How to Improve Your Blog – A Quick Website Review

website reviews can improve your blogsite
Chris Stott, Founder of Really Simple Web

Often, you need someone else to review your website or blog before you can improve it. This quick site review is from Chris of Really Simple Web, and it can help you improve your own blog or website.

He gives away a free cut down version of his full site review to a few of his social media buddies each week – and I jumped at the chance! His tips range from layout to monetization to social media strategies.

I bolded the comments that stood out to me as particularly insightful, which could be applied to any blog or website. I’ve also taken some of his advice already — for instance, I removed some of the Google Adsense ads and respositioned others.

Chris’ Disclaimer: These are my opinions. I do make money with Google Adsense and affiliate offers, but different things work for different markets. Making changes to your site is your own decision.

The Good Bits of Quips and Tips

I like the way you have a photo of yourself on the site – shows personality. Maybe just a sentence about who you are under the photo with a link to further information if required.

You clearly write a lot about a lot of things and research your articles well. However, if I was a first time visitor to your site, what credibility indicators prove that I should listen to you?

Do you write on any other Internet properties? It might be worth using Google author tracking code so that you can build up yourself (your name) as an authority online.

I like the fact that that you have quick links to your navigation in the top menu and you have category pages.

Good to have popular articles in the side. Popular subconsciously tells people that these articles are worth reading.

There is a lot of content on this site, which is commendable. To improve your blog, I think it could be showcased in a prettier package.

Monetization Tips

How much do you really make from Google adsense/adchoices? For ads to work, they need to help answer the question of the searcher. If I am searching for dating help, then the fact that I am getting served ads for bank accounts and grammar checking isn’t at all relevant for me (unless you have such a high volume of traffic that it doesn’t matter).

I read your article about divorce and the ad at the bottom of the article (by which point I’m looking for what to do next) was for email marketing. How does that help with my potential divorce?

What’s your CTR for the ads? If it is below 5% then the ads definitely aren’t targeted enough for your traffic.

As for ad positioning, I would try positioning your ad box within the post, floating top right. In the side bar it just gets skimmed over.

You may be better served testing affiliate marketing for more targeted offers.

I see you have your own eBooks – I’d promote those more instead of random ads. I like the fact that you have squeeze pages for these. I don’t like the way it pops up a new window to get to them.

You might want to look at masking your affiliate links.

The Look and Feel of Quips and Tips

I’ll be honest, I don’t like your header. If you are serious about improving your blog (and you are) then it is worth dropping a few bucks on a graphical header. If you only have a few dollars there are plenty of people on who can do you a header banner / logo for $5.

If you’re interested in building a community, move your subscribe options to the top of the side bar and putting a sign up form at the end of your posts and on your about page.

Think about a single action that you want people to take on your site and drive them towards that action. That means removing any distractions that would stop them doing that. Want them to click on an ad? Great – just don’t have share buttons, loads of info in your footer, endless related articles to go to etc. They will get lost.

I’d get rid of the share/save link. Just have the big three: Facebook, Twitter and G+ (and maybe email to a friend).

You have too much info in your footer. You aren’t trying to build community so nobody is interested in your latest comments.

Technical Bits

I don’t get your Quips and Tips for gifts, goals and stuff (linked via images from the sidebar) and how you have them set up. Do you have separate wordpress installs for all of these? That would be very resource hungry on your server.

To improve your blog, remove the site map from the navigation bar. Best to have a ‘start here’ page or similar.

Search Engine Optimization

I haven’t done a full SEO analysis as I’d need to know more about how you target your articles and have access to your analytics. I hope you have Google Analytics and you assess on at least a monthly basis what your traffic is and what they are looking for.

Also, the site overlay is a good way to get an idea of how people take certain actions on your site.

Action Points

I’d like to see the following:

  • A header to make the site look more professional
  • Remove the irrelevant ads (unless you are making a lot of money) OR split test different ad positioning.
  • A ‘Start Here’ page or an ‘About’ page for the site (rather than you), focusing on How the site helps the reader and why they should listen to you.
  • Less share buttons and clutter in general.
  • More focus on promoting your own products
  • Use of inspirational images – rather than just book covers.

This is only a quick review. I could go in to more detail and provide more specific action points, but this should give you something to go on!

For more ways to improve your blog, read Reasons Why Your Blog Isn’t Attracting and Keeping Readers.

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What do you think about this quick website review? How can his tips help improve your blog? Comments welcome below…

To learn more about Chris Stott, go to Create & Conquer – where he writes about creating & conquering in business. 

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