,

Terence Milbourn

“I’ve tlaked about this before, but I’ll asy it again: ” ~ hey Derek, I didn’t know you were dylsecix?

Which reminds me of a joke.

Give me a simple description of a dyslexic, agnostic insomniac?

Someone who stays up all night wondering if there really is a dog?


Terence Milbourn

And by the way, before you guys start getting on at me, I’m dylsecix myself.

Still thought the joke was funny though.


hi derek,

i m going to do all of the suggestion.. hope it work for my blog..

thanks again

Bui Hong Diep

Thank you so much, this post is really useful for me !


Another awesome 5 to dos, i am checking out the resource part now, thanks.


The Sidebar part is the easiest one to implement… coz you need not do anything.. you just need to avoid doing something which will also save you some time. But despite this, people out there prefer to cram their sidebars with this, that and what not. I too personally find it too irritating. Thanks for these practical tips.


I don’t understand the about page importance. It’s the least visited page on my blog and I link to it three times. I have a small shop and a new blog and my home page (which links to my about page with nifty call to action) and shop main page get the most visits. My about page has been visited like 5 times this year (even with the menu bar and call to action). Also, I have read maybe a dozen about pages on the thousands of blogs I’ve visited over the years. I just don’t see it as being important.

Tamal Anwar

I am going to start my resources page first

Karen Highland

This information is like the last 5 turns of a rubix cube… I’ve got all the raw material, I just have to do a few of these tweaks and I’m sure my blogs will find gold. Thanks so much.

John Bennetts

Hey Derek,
I appreciate your posts when they come into my inbox and always take something great away from them.
Every now and then it’s great to be reminded of the starting point again and go back in and clean up my sites.
Thesis Rocks


Hi Derek,

It took me a worthwhile 2 hours to browse DIYthemes various resources and all including yours are most valid and interesting as well as excellent tips and guides, which I have picked up a few after my read.

Keep up the good work you guys, for I am about to switch over to Thesis from Genesis – not just for the framework, skins/themes but for what you guys have been doing here contributing all these information and resource that are essential and helpful.

Thesis rocks with you guys doing the magic.

Best Wishes to you guys.