The class spent most of last week learning about the elements of a good blog - their own, and the ones they will be seeking out as potential hosts for their blog book tours. Today we start with critiques of the member blogs. Alex J. Cavanaugh has agreed to let me post the review that started off his critique this morning. Go to his blog here and then compare it to the comments below. These are all tips that can help improve your own blog.
Basic Design Attractiveness?
Excellent and right in line with the book theme.
Title and URL cohesive?
Yes. Easy for readers to remember.
Consistency and clarity of blog purpose?
The header hangs up on my dial-up. It takes quite a while to load but presumably slow connects aren't an issue in outer space.
Follow widget in place?
Perfect - all of them up high and right.
Yes, and well-placed towards the bottom of the page with actual count showing.
Bookmarking in place?
Positioned with the follow widgets, but maybe could add an RSS feed link?
FB and Twitter widgets?
Didn't see Facebook, but Twitter is there.
Yes, very good. Could be organized a bit more concisely.
Linking effective? Tags/keywords used?
Good enough. Could have more linking within posts and between posts.
Frequent posting 2-3 x weekly?
Yes, very good, and a nice mix. Could include the occasional shorter post, or split longer posts into two.
Quality of overall posts?
Excellent, and clearly readers love this blog.
Comments section working?
Yes, and Alex gets enviable comment interaction. I suspect his ability to cyber-schmooze and interact with other bloggers (make friends) results in long-term loyalty. All bloggers should try to achieve this. Then you don't have to look for blog hosts - they beg to host you!
Blog components arranged in optimum manner? (see tomorrow's post for more about this)
Yes, except where noted.
Too many/too few third-party gadgets?
The blog award gadgets are a bit much - I know that it's hard not to accept these tokens of friendship, but maybe add older ones to the bottom of the page, and keep only a few of the most recent at the top?
They are both a psychological attractant and a visual repellent, so may take some clever managing.
Pages used effectively? Can the reader easily learn more about this writer and book?
Separate pages with tabs - with author bio, maybe an excerpt under another tab, a list of your favorite books - these could all engage the reader even more.
What can be improved?
Is it ready for a blog tour?
Without a doubt.
Nice job, Alex! We'll expect a great blog book tour from you sometime this autumn.