Here’s the last part of my notes from the ProBlogger training day I attended Tuesday. I know its hard to get something out of someone else’s notes, so if you need to ask a question – please do!
Blog Workshop – Chris Garrett
Handed out a mind map to give some tips on how your blog could be improved. He then offered to critique some of the attendees blogs. The following is the feedback he gave.
goodlife zen.com – good start having a dot.com address. Fresh look, nice clean layout. Eyes are drawn to the photo – personalises it and connects with people. Layout is good to the content – content must be first. Subscribe options should be at the top and be as simple as possible – top right is usually best – above the fold. Make it work at 800 by 600 but make it look good at 1024 and above.
Subscribe could conjure payment ideals – try to work free/join into it. Tell them how and why to subscribe to your blog at the end of EVERY SINGLE POST. Chris added his email signup up box into his theme, so it appears automatically at the bottom of each post. Add related posts links to get people interested in more content. RSS footer – type plugins available for Word Press (and others?), usually used for copyright but can put your email form in. Good also to put into the content, but gets tired if you do it all the time. Do it before the comments – regular readers will just scroll past it.
Have a call to action for your comments – edit your theme so it says, leave a comment now, no. of comments – add yours now. DISQUS – helps to organise comments into threads, can help make your comments viral – they then can be posted to social networking sites. Reply to comments – not just the key ones – its a relationship builder. Have a public comment policy – gives you basis on which to edit or delete comments – my house, my rules.
blog.iqmatrix.com – having a blog separate to your main domain could be good if you are security conscious, but if you link to the main site, then www.domain.com/blog would be better as this is where both search engines and users would expect it to be. Need to be aware of floating footers – may link to ads or original coder – be wary. Floating bubbles can be annoying – but will work better if you use a short delay before it comes up. Can get popups when you scroll over heading, such as comments. Image was great but needed some context – never overestimate the intelligence of your readers. Be careful of how you use the term blog – Latest Blog Articles may be better as Latest Articles.
Open Panel with Darren, Chris, Yaro, Collis and Pip.
Darren has a subscribe page – RSS, email to RSS and newsletter(s) with a short explanation of each.
Introduced a forum when they had 1000 daily visitors. (Darren)
There are personality based niche blogs and then niche information blogs. (Yaro)
Multiple blogs – have an editor for each one – they keep track of direction and management etc, under broader guidelines. (Collis)
Personality, authenticity, sincerity can drive a non-profit blog – you can’t buy that. (Pip)
Persuasive selling techniques not incorporated deliberately into sales pages – more passive than subjective, more natural as it comes from him personally as he learns from other examples. You can utilise both, as long as you are not compromising your personal standards and still meets the demands of your brand. (Yaro)
So that’s the day’s labours but not the day’s results. I will be looking at incorporating many of the things I learnt here in any or all the blogs I am involved in, including this one, so stay tuned!