This post is based on episode 74 of the ProBlogger podcast.
How many useful resources have you talked about in your blog posts over the years? Chances are you’ve mentioned dozens of them – tools, books, articles, websites, and so on.
So wouldn’t it be nice if your readers could find links to them all on one page instead of having to trawl through your archives to find them?
Well, that’s what I’ll be talking about this week – creating a resources page for your blog.
The anatomy of a resources page
I first created the resources page on ProBlogger back in 2008 to serve my readers and answer questions they often asked, such as:
- “What hosting should I use?”
- “What domain service is the best?”
- “What blogging platform is best?”
- “What tools should I be using on my blog?”
- “What are the best services to start monetizing my blog?”
It was pretty easy to set up. It’s just a standard WordPress page with links to all the tools and services I recommend. Since then I’ve broken them up into different categories, and included a bit of a spiel about each one.
Why I created it
As I said earlier, I created the resources page to serve my readers and answer their questions. Adding a link to it in my navigation area reduced the number of emails I was getting significantly. And when I did get an email about something I’d included on the resource page, I could just send them a “You might find this page useful” message as a reply.
But that wasn’t all it did for me.
Some of the links are affiliate links, and over the years I’ve earned a nice income from that page. Some bloggers have even told me their resources page is the main source of income on their blog. Just keep in mind that if you have too many affiliate links then your readers might think you’ve created it for yourself rather than for them. (I’ll talk more about this soon.)
It also ranks quite well for ‘blogging resources’ in search engines, and so brings in quite a bit of traffic. It’s also something that does really well on social media when I share it.
An embarrassing story
My resources page has served me well over the years. But there was a time when it was probably doing me more harm than good.
After creating the page and adding all the links, I didn’t touch it again for six years. And so when I finally decided to update it, I found a lot of the links were broken. In some cases the tools and services didn’t exist anymore, while in others they’d been taken over by dubious operators.
I also had links to sites I no longer recommend.
So when you create your own resources page, make sure you check it regularly to make sure you’re linking to the right content.
How to create your own resources page
Ideally your resources page should be quite comprehensive so it’s as useful as possible to your readers. But you don’t have to wait until you have pages of links before you create it. When I finally got around to updating mine, I added new resources every week or so for a year.
And before you say, “I can’t create a resources page because I don’t use any tools,” there are plenty of other resources you can list, such as:
- services you recommend
- learning resources you’ve used
- books and ebooks you like
- training courses you’ve taken
- other blogs you find useful
- forums you visit frequently.
And if you’ve created any opt-in incentives, you could add links to those as well.
About those affiliate links
While it’s nice to earn a bit of cash from your resources page through affiliate links, I suggest using them sparingly. Your recommendations should be genuine, useful, and comprehensive – not just those linked to an affiliate program of some sort.
And as I said earlier, your readers will also appreciate the fact you’ve created it to help them rather than just to earn some money.
If you do have affiliate links in your resources page, you should make that clear. For example, here’s what I have on my own resources page:
Note: Many of the links on this page are affiliate links, and will earn ProBlogger a small commission if you sign up to the services. This adds no cost to you but helps keep ProBlogger sustainable. It’s also worth noting that almost all resources mentioned on this page are resources that I’m a signed up, paid up and regular user of.
Most of my readers are okay with that, especially when I mention that I pay for and use many of the products I recommend.
Rather than having just a bunch of recommendations, I suggest telling your readers why you recommend each one. It doesn’t need to be an essay. All you need is a short sentence about why you recommend it, who it might be relevant for, and how you found it useful.
You may even want to approach some of the companies you’re linking to and ask if they can put a deal together for your readers. That way your readers can get not just the product you recommend but also a discount or some sort of a bonus.
Time to spread the word
Once you’ve created your resources page and added some useful content, it’s time to tell everyone it’s there.
Start by linking to it from as many areas on your blog as you can. Add it to your navigation area, your menu, your sidebar, and anywhere else that’s prominent.
You might also want to add it as a call to action at the bottom of your blog posts (e.g. just above your comments section).
Think about what you should call it. Do you think anyone looking for your content would type ‘resources page’ into Google? Perhaps ‘Tools and services’ might be a better title, especially if they’re mostly what you’re linking to.
While your resources page will be mostly text, that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Try to think of what images you could add to make it more appealing. Perhaps you could add smalls screenshot of the tools, or covers of the books you recommend.
And finally, make sure you keep it up to date. Believe me, you don’t want it to become outdated. Set up an alert to check it every month or so. You could even add it to your editorial calendar so you don’t forget.
Over to you
I hope I’ve convinced you that creating a resources page for your blog is a good idea. And if you’ve got one already, I hope I’ve convinced you that waiting six years to update it is a very bad idea.
Let us know about your resources page – what it’s called, what’s on it, and how it’s doing in terms of visitors and traffic.
Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash