Analytics & Testing, Content Marketing, Search Marketing,

Blog-Tipping: My Blog Coach

The pressure is on! Shonnie Lavendar, Blog Coach, has asked me to tip her blog – My Blog Coach: Simplify the blog learning curve with coach Shonnie Lavender! I decided to hold off and do some reading on Shonnie’s site and I’m glad I did!

I don’t believe there is enough representation in social media of women and minorities. I’m not an equal opportunity blogger, I simply think that if we’re truly going to learn from one other, then we need adequate representation of folks. I’m glad to see women like Shonnie out there with a strong presence. I’m also thrilled that organizations like BlogHer are around – an organization that Shonnie represents well!

It would also be hopeless for me to say anything about Shonnie’s content. The style of the posts, chunking of content, and use of bold, font, quotes, blockquotes, bulleted lists… wow, all perfect. I’m going to be following Shonnie’s blog to pick up tips and tricks on writing better content and displaying it well.

Here are your Blog Tips:

  1. I like most of the style of your site. It wasn’t until I reached your About page that I really saw your personality, though. The signature is a great idea! It shows personality. If you’ve gotten to read any of my posts, I think a personal picture is worth a thousand posts (doh!). That said, I got a little confused looking at your header image. I wasn’t sure if what it was representative of.

    I had some Photoshop and Illustrator fun at your expense! Let me know what you think!

    Before:
    Shonnie Header - Before

    After (Click to See Full Size and Download):

    Shonnie Header - After

    UPDATE: Shonnie made a much better selection!

    I selected an image of a Bridge as representation of the journey you will be taking your readers on. I used the entire width of your content to really bring out the colors and image. You may experiment with actually putting your blog title above this rather than below it. As well, you could probably put this behind your page tabs…. just thinking out loud!

  2. Next thing I noticed was the title of the page was “Expert tips to improve your blog (for free)”. Using the post title as a page title is brilliant! You might want to follow it up with “by My Blog Coach, Shonnie Lavendar”. That will help the search engines associate your content, your name, and your passion!
  3. You have a robots.txt file in the base of your blog directory, blogcoach… but I’m not sure it’s really helping you. You might want to put a robots.txt file in the base of your root directory and be sure to add a path to your sitemap in it:
    sitemap: http://shonnielavender.com/blogcoach/sitemap.xml
    You have a sitemap in your blogcoach directory but how a search engine find it?!
  4. Brilliant use of Related Posts and Latest Posts. I would recommend moving your Latest Posts up your sidebar underneath your Subscribe information, though. Remember that most folks won’t land on your home page, they’ll find an article through a search engine and land on one of your post pages. If you look to the left, most of the time your Latest Posts fall down well below the end of the article. I’d recommend putting it in line with folks’ field of vision.
  5. Your theme is well built. I would recommend your Blog’s title be in an h1 heading tag, your posts be in an h2 heading tag… and you sprinkle your subheadings in your posts with h3 tags. Many SEO experts agree that Search Engines will index based on where and how you’re using heading tags! (But they also agree that h4 on has little or no impact.)
  6. I noticed some tiny fonts, especially in the sidebar. Although it fits aesthetically, I do wonder if visitors with huge resolutions and monitors may need to squint to see your content. Surprisingly enough, I remember when everyone was transitioning to smaller fonts. Now I’m noticing them moving to bigger fonts with much more whitespace. Copyblogger is an outstanding example. I personally increased my font sizes on my blog and, though I don’t have any proof, I do believe it improved the site.
  7. Folks naturally gravitate to white regions. Your layout background is entirely white. I think it may be worthwhile to test a slight background color on your sidebar and perhaps a design or background on your blog’s entire page background. Just food for thought! I don’t think it’s doing anything to hurt your blog, it’s just that if you want focus to be on your articles and not wandering off – then some slight differences in colors might help!

Thanks again for such an incredible opportunity. I feel like grasshopper trying to take the rock out of the master’s hand! I do hope you appreciate the feedback.

PS: Cool job on the feed forwarding! Was that a plugin or did you edit your htaccess file to automatically forward it to FeedBurner? I wish I had thought of that!

How to get your Blog Tipped

If you’d like your Blog Tipped, simply follow the directions on my Blog Tipping Post.

5 Comments

  1. 1

    OMG, another Blog Coach! I guess it’s time I raised the white flag and found another niche.

    Your posts have improved immensely Doug. Keep up the good work.

    …BB (the first blog coach 🙂

  2. 3

    Interesting read, Doug… I like especially your Photoshop header play with the photo of the bridge… Although I work 99% of the time in Adobe Fireworks, I still do avow that PS is also a great tool 🙂

  3. 4
    • 5

      It’s an investment in readers, Clive. It’s time consuming – and I’m sure worthy of charging – but I’m simply working to drum up some exposure for my blog.

      And it’s working!

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