We are at the end of the BritMums Better your blog series, but there will always be more blogging tips on the site because that’s part of what the BritMums Blog is all about!
As the voice of the readers, we are here to help you lead the conversation by providing tips on blogging and writing as well as providing a platform for you to speak to thousands of readers. Guest posting on BritMums is a great way to be seen by many new readers and to lead people back to your blog.
In this final post of the Better your Blog series we offer some tips for how to see your blog from the readers’ point of view so you can do your own critique.
However, just like having another person proofread your writing helps with a rewrite, having another person do a mini critique on your blog can help you to make the adjustments you might not otherwise see in order to improve your blog, and take it to the next level.
Need a fresh pair of eyes to help with your blog?
If you would like to join the Blog Critique Pairs and be matched with another blogger to critique each other’s blog, leave a comment below with your URL and we will pair you up. When critiquing your partner’s blog you might want to choose one section of these tips below as a guide to writing a mini report for the other blogger.
Your blog in a sentence
Some might call this the elevator pitch. Can you tell me what your blog is about in one sentence?
This is an important exercise because if you can’t easily summarise your blog, will readers know what your blog is about?
When writing this sentence, don’t be tied down to known niches such as ‘parenting’ or ‘craft’. Your niche, or mission can also be the less tangible concepts such as ‘inspire’ or ‘support’.
Does your tagline match your elevator pitch?
Does your tagline show us how you’re unique to others in your niche?
If you’re critiquing someone else’s blog, what does their blog say to you?
Does the look of your blog match what it’s about?
Do the colours and images match the niche?
Using colours and images that reinforce your tagline is a great way of making an impression in those first seconds of a visit.
Is your blog ‘look’ easily recognisable? Do you have an image that you use across the Internet? This helps build your brand, which is important if you are trying to gain more followers, even if you aren’t selling anything.
When a reader lands on your site easy navigation is one of the main reasons they will stay a bit longer.
Is your navigation all ‘above the fold’ (all the visible part of your blog before a reader begins scrolling down)?
Is it easy to find out more about you, to find your contact details, to find your most popular posts?
If I move through your site, is the navigation back to your home page clear?
Too many menus? We only need one that is visible throughout the whole site, and possibly a second one to Popular Posts.
Subscribing/following and sharing
Do you have a share button in each post as well as on the main page?
Have you made it easy for readers to follow you?
Do you have an easy to find RSS feed button, above the fold?
Many people prefer to have emails of your posts sent straight to their inbox. Is your email subscription form above the fold?
If people enjoy your posts and your voice they will very likely want to catch up with you on Twitter and follow you on Facebook. Do you have easy to find Twitter and Facebook buttons, with working links?
What about the other forms of social media that might work well for your niche? If you are a craft or cookery blog, Pinterest is awesome—do you have a Pinterest button?
Are all of these buttons close together where they can all be easily and quickly found—above the fold?
Your About page
Is your About page up to date, interesting, brief, informative, linked to relevant posts? Does it include or link to your Contact Me page?
When you decide to write a blog post, picture yourself listening to someone telling it to you. Make it an interesting story! For example, a post outlining your daily activities during half term may not be as interesting as a post about one really funny or eye-opening moment with your children during half term.
Are your posts under 800 words?
Do you use bullet points or subheadings from time to time?
Do you use relevant keywords in your title and post? Do you use relevant tags and categories? If your blogging platform has an SEO plugin, do you make use of it?
When including photos, do you use alt. tags and captions?
Do you link across your site? And if so, do you use relevant anchor text like ‘how to fix windscreen wipers’ rather than unrelated words like ‘this post’ or ‘click here for more information’?
Are you having a conversation in your comments?
Are you making good use of social media to connect with your readers and bring new readers into your blog?
Something to think about when doing this critique
What are your blog goals?
More followers: Are you visiting other blogs and connecting with people on other Social Media? Do you have an easily recognisable gravatar / logo across all social media to help people identify and follow you back to your blog?
More comments: Are you asking people to comment in your post? Are you commenting on their blogs?
More money: Is your blog PR/brand friendly? Are your tweets PR/brand friendly?
Do you want to sell an eBook? Are you working at building your followers and connections? Is the eBook logo easily read and in a prominent position on your blog? Do you make it easy for readers to buy it?
If you choose to be paired with another blogger for a critique, share your goals with the blogger who will be critiquing your blog.
Be sure to leave a comment below if you’re interested in being paired with another blogger for a helpful, mini critique! We will be choosing the pairs on 23 February (in two weeks).
Edited to add 1 March 2012: Please note, the blog critique pairs are now closed. But that shouldn’t stop you asking a blogging buddy to exchange critiques!