A while back, I joined a program at Business BlogWire, called SOAP. SOAP is an acronym for Scratch One Another Program. (I don’t like the acronym since SOAP is also an acronym for Simple Object Access Protocol, a means of communicating with XML between web servers. Sorry about the geek digression).
The person assigned to my website was Tully from LOGICaL eMOTIONs. Tully did a fantastic job in evaluating my blog and his feedback led me to make some major changes, even rebranding the entire blog. Those changes have paid off, my traffic is up considerably. I wrote about Tully’s post and feedback here.
Tully joked about being intimidated because my blog readership was significantly higher and I speak (and even consult) about blogging. That’s ironic because I believe blogging is all about the readers… not the writers. Tully’s feedback would honestly be more important to me than getting a review from an A-lister because he’s bringing such a fresh perspective. Listen to your readers! (Imagine that!!!).
So now it’s my turn. I was assigned to SOAP Sham Perera at Enhance Life, a blog about personal development tips. Sham would like tips on how to increase comments and how to get more “diggs” – adding, “Basically, anything that would improve my blog!”. So here we go…
Who Are You?
The reason I love blogging is because of the personal touch of a blog. Bloggers don’t prescript their work and often their personality comes out in their writing. When I find myself on a new blog and I read that first post, I usually click the ‘About’ page to learn more about the person behind it. If it’s a professional blog, I want to know more about your credentials and experience.
If it’s an inspirational blog, such as Enhance Life, I want to know more about who you are, why you’re writing the blog, and what your ultimate goals are. I’d also love to see a photo! Putting a face to a name to a blog is really important.
Shamelle, your site has all of the necessary content but I think it’s a little disorganized. Your left sidebar has a mix of post information and search. Your right sidebar has RSS (way too big!), subscriptions, more post information, and some additional ‘stuff’. Search, RSS and Email Subscriptions are action oriented tools for your subscribers. Try relocating them to a single area that is easy to find (perhaps top right sidebar).
In your left sidebar, try organizing the post and content information. This will provide a single alignment of content related information for your readers to easily find. Currently, the organization of your content in your sidebars makes me look left and right and back again… I can’t predict where something might be. Usability is an important factor in a website and a blog is still a website.
I love seeing themes that people have personalized and it’s great that you’ve done so with your blog. The actual content of your posts doesn’t take prominence over the sidebars, though. Perhaps a little more space between your sidebars and your main content. Or perhaps putting your sidebars together on one side or the other. Or even widening your main content… anything so that the content you’re writing takes precedence. This is, after all, the core of your blog and it should look that way.
I’m a visual guy (can you tell?) so I also like your use of photos to visualize your content. There is opportunity to improve the look and feel though… your theme is serene except for that big ass RSS button and the photos. You may want to try to sample some CSS tricks for the images… putting a slight border around them or even a drop shadow. I think a slight double-border with use of your header graphic colors would really stand out.
Where is everyone?
You mentioned both comments and getting “diggs” in your request. Quite honestly, I would not worry about getting “dugg”. I’ve been dugg a few times and it truly believe it hurt more than helped. A couple reasons:
- Very few people actually stuck around. My site readership bounced right back to ‘pre-digg’ stages.
- It wreaked havoc on my site, each time burying my site in so much traffic that I struggled to try to get it back up. I don’t know how Blogger performs when that occurs, but I’m guessing it doesn’t fare to well, either.
- A digg doesn’t bring any credibility with it. Trackbacks do. Look forward to inspiring other bloggers to write about your posts and you’ll get much more attention in the long run.
I’ve also found quite a few articles that support the fact that aside from a couple of really high traffic sites, no one uses social bookmarking links. You may want to just drop those… if someone loves your post and they want to put you on a site like Digg or Reddit, they will!
I apologize ahead of time if I’m wrong, but I also don’t see your name anywhere else on the net. Are you commenting on other blogs? If you expect folks to comment on your blog, I hope you’re doing the same on their blogs. Are you referencing other blogs in your blog posts? I don’t see too many references outside of your blog. Bloggers like helping bloggers that like helping bloggers!
You may also want to join in a community like MyBlogLog… it’s pretty cool seeing the same friendly faces on the sidebar each day. I’d encourage you to read these tips as well… I think they may be applicable to what you’re looking for.
Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with, Sham. I really enjoyed reading your posts for the last month and apologize for waiting so long to respond! Hopefully it was worth while!