I participated in the SOAP project that was the brainchild of Easton Ellsworth. My blog was reviewed by Leah of Working Solo, and I am very appreciative of her input. Below is her input and some comments I have in response:
Make your RSS subscription button more prominent. Done.
Add an option to allow people to subscribe via email instead of just RSS (Feedburner is has a good option for this). Give me some input here- is this worth setting up? Do you have people who subscribe via e-mail?
If I was going to work with you then I would want to see an about page. The old saying is “people do business with people they like” (and know). Another good point. I have a lot of experience in my “old” life in direct/database/brand marketing that I could go into in more detail than is in that little blurb at the top right.
Have a clickable link for contact – having to type out the randa [at] randaclay [dot] com may sometimes stop people from contacting you. If you are concerned about getting too much spam from having a clickable link on your site then I would suggest you sign up to Gmail and use that for the web contact – the spam management is outstanding. The spam management is so outstanding at gmail that it threw Leah’s e-mail to me right in the spam folder! I added a Contact page.
Add some navigation links in your sidebar for recent posts and popular/random archived posts. Helps readers find more than just what is on the page that is presented to them. I’ll work on this.
Yellow on white in the sidebar can be hard to read (I know several people who would not be able to discern the contrast between them and just move on) I changed the link text to blue instead.
When it comes to readability I also find the font very small when I am reading it in Firefox. I upped the size a bit.
Have the BlogLog style match he style of your site (it looks very tacked on at the moment). I thought the style I had was pretty snazzy, but that’s a good point. I changed mine to look more like others I have seen, with just the little pictures. It does look better.
Make your categories more descriptive and reflective of the type of keywords that people might be searching on (this is something that I have to work on for myself at the moment). This blog is rather new, and I am still working on the categories as I get some posts under my belt.
The help you understand who, when and how people are coming to your site I would recommend signing up for Google Analytics and 103bees (both no charge services). I use Statcounter and have been really pleased with it. I’ve tried the other two. Has anyone done a comparison between all these stats tools and come to a conclusion as to which is best? I know they all offer slightly different and potentially valuable things. What do you use?
I would appreciate input anyone else might have time to give me. While I’m okay with this design, I’m beginning to think about version 2.0. This one has a nice clean look, but it could be more interesting.