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Free Blog Review – IlianaLola.com

Iliana runs the blog IlianaLola.com, and has requested a free blog review.

Let’s take a look at her blog that deals with internet marketing tips and tricks, and see how it can be improved.

Free Blog Review of IlianaLola.com

Free Blog Review of IlianaLola.com

 

First Impressions

  • The widget displaying the latest posts along with the image is good – it immediately draws attention to the latest blog posts.
  • The logo is completely blending in with the background of the header. Please consider redesigning it so that it has some contrast with the background.
  • Same for the top menu – it blends in with the dark background. Please consider changing the font color to White or some other light color.
  • The Google AdSense ad unit in the header makes your site look unprofessional and spammy. Consider changing it to a image-only ad.

 

Content Sharing Options

You have good content sharing and subscription options in place in the sidebar. These appear on all the pages, so its easy to share your posts.

The sharing buttons at the bottom of the posts see too cramped. Consider reducing these to just 4-5 popular sites, and make them bigger.

 

Social Proof

You do not have any social proof on your blog. Why should people listed to your advice? Give them a reason.

Social ProofConsider placing a Facebook widget which shows your fans and the fan count. Also consider including chicklets showing your RSS subscriber count ad your Twitter follower count.

You also have an ebook for sale – you can place some customer testimonials in the sidebar below the e-book picture.

Have your articles been published in mainstream media or on other blogs? Consider putting their logo / links to them in the sidebar with a heading “This blog has been featured on:“. (You can start by linking to this review!)

 

Capturing Email Address

You are not capturing the email addresses of your visitors – you are leaving a LOT of money on the table. (Please see “Email List – Why Do You Need It For Your Blog?” for more).

Place an email opt-in form above the fold in the sidebar (maybe just above the search box). Offer an ethical bribe to people for providing their name and email ID.

One idea – you can give away first 1 or 2 chapters of your ebook to whoever opts in to your email list. That way, you would get email subscribers. Plus, if they like what they see, they would come back and buy your book!

 

Site Navigation

You have good site navigation – the category menu at the top makes it easy to see what the blog has to offer, and it is easy to reach any section of the blog.

However, the category list in the sidebar seems repetitive and unnecessary. Consider removing it, and having the list of latest or best posts instead of it.

Also, do you really need the “Meta” links in the sidebar? They make your blog look amateurish, so remove it unless you absolutely need it.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The homepage has a proper title, description and keywords in place, which is good. The posts also have their individual titles, descriptions and keywords.

The posts have good headings ad sub headings, which is good both for SEO and readability. It results in a good user experience, which is good for everyone!

Try to have more descriptive alt text for your images.

 

Monetization

You have only one Google AdSense ad unit, and it is in the header. This is not a position that has been known to perform the best.

Monetizing Your BlogConsider placing ad units within the post – you can have one in the middle of the post, and one at the end. These are the positions that give the maximum clickthroughs, and therefore the maximum earnings.

You have an ebook for sale, but it gets hidden ion the sidebar. You need to highlight it in some way, so that it draws people’s attention to it.

 

Conclusion

I sincerely hope that you benefited from reading this honest blog review and the recommendations. Please treat the advise as constructive criticism that can help you make your blog better.

Do you have any recommendations for Iliana? Have I left out anything? Please let us know through your comments!

If you think you have benefited by this free blog review, please consider buying me a coffee or two. It would make me smile, and would help keep this free review service going!

This review is provided as a part of my free blog review service, and draws from my experience of running 20+ blogs. You can request a free review of your blog here.

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for your honest review, it helped me understood a lot of things about how others view my blog. I already made some changes and I am thinking about a few more.

    I agree that having categories on the side bar was too much, so I removed this and I added the pages of my site, which are a bit difficult to find due to their color. I also removed the Google ads from the header and I am thinking to leave it as is for now.

    Ad units within the post have higher clickthrough, but I think that they are annoying for the reader, so I am thinking for other monetization ways.

    You mentioned that the sharing options were too cramped, so I changed them. I think now it is much better.

    I thought that you are probably right for the social proof, so I added a Facebook widget.

    From the other hand, I am very surprised that you mentioned that I need to capture email addresses. I have installed a footer slider as well as a pop up about my newsletter. As a gift to my subscribers I give an ebook that I wrote, the “Natural link building secret weapon”.

    I have written many guest posts and articles and I am thinking about your suggestion to add a link back to them, but I have some second thoughts. If I do that, then my backlinks from those sites will not be any more one way links. It will be something like link exchange, something that will get penalized after the upcoming Google update.

    Thank again for this honest review and I am open to any more suggestions that you or your readers may have.

    • WordPress How To Blog says:

      Hi Iliana,

      Thanks for your detailed comment – I am glad you found it helpful.

      I am sorry about the email capture suggestion. When I cleared the cookies for the browser and reloaded your page, I did see a popup and a footer bar asking for the email ID. So yes, you are doing well there as well.

      I agree that ads within the posts can be annoying – so if you have a strong and vocal user community that is not used to seeing ads, it ca get tricky!

      You also have a good point about links not being one-way. But Google treats each page as a separate entity. If you have a link to a page on your site, and your link to the other site is from another page, you should be fine.

      So you can have a separate page (say, Media Mentions or “My Blog Featured At”) where you have links to all the blogs & sites mentioning you. Since they would not have linked to this particular page, the links would still be counted as one way. What do you say?

      BTW, the blog is looking much better after the changes you have made. The post sharing links at the bottom of the posts are awesome – and its a bonus that they appear on the homepage below the excerpts as well! I hope you hear nice things from your readers as well :-)

  2. Thank for your reply.

    I have also thought about that new page with all the sites that mention my blog and I will do it asap.

    Thanks again :)

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