In short, for all of you who don’t want to read the whole thing, yes it can.
However, it’s not actually that simple. The good thing is that your blog can, indeed, become a great resource for some niche audience and make you recognizable, that’s a fact. But the bad thing is that the content on every blog is very chaotic (by definition).
Here’s what I mean, and let me use an example. If you want to get some structured info on a specific topic, you go to Barnes and Noble and get a book. You don’t get 24 monthly archive issues of a popular magazine. Even though the articles in that magazine will surely be of good quality, you know that the lack of structure will make it very difficult to treat them as a handy resource.
This is exactly the problem with blogging. Even though some popular niche blogs have built thousands of subscribers, and continue to publish spot-on content regularly, it’s still hard to treat them as a resource. In other words, if you’re new to the topic and you visit one of those blogs, there’s always the question “okay, where do I start?” With books, it’s clear, you start on the first page and proceed forward.
Therefore, the actual important mystery to focus on is whether a blog can really become a long-term asset and a recognizable resource in its niche.
And personally, I’m not that convinced that you can consider a blog being a popular resource if its most popular page is always the latest post. In such a case, it’s only a popular online newspaper, not resource.
Blogs and their structure
As it turns out, one of the main elements that keep a blog from becoming a resource is its structure – the default layout of posts presented in a reverse chronological order.
This default structure is the main reason why posts have a very short lifespan on any blog – a lifespan that can then only be bumped up by SEO.
In result, if you want to make a blog part of your online business then you should consider some major changes to its content structure. These changes will help you to make every article more visible, no matter if it’s brand new or not.
1. Create hubs
Hubs or resource pages have one purpose, and it is to gather all content around a single idea and then present it in an attractive form.
A hub should be structured like a table of contents in a book.
Essentially, it’s a list of links with some explanations on why each link is placed in a certain location.
The layout of links itself should present a step-by-step approach so that every visitor can obtain some specific knowledge.
Such hubs can then become the main content elements on your blog and serve your audience for finding relevant information quickly.
Notice that this doesn’t require any heavy changes to the source code structure of the blog itself. You’re just introducing new pages containing well thought through lists of links pointing to other posts.
2. “Getting started” page
Even though this still isn’t the most popular page on blogs these days, I do believe that it just might be the most important one you’ll ever create (and sorry … I’m still working on mine, but I do understand the power it brings).
Instead of me explaining what should appear on a “getting started” page, it’s better if you simply hop over to the two examples above and check for yourself.
The idea itself is really REALLY simple. A “getting started” page should provide an easy-to-grasp roadmap for everyone who’s new to your blog.
3. Have a custom homepage
Going with the standard “latest posts” listing is so 2010.
If you want to continue growing your blog, you must build something custom.
I’ve talked about some elements you can place on a homepage in my other post – How to Create the Worst Homepage Ever, so feel free to check it out.
Essentially, that’s it. WordPress is already pretty well-optimized for hosting all kinds of content, and creating new elements like described above doesn’t require any modifications to the source code.
Only the homepage might require some tweaks to your current theme, but apart from that, everything can be done inside the admin panel.
What do you think about the whole idea of turning a blog into a resource and building your online business on top of it, as opposed to going the other way around?