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Brisbane SEO Blog — a ProBlogger Community Blog Consulting Project

Problogger-ConsultingWelcome to our third Community Blog Consulting 2.0 project. A few minutes spent sharing your feedback on this week’s blog could see you win an iPod Shuffle!

If you’re new to the community consulting at ProBlogger, the launch post should explain everything you need to know.

This week we’ll be looking at Brisbane SEO Blog. It’s the business blog for SiteMost, an SEO company based in Brisbane, Australia.

Pete is the blog’s author and described the blog’s aims as follows:

Although the company is only fairly new, the team have been optimising websites for over 5 years. We actively participate in many SEO communities and forums and this has helped gain some exposure and reputation within the industry.

Our current goal with the blog is to try and attract more subscribers and as a byproduct of this, further enhance our reputation and authority within the search marketing industry.

A summary of the community feedback (with my own commentary) will be posted in 4 – 5 days, so make sure to get your comments in soon.

The iPod Shuffle prize will will be awarded to the commenter who leaves the most useful, interesting and respectful feedback for the blog’s author.

Brisbane SEO Blog screenshot.

The key questions you’ll want to consider are:

  • What do you like about this blog?
  • What could be improved?

You might want to focus your comment on these areas:

  • Design — usability, visual appeal, readability, navigation.
  • Content — how could it be made more valuable?
  • Promotion — how would you suggest the blogger promote the blog?
  • SEO — can you see areas for improvement?
  • Monetization — could this be done more effectively? Do you see any missed opportunities?

We’d love for comments to be as constructive, helpful and practical as possible. I’m sure Peter and the rest of the team at SiteMost can’t wait to hear your insights.

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Comments

  1. I’m new to the Consulting Project, but I’m heading over to Brisbane SEO Blog now. The iPod shuffle would be a nice prize.

  2. Brisbane SEO Blog offers lots of comprehensive content. For example thier article on “Beginners Guide to Social Media” lists all the major social media sites and a short review of each.

    One thing I find distacting though is that it’s hard to figure out where one post ends and the other begins. If they would reduce the font size on their “If you liked this post” section at the end of posts and leave a little more room between each post this would take care of the problem.

  3. It’s a very nice-looking blog, for sure. As a business blog, it doesn’t seem to really be doing its job, which normally would be helping the company get more business. There should be a page on services provided, for example, and there are certain ways of writing content that can strengthen the connection between the blog and business it is supposed to be serving.

    However, Pete’s stated goal is to increase RSS subscribers, so with that in mind, I suggest the following:

    –Provide a clear and obvious email subscription alternative (perhaps via Feedburner) for those who aren’t on the RSS bandwagon, just yet.

    –Through some WordPress plugins, like Sig2Feed, you can provide content just for subscribers as an incentive to subscribe, such as your own ebook (instead of Aaron Wall’s–you don’t need to be making him any more money!).

    –Make sure you’re publishing full feeds.

    –If your goal is also to attract local people from the Brisbane area, then perhaps a highly localized AdWords campaign might be appropriate.

    –Study up on your headline and copywriting techniques by visiting blogs such as Copyblogger. Some of headlines on the SiteMost blog are attractive, while some of them seem a bit dry and utilitarian.

    –Think about what kind of person you’re trying to reach, and write for them. Write material that is useful, that they would want to bookmark and consider a resource.

    –Either get rid of the “please subscribe” plugin for first-time visitors, or alter it so that it’s placed below posts. You’re asking people to subscribe when they haven’t even read anything, yet! Perhaps not the best move, in spite of the plugin’s popularity.

    Good luck with increasing your subscriber count, and I hope these ideas will give you a boost!

    –Michael Martine

  4. I think the design of this site is really nice. I like that it is clean and simple and has bright colors.

    The one big thing I think it is missing is a simple way for getting people to dig deeper into the site and find some of the top content. The site already has page tabs at the top of the page so that is perfect for adding some top category pages or a “top posts” tab or even a “find it” or “guide” page.

    A guide page could include a list of the top five posts in different categories.

    I would also consider putting a list of pillar posts somewhere easy to see.

    Nice site.

  5. The meta description is the same on all the posts, this is going to mean more pages in the Google supplemental index and poor snippets on search results.

  6. PropertyFag says:

    ALL CSS should be kept on external CSS pages. On every page thereappears to be internal CSS snippets defining H1 tags.

  7. Luis says:

    Hello all, I think the header is too big, where the title of the blog is can be a bit thinner. The RSS button is too big but it’s usual to find it like that on other blogs. Excessively use of categories for my taste, but again is also something that you find on other blogs. The no-nofollow badge is empty, you could link it to a blog post explaining why you agree with no-nofollow. Finally, to make the page shorter I suggest the use of excerpts.

    Other than that great content, I love it.

  8. Yeah, I think the only things really wrong here are mechanical – the meta tags that Patrick mentioned, the pages don’t pass W3C validation, the CSS shows up with a few errors, and there are Javascript errors too..

    For most sites, this kind of stuff is minor – there are some of us who try to be conscientious about these things, but it is a never ending and difficult battle.

    However: For an SEO site, I think those kinds of details are much more important than they are for other sites. If anyone should have perfect meta tags and perfect html (or near perfect anyway), a SEO cite absolutely should.

    Disregarding that, great site – added it to my reader..

  9. Gnaka.com says:

    Features that I love:-
    1. The content is clearly written in very simple language, making it very easy to grasp. All the posts are easily readable with definitions or bullet points to describe points that are being discussed. An image in the post brings color to the article. This kind of presentation makes it easy to scan the post quickly.

    2. The navigation in the sidebar is making easy to navigate to other posts or archives. A list of categories makes it much easier. Although I felt that the font in the sidebar could be a bit larger. May the font should be of the same size as that of the post.

    Scope for Improvement:
    Design:
    The design chosen by them is to keep it similar to their main site, http://www.sitemost.com.au/, which i think makes sense. But the header could have more links that can take them directly to their main site. May be they can add links to SEO services, seo tools and contact us.

    The logo, which is part of the background image in header, should be clickable. This could be done by either removing the logo image from the background or putting the image directly into the header, or may be by using image maps.

    The red (dark pink) color is used very less in the content and sidebar compared to their main site. May be the sidebar headings could be made into that color, which will bring more similarity between the main site and their blog.

    The search bar should be moved at the top. Either in the sidebar or in the header top right area. This will make it easier to find the search box.

    As I said earlier, the font in sidebar could be more consistent with the font in the post. The headings in sidebar should be bold, and large.

    There is no link or banner linking to their main site can be found on a quick scan. A quick blog scanner doesn’t find any link may just leave if you don’t give him an option to click..
    A graphical image, which shouts, induce to click, should be there in the first fold. I assume their main focus of this blog is to drive targeted traffic to their main site and sell their services

    They may place advertisements, which are not their competition, but go hand in hand with their products. For example, SEO optimized website templates. But again if their main focus is to sell their own services, then I recommend not to give any chance to click on any other ad or banner other than the one that is going directly to their main site.

    I would although recommend linking to other blogs on the niche, in exchange of getting links from them. A few links from high traffic seo blogs could bring a lot of visitors. A good commenting strategy on other SEO blogs and posting SEO forums can bring small traffics, but followed religiously could get a lot of loyal readership.

    Hope you find something useful in my comments!

    Cheers!
    V

  10. richard says:

    Personally I think the blog has too much a look and feel of a blog … if you understand what I mean!

    richard

  11. AJ says:

    I’d like to see a few things:

    1) A Most Popular posts column in the sidebar.

    2) A “New to SEO?” section similar to Darren’s “Beginner” archive here at ProBlogger.

    3) The blog logo should be clickable to take the reader to the Site Most homepage.

    4) The blog navigation should borrow the main site’s navigation. Why do they have two “About Us” pages? The “About Us” page on the main site is clearly better.

    5) The blog should have an easy-to-find “Contact Us” page.

    6) Video posts a la SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Fridays would rock.

  12. Cathy Moore says:

    What I noticed: bright, inviting design; pretty clean sidebar; focused content. It’s obvious what the blog is about, and the content is useful.

    Some suggestions:

    About page

    The About page could communicate the authority of the author a little better, such as by briefly noting years of experience, impressive clients, etc.

    Comments

    There are few comments. The more comments you have, the more popular your blog looks and the more likely a visitor is to think, “Hey, they must have stuff worth reading.”

    You could encourage more comments in several ways. A few ideas:

    – End the post with a question like “Have you tried this technique? How did it work for you?”
    – Write slightly controversial posts
    – Write a post that addresses a few points of a topic and ask readers a question like, “Have I missed anything?”
    – Use polls that encourage comments, like asking readers what their biggest SEO question is

    Encouraging subscribers

    You could try offering a gift to subscribers, such as a short ebook. You could also offer an occasional gift for a subscriber drawn at random from the list.

    You have useful content. I think its usefulness would be even more apparent if it were presented a little more concisely. We all have a lot to read these days, so packing a lot of ideas into a few words can only help win subscribers.

    I think increasing comments will also help increase subscriptions.

    SEO

    It looks like you’re not using anything to control your title tags. As a result, the title tag for each post is the same as the title of the post. This means you could be missing some traffic if the post title doesn’t include keywords.

    You could use a plugin like SEO Title Tag so your post could have a title in the blog like “What you don’t know CAN hurt you” but have a more keyword-happy page title of “How to check site statistics.”

    Design

    The right-justification and large size of the related posts header made scanning a little challenging for me.

    If you can, you might want to have someone proof your posts, because there are some typos and similar problems (such as using apostrophes for plurals–”baby boomer’s” for example). However, most people don’t notice these things as much as I do.

  13. Kirk Warren says:

    One thing I think would seriously help the site is if you used extended post summaries. Basically, something like ProBlogger where you have a short snippet of the post with a “Click Here to Read More” type link to the full post.

    Some of your posts go on forever and I’m just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling with no end in site to the post and I just want to get to the next one. The Back To Basics: 10 On-Site SEO Tips and the SiteMost’s Blog Recap 28/11/07 are two posts that would benefit from this. The recap post in particular is just a mass of links that takes up several pages.

    This would also provide the opportunity to put the ‘Related Posts’ in the actual post instead of on the main page. If there’s a post I don’t like, why would I care about seeing a quarter of the page dedicated to related posts? If someone clicks a post, they will be more interested in the related posts and more likely to click it. Right now, I’m using the related posts as a sign a certain 1000 word post has ended so I can see if the next one interests me.

    In regards to the two posts I singled out, I’m not saying they are bad or that I didn’t like them. Just they were quite long and used as an example.

    In regards to the site design, I’m not sure what it is, but the colours are really clashing for me. Orange and blue typically are complimentary colours, so Im not sure why I find the site so jarring when viewing it. This could just be a personal thing and others might really enjoy the colour scheme, though.

    Also, the site seems to be a generic “Web 2.0″ page. You’ve got the atypical gradiant in the banner. The standard pale blues. Most have rounded corners, but you went with the dogeared paper look. Big Orange RSS button. Standardized side bar. Almost looks like a WordPress with a small cosmetic template that barely elevates it from a generic blog.

    Like I said in just about everyone of these community projects, I hate the Archives that feature the months with a number by them. Why do I want to click September 2007 (11)? Is there a specific post related to the topic I want there or do I have to click every month and go through every post to find the one I want?

    I alway cite Darren’s Archives as an example because they are perfect in my opinion. A separate page broken down into categories based on specific topics, which have a list of popular posts for that topic as well as links to the rest of the posts in that category, that a person on his site would be interested in. On top of that, he gives the option to search by month if someone prefers that method or to just do a basic site wide search if they don’t see a topic they are interested in.

  14. wild flux says:

    I like the SiteMost header, it looks fun and playful. However, I think the site template could be improved because the current site looks very simple. It appears almost as if the template was just a slightly modified version of the default WordPress template. I probably would not have stuck around at this site for any period of time, if it was not for this post. The template is the major problem in my opinion.
    On the upper right corner is a turned page looking graphic, which made me think I could click on it, and it would give me more information, kinda like the John COW site, but it didn’t do anything.
    So overall, the theme needs to be redone and flasher (at least to me).
    The content, on the other hand, was fine. The posts were a decent size.
    For promotion, I would say create a flasher theme. I think Rosie.com (Rosie O’Donnell’s site) is pretty interesting for a comparison. Also, perhaps have some giveaways and contests to bring readers in?
    SEO/Monetization = I’m new to this so I can’t offer any advice.
    Anyway, good luck, and I’m sure the site will turn out great after it is redone.

  15. Adnan says:

    Firstly, I have to say that the site is very visually appealing. The bold colours of orange mixed with blue really makes the theme stand out in my opinion – which ultimately will lead to more people remembering who you are in a blogosphere so crammed full of faceless blogs.

    A thing which really confuses me though, is the site’s name and Title tag combination. This apparently is the Brisbane SEO Blog, however, the logo for “SiteMost” appears in the top left hand corner of the theme. Yet, there is no link to the SiteMost website (unless I manually delete some of the URL to get there).

    This therefore, becomes a question of blogging strategy. Pete says that he wants to increase his “reputation and authority within the search marketing industry”, which I presume will mean a higher amount of Consulting sales. I would suggest therefore, that there be clear links to the Portfolio/Main area of the site, and likewise, a clear link from SiteMost to the SEO Blog (at the moment, the link is hidden on the “Learning Centre” page).

    In terms of trying to optimize RSS subscriptions on the blog itself, Pete has done a good job of attracting RSS subscribers through the orange icon at the top of the right sidebar (which is what I preach to all my clients). Also, having a “subscribe by email” option is important for the less tech-savvy, which Pete has included. One thing to add, would be a call to subscribe at the end of each post – this is something successful bloggers use very well, especially if one of your posts gets hit with social media bursts of traffic.

    The “About” page is a little light, but again a link could be used here to link to the About page on the main website area.

    The content itself seems to be great from a glance, with the main keywords (SEO) being used in a lot of the articles (good to help climb SERP rankings). I think what would kickstart traffic the most (and again help to drive traffic to the Services side of the site) would be to produce some sort of linkbait article, which appeals to Social Media.

    Websites like Sphinn are aimed at webmasters and SEO’ers, and this would be a perfect social media site to target. I would suggest producing a piece of content in the form of a massive list (like my 101 Essential Blogging Resources which got Dugg and Del.icio’d). I’m just brainstorming here, but how about “101 Free Search Engine Optimization Tools” or “101 SEO Tips For Your Blog”. That should help bring in the backlinks which again will help Search Engine placement.

    Finally, in terms of monetization, I’m guessing that you’re after sales of your SEO Services. Try and highlight these more, especially in the sidebar of your blog and in the content area (which will be seen via RSS). If you want to make a bit of money through selling adverts, then I would probably go for the industry standard 125x125px image adverts – although being different can’t hurt. Email fellow SEO’ers about your well-priced ads, and they will want to capitalize on it.

    Good luck Pete – you’ve already done a great job on the groundwork, and your main SiteMost website is amazing.

    Adnan

  16. John Motson says:

    I am from Brisbane, working in Europe atm in the IT industry. I havent heard of them but they seem like a cool company.

    I am heading over to the blog to do some more reading.

    John

  17. Landon says:

    Peter,

    I think the design of your main site and blog are very good. Great, bright colors make it a site that has a “fun” feel to it. A few ideas about the design:
    - Could the blog width be the same as the main site width? It may help to make the blog seamless with the main site
    - Are there any links from the main site from the blog? I can’t find anything that will take me back to your SEO services from the blog.
    - I find it hard to differentiate when a post ends. As I scroll down your blog, I’m having a hard time finding where a new post starts. Also, making the blog width wider could help with a lot of scrolling.

    The content has some really great info. I especially like that there are so many links to other SEO resources and previous posts. It makes it easy for me to stay reading your site! Here are few extra ideas for content:
    - post some sample case studies for what you’ve done for clients. It would be helpful for me to know what I’d get if I wanted your service.
    - Love the “Rock Rolling”! Are there any other examples you could share on the blog? Maybe a “Britney Rolling” or something similarly funny?
    - You say that you’re a prankster. How about bringing more of that to the blog? Maybe purposefully ranking your blog with a crazy search engine term, like you did with “sexiest man in Brisbane”?
    - The post on SEO on a budget interested me. Why do clients get scared off by the price? It would be interesting to explore what businesses expect SEO is vs. the work that actually goes into it.
    - How about posts that can be easily bookmarked and referenced by people? Something like “75 Sites with bad SEO” or “100 Pages that Got Link Building Right”.

    In terms of promotion, I’d keep using SEO communities and forums, always mentioning your blog in your forum signature and posts. Also, it may be helpful to take your best articles and submit them to popular SEO industry publications and blogs. You’ll at least get that publication to know who you are, and you may even get mentioned as a credible expert.

    You guys are the SEO experts, so use it to your advantage. Take the opportunity to show what is done specifically on your blog that gives you an SEO advantage. Reference relevant figures, code, and analytics that your SEO efforts have helped your own site. Constantly show how you are putting your expertise to good use.

    As for monetization, start out with getting your blog to reach more customers. Since your main objective is probably to tout your SEO services, track what people go from your blog to your services and main pages. Use your posts to link to relevant services you offer. Once your blog is able to sell your services, then you can proceed to adverts.

    Good luck with the SiteMost blog, it already has some great information, and definitely has great potential to increase your SEO business!

  18. The only thing i have to comment is that you might consider to put the: “If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!” at the bottom of a post, instead on the top. i never subscribe to a RSS feed unless i know it’s worth spending time on.

  19. ericabiz says:

    Your site looks pretty good in the design area — I would focus mostly on the copywriting outside the blog content.

    One thing that stood out to me right away is that the “Are you getting the most out of your site?” header is meaningless to most. I didn’t notice any other comments about it, which I think probably means that most people are skipping right over it.

    I would recommend an expanded header that starts with a question. What about something like:

    Are potential customers finding you online? Search engine optimization, or SEO, is key to ensuring your customers find you when they search for the product or service you provide. We provide free website optimization tips on our blog, backed by our staff of knowledgeable and experienced SEO consultants.

    Of course, customize to what you want, but there are a few keys:

    1) Start with something that will draw others in and make them connect. Who doesn’t need more customers or more visitors to their site?

    2) State clearly what your blog is about and what value you offer to your visitors.

    3) Sell your experience and knowledge. That’s your largest asset. I would recommend dropping the fact that your company was founded this year, as well. State your experience instead. Once you’ve been around for 3 or more years, you can add that back in as a “Celebrating our __ anniversary!” comment.

    I would customize your About page to state what experience you have. In addition, your About page needs a link to a case study! Or two, or three. Preferably with before and after shots of sites placing in Google for highly relevant search terms.

    Really emphasize your experience in your About page. Try this on for size:

    SiteMost Pty Ltd is a Brisbane-based Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company founded by 3 Internet/Web consultants with a combined 19 years’ experience in web design, web hosting and site optimization. In addition to providing search engine optimization consulting, we offer free search engine optimization tips and strategies here on our blog.

    (I made up some details there, but you get the idea…specifically articulate your relevant experience.)

    In addition, your About page should have a picture of each person involved in the company, their relevant experience, and their job title and responsibilities…similar to your About page on your company site, but relevant to your blog readers. Also, upsell your services here, or at least say something like “We offer search engine optimization services at more affordable prices than you might think. Visit our (link)corporate website(link) for more information!”

    Your header image should link back to your blog’s home page. This goes for your corporate site as well. :)

    Also, since you’re SEO folks, I would think you would want a better page title than “Brisbane SEO Blog.” What about “Brisbane SEO blog – FREE Search Engine Optimization Tips for Small Business Owners!” More interesting, right?

    Finally, I’d find a way to make your categories more visible, and definitely highlight your best posts. Right on top of the page, or at least on top of the sidebar. I feel that Categories are more important than Recent Posts since Categories give a basic “feel” to how your site is organized.

    I hope this helps you! As a former web hosting company owner (I sold my hosting company a few months ago), and also someone who has worked for a SEO firm in the past, I wish you the best of luck. The industries you’ve picked are ones where your success greatly depends on having an excellent network and connections, and it’s always awesome to see someone writing about those industries.

    -Erica Douglass
    writer/entrepreneur
    http://www.erica.biz/

  20. BJ says:

    I love the content of your blog. You have very well written articles and tons of info. I spent a good hour on your site when I didn’t have an hours to spare.

    I think the one thing that needs improvement is a clearer definition between entries. As you finish the entry there is the footer that says “if you liked this article…” then there are some links. Right after that I think you need a little more space. Perhaps a line or something to indicate the end of one entry and the beginning of the next.

    I have to admit that when I saw the title of your site “Brisbane SEO Blog” I was completely lost. Having not done well in geography I had no idea what a Brisbane was. Nor did I have a clue what SEO meant.
    Also I believe it is your logo that says “SiteMost” “search engine optimisation (US English it’s optimization). While the name (site most) is very fitting and descriptive for your work, to me it is very vague at a first glance. It was not until I read the content that I understood the logo.

    My suggestion: Rework the logo and title of your page. The logo “SiteMost” works for me IF you have the tagline “Are you getting the most out of your site?” along with it. The title should be updated to reflect this as well.

    As I read your content I really wanted to have you SEO my website. I see the need for it and the value of it, now if only there were a clear link which would get me a quote for such work.
    By the way If you are trying to sell me some SEO work (assumed) you should include some reasons why you are worthy of hiring in your about page. ie sell yourself. Although your content does a really good job of that already. I just want to know a few of your credentials and your experience.

    One last thing. I understand that there is a SEO reason to have the “recent readers, reader community” box on your site, but it is really nerdy :) It’s ugly, and seems too “teenager-ish” for a pro-site.

    Great site!

  21. BJ says:

    Hey! I just realized that this is only the blog of your site. It was not until I read everyones comments here that I realized that there was more to your web presence. There are no links or indications of this anywhere on your blog. If I ran across your blog via direct link I would never have known about the rest of your site.

    You definitely need to include the red yellow green link bars in the side bar of your blog. It would help to create a unified theme.

  22. I come from a photography background and it often times brings a useful perspective in the area of web design. After all, we are all working with an “image” right? I have been taught you only have two seconds to catch someones eye, it may be EVEN LESS for online. I tend to look at things using the rule of thirds which means splitting the image into horizontal and vertical thirds. People are naturally guided to the area of highest contrast and I think if you encased the logo and blog title in the header with a white white line similar to the line separating the body and header, it would guide peoples eye more effectively towards your brand and logo. Don’t get me wrong, space is great, but it seems as though your logo is kind “swimming” out there. Small tip: try inserting your logo as a PNG instead of a JPG and you may see less degradation in your wonderful little icon. The middle third (vertically) is somewhat long and monotonous. Try shortening the amount of posts you include on the first page. This will concentrate the focus of the viewer and allow them to see the footer much quicker. If they want to see more they can always “view Previous”. On the Bottom third I don’t quite understand the use of the light gray footer. I would use maybe the orange or another color that matches the color palette you are using now. If you insist on the grey , I think a little darker to match the color of the “previous button would be great. I hope that helped. By the way, you spelled OPTIMIZATION wrong. Just kidding:) I’m and American. Technically I guess we spell it wrong.

  23. Ken Y-N says:

    Perhap it is just me, but I really dislike seeing semi-random stock photos and it’s a turn-off if it’s the only thing that seems to stand out!

    The first thing that strikes me is that the header looks a bit too big. The second thing is that “If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:” is the same font size as the story titles, so it’s difficult to see the breaks. The third thing is just a generic feel to the site. Nothing grabs me. Perhaps you need a picture of the staff or of the post author (or an avatar if you’re camera shy!) somewhere to catch people’s eyes.

    Categories – having the number of posts after each makes the blog seem empty.

    I don’t think the technorati favourites button should be there, and the LinkedIn button belongs perhaps on the About page – it does seem rather large. Not sure if the Recommend Firefox button should be there either.

    Finally, I think the SEO Book image should lead to a local pre-sale page rather than jumping straight to the sales page.

    On the plus side, I find the story bodies easy to read (minor typos aside) with just the right amount of white space.

  24. The first thing I noticed was the lack of a favicon. A favicon is a really nice way for people to associate your blog with a logo or idea. I always look for them immediately. When looking at your site it is very aesthetic, but a bit too simple.

    For starters, your blog is Brisbane SEO Blog and yet the logo of the site says SiteMost Search Engine Optimization. I am really confused what that is or its affiliation with your blog. I think that should be replaced with a unique logo for your site, which could be used for your favicon later. The plain text of your title that links to your main page is too bland!

    Another thing I noticed is your site runs a bit slow. I don’t know if it is because you are getting massive hits from ProBlogger, but it is something to analyze. While looking at the content it is very important to look above the crease of the page. The first post is good with an image that grabs my attention, but the sidebar is bland and not attractive above the fold. It seems as if your site screams RSS Feed before the user can even analyze your content.

    With that there are many different colors on your site and some of them are hard to read. For instance the text saying when the post was published is a bit hard to read. I also hate blogs that have the text fill the width of the page. It makes the spacing look horrible, but that is my opinion.

    As for your content it is quite good, but think about adding some more pictures to the longer posts. I see you are adding pictures to most postings, but they are all left aligned. Some of the posts go on for quite awhile and only have the introductory image. For aesthetic purposes I would add at least one more image to the long posts.

    Overall it is nice that your site is not flooded with advertisements, links and buttons. That seems to be a major concern with many blogs now. Consider cleaning up some of the items and clarifying your blog’s image.

  25. Nice clean design, the only thing I see that could use some help would be the header design. Font is plain and maybe some images could make it more attractive. Other than that great content and I just found another blog to add to my Bloglines thanks!

  26. Sakura says:

    For starters, I really like the structure of the site. It’s nice and clean. However, the design itself looks rather generic, kinda like the default template a lot of blogs give you to start with. Not bad, and it gets the job done, but if I were you, I would probably try a different design. I would also not mix a robin’s egg blue and a construction orange, but that’s just me. And I would definitely get rid of the pixelated plain text link header.

    Are you Brisbane SEO Blog or are you Sitemost? Your logo should say whichever one you are to avoid confusion and for better branding.

    I adore your use of good pictures at the beginning of each post. The pictures are just perfect, and they make your posts look really nice in a reader. I like the links to related posts at the end of your posts, it makes it easy for a new visitor to get the skinny on just about everything your blog has to offer, and to subscribe if they like what they see. We live in the ADD generation, so you have a small time frame to sell yourself, lol.

    I like the easy to spot rss button at the top of the site. It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s tucked unobtrusively to the side, making it appear to be entirely for the benefit of the visitor, rather than the blog itself. The sidebar in general is really nice. It’s there if I want it, but seems to “disappear” if I don’t. Your buttons look good, and none of them are pixelated or chunky, and that’s always a bonus.

    A good way to promote the site might be guest posting on other blogs. Networking with fellow bloggers is a good way to share their traffic, since if what you wrote was relevant to their audience they’ll probably check out your site.

  27. Pete says:

    1. Love the content, but it’s hard to scroll through the entire page. I would suggest using summaries on the main page and allowing people to click on a ‘continue reading’ link to let readers decide if they want to continue.
    2. I like the theme and sense that I’m getting from the blog, but blue/ornage is a bit flashy for my taste.
    3. Redesign the header so readers don’t get confused as to which one the blog is, SiteMost or Brisbane SEO blog.
    4. Use the title tags to implement more into the title instead of leaving it at Brisbane SEO Blog. Maybe add the tagline? What if readers don’t know what SEO is and have to look it up?
    5. Text is a bit plain as said before, try using more formatting than just a bold.
    6. I like the spread of paragraphs and sentences. Makes for an easier read. Content is great and I hope to see this blog flourish with subscribers.
    7. On a no-scroll first look (the look I get when I first load the site), I see the header taking up quite a bit of space. The picture of a post taking up even more. The RSS button is really big, don’t know if readers need such a large signal. I would just make the header a bit smaller to see more content and sidebar. The RSS button doesn’t need to be as bit as it is, but it could be. The picture on the post is kinda large, I would put that only on the page the post is on.
    8. Looking at the archives, I see no more than 11 posts going up on the blog in a month. This (at time of writing) results in a grand total of 62 posts, a bit more than what should be up in the first month. Post more, get more readers. Post less, get less readers.
    9. The blog loads slowly. Maybe it’s because I’m in the USA, I don’t know.

    That’s all I can see that could be fixed right now. Good luck with your blog and I hope to see more of that great content!

  28. Martin S. says:

    The content on the site seems great…

    Having a blog for your existing business is a great way to interact with and inform your customers (standard business maintenence), as well as being a gateway to having masses of fresh traffic (extra monetisation opportunity), all of whom are potential new customers (growth)

    But without an obvious link-back to (or even mention of!) the main Sitepoint page, the blog loses all those reciprical benefits that exist between blog and website, which make business blogs such useful tools.

    The SP site and blog should be interconnected both ways. Hiding a link in the about page is no excuse!

    (This would solve something else too: the sparse-look the blog has by only having frontpage and about page.)

    I think someone else mentioned the name of the blog (is it Sitepoint or Brisbane SEO?). It should be clear in the header that the blog is Brisbane SEO and it is the blog of Sitepoint SEO company.

    The sidebar is a bit messy- a little css styling could get the rss and search functions looking prettier and in half the space, and a larger font-size with a ‘popular articles’ section up top could really drive people into your blog.

    Get rid of the ugly buttons and sell some ad space or use an attractive affiliate program (adsense, chitika etc). Cut the top 1000 bloggers from the blogroll and start networking with smaller bloggers in your niche- you can use the blogroll to get their attention and to maintain friendship with them.

    I like the idea of the blog “a public forum ” for the SP staff, why not personalise things with a photo thumbnail and short bio of the author at the bottom of each permalink? You’ll find there are hundreds of cool things you can do fairly simply with wordpress if you take the time to get about the docs and forums a little.

    Like I said the content looks great; information and tutorials on SEO are great google fodder; I wish you good luck!

  29. DESIGN

    Overall, this design is gorgeous and very juicy. Visually interesting with the photos. Very easy to read.

    However, as the home page is a listing of the lastest posts, I’d lose the “Recently on SiteMost”, or at least move it much further down the sidebar.

    I think that the Categories list should be at the top of the sidebar content (after the RSS link) so that people who land on the page for the first time can quickly get a feel for what’s covered on your blog.

    Having the search bar at the very top of the page (part of the header even) is starting to become a standard, and something I think you should consider. Not only does it free up space in the sidebar, but it means that visitors will always know where it is and not have to scroll for it.

    Ordinarily I’m not a fan of the Archives widget, but I think that it serves a purpose on an SEO site. A lot of the information really is date specific, so it does have value.

    I’m wondering if you have a business reason for including the Blogroll. If it was a list of links that you thought truly benefitted your visitors then perhaps have a dedicated page of “Links” or “Resources”. Why make it so easy to send people away from your site?

    The Recent Readers widget looks like a vanity exercise for the “cool” people. If I’m looking for SEO information, I don’t really care about who else is reading it. So, in summary, what’s the business benefit?

    Having the NoNoFollow graphic is good, shows that you have an opinion. But I expected it to link somewhere.

    CONTENT

    You have a definite personality in the content, which is good. The content covers a good range of material. Your blog is only new, so I’d expect the content to evolve in response to comments and traffic numbers.

    PROMOTION

    You really run the risk of confusing your visitors with your branding. Are you “Brisbane SEO Blog” or are you “SiteMost”?

    I’m in Brisbane too and I was actually really disappointed that your site had nothing Brisbaney about it. Not even a generic shot of the Storey Bridge.

    Yes, I know that Brisbane has grown up in the last few years and we’re quite the cosmopolitan city, but you know that fundamentally, we’re still a very provincial mob. The locals need to know that while you’re doing what you can to be professional and broad in your appeal, you haven’t forgotten where you come from.

    Also, making more of your Australianness means that Americans will forgive your British spelling ;)

    SEO

    I figured that’s what you do, so I was happy to skip this part of the review.

    MONETISATION

    Normally I hate all the monetisation efforts on blogs as a waste of screen real estate and making me scroll more than I would have to if the page just contained the content. However, I think that you have the opportunity to SHOW what you do and DEMONSTRATE that it works.

    So, add your AdSense, affiliate links or whatever in ways that you would if your site belonged to a customer of yours (assuming you also offer that kind of advice), and at the bottom of the sidebar show the cumulative profit made from the site, as well as a graph showing the revenues over the past year.

  30. Doh! I meant to add that you don’t provide any way for someone to contact you. You don’t even give a postal address, let alone a phone number. A form would be good. Or at least a link to your company’s contact page. I note that your company’s contact page also doesn’t list contact details. This immediately makes me feel less trusting of you as a company.

  31. Guru says:

    I’m not too qualified to comment on improvements on blog, but here are a few suggestions from me,

    There are too many categories and too less content, get rid of all the 1-2 posts categories at least till you get more posts, till then you could add those posts in a closest related category.

    You need to have a ‘top posts’ list on your sidebar, personally that is the first thing that keeps me to a site. When i visit a new blog, the first thing i do is to check the top posts ( if there was such a list on the sidebar ) and browse through all the content, that helps me to quickly evaluate the blog, cos’ i get to see immediately what the blog writer considers his best work.

    If i were you i would do away with the space on the sides, find a stretch template with the same design, with this you are wasting valuable space. But that kinda gives your blog a less cluttered feel, so thats your choice.

    It is good to see that you’ve joined the do follow movement. Just an observation, nothing to do with your blog design.

    Its good that you don’t use advertising in anyway on this site.

    Thats pretty much all at the moment.

  32. Without getting into in depth design changes, let me just talk about what a person first sees when they got to Brisbane SEO Blog.

    I like the choice of colors. They aren’t overpowering. The content is fantastic. Beginners and old pros alike can learn a lot from the articles. When searching the site it was difficult to distinguish when a new post would begin. Making the headers a different color or just slightly bigger would correct this.

    To many images make a site busy, but not enough make it boring. A few more wouldn’t hurt. Also swapping the image from the left side to the right side breaks things up a bit. Just one more thing about images. Change the alternative text to a more accurate description of what the image is.

    SEO can be intimidating to a beginner, so maybe a beginner section containing some “must reads” would help the young bucks out.

    That’s all I have really. First impressions are everything. Changing a few things that your average reader would appreciate would probably benefit you more than a bunch of HTML and code changes.

  33. Design: What immediately jumped out at me is that there isn’t a link to a contact page on the navigation menu. That would be good to add especially if a reader were interested in inquiring about their services.

    I would make the navigation to previous posts both clearer and easier. The current “previous entries” link is very small.

    I like the simplicity of the theme. It has clear definition and it’s pretty much clutter free.

    Content: In the post http://blog.sitemost.com.au/2007/11/28/sitemost%e2%80%99s-blog-recap-281107/ there are so many links it’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve only seen this many links in Darren’s group writing projects. :) I also looked at some more of the blog recap posts and I’d suggest shortening them. Unless it’s just me and all of those links are too much for me to digest in one sitting. :)

    I like the use of photo’s in the posts.

    The About page is quite sparse. I’d like to see something about the author of the blog. Also it’s not clear whether there is only one author or several because the posts I saw were all by Pete but the About page mentions this is a blog for the employees of the company.

    Since the blog is for the company, I’d add a bit more about the company and follow it up with a “learn more here” link.

    I also think it’s helpful to put up a picture even if just a head shot of the author so that the readers know who the blog is being run by; it makes the blog more personable.

    Monetization: According to Pete’s vision (in Darren’s post above), he doesn’t mention monetization so it sounds like they aren’t focusing on that in the blog. At the same time they have 2 ads in the sidebar and if they were going to add more, there is a lot of whitespace in most of the sidebar on each page where they could include some ads…that is if they are going to leave 10 full posts on each page. I think that they could shorten that to 5 or so posts.

    Promotion: I think that by applying for the critique here at Problogger that they took a step in a good direction for promotion. They could also comment on other blogs like courtneytuttle.com (he blogs about SEO).

    SEO & Promotion: I’d use the blog as a case study and blog about how they use SEO to increase traffic to it. This way they can attract bloggers/customers to their company and services who want to use SEO tactics to improve their own blog.

    Hope this helps!

  34. I didn’t read the other reviews before posting mine because I didn’t want to be influenced, but I came back to post this comment to add this —— even if you don’t get your own blog reviewed here on Problogger, this is a great exercise in learning how to improve your own blog. By 1) reviewing the blog for the spotlighted blogger, and 2) reading the other reviews of the blog, I am learning more about how to improve my own blog.

    Thanks everyone, excellent suggestions!

  35. Ryan Walker says:

    Design: I think the font color for the hyper links, category headings etc is too similar to the background color on the edges and therefore makes the user strain to read them.

    However I imagine that perhaps the color matching was intentional by the designers and therefore there is a sound design decision that I am missing?

    I think a few of the earlier comments mentioning font concerns hinted at this issue but did not mention the font color specifically.

    (I am using Firefox on XP)

  36. Wow, you’re getting a lot of great advice!

    Like most people, I find the design and color scheme refreshing. A lot of business blogs are boring but yours stands out.

    What I don’t like is scrolling so much on the home page. I prefer each post to be its own page.

    If you’re trying to monetize, move the ads up above the “recent articles” section.

    Who are you? I like to learn about the bloggers behind the words. Include an About Me section up top.

  37. Roni says:

    On first glance of the blog, the color combination and typography appear a bit generic. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing but if you want to grab user attention and get them to stick around a little longer I think the site needs to be more welcoming. .Not everyone will agree but the side bar and even the copy links need to stand out a bit. The Type is a bit too small on the side bar and throws the balance of the page off.

    You may be able to spoof up the blog by ditching the generic “Categories, Archives, Blogroll” in the side bar. I’m not sure about anyone else but I associate the “Categories, Archives, Blogroll” more for personal blogs then business blogs.

    The RSS feed is in a very prevalent place, that good! But the top bar is under utilized, try add more specific pages that would tell us more about your company an eliminate that personal blog fee.

    I LOVE the “If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:” feature but it shouldn’t look like a blog heading. It needs to be differentiated from a “normal” blog post and deemphasized a bit.

  38. anna says:

    Hi. Your content is really good but I do have some comments.

    1. I find the blue background is a little hard on my eyes and my first impression of the website was it was boring and narrow. I would like to see the content part a little bit bigger and the font a little less generic.

    2. You have the comment button at the top of the post rather than at the bottom. When you asked if people would comment, I had to look because I did not know where to comment.

    3. You should would up the post to give a little snippet of it and if people want to read further, they can.

    4. I also love to hear more about your personal experience relating to your content and not just give me a laundry list of what I should do. Perhaps, why I should do it? Give me a little more personal touch. Treat me like your friend.

    5. I also do not like the related post line being as big as your title.

    6. As to content, I was overwhelmed by all the links and information. I would break up the post and center on one concept. I have this problem too since I have so much to say. Remember who you are audience is. They may not know anything about SEO or they just have limited time to grasp one comment. (kind of like me!)

    7. Add a most popular sidebar link People may just want to read what other liked.

    8. What is the word is “Whilst?” Is that a common word use in Australia? It was bothering me.

    9. As for monetization: Very little. I would remove the Firefox tool on the sidebar. How about some good amazon books to read or what you are reading?

    PS I love the title about nose picking and …It made me laugh which caught my attention. Titles are everything.

    Pete-I also give you credit for putting up your blog for review. I am not sure if I could take my blog being scrutinized…The comments are amazing here and I want to flush my blog down the toilet and start again.

    Everyone, happy holidays!

  39. anna says:

    sorry everyone for my typos. My brain is moving in very slow motion today. Darren, could you add an edit button to your posts?

  40. Design
    The header area, where “SiteMost,” and “Brisbane SEO Blog” appears is too deep. By making this area vertically smaller, more content can be brought above the fold. Also, the tagline, “Are you getting the most out of your site?” could be placed in that header, in smaller text, opening up even more space. I suggest putting the tagline under “Brisbane SEO…”

    I like the colors, but they are a bit bright and harsh on the eyes. Go for deeper, darker, or more subtle hues.

    The front page is really long. Limit to five posts showing on the home page at most.

    The ad, (for SEOBOOK) should be moved up, since it is not visible without scrolling. Certainly this product should appear before Technorati and LinkedIn links. I would put it right under the e-mail subscription field.

    Generally, I think archives should always go at the bottom of the sidebar or in the footer. Categories should be fairly accessible since this is what most visitors use to navigate.

    Footer space could be better utilized. I suggest moving the Archives to the footer.

    Content
    Contact page missing, and this is really mandatory, even if it’s only a form. There’s nothing more frustrating than having no way to contact a business.

    Add a Services page detailing all services offered, including the process a client will go through (i.e. obtain quote, rates, payment types, etc.). Alternatively, the Services link in the main navigation area could link to the company site – http://www.sitemost.com.au/

    Also, the company site should link to the blog and navigation between the two should be seamless.

    Include a Home link in the main navigation area so visitors can navigate back to the blog’s main page.

    Writing
    There is a typo in the first sentence: point-out, which should be point out.

    In the Categories section, Blog Recap’s, should be Blog Recaps. See my article Is It Plural or Possessed? for more information. Heheh.

    Consider hiring a freelance writer or editor to make sure that such mechanical errors are not peppered across your professional web site or blog. Otherwise, proofread, proofread, proofread!

    General, Additional Feedback
    If you want more subscribers, speak more to your readers. Find creative ways to encourage comments and subscriptions. Take the time to foster a community. You need only peruse the many articles on ProBlogger to find out how this can be done effectively.

    “If you like this post, you might also enjoy” – I’m not a huge fan of this widget. Chances are, I can find similar posts in the Categories on the sidebar. In this case, the header is styled exactly the same as each post title, making it almost appear as a separate post, which it’s not. I suggest either changing the header style for “if you like this post…” (make it smaller, a sub-heading) or removing it altogether.

    The Good
    Usually I start with the good, but this is an exercise in critique, so I’ve saved it for last. There are some aspects of this site that should be left alone:

    1. Post Info – It is preferable to include the author, post date, and category, as well as comments or number of comments – with each post (either after the post title or at bottom of post). Glad to see it’s all here.

    2. Share This – a MUST, and hugely beneficial. Keep it.

    3. Subscription options located at the top of the sidebar – perfect placement!

    4. Images in posts – obviously a good habit. This adds to the aesthetics of the site, and increases the visual interest in each post. Kudos here!

    This was a fun project. I do these site reviews as part of my freelance services, but haven’t had the chance to do a blog yet, so it was good practice for me. Thanks Darren and Brisbane SEO Blog, for the opportunity to provide you with feedback!

    -Melissa Donovan
    Writing Forward

  41. JenWriter says:

    What I Like:

    1. Color. I really like the blue color in the design. It stands out, and it is pleasing to the eye. I also like the color of the bars next to “SiteMost” in the header.
    2. Photos in Posts. I think you are doing a great job with the inclusion of photos in the posts. It adds something rather than having text only.
    3. Interesting Content. The content is very interesting to me, and I’m definitely going to take the time to go back and read some of the posts here.

    What to Improve:

    1. About. I like that there is an About section, but I think it could be better by including a little more information.
    2. Contact Page. I think adding a seperate page with contact information would also be beneficial.
    3. More Posts. It looks like the blog is updated once a week. While this is regular, I believe that posting several times a week would draw in more readers and keep readers. When I go to a blog, it makes a difference when I see that it is updated often, and I am more prone to check back every few days to see the new content.
    4. The large feed button. I think the feed button is too large. I think the sidebar would be more appealing if the size was a bit smaller.
    5. myBlogLog. I like this tool, but I think the version with the larger avatars is more appealing to readers.
    6. Text Link Ads. I think you might benefit by signing up for Text Link Ads. You can sell a text link(s) spot in your sidebar for a fixed price every month.
    7. Three columns. I think your blog might benefit from a three column design rather than a two column design. This way, the reader can better see everything you have listed in your sidebars. I had to scroll down quite a bit to see the archives and categories.
    8. Guest posts and blog carnivals. In order to promote your blog, I would try getting some guest posts at other blogs or submitting an article to a blog carnival.

  42. Not good stuff:
    I spent a full minute on the blog and didn’t feel compelled to stay. Nor did I feel like a subscription would benefit me. I don’t think you’re using your blog to the best it can be. If it’s meant for consumers, then it’s missing the mark. If it’s for your SEO peers, then it’s right on target. Also, the design isn’t ideal. Too much color. And with all the sidebar widgets you’re using, you might want to think about three columns instead of two.
    Good stuff:
    For business blogs, once a week posting is a good frequency. Really like the use of pics within the posts on a regular basis. Feed options are clear and present.