Top 7 Features of a good blog

What do you need in order to build a successful blog? There are a few key elements that will make or break any attempt to produce a good quality blog. The number one thing that will make or break any good blog is content. But content isn’t something that will differentiate good blog hosts. Only you can bring good content to your blog. So the question really becomes, what features can the current crop of blog tools bring to your blog?

Here’s my top seven feature list to look out for when choosing a blog hosting tool:

  1. Plenty of easy to customize themes – this is the starting point for any blog. While some people are gifted enough to start from scratch when building a theme for a blog, most of us pick and existing theme and modify it slightly to fit our needs and to reflect our individual tastes.
  2. Tagging and RSS – Tagging allows you to categorize posts, which allows for easy sorting and presentation of posts by topic. RSS allows you to share your content with others in a simple, easy to use format. RSS is a big topic. I’ll talk about it more in a future post. For the time being, let’s just say it’s a must have for your blog.
  3. Word-like editing tools – the ability to bold, italicize, change fonts/colours/sizes, add photos and videos and preview and auto-save your posts should be a gimme for most current blogging tools.
  4. Stats – what good is a blogging tool if you are unable to measure your blog traffic? If your blog tool doesn’t have a built-in stats program, don’t worry. There are some standalone options (Google Analytics is one of the biggies) that level the playing field.
  5. Spam Protection – Within a few days of setting up a blog and having it indexed by major search engines, your blog is likely to be overrun by spam. Automated or manual, there are plenty of spam writers out there that will do their best to inundate your site with ads for less-than-desirable content. So, having some sort of spam mechanism in place is helpful in keeping your content clean and professional.
  6. Ability to back up your content offline – You spend a lot of time building your blog. You should be able to take that data with you and save it offline. Some blogging platforms allow content to easily be exported. Others aren’t so user-friendly in this regard. I think it’s important to have an easy way to get at your content and take it with you.
  7. Easy Customization – this is perhaps the most important feature. We all agree that a blog is an extension of the writer. It should be personal. It should reflect the writer’s online personality. And it should allow for easy customizations, tweaks and hacks if and when the writer wants them. Adequate security controls should be in place so that a blog does not get compromised, but all of that security stuff should go on behind the scenes, leaving the blogger with the freedom to build and maintain the blog they want. Javascript, custom widgets and some sort of API should be the bare minimum in this regard.

For me, these are the main features that any blogging platform MUST have. And fortunately, the main blogging platforms out there offer these features and plenty more. And even better, most of the main blogging platforms provide the ability to use all of these features FOR FREE!

And for those of you that are wondering, “which blog platforms are you referring to”, well look no further than my ever-expanding list of blog tools.

So there you have it. OVer the next few posts, I’ll work through this “Group of 7” to explain each feature in more detail and to give you the ins and outs of using these features to their fullest.

Talk soon!


By Todd Dow

Author, Geek, CF fundraiser & Cancer Survivor. My family, baseball, infosec, privacy & devops are a few of my favorite things.

6 replies on “Top 7 Features of a good blog”

I agree with your 7 points (Spam and customisability in particular), but what about the community behind the product?

Taking WordPress as an example, how good would WordPress be without all of the plugin and theme developers? Or the people in the support boards?

I think that the community behind a system is the best way of gauging a system’s potential.

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