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ProBlogger Community Blog Consulting

Posted By Darren Rowse 13th of October 2007 Case Studies 58

Today I’d like to try something a little new here at ProBlogger and want to invite you to engage in a little blog consulting and work shopping on a reader’s blog.

Let me explain why I’m doing this:

  • I get asked to look at a lot of blogs – to give feedback – to do consulting and to help bloggers improve their blogs
  • I can’t possibly do this for everyone – in fact these days I’m stretched to the point where I am unable to do any at all – even paid consulting
  • Previously I’ve found that helping one blogger publicly actually helps not only that one blogger but those who read along – if one person has a problem it is likely that others are too
  • ProBlogger is read by an incredible group of bloggers with a diverse range of skills, experiences and expertise – collectively we know so much more than what we each know individually

How Will it Work?

The idea is that later today (in the next post) I’m going to post a link to a blog of a ProBlogger reader that has asked for some help (I’ve got their permission to do this).

In posting this link I’m not going to give any initial advice or tips or critique – I’m simply going to post a link, a screen shot and a few words from the blogger who is asking for help.

Then I’m going to throw the consulting work over to you the ProBlogger readership. In a sense it’s a type of case study or workshop.

Your job is to give advice, tips and constructive critique to the blogger. I’ll give you a few areas that you might want to divide your advice into.

I’ll leave you to do this for a few days – at which point I’ll then attempt to draw together some of the main themes that people have talked about with some of my own advice.

I don’t know how this will work – but my hope is that it’ll help one blogger improve their blog, that it’ll give those who participate and read on some tips on improving their own blogs and that those who give the advice might also help their own reputations a little by showing some of their expertise.

If this works I’d like to do it on a semi-regular basis – but we’ll see how the first one goes and take it from there (I’m sure that this process will evolve over time)!

All I would ask is that you keep your comments as constructive as possible. The blogger who has agreed to do this knows they’ll probably hear some negative feedback but is willing to do so because they want to learn and improve – however I’d encourage everyone to be supportive and constructive. The point of this is to help someone (us all) to improve.

How’s this sound?

Stay tuned for the first blog consulting project in the next few hours. update – you can see it here

Update 2: Thanks to everyone for participating in this and for your feedback. I’ve been inundated with emails asking to be included in future consultations. At this point I’m not taking any of these on – but want to see how this first one goes before deciding whether I’ll do it regularly and if so how that’ll work. I’ll post more in the coming week or so on how it goes and how we’ll proceed. Thanks for your interest in the project though – I hope we can consult with a lot of your blogs.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Sounds like a great idea.

    It could catch on. You should do this on weekly basis, as a theme, to help bloggers. Say, every Friday, for example.

    If this goes smoothly that is.

  2. This is very interesting… As a matter of fact, I’d like to be part of the experiment! Feel free to post my blog too!

  3. Did you actually already chose a blog to improve?
    how could you pick one out of all the questions overwhelming you?

  4. This sounds really good – especially for newbies like me :-)

    Agree with Domtan that it could turn into a weekly (bi-weekly) occurrence, similar to the video posts on problogger. However, I’d be a little wary of getting very negative comments though.

  5. Simply awesome idea. Darren, this could be really great for a lot of us that are starting out. I’ll be looking forward to it!

  6. That does sound good, if it goes well I may throw mine onto the pile for critique ;-)


  7. This is good for the community to improve to another level!
    Hope this is a constant work.

  8. Sounds like another genius idea from Darren. Looking forward to learning….

  9. Interesting idea, Darren.

    Although having 1,000 people’s comments may be daunting, and less focussed than 1 person’s comments, distilling the general perceptions down will provide a far greater – and useful – input of ideas for the blog owner (and everyone reading, too:)).

    Which I guess is basically what you’ve said already! :-D

  10. Great idea!

    Darren, does “community-blog-consulting” applies only for blogs close to your niche?

  11. Sounds great. A win-win situation.

  12. Darren, that’s quite possibly the best idea I’ve seen in a long time. A winning situation for everyone :
    -The blogger gets a ton of feedback
    -The readers get to see new blogs and new ideas
    -You get a positive rep of helping people improve blogging (not to mention you still have the time of day left to yourself!)

    You’ll definitely get my participation on this one. If all goes well, perhaps a waiting list of blogs to be publicly reviewed might be in order?

  13. Great idea. what would one have to do to get it’s blog reviewed/commented ?
    I guess you have a large queue there :)

  14. It sounds great. I just got some tips from someone who reviewed my blog and I already have gotten comments from people who like the new look.

    I would like to submit my bog for your community critique if possible too!

  15. What’s that laptop on image?

  16. Excited to see where this leads. Amazing idea, Darren!

  17. Let’s see… can I say something interesting or unique here? Nope… let’s try “ditto!” Great idea, put mine in the pile.

  18. Very good idea Darren,

    I also have the same question as Patches and Hacks–

  19. I am really excited about this, Darren. As part of Yaro’s Blog Mastermind progrom, he frequently did blog critiques for the students. This was by far my favourite part of belonging to that program.

    I think your initiative will be even better. Here we will get an opportunity to have direct feedback from our actual target audience, not just what a pro thinks. Afterall, you guys get it wrong sometimes don’t you?

  20. Great idea. Not only would you get some helpful tips, but a huge spike in visitors also. Plus, we all like to throw our two cents in every now and again, don’t we?

  21. It’s!!

  22. Awesome idea! I wish I could join in the pool of sites to be looked at!

  23. Sounds cool :) I’d offer my blog up for a review, but our beta layout is currently in production, when it’s done I’ll submit it for a ‘group critique’ ;) Great idea Darren!!

  24. Great idea. Is the blogger who wrote in John Chow by any chance? lol :)

  25. I’d love to offer up my blog for a review like this.

  26. That’s a great idea and I hope it will be on a regular basis!

  27. I think it sounds like a great idea.

    Do you think a rating system could help? Something simple — say, 5 or 6 broad categories (aesthetics, navigability, etc.) and ratings from 1 to 5. (This would be in addition to a more general critique, so that the blogger would get both the reviews and the numbers.)

    This approach might make the comments/opinions more “measurable” and thereby help the blogger prioritize which problem areas to tackle first (i.e., the category with the lowest score).

  28. I believe the rating system suggested by nancy will be great. It gives a general idea on how people look at a certain blog. However, it may become too general for some blogs that only needs a little help or few tweakings.

  29. Sounds great.

    I wish it was me!

  30. Sounds like a great plan.

    If you need more blogs to look at, I’d love to be included int he list, even if mine is a humble Blogger offering

  31. i’d offer up my blog to criticism from your readers! awesome idea!

  32. Very creative. It’s like we are all your evangelists.

  33. I really like this idea, Darren. Of course, ideas like this is why you rock.

    Looking forward to offering my advice, and reading the advice of others, as well!

  34. This sounds quite interesting. I just found this blog when another blog I frequent advertised the contests, but even since then I’ve seen things here and there about how to improve little things on my blog which I’ve implemented, and I’m sure this would help bring up even more ideas.

  35. I am excited about this idea. I am still pretty new to blogging and am sure I will learn a lot from this style of mentoring, as I would like to call it. And you are right, as long as everyone stays objective and provides only constructive feedback, this should be a very helpful exercise. Thank you, Darren!

  36. That is a great idea. Can’t wait.

  37. Great idea, of course – there’s a powerful lot of learning to be done from watching someone else’s blog get a public review. One person’s “constructive criticism” can be quite different from that of another, so I do hope the chosen blogger has a thick skin.Don’t think I could ever be so brave… but I can’t wait to see what blog is chosen, and how the comment thread unfolds!

  38. Rating systems dont really work if you ask me. If you give them a 3 out of 5 for navigation, how does changing one little thing, like say adding related posts features, affect your score? What if they change multiple things based on comments? It’s just hard to quantify if you ask me. Navigation is either good or bad in my opinion. You can leave your comments on ways to improve it, but to actually score how well it is just seems out of place to me. It’s just too hard to quantify how some minor change can significantly change your scoring.

    I’d rather see people critique it in a non judgmental way. For example with a movie blog.

    “I find it hard to navigate your archives. Possibly try changing the way you tag things with a simpler method. Theres no need for 20 tags per post. If its a review, tag it reviews. No need to put “opinion”, “editorial”, “review”,”movie”, etc with that post as searching for it later will drag up dozens of non related posts.”

    If I just give a “its hard to navigate past reviews, 2/5”, that wont really help the person even if I give them some suggestions on what to change. Will my suggestion make it a 5/5? I doubt it. That’s the thing I don’t like about scoring personally in relation to a blog. If you were comparing it to another similar blog, I could see scoring each in relation to each other.

    Just my 2 cents on scoring. Looking forward to this little community project regardless of what method ends up being used.

  39. I think that is a very good idea. We learn too as we think how to help another. I have been enjoying your blog for some time and have learned a great deal. Thanks

  40. I also think this is an excellent idea. There are so many improvements that I want and need to make on my blog and I (like many of the other commenters) would love to have my blog critiqued by the smart and talented readers of Problogger. How do we get in the rotation? :)

  41. May I make a suggestion for making comments on the blog under review?

    Let’s try to have everyone use a sandwhich technique. Basically you give two good things about the blog with a constructive comment in the middle of the two.

    That way the blogger in question doesn’t feel so under attack with comments from everyone.

    Just an idea,

  42. Great idea Darren. Boy you have some good management talent in you. You are able to offload work, yet still maintain ultimate control.

  43. Cool idea. If it works out you should definitely do it once a month or every week. Constantly thinking of ways to improve the blogging community, huh? That’s why your the Problogger, :)

  44. Great idea. We’ve done something similar with our Resume Hunter feature on the Jobacle blog. When a neutral group critiques something publicly – we ALL win!

    Good luck and I look forward to contributing.

  45. I’m looking forward to it. Bring it on!

  46. Great idea! I’m very much into making my blog better these days as well so I’m looking forward to it.

  47. Darren, I am a regular reader and I gotta say: I am impressed with this one. You are basically getting everyone to do the work for you :). That’s my kind of style.

    If this workout, I would love to be a candidate for the next review. I just launched a new website/blog that covers technology news i.e. new web sites, web apps, software, gadgets, etc… and could use the community’s feedback.

    Thanks again for a smart and inspiring idea.

  48. Sounds like a good idea, without insulting Darren’s opinions, I think many people’s opinions could be better than one.

  49. Takaari says: 10/13/2007 at 5:00 am

    I think thats a really helpfull and positive initiative of yours. Keep the good work.

  50. Great idea. Add to your list for consideration. I think this should be a regular feature.

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