It’s time to summarize over 40 reviews of Vista Rewired as part of our ProBlogger community consultation.
Before we begin, congratulations must first go to our three winners!
- First-place reviewer Troy has won our 1,700 visitor prize, plus a one-month featured link at Vista Rewired.
- Second-place reviewer Jacob Share has won the runner-up 500 visitor prize, plus a one-month featured link at Vista Rewired.
- Third-place reviewer TzuVelli has won a one-month featured link at Vista Rewired.
Here were the top 5 recommendations made by the ProBlogger readers who critiqued Vista Rewired:
1. Monetizing without overwhelming
Because the blog is well-targeted to a niche, ProBlogger reviewers were able to come up with some stellar monetization ideas, including:
- Blending AdSense units to make them the same color as links, which will decrease ad-blindness and increase click-throughs.
- Sell private sponsorships through an ‘advertise here’ page.
- Review Vista-related software and sell these products through in-post affiliate links.
- Sell Windows Vista! At least some of your search traffic will be from prospective buyers looking for more info on the OS.
- Add an eBay or Amazon affiliate store selling related products.
Readers were divided on whether to place AdSense units on the left or the right of the content — the argument for the left being that people start reading from the left, the argument for the right being that people will ‘read into’ the right.
Lastly, one easy way to get away with more advertising without making the site looks spammy is to remove Kontera from within content. It might convert OK, but does it really convert well enough to be worth making your blog look spammy?
2. Which design?
Many of the design critiques from the ProBlogger community won’t be relevant in this summary because the blog was redesigned during the course of the review. The eagerness to make changes is understandable, but it does present the problem that reviews directed at the previous version of the blog no longer make sense.
One reservation I have about the new design is that there is no way to access a traditional blog-style layout, and without images and excerpts of posts on the main page, it’s a lot more difficult for visitors to become gripped by a particular article. It also means headlines are very small, and lose much of their impact.
3. Taking content to the next level
One very good suggestion from a reader was to differentiate content on the basis of difficulty in application. At first glance, a particular visitor might assume that all the tips are beginner level, or if they’re very new to Vista, that the tips are too tricky for them. Marking each tip or tutorial as beginner, intermediate or advanced will help to communicate that the blog caters to all levels of Vista users.
Another practical tip was to include more images earlier on in the post to attract the attention of social media visitors. It was also suggested that Albert (the blog’s owner) mix-up the how-to articles with list style posts and collections of resources and relevant links. If Albert can provide a unique tip for the Vista community, he may be able to get a link from Lifehacker. Unique or unconventional tips and tutorials would be the smartest way to attract the attention of services like Digg.
4. Boosting traffic and subscribers
My favorite tip in this area was the suggestion to guest-post on MakeUseOf.com. The content is largely driven by guest-authors and OS related resource lists and tutorials are popular. Exposure to 13,000+ subscribers wouldn’t hurt, either! In my experience, guest-posting yields some of the most highly targeted traffic you’ll find, and it’s ideal for boosting your subscriber count. Other than guest-posting, writing for Digg or StumbleUpon at least once a week is the best way to grow both your traffic and your subscriber count.
Another simple, practical tip is to add an email subscription option alongside the RSS subscription option.
5. Search Engine Optimization
ProBlogger readers provided two key tips for SEO at Vista Rewired:
- Use the All-in-One SEO Pack to generate unique meta descriptions for each post, rather than one generic meta description for the entire blog.
- Work ‘Vista’ or ‘Windows Vista’ into blog post titles as much as possible (where appropriate) to increase your search rankings for Vista-related keyword strings.
Overall, ProBlogger readers were impressed with Vista Rewired’s design and content, but felt the blog was not making the most of all the monetization and growth opportunities available to it. One thing we also learned: it’s a lot easier to think of ways to monetize a niche blog than it is to monetize a blog dealing with several broad topics!