One of the comments in the Reboot my Blog post talks about the need to have a checklist for blog review and evaluation.
I think that’s a great idea, so I’m going to try to build a basic framework for blog evaluation here, and if you have anything to add / improve upon, please let me know in the comments.
The Basic Idea Behind Blog Reboots
In many cases, people need help in tweaking their blogs rather than full-blown makeovers.
In other situations bloggers need guidance or a couple of nudges in the right direction instead of hands-on training.
This is not a paid review, so you can’t expect detailed how-to advice. However, we will try to fit as much info as possible into the time we spent reviewing your blog (30 minutes to an hour). That’s the equivalent of hundreds of dollars of professional consulting, so please follow the instructions 🙂
What can you expect out of getting your blog reviewed like this?
- You’re told what you already know, but don’t work on – you KNOW you need a better design, to write more flagship content, to get links from trusted sources, to get your basic blog SEO right, etc.
- You learn how to do it – when it comes to monetization, blogging strategies and SEO, there is a LOT of valuable information available for free online. All you need is to be pointed in the right direction.
A look at your target market and audience. If you focus on the wrong niche (not profitable, no demand, too broad, too narrow, etc), your blog will be at a severe disadvantage from the start. This will be based on the blog’s contents as well as what the blog owner says about their site when they submit it for review.
In most cases people write on topics that are too broad for their current reach and resources. Tightening your focus and improving content quality can go a long way towards building a loyal readership.
The Internet is a visual medium and you have very little time to attract first-time visitors to stick around at your blog. But that’s only part of the problem. The other part is conveying the trust and authority (and reinforcing it on a regular basis) through your blog’s design. If you’re using the default Kubrick theme for your WP install, chances are you haven’t thought much about design.
There are many small things that go into making a quality design, one that attracts readers, conveys authority and emotionally communicates the blog’s central theme to the reader on a subconscious level.
Heavy, but necessary.
Content is an abused term, so I’m going to use ‘information’ instead. A blog post is a source of input – it’s information that will immediately be evaluated by the reader as being useful / interesting or not.
- How interesting is your blog?
- How useful is it?
- Is it shareable?
- Is it actionable (Can I implement this right now)? Daily Blog Tips is the perfect example of ‘actionable’ information.
- Is it ‘timeless’? See Chris G’s Flagship Content post for a better discussion on this.
Search Engine Optimization is good for you, and as much as people might say that it’s a subset of marketing or ‘not necessary’ if you do your ‘blogging’ right, the fact remains that it IS a specialised skill and understanding how it impacts your blog traffic and success is very important.
Topics that should be discussed in this section:
- search engine visibility
- search engine friendliness
- on-site optimization
- link building
And plenty more…
Perhaps the most common question on blogging is – “how do you make money from it?”
There are a number of ways, and the straightforward answer is that ‘it depends’ on what your blog is about.
A gadget / tech blog does better with Chitika (and even AdSense) than a blog on ‘learning spanish’. AdSense works well IF used properly, but it’s still ‘webmaster welfare’. Paid ads have a lot of stigma attached to them because of the Google / no-follow debate, but they are an option more and more blogs should be looking at. Affiliate marketing is there but is misunderstood and considered ‘too hard’ (it’s not).
Plenty of options available, and the underlying idea is to diversify your income while also maximising it.
Have you heard the one about the tree falling in the forest but making no sound because ‘no one heard it’?
Your Blog’s existence is meaningless unless people KNOW about it. What should you be looking at:
- Blog networking (who do you know in your niche? who reads your blog? who SHOULD be reading your blog?) – your peers are your best audience
- Social Media Marketing – a fancy term that tells you to leverage online tools and communities for word-of-mouth marketing of your blog and its contents.
- Increasing your readership – your readers are also your sales force. Are they sharing your posts and talking about your work online?
- Strategies for increasing blog visibility
I’ll be using the above framework for future blog reboot sessions (the first one is probably going to be on Wednesday (7th March), so keep an eye out for that).
What do you guys think about this list? Have I missed out on anything?
Excellent list, Ahmed. I think I understand that you are not promising to reveal all bits listed above, just from a short viewing of a blog, but merely pointing out how much more than writing there is to successful blogging.
For anyone patiently waiting for their “reboot review”, everything in Ahmed’s list will get covered at Performancing at some point or other. If you have blog advice, create an entry on your Perf blog, and I’ll be scanning the feed once or twice a week to see what can be promoted to the home page. (If your entry does not appear in your own blog, that’s likely because the spam filter mistakenly caught it and one of us hasn’t rescued it yet.)
Anybody can make a list Ahmed .. but it’s all about what is in that list that matters! Can you actually evaulate or reboot a blog after only a 30-60 minute review? I’m sure there will be a lot of eyes looking at your blog reboot reviews to see if this is the case(including me and hopefully on a site I’ve submitted nudge,nudge,say no more).
Hopefully .. blog owners are willing to take some constructive criticism from you, a 3rd party, maybe see some tips from readers comments .. and then offer a ‘Before and After’ view of their site for you to follow up.
Also, hopefully old dogs, like me, will learn a few new dog tricks.