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ProBlogger Reader Blog Review: Win a Tomtom GPS Unit

This week I’d like to run a ‘reader review’ competition here on ProBlogger. Chitika kindly emailed me last week to ask if I’d be interested in doing a giveaway with them and so instead of just running a ‘comment to enter’ competition we thought we’d do something that gave everyone a chance to win a prize by helping another blogger.

The Prize

tomtom.png

Chitika (the ad network that is my 2nd highest blog income earner – learn more about them below) have put up a Tomtom ONE LE – (Limited Edition) GPS unit (pictured left).

The Competition

To put yourself in the running for the Tomtom all you have to do is review the blog Girls Just Wanna Have Funds by this Friday at 9am my time (in Melbourne Australia).

The winner will be the person who leaves the most helpful comment in the comments section below (as judged by the blog’s owner, Ginger). I should note that this is not a paid review for Ginger – I simply asked my Twitter followers to let me know if they wanted a review and she was one of many who submitted a link.

So don’t just leave a comment ‘great blog’ – actually look over the blog, talk about what you like, talk about what could be improved, share how you’d suggest they work on different aspects of the blog like design, content, SEO, monetization – the more constructive and helpful your comment is the more chance you have of winning.

My hope with this review is that Ginger will get some good advice, that one reader will get a nice prize and that the rest of us will improve our own skills and knowledge on how to build great blogs both by giving advice and reading what others have to say.

About Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

I asked Ginger to share a little information on her blog with us to help those of you participating in this review to give quality feedback that will help her. Here’s what she provided.

girls-just-wanna-have-funds.png

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is a personal finance website targeting women in the areas of saving, investing, debt reduction and frugality. Our articles aim to be centered around issues that mainly affect women such as balancing career and family within the context of personal finance, education and the glass ceiling, household budgeting and managing finances with a significant other/spouse. Our primary goal is to teach women how to be mindful of their spending and building their net worth by making careful choices around their money. Women are often socialized to use money to create a certain lifestyle, while men are socialized to utilize money to invest for the long term. We’d like to change that by educating women on how to build wealth long term by paying attention to the present state of their finances and the decisions they make. In addition to the blog, we also have a meetup through Meetup.com that meets primarily in DC but also have other meetups nationally in the US that meet in other states through Meetup Alliance where members are able to create state chapters and begin their own meetups centered around women and personal finance.

Areas for Improvement:

  • Content/writing: How can I improve the content to target women in a more efficient manner and increase commenting on posts
  • Ad placement: I am with BlogHer Ad Network which is great as far as revenue but not sure about the optimal placement that doesn’t become obtrusive as some of the ads are animated via Adobe Flash. Also I am aware of the ad at the top of the theme causing the theme not to work properly in IE. I am working on this with BlogHer and my theme designer.
  • Site promotion: Besides commenting on other blogs/forums, guest posting and blog carnivals, how can I increase readership that sticks? Ive been stumbled quite a few times and even featured multiple times this year on local and national media but would like to figure out how to retain the readers that visit the site as a result of the media exposure.

There you have it – if you address some of the needs that Ginger has mentioned above you’re surely putting yourself in a better position to win the prize.

About Chitika Our Sponsor

I’ve been using Chitika for 2-3 years now and in that time they’ve earned me well in excess of six figures – but I’m not alone. In that time they’ve increased their publisher network to a point where they now have over 30,000 publishers using their variety of ad units.

Their ad units traditionally suited publishers with product related blogs – but in more recent times they’ve introduced their ‘premium ad’ units which display a much wider range of ads and help those with less product oriented blogs monetize their blogs. They’ve also relaxed some of their publisher requirements over the last few months so even bloggers with smaller amounts of traffic will now be accepted into the program.

Update: this competition is now over and I’m just waiting for thhe winner to be selected by Ginger before announcing it. Thanks to everyone for entering.

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. Great idea for a contest, but just one question – do we review the blog and leave a comment here, or on Ginger’s blog?

  2. Gail Trahd says:

    Great contest! It’ll be interesting to read the suggestions and extrapolate the results to our own blogs. A case study in the making.

  3. Amit Bhawani says:

    My blog is related to Tech Updates with around 3000 Readers @ http://www.amitbhawani.com/blog/ and i think the review should be from a related niche blog? Or any reviews are accepted?

  4. First, nice blog, Ginger! Your writing style is energetic, and your blog’s design is pretty good. I like that you seem to have broken out of your niche and are targeting a demographic rather than a simple topic–for me, at least, that style is more interesting than a blog plumbing the depths of a single topic (no disrespect intended, Darren, your site is immensely useful).

    My criticisms, few that they are, mainly come down to small complaints that I’m noticing because of the imperative to REVIEW and help improve the site. One of the first things I noticed was the header. It’s a bit bland and feels like it takes up a lot of space on top of the already-large Featured Articles section. Adding a logo would be more visually appealing than simple text–maybe even a full-blown graphic.

    In any case, I would suggest lessening the vertical size of the header just a little. It’s important to have white space, but remember that by having so much, you’re driving your ad block and your content farther down the page; My monitor has 1050 pixels of vertical resolution and I can only see the first two ads without scrolling. Many still use the 1024×768 resolution, and I wonder if the ads wouldn’t disappear entirely at that size.

    Regarding your content, it seems mostly quite strong, at a glance. As I said before, your writing style is energetic and pulls the reader in. One thing I noticed is the tendency to personal anecdotes–this is good, but don’t take it too far. In a few posts, I felt like your blog was starting to read a little like a diary and focusing too much on your own life rather than being useful to the lives of others. In no way am I suggesting that you get rid of the stories, but making them a little more concise and getting to the point might improve your usefulness to your readers.

    This also plays into “stickiness”, I think–your personable approach is warm and your returning readers probably enjoy it quite a bit, but I think one of the things a first-time visitor is looking for is usefulness. A stronger focus on helping your readership might produce results.

    I do you like the way you use pictures to punctuate points. It’s clever and cute, and always seems to fit in well with what you’re saying.

  5. John Wesley says:

    First, I would consider a different domain name for the site. Girlsjustwanttohavefunds.com is catchy but it’s 25+ characters long and will be cumbersome for users trying to navigate to the site and for people trying to talk about your brand.

    Choosing a shorter domain would solve these problems, and you might even be able to find a good one with a relevant keyword. Then you can redirect from the old site without losing many visitor or links.

    I think the current advertising set up is too much. I would ditch the random AdSense block inside of the content. Maybe move it to the bottom of the post. I would also get rid of the 125×125 sponsors section until the site has more traffic and you can sell direct ads. Right now it just adds more clutter and I doubt the affiliate campaigns you have there will pay out very much.

    As far as content goes, the site looks good. Since you have a lot of posts about saving money on food and preparing healthy meals, I would consider bundling several old posts into an ebook and giving it away for free to promote RSS and email subscriptions.

    I think the site could also benefit from some simple category navigation. Right now you have a huge number of categories, I would trim this down to around 10, re-organize your posts, and list the categories somewhere in the sidebar. This would make it a lot easier for readers to find multiple posts and the topics that interest them.

  6. abbas says:

    hey darren..

    my digg account was disabled today.. im so mad..i recently read you got banned from stumble upon…now i know how you felt :(

    http://www.TheBusinessOfMyBusiness.blogspot.com

  7. I’m in this one for sure. I like reviewing blogs.

  8. VeRonda says:

    This is awesome! I am excited about reading more about Ginger’s site… You know, it’s always a good thing to get feedback from other bloggers. It’s all about making your blog successful, right? I had the same question as Liz in regards to where to leave the comment, so until we can get a bit of clarity, I’ll leave dual comments there and here.

  9. Kabitzin says:

    This is a fantastic win-win-win contest you’ve set up Darren! Here are some things I noticed about Ginger’s blog:

    - Ads: The ads are distracting, particularly the left side and the 300 x 250 above the single.php of each individual article. It’s natural to have some, and i have no problem with the right bar, but the content is very squished and when you get to the heading of a single post it seems like over 50% of the page is ads (some of which move, and most of which are bright and clashing).

    - Featured Article: I like the design of it and the colors and image are striking. However, when I first saw it, I assumed the blog hadn’t been updated in several months because the article was dated from July 14th. You may want to leave off the date under the heading in your featured article bar (at the top), and you may also want to increase the font size of the words “Featured Article” to make it more clear.

    - Navigation: It was unusual that I couldn’t return to your home page by clicking Girls Just Want To Have Funds at the top, and instead had to click the small Home link. Perhaps some text could have been added to the RSS logo so less tech savvy readers would know what the orange box is.

    Overall, I thought the content was great and easy to get into. One thing that I noticed is that you do not have any guest writers. This may be an interesting way to draw from the experience of others and reach readers of similar blogs (especially in your particular niche). I liked the strong color scheme, and I wish you luck in improving your site!

  10. Bugsy says:

    I’m not really in need of a Tomtom, personally I’m an atlas and map kind of guy.

    However.. the title of this blog/site/domain is fantastic! I love the name.

  11. Sid Savara says:

    Haha interesting take on it Darren. When I first saw this post, I thought to myself – really? Darren needs us to review his blog? THE Problogger wants my humble opinion?

    ;)

    I’m sure you would take constructive criticism well anyway! I will head over there and check the blog out.

  12. Mac Apps says:

    Hey.

    I thought I would leave my 2 cents.

    Content/Writing – Pretty good, I couldn’t find my errors, I can speak my English is poor :(. I find the article length is good although some could do with being a bit longer, I like a good read. You could also do some post about outside the US for international readers.

    Ads- If I was to control ad space, I would remove the adverts on the left hand side, make the main content bigger. I would also change the featured articles to be an ad slot. Personally I find that less ads = more money because you can charge more for them. Although your income sources might be different.

    Site Promotion – The best way to keep having readers is to have a good RSS promotion. RSS is great, and you do get a lot of loyal readers that way. From your sites design your RSS boxes are hidden away and not clear for new users where they are or what they do.

    Anyway you have an interesting site, different, i’m going to take a deeper look into over the next couple of days. We all like saving money.

  13. Mac Apps says:

    Should have included this in my previous comment, but only realized it after I hit submit. I would make you 125px sidebar ads link to a advertising page. Many advertisers would not bother contacting you if they wanted an ad, they would just move on. If you give advertisers all of the facts (and prices) you will probably get more sales.

  14. VeRonda says:

    Below is what I sent to Ginger by email:

    Hi Ginger,

    I thought I’d contact you by email rather than leaving a potentially long “comment” under one of your posts. I visited your site after hearing about it on ProBlogger… I am happy for the opportunity to review your site as I believe its a great tool for any blogger to become more aware about his or her site. With this said, here we go…

    - As a woman who is and has seemingly been in most of your categories shared on this site, I must say you’re definitely a cut above. Addressing that college age is so imperative as we’ve all been there and just needed a bit of guidance. Overall, that’s the word I’d use for your site… it offers tremendous guidance on the “how tos” in one’s financial life.
    - I really appreciate you using Arial. I know that may seem small, but I consider the ease of reading very important when I visit and revisit a site. Fonts can demand a lot of reactions, but Arial is quite neutral for a clean read.
    - I think your site’s tone, the color, is inviting but doesn’t give off the stereotypical girl talk equals pink. Although men are slated for being visual creatures, we too love to be seduced with our eyes. And, it’s all about being comfortable when visiting a site.
    - I would add more in terms of the header. With your tag, it leaves so much opportunity for a nice header that it would be a shame to just leave it blank up there. Think of using a play on words with the whole stiletto thing or a feminine hand handing someone a business card. I would like to see something that adds to that awesome title and tag line.
    - I would also think in general on how to better place some of your ads that are taking center stage. When I first popped onto your site, I saw the first post, then my eyes went to the right top side bar of tips and such… That was great! But then I was deterred by ads that are underneath this section. I feel like I’m scrambling around to see where the other articles are and you know people really won’t spend much time doing that.
    - I love, love that you’re using video. I’m sure you know that it has received high kudos in propelling a blog b/c it’s so interactive and engages the senses.
    - I think your About page is too specific as in buying a house “this year” and other terms that will become dated over time. Unless you’re planning to update this page often, it may be a good idea to stick with those static topics that don’t necessarily need updating. Along with this is the heading for the About page. You have “About” and then “About Ginger” in a small font below. I would consider revising that and either combining the two so you’re expressing what the site and you are about OR I’d make the headings as substantial… For instance “About Girls Just…” and then “About Ginger” OR an overall heading “About” and then subheadings for the site and you.
    - I love, love your writing style and “realness”. You really feel approaching AND as I learned on ProBlogger, that is a really important thing. With this, I love the bullets you offer with suggestions, tips, your experiences, etc. It is a great way to get to know you and help realize our own potential, too.
    - I’m a Blogher commenter and love seeing the conference dates and other relevant information. You must note, however, that Blogher information is swallowing your site a bit. So, I’m not sure if you’re just giving a great deal of shout outs to them or if you’re filling space. If it’s the latter, I don’t have the feeling that you need to do that b/c you have so much information to share.

    Overall, you have a site that is such a useful tool for women. Your niche is specific and that is always a wonderful thing. And, as a note, from reviewing your site I have reminded myself of where I need growth and assistance. I hope this was useful to you and that you receive a great deal of useful information from others… Yours is a site I’ll visit often.

  15. Hi Ginger,

    We have something in common seeing as how we both wisely chose to use the WP-Vybe theme. :)

    I have a few pointers I’d like to give you and I hope you find at least some of them useful:

    1. Invest in a header image. Branding is so important and you’re missing out on making that work for you. I love the name of your blog, just work with it visually somehow.

    2. I recommend removing the second variable ad from the top of each post. Not only will it keep your layout consistent, but it will also make it less cluttered.

    3. As of this writing, it appears you are one ad short in your right sidebar. Go ahead and fill it with something else, even if it’s just another “Your ad here”. Otherwise, it may give the impression that something is wrong.

    4. I’m seeing a trend (and one that I will be employing myself very soon) in doing away with blogrolls and instead creating a links page. This will also help open up your layout.

    5. Regarding your single post pages, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the “Other entries from _______” section in the top of your right sidebar is probably not what you want to give priority to. Instead, how about you move it down and place the Subscribe tabs at the top and then your Sponsors right after, thus serving you and your readers much more efficiently.

    Think of it this way: when I land on one of your posts I’m going to see ads on the left, two of them on the top of the post, and then links to other posts in the same category. I’m likely to ignore all that and scroll down to get to the post. Don’t make me work too hard to get to the chewy center. :) With the arrangements made as I’ve suggested, I will then see the headline of your post in alignment with the opportunity to subscribe (something you want) and your 125×125 ads to click on (also something you want).

    6. I like that you’ve included Subscribe to comments. I can’t tell you how many times I see that missing on other blogs. Drives me crazy.

    7. I also like that you’ve utilized the “About the author” and I like what you’ve written. The only thing that I’d suggest here is including your name.

    8. Regarding your “Proud member of…” name tag: the image appears to be clickable, but it’s not taking me anywhere when I click on it. The text below it works fine though. I’m using FF v3 if that helps.

    9. And lastly, you have some great conversations going on with your posts. Awesome! That tells me you have an engaging blog and one that will attract your readers to involve themselves even more.

    Thanks for your time and reading my suggestions. I hope you found them useful. :)

  16. Ryan McLean says:

    Wow,
    Pretty easy to enter and I really really want to win a TomTom. It will be great for my car.
    I will enter as soon as I can and then let you know about my review

  17. I’m not sure how your tracking the comments on her blog, but I did visit her. She’s got a very good blog!

    Here’s the comment I left:

    “I’m not gonna lie… I was sent here by ProBlogger. But you do have some great content on your blog. I know it’s probably geared towards woman, but I’m definitely coming back to read more.

    I here you are wanting some tips to help market your blog.

    Have you ever heard of Plurk or Cafe Mom? My wife uses cafe mom to help promote her blog to moms, and other women, and it has helped to gain her 2,000 unique visitors a month.

    Plurk is also very good. It has helped to bring her and I a steady following of traffic to our blogs.

    I wish you the best, and check out my new blog at http://www.steven-sanders.com

    Thanks for the post by the way!

  18. I can’t drive so the prize wouldn’t be any good for me, but nonetheless I’d like to pass on my initial thoughts on the blog just spending a few minutes on it.

    It took me a minute or two to understand the navigation, and had to find my way around. It didn’t spring to my attention. The design, is a little too dark for my likening and the pages are very busy.

    If you had not told me what the blog was about I would not have guessed that from my short moment on your site. Even so, the content seemed to be well written, but I would think about asking more questions to get more people involved.

    I hope this helps :)

  19. Lightening says:

    Being a female myself and assuming the target audience is also female, I’m going to respond to this from an emotional angle.

    Color – LOVE the color! To me it symbolizes a good combination or femininity and strength.

    Title – LOVE the title. Great play on words there (one of my favorite songs). :)

    However, I feel slightly claustrophobic and overwhelmed when I first visit the site. I don’t think the content takes up enough of the space. Personally, I prefer sidebars on only 1 side of the content. Having 2 sidebars usually makes the content feel more “boxed in” and that’s definitely the feeling I get when I try to read the site. Which makes me want to click away rather than browse the site. This feeling is enhanced when I click on a post to read the entire thing rather than relieved.

    The simplest way to rectify this would be to remove the left hand sidebar altogether and integrate those ads into the right hand sidebar instead.

    I quite like the range of topics covered and the writing style is mostly easy to read and follow. I would avoid phrases like “I am pissed” though as I think it brings down the overall tone of the site.

    To answer your specific questions:

    Increasing commenting: I think you’re already doing quite a bit toward this with posing questions at the end of each post. Comments are likely to grow as the site community grows. Make sure you’re responding to people’s comments. If you want them to keep coming back to comment you need to make them feel heard and valued. You could also try featuring a reader problem and open it up to other readers to comment on possible solutions.

    Ad Placement: Always a tricky question and one I’m yet to find the right combination for myself. One thought I did have (which has nothing to do with placement and more to do with revenue) is to consider approaching companies for private advertising. Personal finance is an area with lots of scope for advertisers and you could double your blogher money by going private.

    Site Promotion and Stickiness: See my above comment re the feel of the site. I personally would not have hung around if it weren’t for this review. I don’t stay where I don’t feel comfortable. You might also like to consider featuring your main categories somewhere on the front page to make it more obvious to first time visitors what sorts of topics you cover on a regular basis. In reading through your “featured articles” section, I felt your post titles were a little long. I like to be able to see at a quick glance what I might find on a site and couldn’t do that.

    Congratulations on taking hold of this opportunity and I hope you get some feedback which really helps. I think you have a great site with lots of potential. I’ve subscribed.

  20. Feedback for Girls Just Wanna Have Funds:

    Great blog, design, content!

    1 – Agree with above, you need a real graphic header/logo.

    2 – what ads make you money? are you tracking them? There are too many ad spots which not only dilute your income but also clutter up the site. If you make money with the blogher-type ads, take off the google adwords (or just have google adwords in one spot). Or, have one google adwords spot, one blogher spot, and one spot for direct sponsors.

    3 – more emphasis on RSS subscription — bigger & in more places

    4 – how about another form of monetization? I don’t know if you charge for the state chapter alliance, but what about affiliate programs or your own teleclass/info products? If you are getting good traffic/subscribers, some of them would spend more money (than clicking on an ad).

    5 – Also had trouble finding your tags (could not find categories).

    Hope that helps!

    ~ ElizabethPW

  21. golfspy x says:

    1. More whitespace…easier on eyes. The purple gradients look nice just a little too much. I think by changing the background to white it will pop a lot more.

    2. Format for articles – I like the format for a featured article but for the articles below the first article you might want to consider using full articles. I think it is more inviting to the reader.

    3. Larger images in posts. Pictures are worth 1000 words and they also grab our eyes.

    4. Don’t mind 3 columns but having the one column on left confuses the natural path or progression of the typical reader. We read from left to right so the most important (articles should be on left).

    5. Maybe implement a highlight color to accent important areas on site. Like I said I think the purple gradient is brandable but it can be a little overwhelming at times. I think an accent color would help with that and also in areas you would like to focus their attention on.

  22. Frugal Dad says:

    Ginger, a few suggestions based on my review of your site:

    Content/writing: I would consider having a logo worked up, and if nothing else converting the text “GIrls Just Wanna Have Funds” into a clickable graphic that redirects users home.

    To make the site more sticky consider Darren’s advice to promote “pillar” posts, articles that you worked the most on, or that hit a home run for your audience. Create a separate page with links to these posts and reference it in your nav bar as “Best Of…” or “Popular Posts” or similar.

    One of the things I’m attracted to in blogs targeting male audiences is the uniqueness in which links/terms are presented. Not sure how to quantify this without giving an example, but consider renaming a few of your navigation options, or internal navigation links with something meaningful to women. As an example, a men’s site might have a section called “The Locker Room” for forums, a section called “Guy Code” which contained site rules, privacy policy, etc. and a pillar post with the heading “Ten Things You Wish She Knew About You.” I know, it sounds a little like a Men’s magazine, but that’s the point–It’s catchy! It could make your site stand out a bit in the finance niche, particularly the finances for women niche.

    Ad placement: If CPM ads are making more than the Adsense ads, great. If not, I would move the Adsense left sidebar block up above the fold, and make the colors match your other links (perhaps these could be darkened a bit from pink to a darker red similar to the background in your right sidebar.

    I’m not a big fan of miscellaneous ad blocks in the middle of posts. I would suggest moving those to the beginning of the post (just under the post title), or to the end of the post (immediately after your content), and sticking with a horizontal ad block (half banner or similar). Users are more likely to click at the beginning or the end of your article than in the middle.

    Site promotion: Offer something tangible to visitors/subscribers. Perhaps you could work up a free eBook that you give away to subscribers via a custom URL in your feed. I read a guest post here at ProBlogger a few months ago from StrongLifts.com. He recommended trying this, so I incorporated it into my own blog and saw a nice increase in subscribers, particularly those that found me via search engines.

    Host contests and publicize them on the forums you mentioned (without spamming). If you are like me, you probably get a ton of publicity emails from companies peddling their product. The next time you get one ask if they would be willing to give away a product/service in exchange for you hosting a contest on your site. You get new subscribers, the company gets publicity, and you pay nothing. Win-win for everyone.

    The videos in your right sidebar didn’t work for me (“no longer available”). If this was an MSNBC interview with you personally then I would promote that somewhere with a tag like, “Watch My MSNBC Interview” or “As Seen on MSNBC.” If it was just a video of interest, and is no longer available, then remove that section or replace with updated videos.

    In summary, I think you already have a great blog in Girls Just Wanna Have Funds! The things I’ve described are minor tweaks, really, and should only help to enhance the great work you’ve already done. Hope these ideas are helpful!

  23. Jess says:

    Hi Ginger,

    Here are some ideas.

    1. Content.
    Personally I find finance BORING!!! However, your site is interesting as it is not just informative but it is also entertaining. I think to increase readership you could try and focus on increasing the entertainment value of your site a bit more. Think about your titles – some are great but I’d change

    5 Ways Your Choice Of Life Partners Can Make Or Break Your Finances

    to

    5 ways your husband can make you broke

    The second would appeal to me more. I think your titles need to be shorter and sharper and more specific to women…For example I noticed one said “,…newly independent”. Don’t say independant …say single woman.
    Make it personal…there a so many finance sites, and to stand out you should really work on your titles.
    Why dont’ you have a Dear Ginger section …Readers could tell you about a crisis with finance and you could help them out. This could potentially increase comments, and people can often directly relate to other peoples questions.

    I think you need to rememebr that your target is women…so get rid of the picture of the stressed out looking guy on the Quarter life crisis post. As a woman I can’t relate to that image at all!

    I think that there are way too many ads on your site. I’d get rid of the side bar alltogether. Add a fancy – glamour image to your header. Get rid of the ads between your content posts and comments too.

    As for readership comments I think if you can create a bit of controversy in your topics you will get a lot more readers. Notice that your stay at home wives post has more comments…Because it’s a controversial topic. Try and think about similarly controversial and interesting topics and I’m sure people wil leave comments.

    Good luck !

    Jess

    PS: If I win a GPS I’ll be stoked cause it will cut down fights with my partner by about 80%!!! (I always get us lost)

  24. Sunil Pathak says:

    Hi Ginger,

    1rst of congrats for this great opportunity you got (Free review by hundreds of Problogger review)

    as every one said your blog is really great (i specially like your blog design :) )

    but there are some serious problems with your blog which need your immediate attention, here they are

    1) single post title

    when clicked on post title, my browser’s title bar display your blogs Title and tag line, The most appropriate for single post page would be post title or post title followed by your blog name (i.e. post title | your blog name)

    i think this post will show you the importance of title tag and how to optimize it
    http://www.dailyblogtips.com/optimal-title-tag-for-wordpress/

    2) Feed Icon

    Rss icon on you header is too small to get noticed (increase the pixel size if possible), even though you have burned your feed with feedburner, RSS icon on your header link to default WP feed address (i.e yourblog.com/feed) change it to http://feeds.feedburner.com/yourblogfeed

    3) your blog’s load time is little more then the recommended time, it takes 2.17 second , while 1.45 or 2 second is ideal for blog,

    4) Blog header

    you are using images in all your post, then why your blog header is text only?

    get a nice logo made by some professional, or make one your self

    well i found those 4 faults on your blog.

  25. Ginger,
    I think you have a great concept and good content. I love the use of pictures to illustrate your blogs! As far as promoting your blog, I hope you are taking full advantage of contacts at the BC network and seeking reciprocal links with appropriate blogging colleagues. Also, I’ve found that if you leave smart comments on the BC blogs, you will gain traffic, some of which may stick for the long run if they are interested in your information.

    Since you are targeting women just out of school, you may seek partnerships with colleges – offer to share content with college or university newspapers, for example. Send press releases to publications targeting your market suggesting they cover your blog and/or offering free content for them in exchange for links. Seek out other online resources and directly offer to share content in exchange for links.

    Your target is very focused, and it doesn’t limit you, as there are so many publications aimed at women and 20-somethings. Take advantage of the broad array of opportunities to connect. (Have you posted on shine.yahoo.com? I’ve had great luck with that site, and it is targeted to women.)

    I hate to say it, but it is possible that the overwhelming number of ads on your site and the design of those ads is preventing traffic from sticking. Even ads in the content of the blogs – I find it to be a little overwhelming. I would cut back on the ad placement to see if it helps get your traffic to stick. Keep ads on one side or the other and don’t allow them in the content of your posts. Make sure the ads “go” well with each other and don’t look so busy.

    To try to overcome the issue with the ads, think about offering something without expecting something in return. Extend yourself more to your readers – you will be surprised at the results!

    Consider incorporating more links to OTHER sites in your writing. Find content that supports your point and link to it. This is a great way to improve your writing and emphasize your competence in an area. (It shows you’ve read what other people say and that you’re not just writing off the top o your head.) It is also a great way to alert others to your blog.

    Don’t focus so much on big blogs to link – look for other, small niche blogs whose authors may notice your link and reciprocate and/or become a regular reader and/or great networking contacts! (Although, offering trackbacks to big blogs can increase your traffic if those blogs list pings.)

    Make your plan to connect with people, not to grow traffic. If you have the idea of information sharing instead of traffic, you are more likely to have better results in the long run.

    As far as getting comments – you do a pretty good job here. Asking questions (as you do) is a proven way to attract comments. Make a point to respond to all the comments – or as many as possible. That makes people feel valued and connected to you. Even consider e-mailing some commenters to thank them and to continue the conversation. This is a great networking mechanism. When people feel like they “know” you and have “connected,” they’ll be more in touch with you and your blog and be more likely to stay on as readers.

    I’m not sure if you leverage Twitter or Facebook for connections, but those are great opportunities to find people to link to in your blog and people to connect with outside of the blog for mutual benefit. Also, I don’t know if you do much with linkedin, but if you can go there and use the “Answers” section to share your expertise, you will earn readers as a result and grow your network.

    As far as your design (not related to ads), the color isn’t ideal and doesn’t contrast enough. Consider altering the scheme to be more visually appealing and easy on the eye. Since you are so monetized, you should consider hiring a design consultant. I am sure there is research that shows a visually appealing design will increase your readership. Invest some of that ad revenue to make your site easier to read and navagate. Between all of the ads and the pink on pink, it can be difficult to read the blog, which must impact your traffic.

    Finally, I assume you track your search traffic and focus on your keywords and tags. Search out the most used keywords in your field. (Google will help with this.) Title your posts to appeal to search engines. For example, DINKS + One Car= Saving $12,000 a year isn’t likely to be a search question, but “How to Save Money By Having One Car” might be. All of your titles should be great fits for search to earn organic traffic.

    That’s probably more than enough “advice.” It looks like you have a lot going for you. All the best!

  26. KiwiPulse says:

    First of all, I’m not a woman but I find your articles very interesting. I will try to put myself on your shoe or sexy high heel shoe.. hehe

    Design: The design of your blog is very clean and well organized. Coming from Solostream, I doubt I can’t say anything negative againt their themes.

    Content: You managed well to write all those articles related to Fianance, personal experience and women with their difficulty with managing their budget. I know sometimes it’s hard to be a women and thinking of all the stuff you guys need in order to survive, I pleasant of course. I heard you want to target more women in your article. I have seen many websites for woman and one thing that interest them the more is Health. So I suggest you write more content on how they can improve to be healthy, cooking, rid of bad habits, shop more often without spending a fortune on certain article, life archievement, etc. yeah write about other niche, that won’t hurt but always keep writing more article on your principal niche. Maybe having from time to time guest writer that can write about other niche will help a little bit. About the comments, It’s good to see that you end your article with a question to interest your audience to comment. My tip about your content is to add more pictures related to the articles. Sometimes your audience tend to comment more about the pictures than your article. So having pictures could increase your comment.

    Ad placement: I don’t know what is blogher, I write for both sex. I see you are using adsense.But I wonder if the placement is good enough to increase your adsense CTR. I suggest that you add more adsense banner and test different placement every 1-2 weeks until you get the max potentiel CTR that you should earn. Also add link unit that will boost a little bit. Also if you want to monetize with your 125×125 banner, you should setup a advertise page instead of the contact form.

    Site promotion: You have currently 1,380 results about girlsjustwannahavefunds.com. But only few of them link to your article. I suggest you set a XML- sitemap that update your post daily or weekly in order for google to crawl all your article. Also use the plugin All in one SEO and check the option rewrite your title, because when I do a search on google about your article, it shows the title of your blog and not the title of the article.

    Also you need a categories tab on your sidebar, I doubt you only talk about finance. Separate your article in section will help your blog to have a more friendly blog. Make it easy for your audience to read your article.

    Overall I give the blog 7/10. You still have many area to improve and reading Problogger daily will certainly help you to improve it. Cheer!

  27. Sharninder says:

    Hi Ginger,

    Even though your blog design is good, I think you’ve gone a little overboard with the advertisements. The single.php view for example has so many ads right above the post that on a screen with a lesser resolution, all the visitor will see at first glance is the advertisements.

    I couldn’t find a subscribe icon at first glance, increasing the size of the icon would be good.

    To read all your content on the first page, the visitor will have to scroll quite a bit. Do what Darren has done ( ;) ) and make the content as easy to reach as possible … all the better if its all on one page.

    I like the content but try and make it little more interesting. Add some humour maybe.

  28. John Lacey says:

    For a website that appeals to a female demographic, it amuses me that the token picture of a person – something I am presuming is just clipart from somewhere – is of a man.

  29. Joan Nova says:

    This is not going to win me a GPS, but…

    I was immediately turned off to the blog because of its design. I personally find dark backgrounds and white small print difficult to read so I immediately skipped the top of the page and the whole right column. It’s also very cluttered and makes one wonder if it is worth the effort to try to navigate.

    Love the snappy title though.

  30. ChrisB says:

    I like the color scheme and the title banner, though I think it’s a little big — wasted space.

    The content is good — even for guys, I got sucked into some articles — with good titles.

    I think the political posts are risky — it’s really off topic for this blog and could alienate readers unnecessarily. I’d get rid of those posts.

    The side bars are crowded and quickly identified as 100% ads and other filler — which means they are immediately tuned out. Cutting the density of the ads and putting some site content in your sidebars might increase the visibility of your ads.

  31. Denise says:

    “Ad Placement” I like the overall design of your home page, however, I agree that it feels like the ads are taking over the content. Maybe take the header to define your brand –

    “Content/writing”: I like your writing style and your topics. I think that you can increase the commenting by responding once people have left a comment. You need to be the hub of the conversation – if it feels like I am talking to myself I probably don’t have much to say.

    “but would like to figure out how to retain the readers that visit the site”

    I think that some of your posts could go into greater detail – perhaps a 3 part series on menu management instead of 3 separate posts that cover the same material. I think this will keep people checking back if they know there is more to the story. Another idea would be to take a category of expenses (perhaps a different one each month) and have a tip of the day (or week). Again this would keep people coming back regularly.

    I really like your meetup idea – I think bringing people together face to face will increase the sense of community online – I didn’t see anything where you recap the meetings for those who don’t live in the area — maybe I missed it.

    Hope you found something useful – good luck!

  32. Zack says:

    Darren, thanks for the great idea—very smart way to help a blogger and gather a lot of really useful info from the blogosphere in one place. Of course, generating a ton of targeted comments doesn’t hurt in the SERPs either ;) I’ll have to use that sometime.

    ——————

    Hi Ginger, there are lots of things I feel you’re doing really well on your blog. I especially like your writing style and content. Great domain name too; nice catch!

    The, About page is great and helped me understand that you’re a real person with experience in your topic/niche. I felt confident I might learn something from you. Good!

    So here are 8 ways I think you could improve your blog.

    1. Lots of missed opportunity in the header!
    You can use that space to make it more clear immediately what your blog is about and why I should stick around and read it. Have a really nice, header image created (This will start to give you a brand). It will make a HUGE difference in the reception of your blog as being serious and worth my time and attention. Since so many people are using WP-Vybe already and since the pink is the one the author even uses to demo, it makes your blog immediately feel like everything else out there and it gets lost in the shuffle. Don’t be lost in the shuffle!

    2. Consider Changing Text/Background Colors
    Light pink on dark pink text is WAY too hard to read and so I gave up within 1 sec. Also, white on lighter pink (top of header) is also a little too challenging and that combo actually starts to vibrate a bit making it not so easy on the eyes. I would review the dark background and color scheme in general and find something that’s a little easier to stare at for longer periods. Dark background can be great, but the bright pink is too strong a clash and sets up a strobe effect that makes it hard to stay on your site. Check out this article for color and design inspiration. http://sixrevisions.com/wordpress/beautiful_wordpress_designs/
    (You can keep your theme, it just may need some color tweaks—not so stark contrasts.)

    3. Don’t Hide Your Content Behind Ads
    The left column ad space is extremely distracting from your content. If you really want 3 columns, move that ad to the right side and differentiate the 2 right side columns with color, and content. Use the far left column for navigation and content only—maybe even social widgets. Probably best to let this space be for navigation at the top and then useful widgets below.

    4. Put Your Content on a Pedestal
    The body text for articles is a little too small and hard to read—bump it up at least a couple points, maybe even consider reversing the serif/sans-serif headline/body combo. For example, make the headlines Arial and the body Georgia. Main point here is to make it more legible. Think of all the ways you can make it so easy to read it’s irresistible.

    5. Adsense is Addling My Brain—Careful, Strong Opinion Ahead
    Google adsense suggests to me you’re not serious about blogging and more interested in making money. It makes me think you’re just another greedy splogger although that’s a little stronger word than i would ever use with your blog—I know you’re not from the great content of your site, but it’s just an unconscious thought that happens the moment you see adsense sitting right there at the top. It also is one more barrier between your great writing and your audience and that’s a shame.

    Of course I could be wrong about that if you have massive traffic and that little adsense ad is paying for your mortgage already. But a quick check of your current traffic stats suggests you may not be retiring from that adsense block any time soon. ;) if I’m wrong, then ignore that suggestion and let me know so I can know I got schooled ;)!

    6. A Video About You
    You might eventually consider putting a little video intro on your about page as well as making it less date-specific since next year you will not have just bought a house and will have lots of experience you can pass on about home ownership.

    7. Why Should I Subscribe and Stay?
    Give me a reason to subscribe to your RSS feed! If you have an eBook on the basics of managing your finances or something like the top 10 mistakes I’m probably making and not realizing, I would be even more interested to give a subscription a go. Maybe even think of something even more valuable you could offer readers who stick around for a month, or who read each post. Bottom line is helping others and unless people take your advice and actually benefit from it, no-one will realize what a resource you are. Think about ways you can offer even more value than you already are.

    8. Social Traffic Opportunity—This is Huge
    Are you on Twitter or facebook, etc? Can I follow? If so, definitely put up your block of social widgets somewhere high on the page. Don’t underestimate these tools!

    OK these were just the first things that came to mind with a cursory review. Hope it helps and look forward to a future post where you tell us what you changed and whether it made any difference.

    Have a great week!

    -Zack

  33. charles says:

    Woah! Long reviews.. It will make the contest manager bored reading all those reviews whichs aims the same. To promote ginger.

    Ginger’s title is catchy. “Girls just wanna have funds”… If you removed the “ds” the title would be a song.

  34. Tracy says:

    Hello Darren, and hello Ginger! What a fun contest, thanks to you both for putting it together and giving us the opportunity to participate!

    Ginger – Just wanted to say I really love the name and overall concept of your blog. I’m a twenty-something girl who is always on a budget and always looking for useful but easy-to-understand information on personal finance – so I really enjoyed browsing your site.

    To address your areas of concern:

    Content/Writing – You’ve definitely got some very intriguing posts and topics out there. Your writing style is fresh and entertaining too, I like it! One of my suggestions would be to shorten your post titles – some are rather drawn out and don’t compel me to read right away. There were a few I had to actually read twice in order to understand – it was difficult for me to quickly scan the titles as I read down the page. My other suggestion would be to constantly monitor other message boards and forums, noting the topics that young women are talking/asking about, to get ideas for your posts. The SAHM vs.. working mom debate is huge right now (even for younger women), as is fashion/shopping on a budget, figuring out how/when to plan for retirement, budget-conscious travel, and ideas for making money on the side (using Craigslist, eBay, taking online surveys, etc.). I would recommend following the forums on iVillage.com, thenest.com, and makeupalley.com, just to name a few (if you’re not already doing this). First-time job seekers and first-time home buyers also tend to do tons of online research.

    Ad Placement – Kudos to you for monetizing your blog and getting involved with BlogHer. I think you’ll continue to have many more opportunities for monetization. My main recommendation here would be to use a few less ads right now – you don’t want your site to appear cluttered, or spammy, particularly as you try to grow readership. Go for a clean, simple feel, with white space, that will make people comfortable. I would do away with the AdSense ads in the middle of posts and anywhere else that seems to cramp the page. I know there are many advertising opportunities out there for personal finance topics, as well as for young women. I don’t know exactly how BlogHer works, but when you’re looking for a new direction or to add advertisers in the future, it seems many experts recommend a page dedicated to providing information for and attracting advertisers – stats, rates, etc. You could keep that in mind as your site grows.

    Site Promotion – First, I totally recommend that you put a graphic in your header right away – a dollar sign or something that tells readers what your blog is about at first glance! Make it loud and clear that it’s a personal finance blog! Second, maintain a vibe of motivation and support – I think a lot of young women start to follow finance blogs with the hope that doing so will give them the motivation and accountability to stick with a financial plan for the long-term. I would try to build as many personal relationships with your readers as you can – emailing commenters, asking for questions, asking what topics your readers would like to see covered, asking for personal success stories that can be shared with your readership. If you are comfortable putting a photo of yourself on your main page, that could help with making a personal connection. Give them a reason to keep coming back, day after day. In addition, Facebook and MySpace are huge with this demographic, I would definitely reach out there if you haven’t already.

    Good luck Ginger, I will be following your blog! And good luck to all of us commenters, that’s a great prize up for grabs!

  35. Karito says:

    Hi Ginger,
    Here is my super quick comment from my web designer-seo-woman-wife-mother-hobby blogger perspective:
    - Nice colors.
    - Great domain name (a little long, but catchy)
    - Header is too big (and it merges with the feature articles section).
    - Header needs image (nice photo or funny illustration).
    - Feature articles section needs to pop (use other color)
    - Loose all the purple over purple-black links (specially the titles!)
    - Don’t use men photos (only women or couples).
    - Articles’s titles are extremely long.
    - Like the recent articles section (nice color, images…) but watch out for errors (photo credits, click to enlarge text)
    - Pick the articles’s 1st paragraphs carefully (not very catchy in my opinion)
    - Bigger font could be an improvement.
    - Less ads (or just two columns) could give emphasis to content.
    - Google ads box at top of recent articles section is annoying me (from my webdesign perspective, I don’t know if is a good money location)

    That’s it. All the best!

  36. Julie says:

    Hi, Ginger!

    Your site is very pretty. And I love your title! But while the color is very appealing to women, I don’t think the color scheme goes well with the topic. I am a frugal person and when I read frugal sites, the color of money … green … tends to grab my attention better. Such as the color scheme at http://www.frugaldad.com.

    Along with other reviewers, I am overwhelmed with the ads. I go to a site looking for information, not ads. The ads are too distracting. More blank space on the page would be nice. Also, your ads don’t fit with the topic. How about some ads from companies that are going to help your readers improve their finances, such as ING Direct.

    From one frugal gal to another, your articles are good and have lots of info. But they don’t get me excited. I don’t feel I am reading anything that I can’t easily find somewhere else. I don’t feel you went above and beyond to provide new and quality information. I only read a few of your posts, but I felt the advice you offered was only going to put a few pennies in my pocket when I am looking for something bigger. And comments such as, “I am pissed,” only left me with the feeling that you personally were looking for your own financial solutions. Therefore, how could I turn to you as a source to help me with mine. (Hope that doesn’t sound too harsh.) I don’t think your readers want to read about your struggles when they have so many of their own, unless of course you also provide strong advice for conquering them.

    Ginger, when I read in Darren’s post your goals for your blog, they sounded wonderful and they made me want to read more. But I just don’t feel that your posts deliver enough education or excitement to reach those goals. I don’t feel they provide enough to improve the financial lives of your readers. When looking for good blogs, what it mainly comes down to for me is what the blog provides that will make my life better, not what the site looks like.

    I can tell that you put a lot of hard work into your blog. I believe with a little more research you will be able to write amazing articles that will entice people to return to your blog again and again.

    And I hope you don’t change the title. I love it!

  37. Guillermo says:

    My 2 cents…

    Although the featured articles on top are a good idea, all the good impression vanishes as soon as you find the clutter below. I can understand the need for income, but I think there should be a way to show everything in a much more clear way…. The content gets lost between those sidebars full of ads. And if the reader does not feel appealed to read a post, they will not comment. that;s for sure! So i wonder if the lack of comments has to do with some readability issues.

    It’s also difficult to find a way to navigate the blog: categories, a tag cloud (that invites to navigate more than a drop down list)…. I know the stuff is there, but may be the color combination does not work as it makes things difficult to find.

    What if your readers prefer to enjoy your stuff from the feed reader? The will have it there all black on white, easier to read and find! Think about it!

    Some good idea that worked for me to boost comments was a monthly Top Commentator contest: show the comment on your sidebar and encourage the readers to leave a comment saying that you will give a prize to the “top commentator” of the month. in my case was some badge for the winner to display it in his/her blog and/or the chance to write a note as a guest blogger. If they do not have a blog, they can always write a poet in your blog. Give it a shot!

    It’d be nicer to find the most commented posts somewhere in the sidebar (above the fold?) and the related posts at the end of the post, and not the other way.

    My last piece of advice: an eBook is always a good way of promoting the blog. You may have enough material to create one at this point, I guess! AdWords always work for not a lot of money

    Good luck,

    Guillermo from Canada.

  38. Jessica N says:

    Why aren’t you getting more site traffic? Eek! Pink! My goodness that is one bizarre and awfully dark color theme. If I were just browsing I would have completely run away, never even noticing that the actual text portion is clean and light and inviting! That pink irritates my eyes and just does nothing for you or your mission. The black border and death pink, this time in the sub headers, just doesn’t do it for me. MSNBC Videos need better titles than MSNBC Interview #1 and MSNBC Interview #2. I had no idea what I was going to be watching when I clicked on them. If I was surfing the site I would never have bothered watching either of them which would have been too bad because they are actually well worth my time and the time of anyone else who is hoping for financial advice and support.

    The About Me page is interesting and informative. I like how you describe yourself and you sound like someone I actually want to learn more about, however, your pic almost seems too sexy for a site about female finances and debt reduction. I almost feel like I am looking at a boudoir photograph instead of a site for financial advice. Maybe it is all the exposed skin. Don’t think you need to wear a turtleneck sweater (ew!) but perhaps the deep V neck sleeveless top isn’t the best choice for a bio photo. Wear something you could get away with at work (without everyone whispering behind your back). Women wanting advice may look at your photo and wonder how in the world you are going to be able to help them. Hip twenty some-things aren’t the only ones who will be browsing and seeking guidance, so try to make yourself accessible to a much wider range of age groups. Maybe a shot that isn’t taken from below your face would help make you appear more trustworthy and approachable.

    I dig your titles, accompanying photos, and, most importantly, the quirky articles themselves! I would love to read about whatever comes out of your head next. I am hooked! I even subscribed so it isn’t that your articles are unworthy of my attention (ha ha) but rather that the site itself is just kind of funky and totally unflattering to your upbeat style. The posts are mostly easy to read. I dislike the gray and even PINK (again!) lettering used for quotes but with plenty of photos, bullets, and sub headings, it is otherwise very reader friendly.

    I really think the theme color has a LOT to do with a floundering readership. Go ahead and pick a fun color, even something traditionally girly, but try to make it easier on the eyes and acceptable to a wider range of ages. If it is possible to make the “subscribe” section a different color, do it! Right now it blends in with the rest of the pink and is not instantly noticeable. Don’t make blog browsers work. They are a lazy bunch and would rather hit the road than try to find what they need. Lighter blogs are known to be more attractive and more popular to the majority of blog readers. I suspect if you change the unified aspect of your blob that you will be able to capture plenty of happy repeat customers.

    Terrific comments from your readers. That is definitely refreshing to see! I know if I scroll down and review comments that it will be something to add to the discussion instead of “great article” or other useless, space wasting, time draining information. While I am sure that is nice for the author to hear, it just doesn’t help the rest of us who are hoping for further insight. Your readers continually offer up great advice and just plain awesome supporting statements to several articles. Great job on how you repeatedly open the article up for discussion. That may be a key reason why you receive great responses. Maybe add a link to previous articles at the end of the post as well to keep readers from having to scroll back up to find the idea for the first post. Showing off related posts makes for plenty of blog clicking!

    While the idea for picture ID is nice, if more folks don’t choose to use it, you may consider dropping it in a month or two. All those generic gray heads are booo-ring and take something away from the comments. Kind of like a “no one else is bothering with it, so why should I?” sort of mentality may be setting in.

    Overall? I can’t wait to see what you dish up next…as long as I don’t have to see that fuchsia banner again! Otherwise just keep doing what you are doing. The ads aren’t really an issue to me. Even though the ads are rather large and potentially annoying, my well-trained eyes automatically gloss right over them which may not be the effect you had in mind. Gain readership by actively participating in women’s forums with a link to your blog as well as financial forums. It is a way to get the word out and your snazzy style is sure to attract many a link clicker. I really don’t believe that your lack of readership is due to anything other than an unattractive layout. Change it, and they will come!

  39. Jessica N says:

    Oops. This goes on the top. It got cut off when I cut and pasted! Blasted computer!

    The Feature article has a picture of a man. Uh, that is a little bizarre. I don’t know if the slogan right above the shot is appropriate “Breaking Financial Ceilings One Stiletto At A Time,” it just sends a mixed message. Stick with what YOU know. This works for you! Your style rocks hard but trying to make it seem like something it ain’t is a turn off. All that pink and it is male friendly? I don’t think so. It’s nice to want to include men (as you say in the “about me” page but I would skip it entirely and focus solely on your female readership. It is, after all, your target group and it works for what you have dished up so far. Don’t try to branch out to men when the majority of blog postings are entirely female oriented. Quarter Life Personal Finance: 5 Tips To Manage Your Money In The Midst Of Chaos is the featured article but it contains the picture of a man! Located just below the slogan, “Breaking Financial Ceilings One Stiletto At A Time,” it just seems really out of place and sends a mixed message. Stop that! ;)

  40. Mike Collins says:

    ok Ginger, I’ll take a crack at helping you…

    First off I like your theme and I think you’ve got some great content already. Your passion really shows through and that’s going to help you a lot.

    Let me address your specific areas of concern:

    1. Content/Writing – I read a couple of articles and I think your writing skills and choice of topics are excellent. I think you can improve your blog by organizing it a little better. I don’t see any kind of category listing. Personally, I hate searching through a blog’s archives chronologically in order to find something that interests me. If I enjoy your article about “Waiting To Have A Baby Because Of Finances” I want an easy way to find more articles on that topic. I don’t want to sift through menus and grocery tips to get there. I want a simple and obvious way to find what I need.

    2. Ad Placement – To be honest some of the flash ads are a bit distracting and they’re not entirely on target. I keep seeing one for a Richard Gere movie and while that may interest a portion of your audience, it’s not really the type of ad that’s going to convert well for you.

    Are you promoting any affiliate programs? Between investing, family finances, careers, etc…there’s no shortage of affiliate programs that would be perfect for you. You could do simple reviews or just mention products you use in your posts. It would open up new streams of revenue without slamming advertising right in your reader’s faces.

    3. Promotion – Something tells me you’re going to get one hell of a boost from this ProBlogger posting! Long term, I’d continue focusing on pumping out solid content, networking with other bloggers, and building relationships with your readers. Ideally you want to build a community discussion where readers participate instead of just reading your posts and moving on.

    To try and get some new traffic I’d suggest you try article marketing (submitting original articles to directories like EzineArticles) and perhaps write a “special report” or two and give them away to your readers. Encourage them to pass your reports along and hopefully you’ll get a viral effect going on.

    Also, the number of ads and videos on your home page make it load pretty slowly. You may be losing visitors with slower connections who don’t want to wait for all the bells and whistles to load. You may want to simplify it a bit.

    And consider putting your picture right on the main page. I saw your pic on your “About” page…might as well put your attractiveness to good use!

    Best of luck Ginger! I’m sure you’re blog will continue to grow and be successful.

    Mike Collins

  41. Leila F. says:

    Great site Ginger! Here are my comments:
    Content/writing:
    -Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is geared towards women, but the first image a user sees is that of a man. I recommend moving the information under About to the Home location. Since you’re the founder of the group, using your picture and an overview of the group is appropriate content for Home location.
    -Under Home, use all content and articles that are focused on women. For example: All the Featured Articles could be specific to women. Then, consider adding an additional tab along the top called something like Additional Resources. Under this tab, place additional finance/debt reduction/etc. resources that are great resources but are not specifically geared towards women.
    -Users have to scroll quite a bit to access information on the pages of the site. I recommend reducing the amout of scrolling that is required of users to make it easier for users to find information. For example: If you decide to use the information currently under the About tab on the Home tab, include the first two or three paragraphs of text, then use a Continue link (so visitors can view the entire overview if they choose).
    -Under Home, you currently have a series of Recent Articles that take up quite a lot of space and aren’t easily visible. I recommend adding an additional tab along the top called Articles or Additional Articles and making these articles available from this tab.
    -Suggestion: To really sell the site as being geared towards women, consider featuring a different success story on a monthly basis. For example: A story on how a specific woman got out of debt, how a specific women went from being a married stay at home mom to a divorced career woman. You could create a tab along the top called something like Featured Success Story to access this information.
    -Make it easier for users to search for information. When I entered a keyword in the Search text box, the search results often did not apply to my search criteria.

    Ad placement:
    -Rather than have some ads in the right pane, some in the left pane, some along the botton, choose a consistent location for the ads. For example: Consider placing all ads in the right pane.

    Site promotion:
    -Make it easier for visitors of your site to send you comments or suggestions for content. You could add additional Subjects under the Contact tab. For example, your list of Subjects under the Contact tab could include: Site Content Suggestions, Media/Public Relations, Advertising, Meetup Alliance, Other.
    -You could add a Register tab along the top of the page. In the Register page, place a series of topics. Have users place a check mark next to the topics they are interested in. Then, have the user enter their e-mail address. Your esentially having users register to obtain information on a specific topic. When information on the subject(s) the user checked become available on Girls Just Wanna Have Funds, you could have an e-mail sent to the user.

  42. Paul Johns says:

    First, let me start out by saying that I support the idea behind your site, and I wish you continued success in your endeavors.

    As far as writing and content goes, I think everything you’re currently doing is spot-on! You often use images in your posts, which really helps draw in readers and makes the content generally more interesting. You also encourage comments by posing a ‘call to action’ at the end of most posts which should help in having people leave comments.

    My only critique is that you should post a little more often if you want to attract a larger audience. I would shoot for once a day, or at least once every other day. I know that can be difficult, but it will help you stand out as a quality blog. Something that may help you achieve such a goal is having guest bloggers post articles. That will help you spend more time making your own quality posts, and it gives readers a better sense of community. I see you’ve used a guest blogger before, but only once from what I could find.

    On the top part of your site you have plenty of space devoted to your header, latest article and ‘Featured Articles’ list. Throughout the bottom main portion of the site, the content seems to be battling the ads for supremacy. I think you could start resolving this by removing the Google Adsense ad from the top of the ‘Recent Articles’ section and removing the left ad column entirely. This will give the main content room to breathe, and help focus readers eyes where you want them, right on the articles. Once they are reading the article, you could put an ad inside the article itself, so it will still be very visible. I always enjoy a site more when it isn’t too cluttered or busy with ads. The Blogher content can also be resized and moved to the right sidebar.

    Here is a good example of what I’m talking about: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/

    Notice how the front page just has a small section of ads to the right, and nothing else, until you click to read a full article. Everything else throughout the rest of the site is devoted to content except those two little areas. The content takes over the site, not the ads.

    Promoting your site could be done in a variety of ways. You could hold contests that ask visitors to help you accomplish the goals you have for your site and in return they can earn fabulous prizes, or something.

    Example: Hold a contest asking readers to blog about your web site or one of your posts and link to you from their post. That way, you are promoting your site, and your search rankings will probably improve as well. And everyone who reads their blogs will probably end up at least visiting your blog, in which case you could gain many more readers. In return you could randomly select one of the contestants to win something (like this contest). You know your audience better than I do, so I’m sure you could figure out something everyone would want. The better/more expensive the prize, the longer the contest should last and the more you should require of contestants in order to win. That way you’re getting as much out of it as you are giving.

    Other things that I think might make your site better overall include making a custom logo and/or using a less generic font for your blog title. Brand your blog!

    In either case, I believe you are on the right track to blogging greatness. You have interesting content that I think will appeal to many people. Good luck in the future and congratulations for all your past successes!

  43. Ray says:

    What I Like

    Great title
    Vibrant color choice
    Google Page rank 4 out of 10 – good!
    Backward Links – Yes, and lot’s of them…nice..this helps with SEO
    Google Ads are industry related – whew!

    Possible Improvements:

    Design

    1. Once I visually get past the initial article and begin to scroll down. It feels very tight and cramped with the Ads on one side and the video and sponsors on the other. Do the sponsors need to be as high up as they are? I know they’re important to you as sponsors, it just feels that the content is “claustrophobic”. Or maybe its me that’s “claustrophobic”. :o)

    2. If you’re using photos, include female photos…I saw the man in the photo which didn’t seem consistent with the “Girls/Women” theme…

    3. Move interview videos up – engage the audience earlier…..studies are showing that engaging, informative video content is being viewed more often

    Content

    Continue to look for and refine mainkeywords and use them in your articles – this helps with SEO but naturally, avoid overloading – consider opening a user forum for women to talk about moneyissues and look for consistent keywords in the forum…also take copious notes at your Meetup group and look for recurrent keywords in conversations

    SEO

    1. Think about the keywords you want to be found for and add them to your Title Tag. Put yourself in the “searcher’s mind” and ask…what would I type if I were looking for this information…you’ve got a solid start already, refine and get more specific with keywords

    2. SAHMMYSAYS Link – no longer valid – sahmmysays.blogspot.com link no longer valid

    Below are comments from Aleksika.com after having typed in your website on their site

    a. We recommend that you remove all comment tags in live code.

    b. JavaScript website Reduce script length: 8926 chars
    A large JavaScript website may hinder the spidering of a JavaScript website. Watch out how much Javascript you put in the top of your webpage. Each word of Javascript webpage code may be detracting from valuable keyword space.

    c. Flash website Design
    Flash website design suffers from the same problems as frame sites. There is simply not enough for the search engine to crawl. If your site uses a total flash website design, you have problems – as far as the search engines are concerned.

    Monetization

    Looks like between the Sponsors and the Ads you are set with that.
    Not too much room for much else unless you want to put a shopping cart down at the lower left of the page.

    Hope it helps!

    Ray

  44. Ben Moreno says:

    You blog completely sucks!

    Just Kidding.. I thought it was a nice color combo. The design may be a little to heavily monetized for some readers but that is up to them.

    In my opinion, the only thing I notced that you might want to consider is creating an easily accessible category list. I didn’t see one.

    Good Job though and congrats on getting your blog reviewed by the pro blogger.

  45. Mike W. says:

    Hey Ginger, Overall, the site content looks good and I think the topics are interesting. I love the fact that it’s financial related, because there is so much profit potential (other than advertisements) that you’re not taping into. Here are a few simple tips that have helped me generate more money and higher natural search engine rankings:

    1. Identify all your biggest keywords. These are the main words people use on search engines to find your site. You should have at least 2000 keywords and phrases. Once you have these words and phrases, write your posts around these keywords and always link those keywords to other related posts. When you list your site or post on other blogs, use these keywords to backlink to your site, not the url. Yahoo and Google both let you search keywords and see how many hits the keywords average. Pick out your 10 best keywords and work on those first. Longer phrases like “Personal Finance For Women” will be much easier to get to the top of google/yahoo on, but “personal finance” would be a huge money maker!

    2. Find better products to sell. Advertising is easy and there are hundreds of companies that will manage this process for you, but if you can generate sales or better yet, generate leads for other companies to make a sale, it will earn you a substantially larger amount of money than advertising alone. My income increased 10 fold when we removed all the advertising from our site and began generating leads. Your site is a perfect match for lead generation. (financial planning, bankruptcy, loans, credit repair, debt consolidation/settlement, etc…let me know if you need help with this)

    3. Un-Clutter your site. Your blog template seems very user friendly, but the advertising overwhelms me. Although I may accidentally click on an add, I probably wouldn’t go back for a second visit. I have several websites and the sites that generate the most money are the simple sites that are easy to use and have fewer distractions for the users. Your useful content should be the main portion of each page, not advertising. Getting the client back for their second or third visit is much more valuable than getting a one time visitor to click an ad.

    4. Consider building a main html website. There are many tools and basic info pages you can build into a main site than can stand on their own as a website. Having a main site will not only help with SEO and page ranking, but you can build tools and information pages that will keep another group of visitors coming to your site. This will allow you to apply more targeted marketing, which can increase conversions drastically. When you build your sites, keep in mind, http://www.yoursite.com/personalfinance/ is better for SEO than http://www.yoursite.com/personalfinance.htm. hopefully this makes sense, but basically, each page should be named index.htm and in its own directory, rather than the latter personalfinance.htm.

    5. Diversify. If you are writing your blog for fun, then there is no need to do anything else, but if you’re doing it for an income, then I highly recommend starting a few different sites. Writing about one subject all the time can get boring and will get increasingly harder do to after your first 1000 posts. Especially a blog like yours that has a specific subject matter. Choose a few other subjects that you can write about and that have good potential to generate traffic. Go back to my point #2 and think about potential products to sell, or lead types you can generate. Whenever you have a new idea, spend a day or two and start a site/blog. Start by thinking about the keywords and write 10 posts on the subject matter and get your products/lead forms/advertising up and running. Even if you can’t write on the site on a regular basis, getting it started will begin it’s life on the search engines.

    6. Treat your blog as a full time job. Hopefully you earn enough money by now to not need another job, so take advantage the opportunity and spend 8 hours a day growing your income. Other than blogging, you need to be commenting on other blogs, listing your blog in directories, submitting articles to online news sites, and answering finance questions on yahoo answers. If this isn’t your full time job, then just be patient. With some good advice, a little bit of time, and a lot of effort, you can replace almost any income.

    I hope this advice helps. I’ve been a successful, full time blogger/writer for three years now and these are the main points I wish I knew 3 years ago, so good luck and please feel free to contact me if you ever want to talk about new ideas, or if you ever want a pep talk for motivation to keep writing.

  46. Cynthia says:

    Biggest issue I see is the lack of categories. When I come into the site, I want to find articles on a certain topic. I’m interested in saving money, more than investing say. There’s no easy way to pull that info.

    A category list where it can be seen first thing is essential.

  47. Ananda Palanisamy says:

    Ginger,
    I really love the concept of financial information geared towards young women! I am not a woman but my first impression is that women would find the information very real and your readers are very passionate based on the comments that I have seen in the articles.

    SEO
    Write Title Tags with Two Audiences in Mind
    First and foremost, you’re writing a title tag for the people who will visit your site or have a subscription to your feed. Title tags that are short, snappy, on-topic and catchy are imperative. You also want to think about search engines when you title your posts, since the engines can help to drive traffic to your blog.

    Participate at Related Forums & Blogs
    You may need to think one or two levels broader than your own content to find a large community. Try using Technorati and Del.icio.us tags to conduct searches, then sort by number of links (authority).

    Tag Your Content
    Technorati is the first place that you should be tagging posts. I actually recommend having the tags right on your page, pointing to the Technorati searches that you’re targeting. There are other good places to ping – del.icio.us and Flickr being the two most obvious (the only other one is Blogmarks, which is much smaller). Tagging content can also be valuable to help give you a “bump” towards getting traffic from big sites like Reddit, Digg & StumbleUpon (which requires that you download the toolbar, but trust me – it’s worth it).

    Link Intelligently
    When you link out in your blog posts, use convention where applicable and creativity when warranted, but be aware of how the links you serve are part of the content you provide. Not every issue you discuss or site you mention needs a link, but there’s a fine line between overlinking and underlinking.

    Eschew Advertising (Until You’re Popular)
    I hate AdSense on blogs. Usually, I ignore it, but I also cast a sharp eye towards the quality of the posts and professionalism of the content when I see AdSense.

    Archive Effectively
    The best archives are carefully organized into subjects and date ranges. For search traffic (particularly long tail terms), it can be best to offer the full content of every post in a category on the archive pages, but from a usability standpoint, just linking to each post is far better . Balance these two issues and make the decision based on your goals.
    Make Effective Use of High Traffic Days

    Speed Matters
    Make sure to design you page to be loaded quickly.

    Advertising

    Looking at the previous comments regarding the advertising I could understand how some may feel that the site might be too cluttered. I know that it is important to monetize, but having less advertising and making sure the advertising that you do have lends itself to the articles that are being read, if possible, is a goal that should be attained. I read many blogs and after reading them if they are great I begin to look for complementary information and many times the complementary information is the advertising!
    This is where a little offline ground work comes in and I believe where more profits exists. Your site has been featured on some very large media outlets and if you search their online sites you will see that they have advertisers that target your audience as well. Companies often have customer acquisition cost and you have state chapters with real people going to meet-ups. You could contact some of these various brands and link up for a partnership in order to either do lead generation or co-develop whitepapers or various resources that would be useful to your audience. Converting many of these members subtly on behalf of your sponsor provides instant value and sponsors place higher value on these customers than a regular page view or click. They feel that they were able to introduce their brands more fully and were able to establish a relationship. It is all about converting brand exposure to a paying customer. The key is to raise your profile and your authenticity as a finance blogger. Most importantly, you can charge larger fees for these efforts!

    Layout/design

    Looking at the goals that you have set for the site and your goal to grow the site to become a sticky resource for readers, you will have to provide not only the wonderful articles that you’ve been providing, but also, you will have to provide instant resources that the reader could use to instantly make changes in their lives, either in a new tab, E-book or an RSS signup promotion.
    By streamlining some of the design and making your navigating bar thinner to bring up your feature page that list your articles would be the first thing I would do.
    Side note: Also, with the explosiveness of IPhones and mobile internet browsing make sure that your site lends itself to take advantage of these technologies. This may lead you to change your color scheme. Or it may lead you to develop a unique app that can be worthy of real estate on an IPhone! (Think of the possibilities!)
    Test your site in multiple browsers, monitors and have small focus groups with your readers whenever possible to see what they would recommend. You want to make this site a useful tool for your users.

    Writing Style

    I don’t have a problem with your writing style. I think it’s great and it attracts lots of attention…The key is to have the articles that you write become the focus of the layout.

    How to Get More Readers

    Everyone has different issues when it comes to finance and having categories not only of the different types of articles as some have previously suggested but also having resources that caters to the various problems that your readers may be facing is definitely a plus (Organized to maximize SEO best practices, of course). Having various resources could also lead to not only having people sign-up for your site they could possibly recommend the site to others.
    This leads me to suggest that you strive to make your site amenable to be a resource to others. Not only should you have a more visible RSS feed button but since this is such an important issue that many people deal with you should have a way to allow users to recommend the site to their friends i.e. sharethis plug-in. If a friend of mine recommends a site to me, I am very inclined to go visit the site and take the time to take a thorough look at it.
    Guest posting not only for other blogs but guest post articles for the media outlets that have featured your site. If they were attracted to your site to feature you, they should be able to get you more exposure on the finance section of their site.
    Look into putting a podcast together featuring tips and put together a press kit that you could forward to various radio producers informing them that if they ever need a guess speaker on a finance topic that is geared toward the audience that you are serving you are available. If you need a list of radio stations go to: http://www.radio-locator.com/. This has a database of all of the radio stations call letters and address. I would start with your market and the markets that you have active chapters.

    I hope my comments along with others will help you in your endeavor to make a very dynamic blog!

  48. teri Kidd says:

    Hi Girls Just Want To Have Funds-
    I am new to all of this–preparing to publish a blog about my favorite thing, food. I live with a professional cook, my daughter is a pastry chef and blah, blah, blah. I’m researching every blog I’m referred to, so was glad to visit your site.
    I’ve lived in the financial services industry for 18 years and risen to sales and marketing vice president, so I know a thing or two about a thing or two in that industry, as well as marketing and sales.
    Your name and tag–”…one stiletto at a time” is a great hook, the kind of phrasing women connect with, very Sex in the City. The potential to go in many directions is so great with your name. From shopping for clothes, and stilettos, to food, dining out, saving for kids education to 401K information and long term care insurance.
    Every shoe maven wants to know the best place to get her favorite label for less that retail, for example.
    Unfortunately, the two articles I read were what I consider surface articles. No real depth, no new information. And not very well written; boring, in fact. They lacked something to connect me. Its a real struggle to position financial information in such a way that people identify with it. An article on maximizing your flex account is a dud. The same information I fight with everyday in group presentations–to bring it alive for people so they actually see how it works for them–I mean, why give Uncle Sam any more of your money than you need to? ‘Splain it to me, Lucy, so it hits home. That will get you comments and return visits. Fire people up—That’s Suzie Orman’s style.

    The other thing I noticed right off, is the clutter. I couldn’t see anything because there was so much to look at. In art and design, your eye has to start in one place and then begin to move around the space. Put something important in the 10 o’clock spot and go from there. If everything has to stay, reorganize so your content, what people actually came for isn’t lost in the clutter.

    The potential of the site is great, I don’t think your content lives up to the name. Girls Just Want To Have Funds should be more hip, snappy, more direct, pointed and crisp.
    I’m just saying.
    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  49. Samantha says:

    I am not a profession blogger so I don’t know what my opinion is worth on this (I read ProBlogger because my boyfriend is into blogging and I like to have things to talk to him about) but as someone who is, from what I can gather your target demographic. My 2c follows.

    Initial Impressions

    I am not a big fan of the colour as it is very overwhelming. I haven’t got great eyesight and I find the white on pink/purple/magenta hard to read. (Having said that I should confess my site is bright green so it all comes down to personal taste I suppose).

    Because of all that colour at the top of the page it makes the header seem very large, and with an article and links in there it all just makes it seem very crowded.

    Now scrolling down a little.

    It all looks like adverts to me.

    With your articles contracted like that so I have to click on a link to open one and without knowing if I’ll like what you are written it would put me off clicking through. Your articles at first glance also look a lot like adverts as well, and you have so many adverts.

    I can understand you want to fit as much on your front page as possible, but maybe having your featured article in full on the page and then the other articles in the compressed format. I at least then could have some idea of your writing style and what have you before I make that commitment of clicking a link.

    Can you narrow down the adverts on the left hand side a little, or get rid of a row of them somewhere.

    I pluck up my courage and click on an article, still not sure what I am going to get. . . . and I get more adverts. One paragraph in and more adverts. Now I understand that you want to make money from your site, and fair enough, and I have never dealt with Blogher so maybe the adverts are part of that and you can’t cut back on them.

    My ideas on what you could do.

    - Cut back on the adverts. I understand that you need them but it is very offputting and if I hadn’t been trying to review the site I would have just left after opening what I thought was an article and getting nothing but a row of adverts a picture above “the fold”. I am a big reader of sites on money, and several of them are ones aimed at women, but honestly it all feels a bit too much like the site is about how to make you money and not how to help me.

    - Make it more obvious what the site is about.

    - Some sort of menu for categories so I can click to other articles on subjects that interest would be nice.

    - If you want to declutter your front page maybe have a link to your blogroll instead of having it on the front page.

    - You have ads at the end of your articles too. I didn’t even realise I could comment until I scrolled past them all and past the about the author info. If I hadn’t known it was there I would have assumed the ads were the end of the article and closed it.

    - Your articles are very journalistic in style. If that’s what you are going for that is great, it does make it hard to want to comment. It would be nicer if a bit of your personality came through, then I would be more likely to comment as I would feel like it was a real person that I was having a dialogue or chat with. Funnily enough when you respond to peoples comments your writing has a much more personal “voice” to it and I found reading your comment responses more engaging than your articles in that respect.

    - You seem to be following all the “tips” and “rules” you read about (or hear about never endingly from my boyfriend in my case). You are writing in lists, putting questions at the end to try and encourage comments. It just feels a little bit too much like you read you were supposed to do that so you did.

    I would love to have some sort of follow up article after the competition. To find out what Ginger thought about the different comments made and to find out what changes if any she made to the site.

  50. Jodith says:

    I have two recommendations for you, one on content and one on design.

    1) You seem to primarily be targeting professional women. There’s a heck of a lot of women out there struggling with finances, and who probably need your help even more , who aren’t professional women.

    Example: on the cost of groceries post, you talk about Trader Joes and Whole Foods, and your receipt had organic this and that for twice what regular would cost. For working mom’s just trying to get through from paycheck to paycheck, they’d roll their eyes at the content on the way to Safeway with the sale paper and their coupons clutched in their hands. It’s wonderful that you can afford those kind of things, but it’s offputting to those that can’t. The response of many women from my class would be that you have no concept of what it’s really like to survive in their world (whether that is true or not).

    You never talked about using coupons or planning meals around what’s on sale, which are the mainstays of less affluent shoppers. That kind of thing is offputting to a huge segment of your possible target audience. I’m picking on this one post as an example, but I see that type of bias in many of the posts that I read.

    2) Have at least one post in it’s entirety on your main page. I know a lot of people will argue this, but I think many people will walk away if they cannot read at least one article in it’s entirety before requiring them to start clicking through. The more I have to click around to read a blog, the less likely I am to continue reading it, even if the content interests me. It’s one of the main reasons I primarily read through my RSS reader, because clicking through drives me crazy (sorry, Darren).

    3) About advertisement, have you thought of advertising on sights that are less professional. Secretarial blogs or sites, Homeschooling sites, Mommy blogs, that sort of thing. You may reach out to some of those other populations of women.

    Anyway, I’m not much for design, and don’t know a lot about advertising at this point. When I visit a blog, I’m all about content, and that’s what I tried to concentrate on.