Blogging experts, critique this please

by Midas3 Consulting 11 replies
Ok, so this isn't my "thang" but a friend and colleague of mine wanted to go down the blog route so I put this together for him :

The Brinkzone Blog - Bodybuilding , Fat Loss , Health & Fitness

I've added all the normal SEO plugins, social bookmarking plug ins. I've given away free content if people signup, I've added RSS, I've added links for "about this blog", "about the author" , I've added personalisation elements such as headshots.

I've added a great big list of ping sites in the ping list which I got from Niche Marketing on Crack.Basically everything in my limited knowledge of Blogs, is there anything critical I've missed?

He's managed to get over 3,200 subscribers now in a few weeks, so I figure I did something right but I'm after any feedback or suggestions from Blogging Warrior experts as to If I'm missing anything, if the layout etc could be better, any plugs ins I'm missing etc.

The guy who I made this for is not interested in pushing any monetary benefits from the blog, hence the reason it's not covered in adverts, and he has no wish to do so other than a simple plug for his e-books.

I've got him to go and sign up at all the popular social sites, digg etc and every time he posts he then adds the posts to those sites.

Is there anything obvious he should be doing daily and anything obvious I should add to the site to help him achieve more traffic to it organically.

You will see all the posts by him, have a h2 tag included and also a TITLE tag in addition to the post title, all down to various SEO Plugins.


Cheers

SH
#main internet marketing discussion forum #blogging #critique #experts
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  • Ok 80 views, no responses, I'll take that to mean it's ok and the basics are correct.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Hunter
    Originally Posted by SimonHarrison View Post

    Ok, so this isn't my "thang" but a friend and colleague of mine wanted to go down the blog route so I put this together for him :

    The Brinkzone Blog - Bodybuilding , Fat Loss , Health & Fitness

    I've added all the normal SEO plugins, social bookmarking plug ins. I've given away free content if people signup, I've added RSS, I've added links for "about this blog", "about the author" , I've added personalisation elements such as headshots.
    Nice. The site looks good. Looks a little small in my browser. You should view your stats to see what the most common screen resolution is that your viewers are using and accomodate the content to that.

    I've added a great big list of ping sites in the ping list which I got from Niche Marketing on Crack.Basically everything in my limited knowledge of Blogs, is there anything critical I've missed?
    You can always add more ping lists. Also, what RSS directories have you submitted the feed to?

    He's managed to get over 3,200 subscribers now in a few weeks, so I figure I did something right but I'm after any feedback or suggestions from Blogging Warrior experts as to If I'm missing anything, if the layout etc could be better, any plugs ins I'm missing etc.
    The best way to help you with this is for you to list the plug-ins that you're using. This gives us an idea of what plug-ins you should add.

    I can see right now that it would help if you had a Related Posts plug-in, an Ajax comment editor so that the comments, when published, don't reload the whole page,

    The guy who I made this for is not interested in pushing any monetary benefits from the blog, hence the reason it's not covered in adverts, and he has no wish to do so other than a simple plug for his e-books.
    If that's the case, then may I suggest that he make more of his URLs in the posts keyword links to his products? Anytime that he mentions fat loss or weight loss or whatever he's targeting, I would suggest that he makes those words links to his various products. See what I'm saying?

    I've got him to go and sign up at all the popular social sites, digg etc and every time he posts he then adds the posts to those sites.
    Good. That'll help.

    Is there anything obvious he should be doing daily and anything obvious I should add to the site to help him achieve more traffic to it organically. You will see all the posts by him, have a h2 tag included and also a TITLE tag in addition to the post title, all down to various SEO Plugins.
    I'm not really sure what you're wanting to know here.

    Are you wanting to know if the site looks good?

    Are you wanting to know more ways to get traffic?

    Are you wanting to know what plug-ins you should be using?

    Please clarify these issues and I may be able to help some more.

    Thanks!
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    Ok, sure. You can follow me on Twitter - http://twitter.com/Chris_Hunter ;)

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    • Howdy

      Can you be more specific when you say :

      Looks a little small in my browser.
      Do you mean , the text is to small, the graphics, what do you mean by "to small" ?

      RSS is a mystery to me, I simply went to Feedburner and signed him up to an account, is there a place I should submit his RSS to ? Got a list / link ?

      I like the idea of a "related posts" plug in, I'll get on that one today, I'll also take a look at an Ajax version of the comments box, do you have the link to either of those plugins save me searching..

      Re adding more links to his products, I did suggest that but he's not interested, I know it's not common but this guy has no interest in the sell sell sell - he's more than happy to just provide quality information, that's what he's about, money is not an issue from this blog, it's just about building an audience and building an even stronger reputation wbich he does via providing quality free information, the blog is not about making money at all.

      I'm not really sure what you're wanting to know here.

      Are you wanting to know if the site looks good?

      Are you wanting to know more ways to get traffic?

      Are you wanting to know what plug-ins you should be using?

      Please clarify these issues and I may be able to help some more.
      I think all of the above:

      Does the site look good, I think yes it looks "ok" for his purposes, feedback has been good generally, it's not a graphical masterpiece but It doesn't really need to be.

      Yes more traffic would be of interest.

      Yes any beneficial plugins, I think you've suggested two already which I can see would be benficial, links to the downloads for the plugins would be handy.

      All in all, I'm just after general feedback on anything that could be improved to make the site more pleasing for users, and anyway to increase traffic to it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris Hunter
        [quote=SimonHarrison;58345]Do you mean , the text is to small, the graphics, what do you mean by "to small" ?[quote]

        I mean that with the screen resolution that I use on my laptop, all of the blog is in the center of my browser, so there is a lot of "dead" space on either side.

        This is why I said that you need to look at your analytics and see what screen resolution your readers are using. If they're using a high screen resolution like me, either make the blog wider or allow the blog to autosize to the viewing size of the reader.

        RSS is a mystery to me, I simply went to Feedburner and signed him up to an account, is there a place I should submit his RSS to ? Got a list / link ?
        Try here first - Free RSS Submission Directories List

        Also, you can do a Google search for more info about that. Basically, you want to submit your RSS feed to as many of these directories as possible to help increase traffic.

        I like the idea of a "related posts" plug in, I'll get on that one today, I'll also take a look at an Ajax version of the comments box, do you have the link to either of those plugins save me searching..
        Here are some of the plug-ins that I use:
        AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget (drop-down) - Help your visitor promote your website or blog. Put the AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget on your site or blog, so any visitor can easily bookmark it. The widget works with all popular bookmarking services. By AddThis.com.

        AdSense Manager - Control and arrange your AdSense & Referral blocks on your Wordpress blog. With Widget and inline post support, configurable colours. By Martin Fitzpatrick.

        Akismet - Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need a WordPress.com API key to use it. You can review the spam it catches under “Comments.” To show off your Akismet stats just put <?php akismet_counter(); ?> in your template. See also: WP Stats plugin. By Matt Mullenweg.

        All in One SEO Pack - Out-of-the-box SEO for your Wordpress blog. By Michael Torbert.

        Comment Relish - Increases your readership and RSS subscription rate by simply sending a short ‘thank you’ relishing type message to users when they first comment on your weblog. By Justin Shattuck.

        FeedBurner FeedSmith - Originally authored by Steve Smith, this plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber. By FeedBurner.

        Google Analytics - This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics to your WordPress blog and/or your BBPress forum. By Rich Boakes.

        Google XML Sitemaps - This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO. Configuration Page By Arne Brachhold.

        Highlight Author Comments - Automatically applies a distinctive style to comments by the post’s author. By Rob Marsh, SJ.

        Identify External Links - Searches the text for links outside of the domain of the blog. To these, it adds class=”extlink” (and optionally, target=”_blank”). By Mark Jaquith.

        RSS Footer - Allows you to add a line of content to the end of your RSS feed articles. By Joost de Valk.

        Smart Update Pinger - Replaces the built-in ping/notify functionality. Pings only when publishing new posts, not when editing. By Christian Davén.

        Subscribe To Comments - Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry. Based on version 1 from Scriptygoddess By Mark Jaquith.

        What Would Seth Godin Do - Displays a custom welcome message to new visitors. By Richard K Miller.

        WordPress.com Stats - Tracks views, post/page views, referrers, and clicks. Requires a WordPress.com API key. By Andy Skelton.

        Wordpress Automatic Upgrade - Wordpress Automatic Upgrade allows a user to automatically upgrade the wordpress installation to the latest one provided by wordpress.org using the 5 steps provided in the wordpress upgrade instructions. Go to Wordpress Automatic Upgrade to upgrade your installation Thanks to Ronald Huereca for making the plugin run in automatic mode. By Keith Dsouza.

        wp-cache - Very fast cache module. It’s composed of several modules, this plugin can configure and manage the whole system. Once enabled, go to “Options” and select “WP-Cache”. By Ricardo Galli Granada.

        WP-ContactForm - WP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you. It can be implemented on a page or a post. It currently works with WordPress 2.0+. The plugin was originally developed by Ryan Duff but has been modified by Doug Karr to require a challenge question and response to fight spam as well as some other features. By Douglas Karr.

        WP-DBManager - Manages your Wordpress database. Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of database

        Re adding more links to his products, I did suggest that but he's not interested, I know it's not common but this guy has no interest in the sell sell sell - he's more than happy to just provide quality information, that's what he's about, money is not an issue from this blog, it's just about building an audience and building an even stronger reputation wbich he does via providing quality free information, the blog is not about making money at all.
        Well, if he wants to provide great info and get traffic as well, then article marketing seems to go hand in hand with this.

        And it's not hard to article market if you're already writing posts to your own blog. You can submit your own blog posts as articles to article directories as is as long as the directory know that it's your blog. I've seen many people do this, even at EzineArticles.com. If you do this, I would recommend that he use article directories as a way to target specific keywords to drive traffic to his site.

        Hope this helps!
        Signature

        Ok, sure. You can follow me on Twitter - http://twitter.com/Chris_Hunter ;)

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        • Profile picture of the author Chris Hunter
          Oh, and here's Ajax Comments - WordPress › AJAX Comments WordPress Plugins and Similar Posts - WordPress › Similar Posts WordPress Plugins

          Sorry about that!

          Hope that helps!
          Signature

          Ok, sure. You can follow me on Twitter - http://twitter.com/Chris_Hunter ;)

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          • Hi Chris

            Yes it does help, thanks, I am completely new to Blogging, so all the help is appreciated. I am actually running quite a number of the plugins you listed, social networking etc, although I restrict it to the individual post pages rather than the home page.

            I'm going to wade through each one of these today and get em implemented.

            Appreciate your time, I'll report back once we have more stuff added.

            Re layout, I went for this layout as I found it easier than those blogs spread wide across the full page, it's just preference, the author likes it as well, we tried full size, didn't like the way it looked.
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        • [quote=Chris Hunter;58406]
          Originally Posted by SimonHarrison View Post



          Try here first - Free RSS Submission Directories List

          Also, you can do a Google search for more info about that. Basically, you want to submit your RSS feed to as many of these directories as possible to help increase traffic.
          Quick one for you, I took a look at this list and say for example I take Technorati.

          Technorati: Ping

          Wouldn't entering the BLOG url in that box be exactly the same as what I have already setup in my ping list within Wordpress ?

          Because looking down that list a lot of them are already hardcoded into a massive list of sites I added within Wordpress on the built in ping list.
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          • Profile picture of the author Chris Hunter
            I'm not Technorati expert, to be honest.

            If you have a large ping list set up in your blog backbone, then you may not need to submit it to rss directories like the one that I listed. Your ping list will notify whoever your pinging on new content, but adding your site to RSS directories will help with traffic because people go to them to look for content.

            Experiment with it and see what it does for you. You can start small and see how it's working for you and based on that, either submit to more or stop altogether.

            You'll also want to submit the site to niche blog and rss directories (ones that focus on the topic of your blog).
            Signature

            Ok, sure. You can follow me on Twitter - http://twitter.com/Chris_Hunter ;)

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          • Smart Update Pinger - Replaces the built-in ping/notify functionality. Pings only when publishing new posts, not when editing. By Christian Davén.
            Bleeding heck, so the damm Blog publishes every time you make an edit, even if you only hit "save" not publish again ???

            Jeez, well see this is why your advice has been invaluable, I've already learnt something very important, I'll get this added asap.
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            • Profile picture of the author Chris Hunter
              Simon,

              Yes, and that's why you need this plug-in. The main reason for it is because you don't want your site to be considered a spam blog even thoug all you're doing is editing a post.
              Signature

              Ok, sure. You can follow me on Twitter - http://twitter.com/Chris_Hunter ;)

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              • Originally Posted by Chris Hunter View Post

                Simon,

                Yes, and that's why you need this plug-in. The main reason for it is because you don't want your site to be considered a spam blog even thoug all you're doing is editing a post.
                Absolutely, that was why I always told the site owner to just hit SAVE not publish each time, presuming SAVE would just save changes not republish.

                That seems like a rather stupid out of the box config to me from WordPress.

                I'm sorting about 5 of the plugins you suggested today.

                Thanks.
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