Welcome to my Blog Audit Friday!
It’s that time of the week again when we get to learn what we are doing wrong with our blogs and how to fix it.
Now that I’ve done several posts in this series, I can confidently say that most of the blogs I audit have the same issues, more or less.
That’s definitely good news. If I don’t get to your blog in the nearest future, don’t fret; just follow the steps I recommend for other blogs and you are bound to fix most of the issues you are having to begin with.
Now, let me introduce you to the target of this week Blog Audit Friday:
December 17, 2010
From the laptop of: Ana Hoffman
I know you had some rough time with your blog recently, but hey, it’s up and running and looking better than ever.
I admire your tenacity and perseverance: one chisel at a time – that’s the way to do it indeed.
Thanks for inviting me to your blog; let’s see what we can find to make your strong blog even stronger.
PS You asked me before, if you should prepare yourself. Now, that I’ve gone through your blog, my answer is definitely YES.
However, it’s all a learning experience, right? It’ll get better from this point, I promise.
Title: Robert Strong Marketing
Description: Robert Strong is a leading Internet Marketer that helps others become prosperous online.
Google PageRank: n/a
Alexa Rank: 552,588
Indexed pages in Google: 197
Domain Age: 11 months
1. What I liked about your blog
It loaded quickly, leading me to a simple design with your smiling face right in front of me.
Friendly and accessible – that’s how I would describe your blog.
2. Design changes to consider
Simplicity is good in some cases; specifically when it’s combined with sophistication.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say that goes for your blog, Robert.
Here are my suggestions for your design (remember, these are just basic suggestions to improve what you already have without having to redesign the entire blog look):
- The blog is too white. There is no contrast between the background and the content area; nothing stands out. I would change the background color to maybe light gray at the very least. By the way, light gray is a very well-converting color.
- Header message is the wrong one. The first thing I see in your header is “Robert Strong Marketing”. That tells me nothing about your blog. I don’t know who Robert Strong is and I have no idea what kind of marketing he is talking about. Your readers need to know right away WHAT YOUR BLOG IS ABOUT. That will make your blog more sticky initially, meaning more visitors, assuming they were targeted correctly, will stick around to learn more about you and your blog.
- Change the photo. I do love your inviting smile; however, your outfit makes you look like a priest. Nothing against the clergy, but that’s not the kind of image I would want to put in front of my readers.
- Remove the video. On top of the fact that it doesn’t have any call to action, it slows down your home page, nobody every clicks on it and if they do, no one will stick around for almost 3 minutes to watch a not so great “Welcome to my blog” video. I know, brutal truth here, Robert; but that’s what we are here for.
- Redesign the opt-in form. The way it looks right now is very generic and not enticing me to opt in whatsoever.
- Sidebar: needs a lot of help. I would remove NetworkedBlogs widget – with 29 followers, it’s more of a negative social proof that your blog is not popular enough. I would add more “sticky” widgets, like recent posts, most popular posts, etc. Keep your readers on your blog – that should be your goal.
- Footer: cluttered and doesn’t make much sense. Amateurly done – not the kind of impression you want to give to your visitors. I would strongly suggest visiting other blogs you like and paying attention what they do with their footers and sidebars; that would give your a lot of ideas.
I would suggest these posts for further reading:
3. Home Page Load Speed
Nothing bad here: your home page loading speed is about 5 seconds.
Your post pages do take twice as long at least; maybe the amount and types of plugins you are using.
Your navigation tabs don’t help your blog, Robert.
Most of them lead to pages that have no benefit to the reader, no incentive to read them, just a bunch of words that express how you feel about a particular issue – not my intent to be mean whatsoever, I like your writing, but that’s how most likely your readers see it.
Navigational tabs are designed for your readers to find their way around your blog; however, on your blog they are mostly dead ends. Doesn’t make much sense.
Also, you REALLY need to make your clickable links blue, otherwise there is not difference between a simply bolded font and a link. Your links won’t get clicked that way.
And by the way, what kind of category is “blog post”? 🙂
I had to ask you what your niche was, Robert, since it wasn’t really clear from your blog.
1. Are you in a good niche?
Turned out your niche is internet marketing and home based business.
I am sure you know that internet marketing in general is too broad of a niche to focus on.
This is how Wikipedia defines niche marketing:
A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing; therefore the market niche defines the specific product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact.
That sounds pretty specific. And oh, did I mention “specific”?
You really need to provide your readers with much more specific information that not everybody and their uncle are talking about.
Now, some might disagree with me on this point (you might as well, Robert), but your blog is too personal. It’s too much about you and your own experiences.
The truth is that nobody cares.
I am not trying to discourage you in any way, but in order to have a successful blog, and by that I mean a blog that is read and fulfills it’s primary goal – whatever you set it to be, you need to focus on YOUR READER and what benefit your blog brings them.
Every time you write a post, you should be able to answer this question from your readers’ perspective: SO WHAT?
So what you just learned about attitude in one of the conferences? How will it help me to build a better business?
I would define a good niche market by the kind of skill you help your reader to develop.
Here are some examples:
- Traffic Generation Cafe teaches readers… well, how to generate traffic to ANY website and business
- Copyblogger teaches readers how to write a good copy that converts
- Problogger teaches the readers how to build a better blog
All these blogs write about internet marketing, but within internet marketing they chose a specific niche that addresses a specific need their audiences have.
2. Niche keywords
Once again, going for “internet marketing” and “home based business” might not be a good idea, considering how popular those keywords are and how stiff the competition is.
I don’t think you’ve been focusing on SEO much, Robert, have you?
I know you are big on social media, and that’s great. I am a bit fan of Twitter myself and most of my blog traffic initially came from Twitter.
However, generating most of your traffic, if not all your traffic, from social media is A LOT OF WORK.
You really do need a more passive traffic generation vehicle, and that’s why I would love for you to focus more of your effort on SEO, Robert.
So, back to choosing the right keywords.
First, you need to work on your niche. I know you are a big fan of article marketing, so maybe you can find an angle with that in mind that people need to know more about.
Once you determine your niche, do some keyword research that people who are interested in the subject use to do Google searches.
Again, you can learn all about it from my SEO report – this audit will be too long as it is. 🙂
Before I start with my SEO analysis of your blog, let me point out one fact that I was quite surprised to see.
Your home page is not indexed by Google!
It’s as if Google doesn’t know your home page even exists. If Google doesn’t know the page exists, it can’t include it in the search results.
The way Google indexes pages is by following links from other pages that are already indexed, whether yours or from another blog. The fact that your home page is not indexed, simply tells me that you need to build more links to it, but not any links.
It doesn’t do you any good to build links from blogs that are not crawled by Google too often and that’s what most likely happened here.
Well, my blog is crawled on a daily basis, and hope this post and the links will help Google discover you.
Side note: to check if a page is indexed by Google, just enter the page URL on this site: http://indexedbygoogle.com/
I pulled up your page source and it appears to me that the problem is hiding in your All in One SEO pack plugin.
See where I highlighted “noindex” tag?
Somehow your plugin settings are set to turn away search engines.
I personally don’t use this plugin; my Thesis theme takes care of my SEO needs. So I can’t give you advice on the settings, but I am sure you can figure it out or one of my readers my give you advice in the comments.
DEFINITELY needs to be taken care of ASAP.
1. Meta Tag Structure
This information is mostly used by search engines to determine your rankings; it’s also what you see in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
I am talking about your “title” and “description” here – both are set in All in One SEO plugin for you.
Right now, they are not optimized for search engines whatsoever – no keywords, many are missing altogether.
Once you start working on your SEO though, start paying particular attention to those two. As far as SEO is concerned, those are the 2 most important things you can do for on-page optimization.
2. Heading Tag Structure
These are headings and subheading you use in your posts, sidebars, etc.
Here’s your current home page tag structure:
[h1] [h2] Can People Smell your Attitude A Mile Away? [h2] How to Become the Prom Queen or King in the Blogging World! [h2] I Am Going To Vegas But What Am I Expecting? [h2] Traffic Cipher Words of Caution Before Leaping! [h2] EzineArticles Marketing Secrets Revealed [h2] Proven Internet Marketing Strategies for Guaranteed Success [h2] Is an Internet Marketing Opportunity Right For You? [h2] The Travelers Gift Chapter Two [h2] Want To Start an Online Business From Home? [h2] Failure is the Seed to Success [h3] Recent Comments [h3] Recommended Products [h3] Credentials [h3] Find A Topic [h3] Meta
What it should be for your home page – ideally:
- H1: Blog’s name
- H2: Your blog’s tagline – should be keyword-rich
- H3: Your recent posts
- H4: related content in the sidebar, like the heading of an “about” widget.
- H5: Unrelated headings in your sidebar, footer, etc.
What it should be for your posts:
- H1: post / page title
- H2’s and H3’s: subheadings and sub-subheadings
- H4: your blog’s name, and possibly related widgets
- H5: same as above: sidebars etc.
So not bad overall.
The biggest problem is the lack of keywords, but I think we’ve talked enough about that by now. 🙂
Side note: if you want to check your own blog structure, just go to http://validator.w3.org/, add your URL to validate your code and make sure you check the “Show Outline” box – that’s what will give you your blog outline at the very bottom of your page, along with all HTML code errors you’d better fix!
Your home page has 34 images; 9 of them don’t have any ALT tags.
I talked extensively about using ALT tags for SEO purposes in my previous audit; for the sake of not repeating myself, here’s the link to it:
- Blog Audit Friday: Hail to Video Marketing Queen
Also, if you are not using it already, I highly recommend using WP Smush.it plugin to reduce the size of your images and decrease page loading time. All you do is install it and it’ll do all the work for you.
1. Internal Linking
One thing for sure: you don’t link within your own blog enough, Robert.
The way Google discovers your new posts is by following links from posts that have been previously indexed.
However, if there are no links floating between different posts, then chances are Google thinks your blog is much smaller than it really is.
Plus, interlinking your posts keeps your readers reading your blog – right where you would like for them to be.
Building internal links with proper keyword-weighted anchor text is the single simplest thing you can do for your SEO link building.
I highly recommend you read this post to learn more:
2. Incoming Linking
According to my Market Samurai research, you have 147 links going to your home page.
ALL of them are from PR0 webpages.
That’s tells me that you are very much into commenting on blogs you like as opposed to blogs that will pass some high PageRank value to your blog.
Commenting for the sake of commenting is GREAT: perfect way to learn, network, and connect.
However, can I coax you into doing both?
After all, the best way to gain trust and authority in Google’s eyes is to have many quality relevant high PR links going to your blog with anchor text that has keywords you would like to rank for.
Right now your anchor text is all over the place, “robert strong” and “robert strong’s website” being the most popular one – overwhelmingly.
It’s time for some serious link building, Robert, and getting your share of free and highly targeted search engine traffic!
Once you read my SEO report, you’ll know all you need about successful one way link building; I promise.
This and That:
Not sure if you’ve ever heard of Flesh Readability Ease test, Robert.
It basically determines how easy or difficult a particular piece of content is to read.
The easier it is to read your blog, the more people will read it – that simple.
Your blog readability level is college undergrad – that’s considered to be quite difficult for a blog.
To give you a comparison, my blog readability level is elementary school.
I would DEFINITELY recommend you rethink your writing style, Robert; not too many readers will give your blog a shot simply for this reason.
So, how do you feel, Robert? Still friends? 🙂
One step at a time, my friend. I know how you work and I know that you will take your blog to the new heights with this information.
Look forward to the changes!
And now, my dear readers, it’s your turn.
Go to http://robertstrongmarketing.org/ right now and let Robert know what you think of his blog in general and point out the things you would change. Robert and I are listening!