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Top 5 Recommendations for

Posted By Skellie 18th of February 2008 Case Studies 0 Comments

It’s time to summarize and consolidate over 10,000 words worth of advice and suggestions given to as part of our community consultation program. While there’s a great depth of knowledge to be mined from the comments on the launch post, I want to highlight the top five most common recommendations here.

Before we start, I’d like to congratulate Jim Goldstein for winning our 1,700 StumbleUpon visitor prize for the best review. It’s no surprise — Jim is a web marketing strategist and was kind enough to share his recommendations for free.

Here were the top 5 recommendations made by the ProBlogger readers who critiqued

1. More gripping content presentation

The most frequently mentioned feature of the blog was the ultra-short and image-free post-excerpts on the main page. Many readers felt that this made it difficult for them to become hooked by a post before deciding to click through. The lack of images also contributed to what a number of readers felt was a design without enough visual interest.

It seems that the blog operates on the WordPress platform, which makes this problem easy to fix. Switch to using full posts on the main page and insert a ‘More’ tag in posts to excerpt them where you like. This will allow you to insert the ‘More’ tag at a natural segueway, allow images to appear in the excerpt and prevent post previews trailing off at random points with an ellipsis. Having images on the main page will also help to add more visual interest.

2. More visual interest

Many readers also felt the blog didn’t excite their eyes or grab their attention enough, some using the word “clinical” to describe it. While I do think image-enabled post excerpts will help with this issue, other possibilities include:

  • Adding another color or shade to the site.
  • Using more interesting typography and bigger headlines.
  • Adding more graphical elements to the design.
  • Experimenting with a more lively theme.

3. Adding more professionalism

A number of readers were disappointed to see irrelevant links in the footer of the site, some of which link to low-quality webpages. Needless to say, links to adult and poker websites do not lend a business blog any degree of professionalism, even if they are hidden in a footer.

Proofreading mistakes were identified by several readers and seemed to inform the way they saw the authority of the site. I think a few slip-ups are inevitable but if it’s a regular problem it might be worth getting someone else to go over posts before publishing. Sometimes there’s nothing like a fresh set of eyes to spot mistakes.

4. Emphasizing key points in posts

A few readers felt that the content wasn’t effective enough in emphasizing key points and gripping scanners with sub-headings and so on. Dividing separate ideas with H3 or H2 sub-headings is good for readability and good for SEO. Bolding key sentences and using italics to emphasize certain words and phrases can also help add a gripping texture to each post.

5. Improving the header

These key points were recommended for improving the header element of the site:

  • A more vibrant logo. The current logo, while professional-looking, is very similar to the rest of the theme in terms of color. It’s not very eye-catching.
  • A punchier tag-line. A number of readers felt the blog’s tag-line, while descriptive, was too bloated to be read ‘at a glance’ (the way most readers consume tag-lines).
  • The subscription buttons are hidden. It’s great that there are subscriptions icons high up on the page, but they’re so well-blended as to avoid grabbing attention. I’d suggest adding bigger subscribe icons between the header and ‘About’ box — which is broken in IE.

Concluding thoughts

Overall, ProBlogger readers felt offered well-written and useful content but felt the site’s lack of visual interest made it seem unremarkable at first glance. Best of luck to Brandi and Tim in sorting through the advice and deciding on some changes!

You can send an application to Darren if you’d like your blog featured and reviewed at ProBlogger for $250. Click to get more information on our community blog consulting services.

  • Pretty good summary. I hope that MarketMe take this on board and make some improvements. If they could come back and let us know in a few months time how the changes have improved their readership it would be great. After all this is the whole point of the consultation.

    I have really enjoyed the community consultation projects.

  • Great post! My blog could do with more punchline in the header.

    I haven’t had the chance to really personalise my logo quite to my liking yet.

  • Hey Darren,

    Please pardon my ignorance if you’ve already addressed this question, but I was wondering if there was a ‘end date’ to get reviews in by. I think it would be helpful to know how long we have to get our comments in.

    Hafiz Dhanani

  • Hey Darren,

    Please pardon my ignorance if you’ve already addressed this question, but I was wondering if there was a ‘end date’ to get reviews in by. I think it would be helpful to know how long we had to get our comments in.

    Hafiz Dhanani

  • MR

    I agree with the visual stuff. It needs more color.

  • I’d like to personally thank everyone who gave advice and participated in our review. We plan on making several changes based on the feedback we received. I’m planning on documenting our changes with before and afters to make it easier to distinguish what changes have been made.

  • Great summary – I am in agreement with it completely. It is a well-written blog, and will do wonderfully with these new modifications. *=)

  • Visual interest is the most important part of each blog. I like when I see beautiful pictures, and I need 5 seconds to say do I like that page.Great recommendations.

  • Dhaval Jani

    I lost :( owweeeyy owweeey…

  • How’s this for a punchy tagline:
    “Hacking the human race!”

    Too punchy?

  • I have only started my own blog about a month ago and this is new to me, but I would change a number of things about this blog. First, as was previously discussed, the color scheme could be better. More contrast in the text, background, sections. Also, the tag cloud (is that what it’s called?) looks tacked on to the bottom, I would move it to a more prominent location, or lose it.

  • Great review there guys :)
    Hope all kinds of suggestions are taken into consideration by the owner to improve the site. And congrats to Jim for winning it.

  • Marketme has great content. But one common recommendation that I would also like to focus is the “Visual Interest” to grab your readers. I’m sure with a little more effort in design and proper content placement will definitely be a great help.


  • I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to stop by the blog and give us their advice. While it was difficult at times, it has been well worth it. I would definitely recommend the consult for anyone that wants to make sure they are on the right track with their blog.

    Congratulations to Jim Goldstein for winning the contest.

  • yap I agree with the visual stuffs but the logo is good. It suits the blog theme