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Want to Win 1,700 Visitors? Review Vista Rewired

Posted By Skellie 11th of March 2008 Case Studies 0 Comments

This week’s community consultation of Vista Rewired gives you the chance to win something very good for your blog: 1,700 visitors! Leave a helpful review with some non-intuitive tips in your comment and you could win a stampede of 1,700 StumbleUpon users to your favorite post. If your content is good, those 1,700 visitors could grow into a much bigger traffic snowball as votes for your content pile up.

What we’re looking for: a thorough review of the blog answering all the questions below and containing some non-intuitive advice. That’s all you’ve got to do to be in the running. There will be only one winner.

UPDATE: Albert has offered a few prizes to sweeten the pot!

1. The Top 3 Reviews will win a sponsored link in the blog’s sidebar for one month. The blog is PR 5!
2. The runner-up review will win  500 visitors to their blog!

The blog’s owner, Albert, describes the blog like this:

Vista Rewired was designed to help Vista users get the full experience out of their operating system. There are numerous tutorials and tips to help them solve computer problems or make their life easier with Windows Vista. My ultimate goal is for the site to become the de facto site for Vista information.

The blog’s owner has asked for feedback on the following areas (you can answer one, some, or all questions):

  • How can I max monetization on my blog without filling it up with too many ads?
  • If you can, please tell me one thing my site is missing. (I don’t know if this question can be worded better.)
  • My returning visitors are less than 10%. Is this normal for a site such as mine? If no, how can I increase the rate of returning vistors other than writing more often?

And the standard five points:

  • Design — usability, visual appeal, readability, navigation.
  • Content — got an idea for a great viral post the blogger could write?
  • Promotion — how would you suggest the blogger promote the blog?
  • SEO — can you see areas for improvement?
  • Monetization — could this be done more effectively? Do you see any missed opportunities?

We look forward to your helpful and respectful advice. Good luck!

  1. Your existing AdWords ad flows to much into the article. It needs a bit of separation and definition.

    I don’t see any affiliate ads. There must be hundreds of affiliates that would work, everything from shareware, disaster recovery, IT, hosting, you name it. I like affiliate ads much better, and they pay well.

    Lastly, get some more visuals on the homepage. Screenshots would be nice. Something. A graphic for the RSS subscribe, and make the text a link, too!

    Good luck!

  2. Looks great! I’ll have to give it a try!

  3. Cool design, seo can be more effective and used. Other wise its not bad.
    Ads are to visible that means they don’t react very well with page layout…

  4. I run a similar blog (and subscribe to your feed as well!) and my return rate is about 18%, not sure how that compares to other blogs. I think one way to increase that number is to increase your RSS subscribers (easiest way to get them to return is to get them to want to know when you have a new post). I’m of the camp that believes subscribers are more important than page views as a measure of success. I noticed you have text under your Feedburner chicklet that says “Subscribe with RSS”, yet the text itself isn’t a hotlink. I’d make that a link for those that don’t realize they’re supposed to click on the chicklet. Also, you might want to make the subscription ‘target’ more noticeable. On my site (http://itsvista.com) I’ve got a pretty prominent graphic and text links for subscribing, which I believe have helped boost the number of subscriptions.

  5. I would think that Search box would be used quite heavily by visitors, and tying it into Google Adsense for Search might provide an earnings opportunity.

  6. Well done. Easy access to information. I especially like the cataloguing of articles. You have put some serious thought into it to extend typical blog structure.

    A few thoughts…do I care about your sitemap, much less need a menu button for it? Is it used by views that much?

    The Headlines ca fade in a bit…maybe a darker shade from the background. In fact I am more drawn to the category headers on the left column.

    IS your subscriber count high enough to highlight with the widget? I think your traffic numbers might entice a few advertisers…but not many people want to advertise to 750 people only. I think it detracts from your efforts.

    Have you considered making RSS feeds for your categories? They are nice and tight that it might be a useful feature.

    When reading the full text of an article the ads distort the comment box – due to text wrapping I assume. One of the only things on the site that looks like an “error” – on my machine anyway and I have lots of real estate to play with.
    Best of luck – you’re on the right road it would seem.

  7. I’ll give this one a shot :)

    I like almost all of the design, and I think the search box looks nice. That RSS button in the upper right could stand to be a little bit larger, or, even better, you could use that little space to add a couple of other icons such as email subscribe, google reader, etc… I don’t like the gradient bars under the date and tags for each post, they tend to emphasize the date more than the title of the actual post, drawing your eye where they don’t need to be, and the colors don’t fully match. You could easily remove this effect and make that text black.

    For content, lists are your friend. I see you don’t have a list of common misconceptions about Vista, which is something that I would strongly recommend because of the OSes negative image. This is a great deep-linking opportunity, and you should work hard on it because it might be a feature post you link from the front page.

    Promotion on social media is a must, and those lists will help you. Also, if you want to catch stumblers’ eyes, you should have a few more images. A logo would help here I have found, although that’s more in the design category, because then you could create an Entrecard that looks nice and put the widget on your blog. This can be a great source of traffic just like StumbleUpon.

    Also, comment on other blogs when you read an interesting article, and pick some blogs that you want to become recognized on. These should be in your RSS reader (I recommend Google Reader), and you should try to leave good comments there regularly. Sounds like you’re only making a small dent, but trust me, this is a great way to drum up interest.

    Search engine optimization isn’t really my area of expertise, but if you haven’t signed up for a google webmaster tools account and submitted a sitemap, that’s the first thing. Also, a great idea would be to go to 103bees.com (while it’s still free) and see what keywords are arriving at your blog that you could develop more. Sometimes this can give you the insight needed to take your blog to the next level and make it more comprehensive for the search engines.

    Making money from your blog should be about more than AdSense, and trust me you will find that the grass is greener elsewhere. If you have a good number of visitors, consider highlighting this and writing a professional “Advertise Here” page where you can sell directly to advertisers. Offer diversity, maybe with text links, 125×125 image links, and maybe even an RSS link.

  8. I also run a similar website. My advice to you is:

    Good original content is king. The best design is useless without it.

    Blend those ads in with the site. Make them the same color as your links. You would be surprised how much of a difference it makes.

  9. Just a couple quick comments:

    Like others have said make the subscription option more prominent but I’d also word it differently. People looking for Vista tips don’t necessarily know what RSS means so something like “Don’t miss any updates, Subscribe Now” might be a better call to action and a subscribe by e-mail box would likely help as well.

    Design wise – I’m not crazy about the mirrored layout. I expect navigation on the right and you’ve got it on the left. Now your visitors may not be heavy blog readers so it might not matter as much to them but it immediately feels off to me for no good reason. I also think you’ve got a bit too much blue going on. Your background, your post titles, the top nav, the search box, even the background on the date/category. I’d love to see the background color changed and a different color introduced probably on the date/category background.

    As for driving return traffic – I think this kind of site screams for a regular feature – say performance tips every Monday and a focus on security every Friday. Give people an expectation that they’ll find a certain type of new content there on a given day and they’ll return (or subscribe) for it.

    I’d also look into doing more review/comparison posts which you can tie to an affiliate program to drive revenue. These tend to be more involved so you might not be able to do them too often but a “Top 10 Vista XXX” post can also score in the social bookmarking sites.

  10. Get a giant orange rss button to replace the tiny one at the top left.

    Get the word VISTA in every blog post title. This is the focus of your blog and will help those of us struggling with Vista find your information in search.

    Instead of content links… those with the double green underlines… start promoting some great products with affiliate links that will be of specific help to those of us with Vista.

    To increase subscribers start a weekly tips for Vista Users newsletter. I look at my email much more often than I do my feed reader and I hate rss feeds to email.

    Although I have rss to email on some of my blogs… I personally would rather have great information delivered to my inbox that I can use right now. This can include free tips and tricks or something I might be interested in purchasing through you link. We both win!

    Your meta description tags are all the same for each post. WordPress has a function or plugin to help you with generating different descriptions for the meta tags for each post. This will also help with SEO.

  11. * Design — usability, visual appeal, readability, navigation.

    The first thing that strikes me is that it appears a bit crowded. I’m honestly not sure what to click when I arrive.

    The first entry (blog & adsense) is difficult to read because the text of the entry is 1) too narrow and 2) bumping into the adsense (at least on my laptop monitor). I think if the font of the entry was just one notch larger, it would help define it more clearly.

    I would put the Sponsored, Popular, Featured, Etc at the bottom of the blog page in order to make the entries wider. Then you could fit the entries AND the adsense and not have them bumping into each other so much.

    Also, why are some of the bars blue and some gray? it seems like you’re shooting for a blues color scheme, so the gray kinda sticks out a bit. Try either the same dark blue as the top or a bluer gray.


    Again, the adsense is bumping heads with the text of the article. At the bottom, the colored adsense box is bumping into the comments form… and the fields to fill in for the comments form are hard to find (too pale).


    Alphabetizing the articles has to happen by article tag or topic, not by the first word of the title. If you’re going to have an articles index, people go to it to search for a particular topic. For example, if I want to know how to make a folder invisible, it’s not under I for invisible or F for folder. It’s under M for make.

    The good news? When I type “invisible” in the search box, both of those articles show up.


    Good information, but it’s all smooshed into one blob of text which makes your reader feel overwhelmed. Give each sub-area (About the Creators, The Tragic Story, Advertising) its own header bar (like the ones on the front page?).


    Good potential and good information, but it needs to be easier on the eyes. A good deal of this can be fixed by keeping the adsense from bumping up against the content. Best of luck!!

  12. great site and concept but here are my suggestions;
    ->your “Articles” page should be titled to “Archives” as everyone knows what it means and also should be in chronological order because it doesnt make sense to index your articles Alphabetically on a blog.

    ->move the sidebar to the right. People start reading from left to right so as your sidebar is offering nothing important to the immediate let the first thing a reader see is the latest post
    ->because your site offers tips and tutorials that are not time sensitive, you should use the sidebar to showcase your posts that you think are important to readers. Your “Featured” part should have maybe 3 posts, add in a “Recommeded posts” as well as “Must Read”. It might work as with tubular blog themes posts are “buried” with time.
    ->”Most Recent” is redundant as it already features latest 5 posts which are the same 5 posts a reader sees on the front page
    ->the Sitemap shouldnt be there because it has got no use to the readers (its not a navigation nor it is for archiving) its only for search engines. you must have already submitted it to search companies and plus it resides on your server for search bot to find it
    ->your Adsense ads are so out of place. They should be displayed in blocks (not inline) not that type of blending.if you want to have 2 ads in a post then place 1 in between post title and post content and the second just before the comments (check TechFresh.net as an example) or my advice will be to put a 300×250 ad in between post and comments and put a 2nd ad in the sidebar. On the front page put ads in between posts(2 max), nicely blended.
    -> come to think of it, i think the posts column is too wide. Reduce it to around 500px and increase the sidebar
    ->for SEO make post titles to H1 and sidebar titles to H2s
    ->since the blog is already about Windows Vista there is no need to have sub-categories under “windows vista”. Redundancy.
    ->to monetize more you need to have space on the sidebar where you can place 125×125 sponsor ads.
    ->the inline textads i think they are intrusive and annoying
    -> make sure that subscribing options are clearly visible, especially the sidebar: mail, RSS.
    ->comments are too close to content.
    ->padding and margins need to be revisited
    ->bookmarking tool camouflaged into content

  13. To start with,

    -To monetize the site, start selling ads directly (125x125s, maybe a banner or two).

    – You seem to have a problem with one of your adsense ads on your permalink pages. It appears over the comment form.

  14. Looks like you might need better hosting too.

    When I go to the site I get an error that says your site is offline. It points to this page http://wire3.wirenine.com/suspended.page/.

  15. I think the vista wired site is offline…. It is taking me to the suspended page. My review is to “resolve the issue ASAP” .


  16. LOL, doesn’t that just figure? That always seems to happen right when you want it to the least.

  17. I could not access the website as it is now currently offline.

  18. Here’s a “non-intuitive tip” for ya. Don’t upgrade to Vista and you won’t have to spend any time at this site (or on Google) pulling your hair out. And I’m a Microsoftie (not an Apple fanboy or a Linux fiend). There isn’t one specific decent benefit to upgrade – even if it were free.

  19. Albert says: 03/11/2008 at 5:11 pm

    I just changed host, it should be back up. I can’t believe this happened today. I appreciate all the comments. I have tried to sell private ads but it doesn’t seem to have worked. Does anyone think I should increase the size of my sidebar, so that the ads are in the middle of the screen?

  20. Hi, I couldn’t access your site so I’m just going off the thumbnail —– I’d put a large orange RSS icon in the top right of the page, (moving your feed count widget underneath that) which would perhaps mean moving the sidebar to the right. The reason for this is because most blog readers’ eyes are trained to see the orange RSS button on the right of the page.

    (I see now that you do have an rss icon in the navbar on the right but it’s super small. I didn’t notice it at first.)

    The one thing your site is missing — I’d add an option to subscribe to RSS by email – I did this after reading about it on copyblogger a couple months after starting my blog and I’m glad I did ….. at least half of my RSS subscribers are through email. Depends on the blog topic (and maybe your’s would be more comfortable w/RSS), but still give them the email option, putting that under your RSS icon or feed count widget.

    I like your theme overall, it looks clean and the blue is reminiscent of Microsoft. One thing looks a little off and it appears to be because of the adsense content block on the right hand side…..this leaves a block of open white space underneath the post snippet in the first block of content. I’d change that to show more of the first post to fill in that white space so that it extends as far as the end of the adsense block, or display the entire first post so that it wraps around the adsense. Either way, I’d work it out so that there isn’t a blank white space under the first post’s snippet.

  21. I’m a PC tech by day and I think the main issue you will have with the site is the content. As it stands now, there is no differentiating of the skill levels of each tip. My initial browsing of the site is a good example.

    The first few posts, and their associated titles made the content appear to be for complete beginners. Now while that is not a bad thing, someone like myself just skimmed over ALL the content. It wasn’t until I started clicking through to full articles that I saw that there was some more advanced, and extremely useful content in there for me.

    If there was some way to differentiate the skill level of the tip, and I’m sorry but right now I can’t think of how you would do that without putting it in the title or duplicating categories – I’m sure there are other ways – I think the usability of the site would increased dramatically, as would repeat visits.

  22. Woww.. looks great, thanks i’ll push my luck and hope i could get 1,700 visitors

  23. Overall, very nice, clean layout. Here’s what I’d add:

    1.) More interactivity. You have ‘Submit a Tip’ up at top – what about ‘Ask a Question’?

    2.) More interactivity Part II – If you do add an ‘Ask a Question’ link, you can either preface or follow up on each article with a phrase “NOTE! If you still have questions after reading this article, please feel free to drop on by Ask A Question” and send them to us (or comment below, or drop us a line, or ….)

    3.) More interactivity Part III – As your site is a tips/resources site, add a PANIC BUTTON category for Critical questions. It catches the eye and distinguishes your site from the bunches of other Vista resources sites.

    4.) Regarding monetization, under Sponsored Links, build a Store. Use the eBay and/or Amazon affiliate program to create 20-30 pages of targeted Vista/computer-related content. Laptops, desktops, software, hardware, video games, Bluetooth, etc. – both affiliate programs offer dynamic links that allow you to include products precisely niched.

    My comments,


  24. Here’s what I’d do if I was you…

    Contact the makeuseof.com folks and ask about writing articles for them. They mostly use guest authors, and they’ll give you a link back on each post.

    They’ve also got a good reputation and a lot of subscribers… you might be able to grow your subscriber base by writing there. Finally, they’ve been really hot on the social media circuit lately, so there’s even more possible exposure for a good article.

    The giant ad block should be on the left of the article, with the text wrapping around it. You should add another smaller block under the article… it seems to help google’s algorithm push the best ads to the top block, which should have better CTR.

  25. Here’s how to read my advice. I divided the blog into sections and made comments each time regarding Design, SEO and Monetization plus one KILLER TIP. Then at the end I answer any outstanding questions, including a suggestion for a viral post.

    >> Homepage

    > Design
    – Add a subscribe via email option
    – Add a Best Of section (instead of Currently Popular – which is circular and keeps people in the same pages without driving them deeper at this point)
    – Add MyBlogLog or similar widget that gets people’s faces on the page. This helps build a community around the blog.
    – Show full versions of your articles here (and on single post pages). Partial versions is the poor man’s way to lower your bounce rate. It’s artificial, inflates a valuable metric and you lose users with every click you make them take.

    > SEO
    – TYPICAL MISTAKE – currently the only H1 tags on your page are for your logo, which should never have them. Only blog article titles should have them and only them!
    – focus pagerank value to your articles by nofollowing navigation links and any other links that are undeserving
    – the title of your HP is simply your domain name. That’s a terrible waste. It should be your blogname and tagline which hopefully has some useful keywords in it (yours does, phew) ie. “Vista Rewired | Your resource for Vista tweaks & tutorials”

    > Monetization
    – 125px box advertising high in the left sidebar
    – remove the Sponsored Links which are too low, no one will ever click on them
    – product ads between articles
    – AdSense beneath article titles but above content

    > KILLER TIP: As it stands, there’s NOTHING on your home page to keep people coming to it, they get all the same information and more on a single post page. CORRECTION- the one advantage your HP has is that there’s no ugly AdSense block smack in the middle of it. Put something on your home page that can ONLY BE FOUND THERE and is regularly updated so that *even your RSS subscribers will visit the site regularly* to see it. For example, have a widget showing submitted tips via your Submit Tip link (which currently just seems to be a wanky way of asking for post topics)

    >> Single Post

    > Design
    – make the design look as much as possible like Aero. You’ve started with the search box but go all the way. For example, your background image should be the Vista logon image
    – timeless content is king, only leave dates where pertinent
    – dofollow your comments or at least, dofollow frequent commentators but say you will do so
    – separate comments and trackbacks/pingbacks
    – number comments
    – use a plugin like FireStats which also lets you show browser, OS and country flag of commenter. Adds to site’s community aspects

    > SEO
    – Consider moving the sidebar to the right or changing your divs so that spiders find your content before the nav links.
    – write awesome titles that use your targeted keywords for the article and then use the keywords at least twice again in the content (preferably once in the first line)

    > Monetization
    – the AdSense block smack in the middle is horrible. Push it right or change formats. Ignore this if it’s already converting well
    – add product ads beneath article but before comments
    – Kontera word link ads (but don’t overdo it, 2-3 per article and make sure good words are being selected)

    > KILLER TIP: add in widgets beneath the article to drive people deeper into the site such as Related articles. See that and other examples on my site http://groupwritingprojects.com/ where visitors average over 3 pages per visit.

    >> Articles (Archives)

    > Design
    – ditch the alphabetization, I doubt anyone searches for an article that way. Also the “(To Outline)” links are confusing to say the least.
    – focus on tags and/or categories, most visited, most commented, most Stumbled, etc.

    > SEO
    – Show excerpts and not just titles to help people find the page they’re looking for. This also prevents duplicate content issues if you were considering displaying complete articles here.

    > Monetization
    – add product ads every 2-3 excerpts based on the tag/search result/category

    > KILLER TIP: Separate a Featured Articles page from your Archives page. The Articles page could be a Best Of / Must Read list per category. Look at Alex King’s Articles plugin to do this. Consider adding content that can only be found there and never appears elsewhere on the blog, and then promote the Featured Articles page on your home page based on that.

    >> Search results

    > Design
    – Tell me what the search results are for, how many there are, etc. Study Google SERPs for ideas, there’s a reason why they’re the most widely-seen pages in Net history. Or, look at leaders in your niche and see what they’re doing that you like.

    > SEO
    – use the All-in-one-seo pack plugin to generate a meaningful title that search engines will also find useful (this tip holds true for all pages cross-site, especially article pages as well)

    > Monetization
    – should be the easiest to monetize, people are TELLING you what they want
    – display ads relevant to the query. If you go with AdSense here, make sure it’s getting the right information to be laser-targeted.

    > KILLER TIP: when no results are found, fill the page with useful information: results from Google or even other blogs in your niche. Use a plugin like Search Meter to watch what people are searching for and use that for upcoming topics so that the next search will have results onsite.

    >> Overall

    If you do 3 things they should be Test, Improve, Repeat. No solution works identically every time.

    – for every single page on the site, ask yourself: what’s the goal for this page and is it being accomplished?
    – use a great tool like CrazyEgg and/or Clicktale to see how people are using your site
    – test, improve, repeat
    – the (XML) Sitemap link shouldn’t be in your top nav bar. People are expecting a page like http://groupwritingprojects.com/sitemap/ that’s styled liked the rest of the site. The XML sitemap should just be found by spiders and that’s it. Your page doesn’t have a navbar to get “back” to the site!
    – Think like the visitor! Do a test. Try to find something that a visitor would look for and see if you’re happy with the results.
    – test, improve, repeat
    – Examples of products to push are software, books, courses, tutors. Heck, pretty much anything you talk about the site including Vista itself. Product-oriented blogs are arguably the easiest to monetize.

    >> Finally…

    * How can I max monetization on my blog without filling it up with too many ads?
    Don’t let your ads cover more than 10-15% of each page and make them as subtle as possible with colors and placement. Ideally, the ads are of the kind that users WANT to see.

    * If you can, please tell me one thing my site is missing. (I don’t know if this question can be worded better.)
    I’ve given you a handful. Email subscription and a unique home page feature are really high.

    * My returning visitors are less than 10%. Is this normal for a site such as mine? If no, how can I increase the rate of returning vistors other than writing more often?
    It depends. If your site is growing well and getting lots of search traffic ie. new visitors, then this number isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some of the tips above are designed to make your site stickier and encourage people to go deeper. If you’re writing great content and people are finding it, they’ll come back.

    >> Promotion by…
    – commenting on blogs in your niche and especially Microsoft’s own blogs about Vista. Get lucky having MS Vista employees talking to and about you
    – being active in Vista-based forums
    – guest blogging
    – leveraging social media and becoming recognized as a Vista expert

    > KILLER TIP: guest post OUTSIDE your niche as well. Many Vista users aren’t tech-oriented and aren’t reading other blogs in your niche but would still appreciate your help

    >> VIRAL POST SUGGESTION. Write a fact-based list about x things for which Vista is better than Linux. Include pictures, video, statistics. Promote it on Linux-loving sites like Digg and Slashdot.

    Oh yeah: don’t forget to test, improve, repeat.

    Contact me via my blog’s contact form if you have any questions, are interested in a recommended list of WP plugins or would like to guest post :)


  26. Vista Rewired content is great,it provides alot of tips and ideas to bloggers on how to improve their use of Windows Vista and how to make money on line without all the hazzles. Its written where even people who are new to blogging can understand.The design is simple and clean yet effective it could use a bit more graphics and a larger RSS chiclet for more exposure. Promotion just have more contests like this one or similar and send Posts to all Rss readers, etc. let them know about this promotion and you shall see that your readers enjoy participating in this kind of promotions. We all love contests and the chance of winnng.

  27. I’d change the categories so that they’re more subject related. I mean, people aren’t looking for generic tutorials, they’re normally hunting for information on a specific topic, and what they’re interested in might be in a tutorial, or a tip or whatever.

    Also, people who need Vista help/information are likely to be as clueless as me, I don’t know what an actual operating system does or could do, so I’d find it harder to search for information because I don’t know the right terms. Whereas, if your categories were topic rather than style of post based, I’d get an idea of the sorts of things that you’re going to be writing about.

    I don’t think that recent comments adds much to your site. If you don’t currently get many returning visitors, then you haven’t got much of a community that will care who last said what about whatever. If you’re going to keep them, I think you need to use different colours / underlining for the commentators as it’s really hard to pick out the separate parts (comment, commentator, and post).

    The sitemap is unfriendly – unsurprising since it’s a search engine one, and the about page link is broken. I think the about page is probably key to selling your credibility, and I’d like to see it improved.

    Although you’ve got a contact form under “Submit A Tip”, people are only likely to use that when they want to submit a tip, as rather than any of the other reasons that people might want to contact you. I think you need a separate contact page (with form) in addition to the submit a tip page, which I think is a great idea.

    I’m sure it’s mentioned above, but your RSS icon isn’t hyperlinked, and it should be. Given that your blog is offering help on a brand new operating system sold as standard on most new PCs, it’s perfectly likely that not everyone who stumbles across your site is that tech savvy. I’d suggest adding a “what is RSS” link with corresponding post or page by your subscription options, and adding an email subscription option.

    I think you might want to review the number of posts you display on the homepage – it looks better when the length of the sidebar is about the same as the main column. Alternatively, increase the stuff in the sidebar – you could probably stand to have 7 popular posts for example.

    Search is probably the most useful feature on a site like this. I’d consider having another search box at the bottom of the sidebar – by the time you’ve scrolled down to read something, you can’t see the search box at the top and people can be lazy.

    I’d like another colour added to the design, and more (small) screenshots at the top of posts so they come up on the main page.

    I’m not sure how well your big box adsense in the post is doing, have you tried having a skyscraper in the sidebar and a smaller box in the post? In any case, you need some padding between the adsense and the post. Otherwise, look into affiliate programs – what would new Vista owners like to purchase? I hate the inline popup ads, but if your blog is more of an SEO resource type thing, rather than a read every day to find out more, it may not matter too much.

    One way of increasing the number of returning visitors would be to build anticipation, and promise more content. Something like an ongoing series would be good. Or maybe you could have an ongoing Q&A thing – people have a place on your blog to write questions, or make suggestions, and then you answer them preferably emailing the original questioner to let them know the answer they wanted is up.

    Another way of increasing returners is to engage with your commentators. Respond to what they say, email them, and so on. I can see that you do that a bit, but since it’s not that clear from the site itself, that Albert is the blog’s author it may not be clear to readers.

  28. 1. Monetization. There are tons of affiliate opportunities where you can review Vista-related programs within a post.

    2. You’re missing attractive images. To keep the attention of your reader, find stock photos to illustrate your blog posts.

    3. Get returning visitors by RSS and by creating content they want. If they just have one issue and need a quick fix, you give it to them and they’re gone. Maybe at the end of one post link to a related post or mention a date where you’ll cover the topic more in the future.

    The design is good, but I don’t like how the gray bars on the side (recent posts, etc) match up with the blue ones on the right (separating out each post). When your posts are short, it creates a distraction by having so many blue bars separating them out.

    Also there’s a lot of wasted white space at the bottom left that you could fill with graphic ads.

    The tips are useful, but again, unless someone needs to know it all, what use is it for repeat visitors? Also I know this info is for anyone using Vista, I get the feeling (maybe the design) that it’s more for technical people. Maybe images would help that.

    Try Entrecards for free blog advertising. Leave link in comments.

    It’s fine.

    See above. Add affiliates and graphic ads. Maybe spread your AdSense elsewhere throughout the article, as 4 up top is overwhelming.

  29. Now that you’ve moved the Adsense ad to the left side of the article, add some padding to the right side of the ad.

    Like I said before, change the colors of the ad links to the same color as the links in your articles. The default colors clash with your site and make the ad stand out too much. It looks desperate for someone to click it. If it looks desperate they won’t click as much. When you blend the colors it makes the ad seem more trustworthy.

    Add another square ad at the bottom of the articles. Place ads at stopping points.

  30. First, let me say well done on the design. It is simple yet accessible. The coloring and graphics have that great Web 2.0 look; which is what Vista is all about. At first glance VistaRewired.com is reminiscent of TheElderGeek.com and TweakXP.com. Back in the day both sites were power houses in the tweak Windows XP niche. I think VistaRewired.com has the same potential. Markets for Windows OS tweak sites have a known period of longevity about 5-10 years. This period of longevity closely corelates to a Windows OS life expectancy. The point is that you have a wonderful opportunity to create a site that has a long term experation date.

    Before you do anything else, trademark your site name. Use TweakXP.com as a template to accomplish this. Use this site Uspto.gov – click on trademarks – click on search TM database – click on free form search (advanced) search for TweakXp. He successfully trademarked his site name, and was later able to leverage it into a book deal. You have a great site name protect it!!!!!

    Technically your site is sound. There is one glaring exception, the about page returns a 404 page not found error. So, I guess the first thing I would suggest is for you to fix the About page. I tried the shift + refresh to no avail. I shouldn’t have to do this anyway.

    1. How can I max monetization on my blog without filling it up with too many ads?

    Unfortunately, with solution based sites you are caught in a catch 22 situation. To monetize with Adsense or other click based advertisement you have to guide your reader to the add to make money. More often than not this means not fully answering questions so that readers seek information from the advertisement. Doing this can hurt your reputation and authority. Moreover, technically oriented people are the worst when it come to ad blindness. Depending on what your traffic is like you could find an ad network that can broker higher end ads from the likes of HP or Dell etc…You will have to look at what the different ad networks have to offer.

    To fully maximize the sites monetization potential you should leverage affiliate marketing and technology based sales. Look at different ad networks like Chitika that offer technology based ads for computers etc…. Check out different affiliate programs for software/service solutions that may help your readership. Online companies like TigerDirect have affiliate programs.

    One of the best ways for you to monetize a tech tip site is to provide a news letter. Fred Langa of the Langa List fame, (langa.com –has been sold but archives are still there) for years ran a Newsletter where all he did was answer questions from his readers. He had two versions. One version was free but it had advertisements and had fewer articles. One version was paid, no adds and a few extra articles. The paid version cost $12 a year and was published two times a month. That puts the issue cost at 50 cents a copy. Very affordable by just about anyone. Here is the math: $12 x 5000 subscribers = $60,000 a year, $12 x 10,000 readers $120,000 per year for the paid version not including the ad revenue of the free version. The content was literally only solution answers to reader emails. So, essentially, your readers are creating your content for you. Now you do have

    to have a following to get this to work. But, it is a great goal to shoot for. Even if you only had 1000 paid subscribers you are still doing better than 99% of bloggers. Start with the free version and once you have a following, then move to the paid version.

    Here is a long term monetization solution. Once you have built up enough content you can sell CDs of all the Tips, Tricks, and Hacks that are on the blog. The site TheEldergeek.com did this. He updated the CDs on a regular basis and resold them. Techs may not click on ads but they like having their knowledgebase close at hand.

    Another long term money generator would be to create a piece of software that houses the top 100 or 150 system and registry tweaks and will automate their implementation. These are big time savers for people and administrators and were very popular for XP. This will take some investment on your part but their can be a really good payoff in the long run. Consider that by the EOL of Vista there will be “at least” several hundred million users. If you sell the software to less than 1/10% of potential Vista users at $10

    250,000,000 x .001 x 10.00 = $2.5 Million Dollars

    Let’s say you sold the widget to only 1/10 of 1/10% of potential vista usersor about 25,000 users, that’s still $250,000.

    You could do it with only time invested. Here’s how; find a DotNET programmer to partner with. The programmer programs the widget and you market it. Cuts profits but at $2.5M whose complaining.

    How do you get at all those people? That is what affiliates and affiliate networks are for.

    Maybe sell it at $20 with a 50% affiliate payout.

    Either way, riding the coattails of Microsoft can be very profitable.

    2. If you can, please tell me one thing my site is missing. (I don’t know if this question can be worded better.)

    A working About page. Also, this may not be a great design move but I would move your index from within the “Articles” page to across the top of the content area of the blog; similar to theeldergeek.com. You are creating a resource on your blog. Most of your readers are coming there to get a resolution to a question. The faster they can get the resolution the happier they will be. I would replace the “Sitemap” that you are currently using with a more user friendly style. You current sitemap is an XML sitemap for search engines. Link to the XML version in your footer and the reader friendly one in the header. You need to have a very clear disclaimer. You are providing system tweaks and hacks, your readers need to know that you do your best to verify and test each tip trick and tweak but your readers implement them at their own risk.

    3. The very nature of your site is that of problem resolution. Many readers will come to your site to resolve a current problem. You will want to retain traffic received from search engines (those looking for problem resolution only). To do this just have good content with tweaks and hacks people are looking for. Most of this traffic will not stay. That is just the nature of that type of traffic. Who you want to retain are power users, novice to mid level admins and non-admin aficionados. Obviously you need to figure out how to capture these visitors in a community. Interacting via comments is one way. But, what these people are used to are forums. Once you have a strong monthly rate of visitors start a forum connected to your blog. These are the people that will evangelize your widget, CD etc… and make it a success. If you adopt the widget idea these the admins, power users etc will be the first adopters and it will blossom from there.


    The design is really good. You have hit all the important points; RSS button positioning, Menu items, etc. as I mentioned before the only thing I would change is to place the index bare currently in the “Article” section at the top of the content area on the front page and post pages. To do this you will want to move the next and previous article buttons to just above the comment area. One thing about your text in the content areas, it is a bit small. Try increasing the content font by 1 px and max 2 px. Or, you may need to make the content font color darker Your goal here is to get the text to pop off the white background. Similar to the way the bold text currently does.

    I am a bit of a symmetrical person when it comes to design. What really pops out for me is that the content area seems to start well above the left side bar. This is more pronounced on the Home page than on the post pages. Obviously, this is an optical illusion caused by the white space around the large RSS button. You may want to consider creating a subscription box similar to the one on Problogger. This way you can reduce the white space making things look uneven but still place the subscription buttons in the most visible spot.

    Otherwise you have a really good design.

    For content ideas, there are treasure troves of ideas on the internet. Go to the old XP tweak sites and see what most people were requesting. Theeldergeek.com and tweakxp.com are two good places to start. Although Vista is a newer OS, user questions never change. You can create content based on old questions reformulated and solved but for Vista instead of XP. Second, registry hacks are always big traffic winners. Spend some time putting together a library of Vista centric system and registry hacks.

    Most nontech XP power users will soon be moving to Vista. The admin and management functions of XP are still in Vista. The difference is they are not as easy to find as in XP. This could be a great opportunity to create screen casts or videos geared toward power users converting from XP to Vista. Although Vista has been out for a while many people have not adopted it. This is potentially a content creation gold mine. Anything that can help power users, admins, and novices get up to speed on Vista fast is fair game for creating content. (all this can be repackaged in CDs and sold as a yearly subscription. (look at theeldergeek.com for an example of how this was successfully implemented.)

    Promotion: This type of blog is best promoted through forums; Google groups, Windows XP Expert Zone Chat forum (the Vista Version if there is one), vistaheads.com/forums/ etc..There are more technically oriented social media sites like SlashDot. Creating viral content as a promotional effort would be something like, “50 Sytem Hacks To Tame The Beast In Vista”, or “25 Registry Hacks No Vista Administrator Should Be Without”

    The difficulty with promoting a tech blog is that much of the standard promotion tactics are not as fruitful as you would like. For instance, commenting on other Vista or tech leaning blogs will gain you exposure and some traffic. But, these guys are the choir. They are important., but you want the parishners, the flock, at least in the beginning. The parishners are the ones that will click on ads, signup for news letters. The parishners are the ones that will buy an ebook…etc…The most fruitful way to promote a blog focusing on one OS like Vista is through search engines. And that leads us to SEO.

    SEO: I hate SEO. What is right or wrong changes on a day to day basis. The best SEO advice, beyond basic on page SEO which you can learn about anywhere, is to get the SEO for FireFox extension for firefox. Go to your top 20 competitors and from their page right click and choose “SEO for FireFox” and then “Look UP This Page” when the calculation is done double click on each entry. You will learn all you need to know about your competitors back links. Deconstruct those back links and start building your own back links from the same or similar sites.

    Some basic SEO: This is all from the “Restore Deleted or Old Files” Article

    Title: Restore deleted or old files | vistarewired.com
    A more search engine friendly title would have been “Microsoft Vista: How To Restore a Deleted file or File Version” It hits all your key words and search users understand exactly what it is.

    Meta Description: “Your resource for Windows Vista Tweaks, Tips, Tricks and tutorials. Restore deleted or old files”

    I am not sure what your goal is with this description but as a search user I would not be compelled to click on the SERP entry. A better description would have been.

    “How to restore recover a deleted file or file version in Windows Vista.”

    Meta Keywords: The meta tag is pretty much ignored: But… here is what you have

    Windows Vista Tweaks, Tips, Tricks and tutorials, Restore deleted or old files

    If I were to use keywords I would instead use: Windows Vista, file, restoration, recovery, version, delete

    I am assuming since all the meta fields were used that you are using a plugin like headspace or the All-In-One-SEO plug-in. If you are not I would highly recommend either.

    Last thing on SEO: There is a relationship between the “Title” – “Post Title” and “Post-Slug”. Each gives you an opportunity to add keywords. For instance;

    Title: How To Recover Files and File Versions in Windows Vista

    Post Title: How To Restore A Deleted File or File Version in Windows Vista

    Post Slug: vista-file-recovery-and-restoration

    In your footer you should no follow everything except the link back to your front page. The anchor text on that should be keyworded.

    Monetization: Please see my comments under; “How can I max monetization on my blog without filling it up with too many ads?” Your goal with monetizing a site like this is that your income is sustained by ads and affiliate programs while you build authority and then move to sellable items such as content CDs, Newsletters, and ultimately a time saving, headache reducing widget that no vista user should be without.

    I really hope this helps. Good luck. You have the beginnings of a veritable cash cow. Nurture it right and you will do really well.

    Beau Hooks

  31. Design

    I like the theme, but the site looks a bit spammy, in my opinion. The Google Adsense box is big, and I personally am not a big fan of the double underline advertising. BUT if it’s performing well, don’t touch it. Testing would be a good way to see what works the best for your site. Any advertising testing should be done AFTER all other changes are put into place (content, seo, etc.).


    – 25+ things Vista can do that Mac can’t (expect hate mail from the cult of Apple)
    – 37 Vista Features That You’re Not Using But Should
    – Is Vista Better Than Mac for Moms? (go for the mommy bloggers!)
    – 101 Reasons You Should Switch to Vista


    I would create a blogroll immediately! Also, participate in the conversation happening around PCs and Microsoft. Link out to blogs in order to get attention to others in the blogosphere. If you’re not commenting on other blogs or otherwise networking with other bloggers in your niche, you should be. You could also use the “track” feature on Twitter to find people talking about Vista.


    Definitely add keywords to the Title tags of your pages, including your home page! And create unique meta description and keyword tags for pages. Use the All in One SEO Pack plugin for this. Another necessary plugin is the permalink redirect plugin for WordPress. Without it, WP creates 2 pages for every post – one with and one without a forward slash. Finally, try to obtain inbound links from more sources. Doing the above promotional tasks will help accomplish that, but submit to blog carnivals and ask to be included in link roundups on other blogs.


    Sign up for affiliate programs that are related to your blog. You want ads for computers that run Vista as well as Microsoft related products like the Zune or the Xbox 360. Also, consider adding consulting and coaching services as well as premium content, such as an e-book or e-learning classes.

    What’s Missing?

    I think what’s missing are buyers tips. When I purchased my laptop, I learned that I needed 2GB of memory in order for Vista to run well. Most of your blog posts are about patches and fixes. I think you should write more “positive” posts about features, benefits and how Vista helps people.

    Returning Visitors

    Having a low number of returning visitors is a great thing IF you’re increasing your total visitors over time. The idea is to gain steadily – and that should always result in a high number of new visitors.

    Good luck, Albert! You’re already doing a fantastic job providing a wealth of information that is extremely useful to a large (potential) audience!

  32. Monetization:
    I’m always turned off when I see Google AdSense in the center top column of a site. I rarely search a site or revisit it when I see that kind of advertising, particularly when it is so prominently part of the post. It cheapens the content.

    One of the most important things to me on an information-based site is ease of finding information. It’s nice that you have a search button but I didn’t notice it at first because of all the post links in the left hand column. I clicked on the “Articles” tab. Not clear how an alphabetical listing by title is helpful. If I want to know about Google Calendar display I’m going to look under “g” not “d”.

    The blog feels too technical given your target audience of “all Vista users”. At first glance, I would assume it’s for IT people. I would add graphics and pictures to make the site more approachable.

    How about a “Top Ten Vista Tips” to help drive more people to your site?

    It’s clear you’ve put a lot of thought into this. Good luck.

  33. Albert – Don’t know if you’re reading this far down, but in my opinion total sidebar width should be around 250px max for 125×125 image spots. Yours is plenty large enough for that, and more might look spammy because of the adsense ads you already place in the content.

    A good advertise here page is key, with an image highlighting where people can place their ads. You might also have to wait until you get more visitors and authority on Technorati. In the meantime, blend your Adsense ad links to be the same color as your post titles, and for heavens sake use a smaller ad block in posts. Notice how that ad is so large it breaks up the whole Problogger review announcement? That looks bad, and will deter many a visitor from reading on.

    You may also want to check out AdBrite, which lets you sell ads more or less directly, but with a middleman to make things easier and present the ads professionally. I have not had huge success with this approach, but since your page rank is higher than mine you may get into Text Link Ads, which is nicer. This calculator allows you to see an estimate of what you might get paid:

    Like everything else, your ads will need special promotion of their own if they will sell. Blogging is an exhausting business :).

  34. The site looks nice, but I’m going to differ on the advice to move the 336 x 280 adsense block to the left.

    The adsense 336 x 280 ad might be better placed on the right side so that readers read right into it, rather than having it on the left where it looks like a separate column that can be ignored. It’s easier to mentally skip the ad block because it looks like the middle column in a three column layout. The text the reader is looking for is on the right, so it is natural to move right to that “column.”

    Another reader suggested moving the 336 x 280 ad from the inline position to one in between the post title and the text. This might be the most pleasing place to put the advertisement because a reader would naturally read from the top to the bottom and would very likely to read the ads.

    You might also want to experiment with blending the 336×280 ad into the text — place it right about the text and set all text and links to be black — the same color as your text — and the background white with no border. Try a test with this as well to see if it makes a differences in your results.

  35. Stepping out of my “comfort zone” to take a go at this. I’m here to learn too. To give my best first impressions, I have delayed looking at other posts until after I “jump off the edge” and submit my own. I hope my comments add value as intended.

    Max Blog Monetization – Opportunities for additional revenue streams
    • Move “Advertising” section off middle of “About” page onto
    its own eye appealing page
    • Kontera or content type ads on all pages
    • Joint ventures
    • Add a few small affiliate banners in sponsored links area
    • Offer Vista consulting services
    • Add fee-based Webinars and Teleseminars
    • Offering related affiliate products as non-intrusive product
    review recommendations
    • Create your own informational products to sell
    • Offer a comprehensive Teleseminar, JV partnering with a
    higher skilled industry expert if required and pre-sell
    attendance to your visitors and subscribers
    • Add an “Advertise with us” type text link or button for your
    site on your sidebar
    • Offer one of your free tutorials or reports to a
    complimentary website owner for distribution to their mailing
    list. This increases goodwill for their list because it’s
    something of value for free, it increases your site traffic and
    eventually your bottom line as well.
    • Build a solid industry directory by letting people list free. As
    companies notice the amount of traffic you can send them,
    they will happily pay to be featured advertisers.

    What’s Missing
    • One thing missing is a highly visible opt-in form on the
    pages and incentive to entice email sign ups, especially in
    the top fold. This incentive could offer a viral report
    branded with affiliate links on “Top 10 things every Vista
    owner must know and do or your operating system will
    crash.” A valuable free e-book, tutorial or download can
    also be offered
    • Testimonials
    • Audio and video (tutorials, interviews, site greeting etc) to
    capture even more attention and traffic
    • 404 page that re-directs visitors back to your site rather
    than leading them away
    • I received this Error 404 – Not Found; If this is the first time
    you have seen the new template, please press Shift +
    Refresh to avoid encountering this 404 page again. I did as
    instructed but the 404 error page still returned
    • Resources section
    • Post archives
    • Category page consistency
    • Google Adsense consistency, and continuity
    • Tell a friend scripts
    • Tag use consistency under posts

    Increasing Return Visitor Rate – This site already has over 150K page views with 90K unique monthly visitors, plus they also have the no. 1 spot on Google for “vistarewired and vista rewired,”so obviously it’s already doing a lot of things really well.

    • Other considerations to increase the return rate of visitors
    is by perhaps offering a series of articles on a hot topic
    among Vista users.
    • Consider adding the following types of social bookmarking
    icons to your pages:
    “Bookmark This Site”, Technorati, Stumbleupon, Digg etc.
    • Provide an expert “Tip of the Day” or “Ask Vista Experts”
    • Offer a contest/prize for the best reader tip of the week
    • Interview industry experts you promote in advance to your
    • Resources section
    • Offering a newsletter can bring people back to your site by
    reminding them of all the updates, strategies etc. they are
    missing on your site
    • Calendar of events relative to your visitors and your
    • Review products, events, movers and shakers in your
    • Offer webinars or visiting expert teleseminars
    • Add a forum for your visitors
    • Identify where your visitors exit; fix any broken pages,
    update content, try something new etc.
    • Test to see how statistics are affected when you make
    • Consider adding a favicon to make your bookmarks stand

    • The site content appears the same in various browsers
    (Netscape, Firefox, and Internet Explorer) which is good
    • Capitalize on areas your visitors spend more time viewing
    or consider use of site heat maps to see areas your visitors
    look first or click first the most
    • Adding posts with more exciting/alive titles will add more of
    the “make me want to read it” appeal
    • Cleaner sidebar navigation might result moving the
    “Categories” section higher up with shorter, more exciting
    titles in the “Featured, Popular, and Most Recent” sections
    increasing visual appeal. Consider drop down category
    options also.
    • Add “Tutorials” or other popular site area link to your page
    header tabs; header tab background color is strong. This
    might work better if a softer and closer related color to the
    background behind “Vista Rewired” is used.
    • Include larger linked RSS button and identification text for
    non-internet savvy users
    • Include visible sign up to feed via email link or button
    • The visual flow of the site seems interrupted by columns
    that are too wide and the placement is inconsistent with
    ads running right into the edge of posts
    • Graphics could be reduced in size and used in a more post
    flattering manner Screenshots use would enhance front
    page posts considerably
    • The Google ads are very distracting because they “feel”
    like separate page elements and bleed over into the posts,
    rather than blending into the surrounding site environment.
    For example, “Create a hardware community…,” has the
    rest of the article split, aligned to the left and placed
    beneath a Google ad
    • The comments section is way too distracting and all the
    page elements appear to blend together with “content
    crashes” due to unclear content demarcation indicators
    • Some pages have Google ads running into the comments
    section, with dark brown or black backgrounds, blue, tan
    and purple words that are not too appealing, at least not to
    me. Another such ad shows up mixing into the comment
    reply space. Smaller, well placed and more neutral colored
    ads I feel would be more effective

    • The site has lots of relevant content to increase page rank.
    Consider also creating content based on what Vista users
    want by researching highly searched keywords and using
    them as a guide for article topics or post content
    • Add article directory content if you are stumped for ideas
    • Re-visit your old posts which have gotten good feedback
    and see if you can make them bigger, better or if changes
    in the industry have affected post relevancy
    • Poll your site visitors to see what they like and would like to
    see more of, then give it to them
    • Automatically updating content or newsfeeds keeps content
    fresh while freeing up time for other expansions etc.
    • Allowing others to reproduce certain articles with your
    resource box intact makes them viral

    • Offer a contest/prize for the best reader tip of the week etc
    • Branded t-shirt, ink pen or mouse pad giveaways or
    • Press releases of new products in your industry
    • Create a video tutorial and add to YouTube
    • Review products, events, movers and shakers in your
    • Article submissions to related sites or directories
    • Guest post on related sites
    • Answer questions in forums with site in signature line
    • Get listed on several of the internet radio shows
    • Submit articles to Yahoo! Groups etc.

    • Using keyword themed titles and content to increase the
    quality of visitors coming to your site
    • Determine if your site is optimized for the viewers and
    platforms your visitors are using the most

  36. How about a favicon and a title?

  37. Hi there!

    I think that one should think about giving quality content to their members and the monetization part will automatically pitch in…. but nonetheless, a smart layout and good content will do everything to make your visitors to visit it regularly…and you can bet on it!


  38. Here’s a terrific article that every blogger should read:


  39. Thanks for the comments guys, I really appreciate it. One thing I forgot to ask is if you guys think it would be a good idea for me to continue blogging about Vista, but expand into other areas of interest: Possibly firefox, and other neat computer tweaks.

  40. I believe the less focused your blog is, the harder time you’ll have getting and keeping subscribers. If I’m interested in Vista, I may get annoyed being notified about Firefox issues. One way to get around that is to have dedicated feeds for only certain categories, but in my opinion you might as well then just have different sites altogether. If the point of the site is to be the authority on Vista, it won’t be very convincing if you spend time on non-Vista items.

  41. Albert,

    I think as long as you keep with in the confines of Vista when you write about Firefox, Office, or whatever, you should be fine. But, start talking about Linux, FreeBSD, MacOSX…..And you may start to loose your core audience.

  42. I agree with what people are saying about keeping your focus. However, if you find a great piece of software that is unique to Vista, that would be a great thing to blog about. Remember though, you’re probably targeting newbies who don’t necessarily use Firefox, and spending too much time on these kinds of things might cause them to stop returning.

  43. The site looks nice enough although it could be “crisper” especially where the article tails into the article foot stuff. Frankly that’s a bit messy.

    What is missing: more explanation. Let me give an example. The story about the SP1 leak was interesting but the sources could have been clearer and the big golden egg – what it fixes – was missing entirely. Even a link or three would have been good.

    Solve the clarity and crispness issue along with the depth of information and your return rate should be higher.

    Frankly given the size of images you might as well go for a handful of points size increase in the preview of the article. Each of which should appear visually self contained. As has been said already there is too much visual bleed of one element into another.

    Consider also center aligning images in the articles or placing them in a formatted div with a paragraph of smaller bold text captioning the image. Along with that is the suggestion of sub headings that don’t look like bold text. You main sub-title bar (date, filed under) looks really nice so try to capture some of that into a heading format. Perhaps a faded version behind the heading.

    Sadly this sub bar is so good that the title above it looks naked. A version of the bar that resizes with the title would work.

    Personally I think “filed under” sounds crap so I always try to come up with my own phrase such as “read more on…”

    I would also look for a graphical element that could be used in different ways (such as cliche wires or a site mascot). Try to capture some more of the vista theme if you can as this will show your love of vista or drop it completely and go for something else.

    Nobodies like me can get away with those Alexa boxes but I would think twice about it staying where it is.

    On money making I would review software that works well with vista and this would allow affiliate (even amazon) products to be promoted among the side bar real estate. Ideally fill that bar after the site content is done with links to reviews and product profiles.

    On that subject amazon should allow you to be able to “sell” vista. For a Vista site all things vista related should be available.

    As for stickiness I would commission a set of vista themes based on the new site theme you are going to be making. So then people can mod vista to look like you.

    Consider making a Google Custom Search Engine and make sure you bond it with your AdSense. Then make the search exclusive to yourself and any key partners the site might have. Make a VISTA SIDE BAR WIDGET which should be a piece of pie for your tech guy. Use the custom search search box that Google gives you and make sure is it on the site as well as in the search widget.

    While you are at it create a sub-domain themed and linked back to the blog like vista-faq.vistarewired.com and SEO it just enough to get it crawled properly. Add that as a site on the custom search engine. Fill it it pithy 250 words or less question and answer stuff.

    This will add value to the widget and give you more selling power. Be sure that the FAQ has all the basic “OMG did you even read the help text” stuff as well as the more interesting stuff. Keep to a good tree structure and make sure the FAQ has very few ads. It’s a funnel to push people back to the blog after you have exposed them to ads in the first place.

    Repeat this with a sub-domain of product reviews for every book and product you can find. One page each. Clear links and a few “back home”.

    Because you have all these sub-domains springing up as separate sites on the custom search you can make it even better for the users. You can add key words that refine the search. Make one for each sub domain “FAQ”, “Software”, “Books” and so on. This will help people get to what they need fast.

    Push that widget as hard as you can. Drop Google ads at the post footer to make room for a clear promo space for it.

    Every time it is installed you have a captive audience that will come back time and again. Make sure you get it listed on the vista home page with Microsoft.

    On the subject of FAQs make sure there is a box that you push quite hard (but not as hard as the search and the side bar widget) that allows users to pose questions. If you can then allow readers to offer answers with the best three kept as the final answer “Vista Answers” is then another sub domain of search and a great unique feature.

    So that’s income, stickiness and pro-look sorted. Not to mention the SEO kickback from the basic content for the search engine (might as well use it).

    At this stage your site should be starting to promote itself. Obviously the first with the news and best in depth editorial and explanation of the news for the niche is vital but now you want something viral.

    Vista is visual so go visual. You have those themes for vista (right?) shoot a series of videos showing how to do something cool with vista. Like my not too intuitive tip.

    When you unlock the tool bar you can resize stuff but that kills a lot of otherwise handy space. Resize the space for the quick launch bar (after removing things that you don’t use very often like outlook or calculator). Now close it back up until the second icon has just vanished. Lock the tool bar and the space created will “unhide” the quick launch icons.

    Now if all that has worked as well as you hoped and the viral are pulling them in. It’s time for the funny section. Geeks get frustrated with windows and so offering a place where they can make jokes about it and see the best ones published (cartoons too if you can arrange them) will act as a stress reliever and a viral.

    By now you should have a popular site and with all those people downloading the vista help sidebar gadget lots of traffic and Google money too.

    Now for the killer stroke. A classifieds for vista trouble shooters and hardware guys to advertise in. “Need help – want to hire someone to sort it out in Boston, France or …” then they need your site. A feedback system or other basic vetting system would be good but like amazon make sure you set it up so that the money goes through you and you get your 5%.

    It’s a lot of work but this is what the entire project is now about. Because you are the central authority you are the market place where people bid to fix other people’s problems, sell computers and related services and make you a tidy profit.

  44. Hi Albert,

    I think I can still call myself a newbie in bloggging because it has been only 5 months since I started blogging. But I think I can share some of my ideas. I have read all of the reviews above and I suggest you try them all and choose what will fit you.

    I find your blog interesting since I heard many are quite dismayed about Vista’s performance. In fact, I am reading your posts one by one.

    But just to add some things to improve your blog.

    Talk to your readers as if you are a teacher and we are your students. Try to use some layman’s terms. If you have some technical words that you need to explain further, have a separate page about it.

    I noticed you do not have widgets for Mybloglog, Blog Catalog or the now-famous Entrecard. If you are not a member of any of those or the like, I suggest you join some.

    I am not sure but I did not find your Archive search. I think your readers will be interested to know how long you have been blogging.

    I strongly suggest you get yourself a widget from Creative Commons to protect your contents.

    I think you are only using Digg. Aren’t you a member of SU and the like? You can add a ADD THIS button to minimize space.

    Posting your picture on your blog will make you more credible somehow. A good example is Darren himself.

    I think you can also invite your readers to be a subscriber by posting a simple sentence at the end of each post. It helped me, so I suppose it can also help you. In addition, it is better if you add a subscriber counter. It will attract subscriber to-be.

    Are submitting your articles to top article directories like Ezine Articles and Article Marketer? Your posts are informative so I think it is a good idea. However, I suggest that you re-write them before doing so.

    About guest posting, your comment at Darren’s post is just below my comment and I made several posts about it. In case, you did not noticed, I placed a link there but here it is again.


    Good luck to your blog. Thanks!

  45. One question that I had while reading this blog was who is your audience? Is it tech-savvy vista owners–IT professionals, etc. Or is it your average Joe using Vista at home?

    Also, Vista has been getting a lot of bad press lately. I think a good way to make your site relevant to the tech audience would be to “talk-back” to these articles. Write posts that address the issues that have been featured in news articles.

    Finally, what about a message forum? The sites that answer all my Microsoft questions usually have message forums and I find the answers there. Indexing those pages so they show up in search engine queries and the queries within the site, would further optimize your site. But I definitely think you should consider a message forum.

    Those are my thoughts.

  46. The overall appearance is good.

    My Issues:

    You need a border around your comment system or a greater contrasting background color.

    The ads in the comments simply annoyed me.

    When I first glance at a post. I don’t know where to go. I feel lost and confused. Perhaps floating the ads in the right may help, even if it downgrades monetization. Floating the ads to the right may help the ads in the comment section. But I would change those ads to a horizontal box or ad links.

    Get rid of the traffic rank. It really doesn’t matter to a reader. All most readers care is that your site was the first on the SERP.

    Get rid of the advertise tab. Most people looking to advertise on a site know to look at the footer.

    I think someone mentioned changing your search to a google search. I would most definitely do it.

    I keep looking at posts and I feel like my eyes can’t stay focused on reading. I don’t know of a suggestion to fix it. Perhaps have your left column a different color. Do something like they have here on ProBlogger.

    When using Vista Screen shots, keep the background of your desktop a solid color. The extravagant background is distracting. As a reader I just want to see what to click on, not how pretty vista really is.

    Ask a question….. Good Idea! Maybe make the question box a bit bigger.

    You need to make your site look different from other vista sites. It has a very similar style to the Vista Home Page. You need to make it different so people remember they are not at a Microsoft site but someone who is going to really help them. How can you do that? Logo. Your site is called VistaRewired. Relate your logo to the idea of rewiring. Then when people remember the logo, they will have a better chance of remembering the site name.

    I am not a professional at all. But this is what I came up with. Sorry if I repeated things. There was a lot of comments and not enough time to read them all.

  47. Hi! Firstly, I want to say that your website looks great. It’s informative, easy to read, and easy on the eyes. I can see that you really know your stuff and love what you do, which is probably the most important part. However, there are some things that you can improve, which I know you are aware of, and here are my suggestions:

    Other Opportunities
    -PPC networks such as Google Adsense (which I see you have), Chitika, and Yahoo Publisher Network
    -CPM networks (which is based upon cost per 1,000 impressions) such as Casale Media, Burst Media, and Value Click
    -Selling your own advertising space
    -affiliate marketing like Commission Junction and ClickBank
    -monetization widgets like WidgetBucks and ScratchBack
    -sponsored reviews (where you get paid to write reviews about products and websites) at networks such as PayPerPost, Sponsored Reviews, and ReviewMe
    -RSS feed ads through Feedburner, BidVertiser, and Pheedo
    -offer Job Boards through JobThread and Web Scribe Job Board
    -simply place a “Donate” button
    -sell and ebook
    -offer consulting and related services
    -mentoring programs

    I like your design! It’s very clean and easy to read. Maybe try a right hand sidebar, but it’s not necessary.

    -submit your blog to blog directories and RSS feed directories
    -post press releases to online resources
    -guest post to other blogs in your niche, offering helpful information
    -as Darren says, NETWORK, which means connecting to other bloggers by emailing, answering questions, offering advice, and being very generous
    -Advertising on sites like StumbleUpon, AdWords, and Facebook
    -be active, helpful, and personable on Social Networking sites like Facebook and Myspace as well as on Social Bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon AND FORUMS
    -encourage your readers to subscribe by RSS
    -Answer your email and comment questions (readers love when you show them a little love too)
    -make business cards!
    -add your url in your email/forum signatures
    -Social messaging on sites like Twitter
    -link to other bloggers
    -offer contests and prizes
    -don’t forget making videos like on YouTube or offering free viral reports when someone joins your newsletter!

    I’m not really a big expert on this area, but I would suggest (if you aren’t already doing so) pinging your site to services like Technorati and Pingomatic. Also continue to update your site regularly so search engines will more often send their crawlers!

    Your content is very informative and well written. This is just a personal opinion, but maybe add a picture of yourselves in the About page? This would definitely give the reader a more personal view about you guys, and not such a technical feel. Also, you could add the description: “Vista Rewired was designed to help Vista users…the de facto site for Vista information” on the homepage to solve the problem others mentioned about what your site really is about. This way, people know from the get go what your site has to offer. Also, try new and unique post titles that really grab the reader! Maybe create a FAQs section?

    ~To increase the number of returning readers, just continue to provide quality content and stay positive. It takes time, but don’t be discouraged. Besides quality content, make your readers aware that you are widely know in other places as well, whether it be forums, related blogs, blog directories, linking up with other blogging projects, etc.

    I really hope your blog the best, I’m sure it will! Really, there isn’t anything that much to improve, just a few little things. I can see already that your blog will become very big in the near future, so keep your confidence!

    Wishing all the best,

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…