Our fourth Community Consultation wraps up today with an overview of the ProBlogger community’s feedback for Wife Advice.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide feedback, even amongst the kind of chaos only the end of December can bring!
Here are the elements which proved most important to ProBlogger readers.
The average blogger vs. graphic design: how to win the battle
The header proved to be the most commented-on aspect of the site, one which many readers felt needed to be changed or improved. One group of readers felt the header looked unprofessional or unappealing and another group was offended by the husband as Donkey and Wife as ball-and-chain representation.
As bloggers we’re often given the advice to create a unique header image to brand our site. This can be difficult, though — particularly if you don’t have the money to hire a graphic designer, or black-belt Photoshop skills.
My suggestion would be to find a cheap logo-design service or hire a freelance graphic designer. If this isn’t something you have the money to do, see if there is anything else you could offer them in exchange. For example: add a permanent link to the designer’s portfolio to your sidebar, write a post advertising their services or write a guest post for their blog (if they have one).
After the logo, the second most frequently mentioned aspect of the site was the Blogger navbar and the use of the Blogger platform.
I do see the merit in removing the Blogger navbar as it reminds visitors that you’re not self-hosted and can be quite distracting. Here’s a short tutorial on removing the blogger navbar.
Once the navbar is removed, I suspect most visitors to Wife Advice wouldn’t know it wasn’t self-hosted. It’s worth remembering that the target audience is not bloggers, so it’s unlikely they’ll have all the Blogger templates memorized as well as we do ;-).
That being said, I would strongly recommend the blog’s owners do some research on WordPress and whether that would be a better solution for them. A lot of ProBlogger readers recommended it in the feedback (and I second that recommendation.)
The blog’s concept received mixed reactions. While some readers really liked the idea of the Donkey and Wife, others felt that generalizations and stereotypes were being made — particularly male commenters!
On one hand, the unique premise of the blog might be helping to bring some readers in. On the other hand, it could be turning just as many away. It’s quite difficult to tell. It’s the kind of factor you can’t measure with statistics.
One solution might be to keep providing the same content and advice for wives and husbands, but to use a pseudonym other than ‘Donkey’ for the husband.
Ultimately, it’s up to the blog’s authors to decide whether to keep it controversial or to broaden the target audience by making the content and concept a little more benign.
It’s not just black and white
The design of the blog is very simple (mainly text). For that reason, many readers felt the blog didn’t have enough visually interesting elements to pull off a mainly black and white design. The blog’s owners can kill two birds with one stone by getting a new logo that’s full of color.
Does the tag-line sell the blog?
A group of readers felt that the blog’s tag-line wasn’t descriptive enough. At the moment it is: “A donkey. A wife. Advice.” Though we know there will be some kind of advice given, we don’t know who it’s directed at or what it’s about.
I’d suggest going with a tag-line like the one in the title bar, which is a bit more descriptive of what Wife Advice offers.
Getting more subscribers
We all want more subscribers but a number of readers pointed out that Wife Advice wasn’t doing this as well as it could.
It’s good that there’s a page explaining what RSS is, but I’d suggest offering a ‘Subscribe via email’ option from the main page. The blog isn’t tech/internet related and we can expect most of the target audience to be using email rather than a feed reader.
How to make more money with it
One common suggestion from readers was to monetize with Amazon, particularly through affiliate links to gifts recommended by both the Donkey and Wife.
Another suggestion was to sell an eBook of advice, though long eBooks are generally only worth the effort once you have a large and loyal readership.
A shorter report might be a better solution in the mean-time, if the blog’s owners do decide to try this option.
The good — everyone’s talking!
The thing that most impressed me about the blog is the skill shown in getting readers to participate in comments. By asking questions and holding debates the blog’s owners have made sure that the average number of comments on each post is very respectable.
It was also great to see a gripping About page and a Contact page in an easy to find location. Many bloggers seem to forget these crucial elements, so it was great to see them at Wife Advice.
This week’s iPod Shuffle winner is Lid from BlogWell. Her feedback ventured beyond the obvious and highlighted some important things I would not have thought of otherwise. Congrats :-).
Thanks again to everyone who took part — I look forward to hearing more from you next week!