Please Critique My Blog

18 replies
Hey everyone,

I have a blog in the dog market that I've been working on for a while. I hadn't posted on it for a while until today. I would really like it if you could give me some ideas on improving it.

I think the text is too close together. The only problem with changing it would be I would have to go back through all the posts and change each one. Maybe not though. I guess I could just start with the next post and double space it. What do you think of that?

I am also getting ready to put an opt-in box on it to build a list. The whole thing is that I just want to improve it so it looks better. Traffic is pretty good so I'm not too worried about that. Anyway, ANY suggestions would help. The link is in my sig. Thanks a million!

By the way I haven't started to monetize it yet. I plan on doing that soon, so I realize that should be something that needs to be done also.
#blog #critique
  • Profile picture of the author Jacob Hargreave
    Originally Posted by scrofford View Post

    Hey everyone,

    I have a blog in the dog market that I've been working on for a while. I hadn't posted on it for a while until today. I would really like it if you could give me some ideas on improving it.

    I think the text is too close together. The only problem with changing it would be I would have to go back through all the posts and change each one. Maybe not though. I guess I could just start with the next post and double space it. What do you think of that?

    I am also getting ready to put an opt-in box on it to build a list. The whole thing is that I just want to improve it so it looks better. Traffic is pretty good so I'm not too worried about that. Anyway, ANY suggestions would help. The link is in my sig. Thanks a million!

    By the way I haven't started to monetize it yet. I plan on doing that soon, so I realize that should be something that needs to be done also.

    All in all the blog looks fine. Your spacing is fine, as I it is a personal peeve of mine to see words scrunched together. Although the overall design is good there just seems to be something missing from the page (Mostly due to the lack of product and service recommendations).

    Do you plan on monetizing the blog soon? The content you have is great, all very relevant issues dog lovers are looking for so I don't see why they wouldn't take a product recommendation from you.
    Signature

    Jacob Hargreave at your service...

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986091].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by Jacob Hargreave View Post

      All in all the blog looks fine. Your spacing is fine, as I it is a personal peeve of mine to see words scrunched together. Although the overall design is good there just seems to be something missing from the page (Mostly due to the lack of product and service recommendations).

      Do you plan on monetizing the blog soon? The content you have is great, all very relevant issues dog lovers are looking for so I don't see why they wouldn't take a product recommendation from you.
      Thanks Jacob! Yes I'm going to be monetizing it soon. I just wanted to get the content built up before I did anything like that, and I think it's getting to the point of doing that soon. I really appreciate telling me what you think!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986124].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jt808
    Looks great. I like that plugin that tells me how long it should take me to read the post. Very neat!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986316].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author mikereisinger
      A good start. What is the name of that plugin anyway?
      Signature

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986335].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author webtwilight
    Your site looks good, keep up the good work.
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986367].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Hey,

    As everybody said, it's a good start. Here are three things to take it to the next level:

    1. The magic touch: Your content is good. However, it lacks personality.

    You have to understand that what you are really selling is YOU.

    It appears you're passionate about this topic. So the more they see you, the more they will like the information.

    You need to connect more with you readers,

    It takes time to develop a voice, so I'm sure it will come out more in time.

    Think about it this way: Look at doubleyourdating.com . What you want is to become the equivalent of that in the dog world.

    2. Story time: You need to add more stories. Was it a crazy twist of fate that made you love dogs?

    Share some stories about how you learnt what you know the hard way.

    This will help readers see that it's possible for them to get results. You'll be surprised how often people think good advice won't work for them.
    Show them your past mistakes! You'll make it easier for them to believe they can do it too.

    3. Sexy excerpts: The excerpts of your posts could be stronger. I think right now you're just pulling the first few sentences.

    The same thing goes for your titles. They are OK but most of them don't make anyone anxious to read more.

    Think more in terms of benefits.

    For example:
    Instead of:
    "Dealing with Your Dog’s Excessive Barking" (OK)

    try:

    "Secrets to a good night's sleep even when your dog is up"

    or

    "How to stop your dog from waking you up every night"

    All the best!
    Signature
    "Those who can - DO IT. Those who can't, say it's impossible."
    Jean Paul a.k.a AdwordsMogul
    PHPDevelopers.net - Top of the range PHP developers

    Easy Link Saver - Are you tired of the pain of constantly searching for your affiliate links? ( Chrome extension - FREE )
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986448].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      The content is good. The appearance, not so.

      Visiting the home page, other than 'dogs' I have no idea what the site is about, who you are, etc. Looks like one of a million spam blogs. But I doubt too many will get to your site via the home page.

      Looking at one of the posts, 10 housetraining mistakes, where the title may draw someone in from a search engine:

      - Appears as if the text is in two different fonts. Or sizes. Or justifications. Something is off. It is very odd and hard to read.

      - Graphics would help a lot to break up the text. Right now it is a huge mass of words. Even if I was interested, I literally cannot read this because of the different fonts.

      On my huge monitor the top graphic is stretched out and doesn't look too good.

      But I do like the videos you have chosen and how they work together. Video, instead of a graphic, could be added to the blog posts.

      "Dogs" is a very generic topic. But it looks like the content is very good and not taken from article directories. IMHO, spend more time on the appearance so that visitors will want to read the content.

      I'm also going to disagree with some of what 'mogul' wrote. Although it would be helpful to have a better feel up front for who is behind the site, I do not see this as selling "you" at all.

      Rather, the visitor could care less who Steve is. I don't see this is a 'warm and fuzzy' personal blog where someone comes back every week to read about your latest adventures with your dog.

      They just want to know how to keep their new puppy from peeing on the rug because it's stinking up the house.

      So I do agree with moguls comments about spicing up the titles and posts.

      This won't survive as another generic dog blog. 10 housetraining tips ... Good. Stop your pupply from peeing on your rug this week with these 10 housetraining tips - better.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986541].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author scrofford
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        The content is good. The appearance, not so.

        Visiting the home page, other than 'dogs' I have no idea what the site is about, who you are, etc. Looks like one of a million spam blogs. But I doubt too many will get to your site via the home page.

        Looking at one of the posts, 10 housetraining mistakes, where the title may draw someone in from a search engine:

        - Appears as if the text is in two different fonts. Or sizes. Or justifications. Something is off. It is very odd and hard to read.

        - Graphics would help a lot to break up the text. Right now it is a huge mass of words. Even if I was interested, I literally cannot read this because of the different fonts.

        On my huge monitor the top graphic is stretched out and doesn't look too good.

        But I do like the videos you have chosen and how they work together. Video, instead of a graphic, could be added to the blog posts.

        "Dogs" is a very generic topic. But it looks like the content is very good and not taken from article directories. IMHO, spend more time on the appearance so that visitors will want to read the content.

        I'm also going to disagree with some of what 'mogul' wrote. Although it would be helpful to have a better feel up front for who is behind the site, I do not see this as selling "you" at all.

        Rather, the visitor could care less who Steve is. I don't see this is a 'warm and fuzzy' personal blog where someone comes back every week to read about your latest adventures with your dog.

        They just want to know how to keep their new puppy from peeing on the rug because it's stinking up the house.

        So I do agree with moguls comments about spicing up the titles and posts.

        This won't survive as another generic dog blog. 10 housetraining tips ... Good. Stop your pupply from peeing on your rug this week with these 10 housetraining tips - better.
        Excellent feedback! Thank you so much! I checked the text you were talking about and it seems fine in my browser although that doesn't mean it's fine in others, so I am going to have to deal with that.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986566].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

      Hey,

      As everybody said, it's a good start. Here are three things to take it to the next level:

      1. The magic touch: Your content is good. However, it lacks personality.

      You have to understand that what you are really selling is YOU.

      It appears you're passionate about this topic. So the more they see you, the more they will like the information.

      You need to connect more with you readers,

      It takes time to develop a voice, so I'm sure it will come out more in time.

      Think about it this way: Look at doubleyourdating.com . What you want is to become the equivalent of that in the dog world.

      2. Story time: You need to add more stories. Was it a crazy twist of fate that made you love dogs?

      Share some stories about how you learnt what you know the hard way.

      This will help readers see that it's possible for them to get results. You'll be surprised how often people think good advice won't work for them.
      Show them your past mistakes! You'll make it easier for them to believe they can do it too.

      3. Sexy excerpts: The excerpts of your posts could be stronger. I think right now you're just pulling the first few sentences.

      The same thing goes for your titles. They are OK but most of them don't make anyone anxious to read more.

      Think more in terms of benefits.

      For example:
      Instead of:
      "Dealing with Your Dog's Excessive Barking" (OK)

      try:

      "Secrets to a good night's sleep even when your dog is up"

      or

      "How to stop your dog from waking you up every night"

      All the best!
      Great feedback! Thank you! A lot of what you said like with personality and sharing stories and sexy experts I realize. I am going to start implementing that right away. I really appreciate what you said!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986546].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Oh, and your head banner makes your site look unprofessional because the picture is stretched out.
    Signature
    "Those who can - DO IT. Those who can't, say it's impossible."
    Jean Paul a.k.a AdwordsMogul
    PHPDevelopers.net - Top of the range PHP developers

    Easy Link Saver - Are you tired of the pain of constantly searching for your affiliate links? ( Chrome extension - FREE )
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986466].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author vivaarturo
    what is your monetization strategy?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986793].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Sheryl Polomka
    The first thing I notice is the post headings - they are huge. This is an Artisteer theme right? I wonder if you can change it so the box around the heading is only around the heading and not the date - that box is huge! The headings are huge. I like the theme, I just don't like the big headings.

    Also the text, I'm guessing this might be Arial. It seems a bit big to me too which makes it a little hard to read. I don't know if it's just Arial at this size but it does seem to all blend in together and is difficult to read.

    Jarracada Hunter Rhodesian Ridgeback this is a blog I just created using an Artisteer theme. My font is Arial size 12 and to me it looks a lot easier to read.

    Other than the heading size and the text size (also the text in the sidebar is big) everything else I really like!
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986851].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Sarah S
      First of all, I love the name Caninesavvy! It's more memorable and creative than a generic domain name, so kudos on that.

      I agree that cleaning up the header so that the image isn't stretched out will make a big difference. It's the first thing that people see, and it's your chance to make a good first impression. Along those lines- and this might even be too "nit-picky", but- it seems like the dog in the top banner is really sad! Maybe something a bit more friendly or humorous would be cute and add a nice touch.

      I'd also love to see some more graphics and photos to spruce up the blog posts a bit. I don't think that it's necessary for every article to have a picture, but it does make the page look more interesting and inviting. You could also add related videos to the actual blog posts. For example, a post like "Bathing Your Dog the Right Way" could have an accompanying video to demonstrate the methods discussed in the article.

      There are lots of ways that you could monetize this site, and I know you said that's not your focus yet, but I actually think that adding some more personal touches could help once you get to that point. If people know and trust you as a dog expert, then they'll be more likely to buy the products you recommend. I don't know if you have a dog of your own, but if you do, I'd definitely include stories and examples from your real life! Those kinds of posts can still be very informative, but they are even more entertaining to read, and will keep people coming back. You can also use this approach when recommending dog products and supplies, and include links to Amazon. If your readers know you've tried a certain dog shampoo or carrying crate, they'll be more likely to want to try it themselves based on your recommendation. (Of course, you can also include Adsense, Clickbank products, etc. for monetization.)

      Lastly, I actually got a kick out of your "Cool Links" section- especially Yogi the Pug! I'd add more things like that, like links to interesting videos, articles, or products, because they give an extra touch of personality and fun. You could also get your readers on board and have them submit their cool links to be included or featured on the site.

      It seems like you're off to a good start, so just keep going with it! Good luck!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3987075].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by Sheryl Polomka View Post

      The first thing I notice is the post headings - they are huge. This is an Artisteer theme right? I wonder if you can change it so the box around the heading is only around the heading and not the date - that box is huge! The headings are huge. I like the theme, I just don't like the big headings.

      Also the text, I'm guessing this might be Arial. It seems a bit big to me too which makes it a little hard to read. I don't know if it's just Arial at this size but it does seem to all blend in together and is difficult to read.

      Jarracada Hunter Rhodesian Ridgeback this is a blog I just created using an Artisteer theme. My font is Arial size 12 and to me it looks a lot easier to read.

      Other than the heading size and the text size (also the text in the sidebar is big) everything else I really like!
      Sheryl, I really like what you did with building that blog in Artisteer! Yes the text is Arial. I think it might be too big too, and may try to change it in the future, but have had problems with changing out the text when I tried to add more space between the lines. Anyway, thanks for your comments!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3987137].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author PatriciaS
    I like your blog a lot! The content is different from what I'd expect and I'd like to sa6 from what I'm used to, but I'm not really used to canine blogs. I like it (to repeat myself).

    What I didn't like was the stretched out heading. The poor doggie looks ill, and it makes me feel kind of under the weather myself as I get ready to read. The other thing is that you need a proofreader to help you with punctuation and possibly other fine point of writing. Not terrible, but it should be top notch. Your very first sentence:

    Dogs like humans need the proper nutrients in their food in order to stay healthy and have a lot of energy.

    should be:

    Dogs, like humans, need the proper nutrients in their food in order to stay healthy and have a lot of energy.

    Or you could use the more casual double hyphen instead of commas:

    Dogs -- like humans -- need the proper nutrients in their food in order to stay healthy and have a lot of energy.

    You could finesse your copy elsewhere in other ways, but I wanted to give you an example.

    Again: I LIKE IT!

    Patricia
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3986974].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author scrofford
    UPDATE: I just changed the theme completely. I tried changing some of the text but am having problems with it looking right. I don't know what the problem is but I think from here on out I'll post with more space between each line. Again thanks for all of your comments and advice! It really helps! Go check it out now!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3987128].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Claire Sharp
    Great start! Just little fixing on the banner. Your site should be professionally look so do some repair.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3987194].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author scrofford
    Any other comments on what I did with updating and fixing my site would be appreciated! Thanks!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[3987536].message }}

Trending Topics