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Sourcebench – a ProBlogger Community Blog Consulting Project

It’s time for the first ProBlogger Community Blog Consulting Session. I’ve explained what this is in my last post and would ask you to read it before you leave a comment below.

Problogger-Consulting-Sourcebench

The blog that we’re going to look at this week is Sourcebench. Thorsten is the blogger behind this blog and his email asking for help said this:

My latest addition to the blogosphere is http://www.sourcebench.com. I invested a lot of time and money in this blog – into its content and the design but somehow i cannot get it reach that I want. I am stuck with around 300 visitors per day. Could you give me a clue what i am doing wrong or how I could improve?

As I’ve written in my previous post – I now want to invite you, the ProBlogger community, to offer your advice, suggestions and constructive critique into the mix. I’ll then attempt to summarize our collective advice early next week.

Sourcebench-Screencap

To help you in your feedback – here are a few questions you might want to answer and some areas you might want to focus upon:

  • What do you like about this blog?
  • What could it do better?

Particularly – you might want to comment in these areas:

  • Design – navigation, usability etc
  • Content – including ideas for posts that might be worth writing that could go viral
  • Promotion – what tips would you give this blogger for getting the word out there about this specific blog?
  • SEO – could it be improved
  • Monetization – what techniques might work better?

Try to keep your suggestions as constructive, practical and as specific to this blog as possible.

Looking forward to seeing your advice.

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.

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Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Greetings –

    First, Darren, we all know that you are crazy busy but maybe you can do a weekly community critique of one of your reader’s sites as a way to give back…if not, very nice thing that you are doing for SourceBench to help improve his site.

    For SourceBench, I would just point out that the graphics look a little “clip arty” and if I am hiring professional developers I want their site to look like they have created custom graphics.

    All the best, and I wish SourceBench great success.
    Mark

  2. Bobby says:

    I agree with some of the earlier comments. The first thing I noticed is how the keywords, community and ads on right side take up half the page horizontally.

    The Join The Team, What’s New and Contacts sections need something other than white backgrounds to make them stand out. It was a little hard to follow where these sections started and ended visually with the background being the same color.

    The Site is good in that it has a wide variety of content. It loaded in a decent amount of time on my first visit. Over all it is a good start. We all have to start somewhere.

  3. Chris Howard says:

    Thorsten, you’ve made a great start. Many folks would love 300 visitors a day. :)

    Rick’s comments here are well worth reading.

    Many folks have made comments here that are helpful, but most are about design and don’t really get to the core issue about increasing traffic.

    That said, design is important for your blog because your site is about web design and development, and everything said by readers above should be addressed as your credibility depends upon it.

    But about the bigger issue of increasing traffic, I challenge readers to focus on that rather the site’s design.

    You probably are already doing the things required. Plateau’s are not uncommon and you just have to persevere.

    But as a refresher:

    1) Network, network, network. Get out in the world and post comments on other relevant blogs and sites. Link to other folks’ stuff you like. Also post on any other sites of interest – that at least leaves a link to your site. If people like what you say, they’ll click the link in your name to check your site.

    2) As Rick said, content is king. Write consistently but focus on quality rather than quantity. One good post every two days is better than two average posts every day. Also, don’t be afraid to write something a bit controversial. Also, regards quantity, the more often you post, the quicker they die, as people tend to move on to new posts.

    3) Put hooks in your posts. Always ask a question and also you don’t have to cover every possibility. Some of my best posts have died in the backside because I failed to ask the readers a question, or left them with nothing to add. You’ve got to make readers want to comment. And once they comment, they’ll come back to see if someone responded. And then it mushrooms.

    4) Create and encourage community/discussion. Eg. remove registration for comments and always respond to all valid comments.

    5) As Donna said in the first response, socialize. Digg, Technorati, Del.icio,us etc.

    6) Hang out at sites like ProBlogger because the game keeps changing and these guys are up with the latest goings on.

    7) If you can, write your own lead-ins with hooks for your RSS feeds. This is what shows in the RSS feed if you don’t show the full post. The lead-in should hook the reader into wanting to click thru to the post.

    8) Design your site to reflect what you’re about and also so it adds credibility to your posts. And of course, make it easy on the eye and to navigate. If you write long posts, use headings to make them easier to read.

    I put design last because once you get a reader, content is more important than design. In fact, I read a lot of sites just on their RSS feeds, never visiting the site, so design is irrelevant. And they’re obviously failing in their posts to hook me into commenting.

  4. Kirk Warren says:

    My first impression is the huge banner full of white space. I run at 1680 x 1050 resolution and with about 3/4 of my screen devoted to Firefox, I see almost no content, just a banner and a Welcome sign. Below the fold = death for most content in my opinion and you have page after page of content below the fold of the viewable space upon entering your site.

    Not sure how to fix this problem, but a possible shrinking of the banner wouldn’t hurt. Maybe half the height it currently is or try experimenting with different sizes. You could combine the huge bit of white space on the right of your banner with the Welcome Message to free up enough space to show some content above the fold.

    Next up is the huge devotion to the Tag Cloud that seems broken. I understand and use the concept of the cloud on my own page. Here, however, is a cloud where almost all of the keywords are too tiny to even read coupled with a grey font that makes it even harder to read. I like the theme you are going with the coding for your keywords, but that further compounds the difficulty in picking out keywords for me from your cloud.

    I have not seen any studies done on Tag Clouds, but I do know they look prettier and feel more accessible while giving me a good idea about what kind of content is written about on any given site. Much better than the standard list of a million words most go with. My thoughts for fixing it is to work on the font colour to make it more friendly on the eyes. On top of that, either increase the default size for the smallest tags featured or increase the number of posts required to make it into the tag so those smaller tags do not get featured. As it is, that Cloud simply does nothing except point me directly at “” and everything else requires too much effort to pick out.

    These 2 concerns are the first things that hit me the minute I enter your page and distract me from reaching your content. One blocks out all recent content and forces me to actively pagedown / scroll excessively to read it. The other makes it almost impossible to easily reach your previous posts through the cloud, effectively wasting a huge chunk of space on the side bar.

    Next up is your actual postings. I honestly did not know there was more to your posts upon my initial scan of your front page. I think the first thing you should do is add a “Click Here To Read More” type link below each posting. People are stupid and there have been numerous studies done that show that if you want people to click something, beat them over the head with it. People click more on links that literally have the words “Click Here” underlined with the usual HTML link default. They respond more to it than “Click”, “Read More”, “Hit the Jump”, and so on. That post you made about ProBlogger on your site is a prime example. I read it on your front page and thought that was it. Tell me to click it. Make it known that people can comment on that post with a Comments link with the post and the number of comments associated with the post similar to ProBlogger’s posts.

    That’s all I have for now. Hope this doesn’t come off too negatively. I like the colour scheme and little character mascot you are using and the writing and grammar seem sound upon basic inspection. Good luck and I hope ProBlogger’s reader critiques help you with your site.

    Kirk Warren
    The Weekly Crisis
    http://www.weeklycrisis.com

  5. Kirk Warren says:

    Oh ya, I did a quick Photoshop of your site to show a nice, quick and functional way to fix the header problem while freeing up more of your site below the fold so it is visible.

    You can view it here.

    http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/4738/sourcebenchvm3.jpg

    It just removes your entire banner and shifts everything upwards. Something to think about at least.

  6. CJ says:

    Pros: I like your illustrations. The header image and other images on the site are unique.

    The color scheme fits with the overall subject of the blog.

    I like the single post format.

    You use WordPress. That in and of itself is a major ‘pro’.

    Cons: Your header area is being wasted. This is prime real estate and the first thing that the majority of your readers will see. At a minimum, I would move the “Welcome to Sourcebench” text into the header, to the right of the logo, and move the content up. Move your content up so that it starts “above the fold”.

    Your advertisements are too far down on the sidebar. This really devalues your ads, as they aren’t as widely seen. Move them to the top of the sidebar.

    I would put the tag cloud down at the bottom of the page in the footer area. Try putting your categories in the sidebar, as well as possibly a link to the tag cloud (so that people who prefer to use that for navigation will be able to find it easily – those who hate it don’t need to look at it!) Also, by doing this you can make your font size larger and make all of the tags visible.

    Since your blog is relatively new, get rid of the “archives” links in the footer. It shows that you’ve only been around for a couple months, and that you’re not posting that regularly (since September isn’t even listed).

    Move the navigation in the footer either into the sidebar or the header. Probably 90% of your visitors will never see it.

    Make your grammar and writing style more consistent. PROOFREAD! Use spell check! If your grammar is horrible, then ask someone who has excellent grammar to proofread for you and then listen to them!

    Get rid of the requirement to login prior to commenting. That really drops the number of comments that you’ll get. Just require an email address in order to comment. You can even set your site to require all comments to be moderated if you’re worried about spam (this is what I do since I’m completely paranoid, and I’m glad I do since Akismet doesn’t always pick up every spam comment).

    Hire a journalist to write your website content. You’re copy writing leaves a lot to be desired. It sounds very ‘spammy’, and again, your grammar isn’t that good. A journalist will write in a way that people want to read, and will make your content seem valuable, instead of like a sales pitch.

    Post more consistently. Make sure you’re posting at least once a week, and once a day is good IF you can post quality content that regularly. I notice that you’ll post 4-5+ articles on a single day, and then won’t post for days (or even weeks) after that. Use your blogs advance posting feature (in WP, just change the timestamp of the post to a date in the future). This makes it look like you’re posting regularly without having to actually post every single day. You can pre-write your posts for a couple of days, a week, even a month if you’re feeling ambitious.

    In the footer, your site says that it’s valid XHTML and CSS. But, if someone actually clicks on those links, it clearly states that you’re not even close to being valid (66 errors for the XHTML). If you’re promoting yourselves as being developers and designers, at least make sure that your own site is validating! This can also affect your SEO if the errors that you’re getting are putting up ‘roadblocks’ to search spiders. Do whatever you need to to get these errors fixed!

    I’m hoping that this was helpful. I tried to stay out of the personal preference issues and go for strictly a usability and technical critique. (What I like to see in a blog is probably completely different than what a lot of others like to see, and my opinions on features or design are likely different than the opinions of many others, and vice versa. After all, I like tag clouds but it’s obvious that many others do not share my opinion. You just have to figure out if your target market has a strong opinion in either direction).

  7. Miracle says:

    Suggestions:
    remove this: The Sourcebench team is happy to hear from you. Just leave us a small message and we will be right back at your service. replace with your welcome message and rss feed

    Remove or greatly lower your tag cloud: its just wasted space and moves the visitor away from your more functional navigation.

    Move your sponsors to the top of right sidebar then follow it by the call for more contributors on the site

    Move your bottom navigation to a left sidebar. You have alot of information on the page and the visitor will feel confused and frustrated to try and navigate your site. They will leave before finding the bottom. If you have the categories and navigation on the left. It is easy to find.

    On the bottom, you can put the contact us information, the news section for sourcebench, and links to new items. This will give information that you want people to see on every page without throwing it in their face.

    On the posts page, do not separate the title and author info into a separate column than the content. Too much eye movement.

    keep the right bar’s sponsors and call for help on all pages. You can probably use the same page template for the index and every single page. Definitely consider adding a social bookmarking tool like addthis.

    At the end of each post, put a sales line for you to be hired to help. i.e. Like the information you are reading? Click here to hire sourcebench to solve your problem.

    Your hire us page should be shorter and be written for the web.
    I would consider removing the “why we love new ideas” heading and replacing it with “we are the right team”. You already have a heading called “new ideas are our stimulus”. This is more time for someone to chance not hiring you.

    At the end of hire us page, you need a major click to action. Something large and just says “do this as it is the only logical next step”. This call should only be one to two sentences and an easy to click link.

    Consider putting the “your solutions” link information on the sourcebench website. When you move to a second website, you have to learn to trust a whole new website.

    Finally, at the very top of the website, consider putting a simple tagline in the blue box

    On the positive, I really love the design and idea behind the website. It is easy colors on the eyes, and the little cartoons makes the usually boring techy stuff seem fun. They navigation may be misplaced, but it is very simple to understand. It is not too overloaded with unnecesary information and once the navigational elements are found, it is simple to find the right click through. The best part of any site is its originality and you have it. I have not seen many community driven code help sites. You can supply code help for the most novice to the individuals whom have degrees from MIT.

  8. I to liked the illustrations but as one commenter mentioned I would compress the header, or get the guy with the wrench more toward the top.

    The promise of web developer technical information was intriguing, but then most of what I could see of the tag cloud was about freelancing and jobs rather than the technical stuff. The less-prominent tag cloud elements are barely visible, rather than just de-emphasized. I would try to move the tag cloud down, clarify it, and move some of the bottom navigation elements to one of the sidebars.

    I had to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the navigation elements to the archives, where I started to find some good stuff about Apache. The snippets idea for example is cool, but should be more readily accessible. I saw some code formatting issues on some of the main (index) pages, but these disappeared on the permalink pages.

    Best of luck with your site, and thanks for being open to improvement — I’m sure if you keep wanting to improve things you will! I hope I wasn’t too negative.

  9. Thorsten says:

    Hi All,

    i am really impressed about the valuable feedback i get here. You are great and very constructive. I really appreciate all the time you spend to review my site and post here. Don’t worry about posting negative feedback as this is exactly what helps me to improve the site.

    So far i already got a lot of great ideas from the posts here and once Darren posts his resume i will start implementing changes to the site and i am sure that thanks to your help the page will turn out much better than it is right now.

    As for the way of writing and the suggestion to hire a journalist i fully agree. I for myself am german which results in bad english grammar and a frequent mismatch of capitalized letters :) I am still searching for contributors to this project but as it is more like a side project which was more likely to be used as a place for me and my developers to store snippets and other useful information within the team the money i can invest is limited. Every money we make with it goes back in the project.

    After all the feedback i will do a relaunch of this site with new design and better content as soon as possible. I did not expect to get this well formed stream of information here and i am really going to put this feedback to a use.

    So far great thanks to all of you for your help and time.

    Please continue!

    Thorsten

  10. Jalaj says:

    “” is time wasted by developers, asking problogger for help, in turn wasting other’s by letting them to review the site…

    Darren it was a nice choice to start with this site…

    sourcebench developers are not clear for what the site is for…
    it’s a project… it’s a blog… no it’s a “Hire Us” appeal..

    What’s the site… nothing but a wordpress blog (even developers don’t intend to call it by other name…)

    watch for the blog posts… nothing special…if the developers say ” I am stuck with around 300 visitors per day. ” they are lucky/lying

    Want to comment on some posts? then you need to register first! who cares? and the developers who feel like following problogger’s success, did they ever cared to see if problogger itself requires to register before commenting?

    I followed to a page with two comments and the comments are made by two named persons… I said named because there was no link to anyone’s profile or site…

    rest… developers should now have an idea of it.

  11. nitinpai says:

    Negatives
    =================================
    Whitespace – too much
    Colors – Monotonous green
    Text – strain for the eye
    Tag Cloud – amongst the worst I have ever seen
    Layout – I don’t understand it. (Posts at the top, RSS button in the middle and two columns in the block over the footer. Looks like a disordered sidebar to me.
    Header Menu – wrongly places and not visible clearly (Should be placed on the top most blue bar like problogger has)

    Positives
    =======================================
    Footer – Quite Pleasing and nice menu’s out there
    Design – Looks good. Would be better if you mix n match some other colors apart from green

    ====================================
    Hope my view helps the owner in some way. Now please could somebody give me a review of my blog. :)

  12. Most of what I think has already been mentioned.. but I didn’t notice this in the comments.

    Yes, of COURSE, we all know to click on the title of the post to get the rest of the information. But a recent study by Marketing Sherpa found that without the CLICK HERE to read more.. or some variation, people just don’t do it.

    I almost missed the cool CSS stuff you posted because it wasn’t clear in the snippet on the front page that there WAS more.

    PS. I totally agree with the person(s) who suggested cleaning up the writing. I’m really not so picky, when reading blogs, that the grammar be perfect. But when the sentences are so long and run on, by the end, I forget what was at the beginning. So.. start by shortening ALL your sentences!

  13. KCLau says:

    Why commenting require login? This feature reduce the number of comment vastly.

  14. Cute characters.

    My first reaction was what does Sourcebench mean? What is a sourcebench?

    Maybe a sub title would help!

    Good luck!

  15. Carla says:

    After commenting yesterday, I had another thought about your title/post structure. The look is unique, but sometimes there is a reason for the tried and true . . . it just works.

    I have two ideas.

    First to put the post title above the actual post, then float the details in a division so the post content flows around it.

    heading
    details (float right)
    post content

    Or if you really like the left alignment with the details, make the heading/post more of an outline structure. I think that would make it a little more readable.

    heading here ……………………
    detail1 post content
    detail2

    I would just point out that the graphics look a little “clip arty” . . . Mark

    If that is “clip arty,” I’d like to know where you’re getting your clip art.

  16. Nancy says:

    I love that little character. I don’t know why, but associating a little cartoon-person or mascot with a site always makes me like it so much more.

    I have to agree with those who’ve said there’s too much space wasted at the top. I like to see a little bit of content when I visit a site without having to scroll down.

    I also have to second those who’ve mentioned the logging-in feature with the comments. I think that tends to discourage would-be commenters from commenting.

    Finally, I was a little confused about the “blog” part of your blog at first. Your posts don’t include the sort of stuff I see at most blogs (“23 comments,” “digg this,” a date stamp), and because those visual cues weren’t there, I had to wonder whether or not this was really a blog. (I realize you only post snippets on your front page, and that a lot of the “bloggy” things are on your individual post pages, but that was my first impression nonetheless.)

    Thanks for allowing us to critique you, Thorsten, and best of luck with your relaunch!

  17. GettyCash says:

    Nice design, luv the cartoon guy

  18. UltraRob says:

    Sourcebench is a site for developers. One thing you don’t want on a developer site is JavaScript errors. It’s really annoying to get a popup in IE about a script error. Most non-developers don’t have script debugging on so they won’t see it.

    Giving away scripts is nice but there’s only a few. Even with just a few, the navigation isn’t good enough. I’d go looking elsewhere rather than trying to figure out how to navigate and search.

    I hate tag clouds. I’ve never seen one that seemed useful to me.

    You have some useful content it’s just hard to find. Keep adding more good content. Make it easier to read and find using some of the other suggestions and I think you’ll have a great site.

  19. Rich Owings says:

    When I was starting out, I spent a HUGE amount of time on message boards, answering questions. I would always have a link in my signature of course, but I would also link to relevant posts in a non-spammy way, making sure that I was really providing a valuable resource in the process. This got me traffic AND backlinks.

    Also, general SEO advice. Go for long tail search terms, not generic ones.

  20. Misty Khan says:

    1) I like your little mascot guy – the beginnings of some good branding so why don’t you take more advantage of him? Give him a name. Bring him to life. He’s a great opportunity to spice up your site.

    2) OK, it looks like your site is aimed at developers from the front page to be a resource for them. But then there is a hire us page – is that aimed at non-developers who want to hire you to develop a site for them or for developers who need some extra help? These are going to be two very different audiences – I think you need to pick one to concentrate on.

    3) If you are trying to convince people to hire you to design their sites, you might want to clean up your grammer a bit. I love the look and feel, and I hardly write in the Queen’s English myself (I’m a Texan after all), but if someone is going to hire you to develop their site, they are going to hold you to an ultra high standard.

    I feel your frustration and your pain – hang in there though and best of luck!

  21. I tend to agree with a lot of what’s been said:

    –Too much whitespace

    –Your content is way too far down (header is too large)

    –Not enough quality content

    –commenting requires a login (This is a massive barrier to me
    as a reader. I avoid sites that do this. Try Akismet if you’re having spam problems)

    –Your writing could use some work. I’m generally forgiving of middling writing when dealing with blogs; it’s an informal medium, right? But when I come across really simple grammatical mistakes, I tend to go elsewhere without a backward glance.

    –In the same vein, the overall look and feel of the blog screams ‘commercial’ or almost ‘spammy’. There’s no sense of community or involvement in the blogosphere. Just something hoping to grab google traffic.

    –Footer navigation CAN work, but it doesn’t seem to in this case.

    Here’s some other stuff that may not have been mentioned

    –Your RSS feed is parsing some of the php you’re posting, or at the very least eating it. Scroll down to PHP Environment Overview while viewing your RSS Feed in Firefox 2.0. The whole paragraph of text and the first few lines of php are gone. It makes the posts look like coding errors.

    –So I’m at an individual post right now… where’;s your RSS feed? There’s two more prominent links on the homepage, but on the individual page template there’s one tiny textlink that I didn’t even notice on my first pass

    Hope this helps :)

  22. Ruth says:

    Although I’m an avid reader of Pro-blogger I haven’t made the step of creating my own blog. I’ve have however, been a club leader on the ivillage message board network for over five years and hope I do have some insights that might me helpful. First while the cartoon characters on the header are cute it leaves the reader wondering what the sight offers the reader. Perhaps making the header smaller would help. Also your mission statement is too wordy as are some of your articles. There are extra words that make the paragraphs confusing. There are many helpful hints to editing an article. Here are three to try. First print the article out . You’d be amazed how much easier it is to catch mistakes or wordiness when you are looking at a piece of paper rather than a screen. Second, read the article aloud. Does it flow as it would in a conversation? Third, ask someone to read the article and make suggestions. I know that is hard because writers become attached to their work, but it forces us to see through someone else’s eyes. The cartoon guy that is used like a “bullet” to announce recent articles is a nice feature. Hope you have gained some great tips from the many comments. Thank you for allowing us to review your site.

  23. Ruth says:

    I just re-read my post and found a few mistakes. Seems like I didn’t follow my own advice before hitting that submit button.

  24. I was turned off immediately by the cutesy cartoon characters – didn’t feel like the site was serious.

    As some others noted, the writing is painful: “as much people as they can”, “so what we got here” – this kind of stuff is everywhere and just turned me off.

    Then the http://www.sourcebench.com/blog/ has broken stuff on it – hardly makes me confident that anything you might have to say about design is worth reading, does it?

  25. I love the tags around the title on the header. I also love that you are so interested in contributions from the web community. It is clear that you value others’ ideas. Love the guy. I agree with the person who said to give him a name and personify him more.

    I would
    a) condense the introduction into a tagline for the header, and move all the other stuff to an about page. Maybe “Sourcebench: a community toolbox for developers, by developers”

    b) get rid of the tag cloud, and make all the tags readable.

    c) work on grammar and capitalization (ie: capitalize the word “I”) cut out every unnecessary word.

    e) Don’t begin so many sentences with “Sourcebench……” You can think of a more creative way to open a sentence.

    f) Move the footer navigation to the side bar. I would probably not have gotten far enough down the page to see the footer if I weren’t trying to review it.

    g) I’m not sure I would know that the front page posts were snippets. You may want to add a “read more” link or something under them.

  26. Thilo says:

    I can’t read most of the tags. You should change that.

  27. Jack says:

    Where is the link back to WordPress? That’s the least you can do to help a group of developers that spend hours on end to develop and maintain a platform for you to create a blog on. Its ironic that you say the blog is for developers.

  28. JxPx says:

    I didn’t read every comment, but I think I might have one point that no one else covered and that is…

    Where is your favicon?

  29. Jason says:

    Looks good to me. Maybe a bash some Mombo users. That might spark some interest. =)

    Kidding…

    But really, how does the content differentiate from other alike blogs?

    My only advice is to ask yourself:

    What do you want to read on a daily basis? Is it going to make me skip the new episode of the Simpsons? Or is it the same stuff I can find at the PR 8 development blog?

  30. Lila says:

    There are so many things to be done. First thing is header of your blog occupying large space that means you are not using header part properly.
    Second ,place search to the right part as many bloggers do and Darren has done the same.
    Third, your site will look better if you removed (This site is designed by web developers for web developers to create a community and toolbox for developers, designers and everyone who is interested in web development.) and place at the bottom part. You will be better if you only put what you’ve written after that.Because that will be your introduction.
    Fourth, some of your post are embeded into the right side bar. Write them into the left main area only.
    Fifth, your blog will look better if you put catagories to the right sidebar and it will be better for your visitors to go into your every writing if you place your catagories to the right side.

  31. speedyeoh says:

    Your website is too many empty space. I can’t find your services easily. According to the consumer behaviour they will first click on the offer you can offer and they will not just click to hire us. Because they don’t know what you do and why to hire you. Your tagging have spoil your whole blog. But you can get 300 visitor per day is very good for a 3 month old site. It look clean and refreshment of your site.

  32. First off it’s a really nice site.

    I would reduce the Tag Cloud size by quite a bit. Most of the keywords you can’t see.

    Second I agree with everyone who’s said shrink the header. It’s way to large. You need to get your content and ads above the fold.

  33. Vascabruta says:

    In agreement with the comments about the header and all the white space looks too stark.

    Reduce header by at least two thirds. That will bring up your content.

    Put what you have under the blue bar in the header

    Cloud too big/hard to read

    Good luck!!!

  34. I think you first need to examine what it is exactly you want to do with the blog, obviously you want to make money in one way shape or form.

    But how do you want to do it? Through affiliate commission like TLA? Through contract work? Adsense? CPM ads? Direct advertising?

    You need to be clear about how you want to do it – to me it looks like you are trying to build your name/services and get some contract work – and make some money on the side.

    I say stick to either building your name/brand or making money through CPC/CPA/CPM ads.

    Secondly, it’s not clear to me that you’re not showing full content on the blog – please add a ‘…more’ after the end of the initial description. This should hopefully increase your page views and get people reading your full content.

    Logging in to comment sucks and I simply refuse to do it – unless the gain of me commenting outweighs the hassle – it never does.

    Now that I’ve been a bit on the critical side – let’s look at your positive points – the overall theme is nice but a little more emphasis should be put on the content and not the theme itself (the content takes up like 25% of the blog at the moment, that’s really not enough. It should be 75%+)

    The logo is friggin’ awesome – I love it and it’s something you should definitely build on it – I am not sure how but somebody out there will.

    Finally let’s have a look at your SEO, yahoo says you have 600 odd back links. That’s not to shabby – I suspect that’ll greatly increase with this excellent link bait strategy you have going on with Darren. But I can’t seem to find any directory submitting that’s been done.

    I know google is slamming directories recently – but it’s a really nice way of getting some easy back links. You should consider going to digital point and buying a manual directory submission (trust me, you end up paying like $2 an hr to get somebody to do the work for you).

    Your URL isn’t going to score you any great keywords and neither is the description “Building a better web home”. Have a look at your google analytics or similiar tracking and have a look at what terms you are ranking for. In particular look for terms which you are ranking low for (like pages 2+, page 4+ is ideal) but getting a decent amount of traffic for. Long tail keywords are important, but you should be using your URL description to try and snag some bigger fish.

    That’s all for now – Darren please create a forum for this because comments really suck. This way you can divy it up into sections like SEO/Design/Content etc and people can comment on what they like.

    I am sure most of us would be happy to help others also.