Our third Community Consultation finishes up today with an overview of the ProBlogger community’s feedback for.
As always, the results have been illuminating. You might even be able to take away some tips and tricks for your own blog.
Here are the elements which proved most important to ProBlogger readers.
Lack of connection with the business
main SiteMost website. If a visitor arrived via search results they would only be able to reach the main site via the About page.is a business blog, and the primary aim of any business blog should be to raise the profile of the business and gain new clients. At the moment, the blog is not adequately connected to the
I would firstly suggest making the SiteMost logo a link to the main site, as this is what visitors expect. I’d also make it clearer to new visitors that the blog is an offshoot of SiteMost — perhaps with a tagline or a paragraph at the top of the sidebar.
If it’s not clear which company is responsible for the blog (and how to learn more about it) even the most successful business blog won’t be able to reach its full potential as a promotional device.
Getting more subscribers
One of the owner’s main aims for the site is to convert more readers into subscribers. He’s taken the essential first step by offering both RSS and email subscriptions in a prominent location on the page.
The blog could attract more subscribers by adding a subscribe link to the bottom of posts, and by offering a freebie with every subscription (such as a short eBook or report). A number of readers suggested both these strategies would help to persuade them to subscribe.
Greater distinctions between posts
Some readers felt that the gap between posts was too narrow and this impacted on readability. The issue was worsened by a sub-header for related posts which matches the blog’s headlines for size.
This readability issue is easily fixed by adding some more space between each post and shrinking the related posts heading down to the text size used for the body of the posts. It’s essential that headlines be the biggest and most eye-catching text on the page.
Turning visitors into customers
A business blog presents an opportunity to convert visitors into potential clients. Without a Contact or Services page this task is made very difficult. A number of readers suggested refining the About page to emphasize the faces behind the business and their credentials.
I’d also suggest including a little information about the services offered by the company, with a link to a dedicated ‘Services’ page readers can visit for more detailed information.
Adding a Contact page to the navigation bar is essential. It’s simply impossible to get web-based business without it. As a local business it would probably be wise to include a phone number and PO Box in addition to an email address. I’d suggest promoting a ‘Services’ page in the navigation bar also.
Some readers also suggested an additional page explaining what SEO is and its benefits. I think this is a great idea. Most clients who hire SEO consultants (unsurprisingly) aren’t experts at it themselves. It can’t hurt to tell potential clients what you’re capable of.
Showcasing the best
Displaying a list of your best posts should really be a requirement for any blog. It shows new visitors straight away the best of what you have to offer. It also helps to draw them deeper into your blog (making it more likely that they’ll stick around or subscribe.) A number of readers really missed this feature on the blog.
Less is more
The content list on the main page is very long and took some time to load. Some readers requested less posts on the main page and others wanted to see only post excerpts displayed.
MyBlog Log and ads
Some readers felt that the MyBlog Log widget seemed unprofessional on a business blog. I’d also add that these widgets can sometimes be several hundred kilobytes all-together as the button images aren’t efficiently resized.
Other readers wondered why the blog was advertising third party services. It’s worth considering whether the reader attention would be better spent on SiteMost’s own services.
It seems like the blog’s owner (Peter) is on to a good thing with his content as it received almost unanimously positive reviews. The visual design was also positively received overall, though some readers disagreed with the color choice and the lack of custom imagery. While color is always subjective and I don’t think you can please everyone, a unique logo wouldn’t go astray.
Another thing that I really liked to see was the relative lack of clutter on the blog. While I still think a few things could be subtracted (and a few more added) the blog is very simple and clean overall.
As always I found myself with a shortlist of about five names who’d each written a really high quality review. You guys sure don’t make this easy ;-).
This week’s iPod Shuffle winner is ericabiz for her savvy review, though it was her partial rewriting of the blog’s About page which really impressed me and put her a step above the rest. Thanks Erica!
Make sure to stay tuned for blog number four.