With the New Year approaching, you’re probably setting blogging goals. Before setting my new goals, I always like to do a “status check”. Goals are a “where I want to go from here.” My status check lets me know where “here” is. It helps me make sure I’m making the best goals for me, and gives me something to look back at to see how far I’ve come.
Here is a step-by-step approach to reviewing your blog. Review it yourself, or swap critiques with a fellow blogger. If you have any other steps you think should be added… leave them in the comments!
Finding the blog.
- Google it. Google the blog name – does the site show up under its own name? If the blog has a very specific niche, google the niche. Where does the blog rank?
- Blog URL – Does the blog have its own domain name, or is it using a .blogspot or .wordpress domain? Are there opportunities for multiple domain names for increased exposure? Does the blog name have common mis-spellings that should be captured as domain name?
- Does the the blog come up quickly?
- What comes up first? Does it keep your interest while the rest loads?
First Impressions – Above the Fold
- When the site is fully loaded what are the first things you notice? Do they capture your attention, and make you want to read on?
- How does the header look? Does it give you an idea of what the blog is about, and what to expect?
- What other things do you see that you like/don’t like?
- Anything that really should or should not be there? Header, social media buttons, contact info, details, etc…
- Title – does it capture your attention?
- Picture – is there a picture? Does it “grab” you? What do you love/hate about it? Is it watermarked?
- Does the post have “social share” buttons (making it easy to post to FB, Twitter, Stumble, Pinterest, Google +1, etc)?
- Is the post well written? If it is a tutorial, does it offer clear instructions?
- Any comments on additional photos in the post?
- Are there any links? Are the links direct, or do they take advantage of tracking? (Learn more about tracking your links here)
- How does the post end? Is there a conclusion? Does the blogger sign off?
- Do the posts connect with the blog’s theme?
- Do sponsored posts have appropriate disclosures?
- Are the posts text-heavy or picture-heavy?
- How frequently does the blogger post?
- Are the posts engaging? Interesting?
- Is there anything else you notice that you really like or do not like as you read through the posts?
What do you find in the blogger’s sidebar? Are they in a good order? Do they look good? Are any crucial elements missing? Is anything there that shouldn’t be or doesn’t make sense?
- An “About the blog/blogger”
- Links to previous posts/top posts
- Google Friend Connect
- Links to the blogger’s social media – FB, Twitter, Flickr, etc.
- A way to search the site
Other things you might find on the blog
- Buttons to other posts/pages
- A PR/Disclosures page
- A way to contact the blogger
- Some kind of “about me.” Does it feel genuine? Has it been recently written… or does it mention 2009 goals?
- Do you find any broken links?
- Any policies the blogger has (about advertising, posts, or being featured elsewhere)
- Link to the blogger’s etsy shop or other blog(s)
- Blog footer – what is hidden down at the very end? Does it make sense, or does it look like long forgotten pieces of code?
Some final things to look at:
- Check out the blog in a couple different browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc. Does any of the formatting change?
- Check out the blog in your reader of choice – how does the formatting look there?
- Anything interesting come up when you enter the blog at alexa.com?
- Check out the blog’s social media sites – are they active on their Facebook Page? Twitter? Anyplace else?
- Your overall impression of the blog
- One – three things that this blog or blogger does exceptionally well
- ONE thing that you would change to improve the blog
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