This is a special one! Stephen is a good friend of my son, Bill's. Stephen is a great guy – very intelligent, very curious, and incredibly patient. I know when he pings me for a question he's probably already been up a sleepless night so I really enjoy helping him out.
Stephen's blog should get very interesting over the next year as he travels to Germany. Germany is actually known for its lack of bloggers. It's nothing terrible – just culturally, the country tends to be social outside of media and private inside of social media. That's probably a great lesson for the Americas and Asias to learn… we'll text or email folks from across the room instead of emailing them!
Here are your Blog Tips:
- Stephen, I really love how roomy your blog is. The style is very clean. You're a pretty quiet guy but I know that you've got another side, too. I see it in your big gauge piercings and you listen to Converge! If you took off the picture of you, I wouldn't ever imagine you having those piercings. I wonder how you could use that to somehow decorate your site to let folks know you've got a calm, premeditated side and a creative (screaming?) side. 🙂
Perhaps some kind of decoration in the header background image? Check out this background image at pownce:
Would something like that work? somewhere lightly in the background?
- Just a personal preference, but I'd take out the Digg markers. They fit nicely, but you've got pages and pages of goose eggs (zeros). I think it takes away from your posts more than it adds. Perhaps you can work up some magic and hide it on 0 and display it when it's greater than 1? Showing rankings and stats provide readers with a sense that the blog or post is important. But having low rankings or stats can actually dissuade people from reading or subscribing!
- I mentioned this plugin on another tipping: To keep folks around, I'd recommend the Related Posts Plugin and put the related posts at the bottom of each of your posts. This way folks that find you via a Search Engine will read your posts and if they don't find exactly what they need, they may stick around for additional articles that are on the same subject. This will also help with deep linking for Search Engine Ranking.
- Differentiate your posts with images. Images in posts tend to grab readers' attention – especially if they are subscribed via a feed. Go through the trouble of finding a good picture or piece of clipart and posting it with the blog post. I would especially do this on your Must Download posts! A screenshot or logo of the software will grab someone's attention. You also might want to crank up the font-weight of your blog post titles so they stand out a little heavier. When I scan your page, I find myself scanning over the titles (maybe that's just me!)
- Oh – and I found an easy error to fix – your robots.txt file is pointing to a sitemap that doesn't exist. The good news is that you have a sitemap! The bad news is that Google may not be crawling your site efficiently without it.
- One last thing… something looks messed up in the link in the post you put up. Sometimes when you copy code from HTML it messes up.
Enjoy, Stephen! I really had to look hard and be critical of your site. You're doing a fantastic job!
How to get your Blog Tipped
If you'd like your Blog Tipped, simply follow the directions on my Blog Tipping Post.