Do we really want to have strangers come into our house and point out everything they don’t like about it?
I know I don’t.
However, sometimes it’s the necessary evil to endure on our quest for fame and glory.
Or to make money from our online businesses. Same difference.
We do want to make more money with less traffic, don’t we?
I know I do.
And so does Lou Barba.
That’s why Lou graciously allowed me to barge in on his blog and to let him (hopefully constructively) know what he’s doing well, not so well, and what he can do to make it all better.
Yes, Blog Audit Fridays are back!
The Information Highway Card & Gift Shop
What immediately comes to your mind when you hear “The Information Highway Card and Gift Shop“?
The hopeful reaction here is “That sounds interesting; I’d love to check it out!”
However, you and I both know that’s wishful thinking.
The only reaction I had to the name of this blog was… puzzled.
But before we go there, allow me to introduce our host, Lou Barba.
Who Is Lou?
“Ana, I think the reason we like each other is because we’re both peasants deep down. Peasants, to me, seem to be the ones who work and I know we both share that trait.”
from Lou’s comment on Why I Deleted 7,000 Comments post
That sums it up pretty well – for both of us, but unfortunately we are not talking about me today (I leave that to every other post on this blog).
Wisdom, strength, tenacity, great sense of humor, and love.
That’s how I see Lou.
Not a bad image to build, don’t you think?
And here’s my favorite part about him:
“My entire perspective on life is interpreted through the mind and eyes of Christ. I hope that in some way, His light shines through my life and the things I write.”
from Lou’s About page
You are doing a great job, Lou – I see that light all the way from Arizona.
Why Is Lou Online?
Like most of us here, Lou has a passion and a desire to share that passion with others.
And yes, Lou would love to turn his passion for storytelling into a profitable business.
That’s where we come in.
Despite being a good writer and making friends very easily, the business side of Lou’s blog is not doing so well.
Let’s take a look at his blog and see if we can uncover any potential problems.
Do open up Lou’s blog (it’ll open in a new tab), so that you can follow along and leave your feedback (agree/disagree/what I missed) in the comment section below.
Main takeaways from the video:
1. The blog theme/idea doesn’t match the design/title.
2. Doesn’t give me any reason to stay.
3. Lack of focus/theme may drive potential readers away.
4. Lack of focus/theme also prevents Google from ranking the blog for any relevant search terms.
- Find out what YOUR site is currently ranking for with SEMRush (offers both free and paid versions)
5. Make sure to market products relevant to your niche.
- REMEMBER: you can’t sell a burger to a vegetarian.
6. Get your readers to click: publish excerpts to several posts on your home page, not full posts.
7. Don’t ever publish spam comments: spam leads to more spam.
- Spam turns away readers, as well as potentially flags your site as low-quality to search engines.
8. Start getting Google traffic by telling Google what your blog is about – do your keyword research.
- First step: download Market Samurai (paid tool, but you can use keyword research section for free)
- If you have Market Samurai, but need help making the most of it, here’s a great tutorial: Market Samurai Boot Camp – from AlexWhalley.com
- If you are still resistant to the idea of using Market Samurai, here’s an alternative route: Minimum Viable Keyword Research – from JohnFDoherty.com
9. Check where you (or your competitor) are at with on-page optimization.
- In Chrome: go to View ==> Developer ==> View Source
- In Firefox: go to Tools ==> Page Developer ==> Page Source
- Make sure your keywords are placed in the title and description of your blog.
10. Where does your target audience gather? Simple question that can turn your traffic problems around.
- You don’t go fishing in the Dead Sea.
- Twitter traffic might work for me, but not for you.
- Facebook might not bring me much traffic, but might do wonders for your niche.
- SEO traffic is great, but doesn’t always work for ALL sites. For some businesses, referral blog traffic strategies are the best bet.
The Information Highway Card & Gift Shop has a long way to go, but I don’t see any reason why it can’t turn in to a hustling and bustling brand ambassador for book lovers.
How to Get Ana to Audit YOUR Blog
I’ll let you in on a secret: I did this blog audit for Lou because he made it impossible for me not to offer it.
He always supported me on my blog, defended me when a negative comment came my way, and remembered to sent me the sweetest cards for all kinds of occasions.
Yes, buttering me up is the surest way to get my attention.
However, if that doesn’t work, the next best thing is to join my email subscribers’ list.
You’ll get some goodies from me, top-notch exclusive emails, as well as qualify for a monthly drawing for my Blog Audit Fridays.
By the way, about that.
It was my intention to randomly pick an active subscriber from my list to offer him/her the benefit of my expertise for this blog audit.
However, after wasting a week trying to find someone who would:
- Return my emails.
- Had a blog and not just a replicated company page.
- Hadn’t abandoned their blog…
… I decided to give up and audit Lou’s blog.
Next month (March), I’ll do a Rafflecopter drawing for my subscribers who are actually interested in growing their online businesses.
So watch out for my email to let you know how to enter.
Still not on my list?
Now it’s time to turn the tables around and ask yourself “How can I use this information to make my blog better?”
Even though I love hearing “Great info, Ana!” (any self-respecting narcissist would), I’d much rather hear “I applied these changes to my blog, and my business is booming!”