Regular visitors to GrowMap are bound to have come across some great ideas in the comments left by Dennis Edell. Hopefully you’ve already visited his main blog DirectSalesWebMarketing. Dennis really knows what he’s doing as he’s come up with a contest that increases the number of subscribers to his blogs and benefits the sponsors donating the prizes while generating suggestions to improve his two new blogs DennisEdell.com and EasyCashContests.com.
I have several reasons for participating in Dennis’ contest:
- The reviews I write benefit other bloggers as my suggestions are likely to apply to their blogs too.
- Supporting the efforts of those who support yours is always a good idea.
- We’ll get to visit those who support Dennis’ blogs and by doing so invite them to visit us.
- I’ll take this opportunity to mention the most important things Dennis did right – and there will be many – which means his new blogs become good examples for other bloggers.
What’s Right: Best Blog Design:
- DennisEdell has this right although I would make the square image shareable (read on for details).
- EasyCashContest needs an image and that one I would make as described below.
- Using the same image on your blog that you use across all Social Networking sites is very important.
- Use the same image as your Favicon.
TIP: Make sure this image can be shared on FriendFeed, StumbleUpon, etc. so that those who know how can “brand” content they share for you. While DennisEdell is using his Avatar it is not currently shareable.
* SITE NAME: Belongs just to the right of your header image.
Fine on both sites although I would change the font and size on the Eash Cash site so that it stands out more. Making a shareable image like the one Derek made for the NoBogies site that includes the business name, URL and slogan would be best because that strengthens your branding wherever it is shared.
* SLOGAN: Every site should have a slogan that lets visitors immediately understand why they want to be there.
Even though the slogan for DennisEdell.com is rather long it has character. I love it. The slogan for Easy Cash Contest is a little long and not catchy enough. I’d have a contest to come up with one that is more unique and memorable.
* SEARCH: All sites – including blogs – absolutely MUST have a search function and it needs to be VERY easy to QUICKLY locate.
WHY you ask? I’m glad you asked. Let me count the reasons:
- So people like me who are always online and on the lookout can quickly find something they know you have and share it somewhere else.
- So your readers can quickly find other posts of interest. In many blogs content is fairly timeless and good for reference material. Making it easier to find will increase page views, make new readers more likely to subscribe, and provide additional opportunities for others to share what they consider best (or that is related to their interests) from your content.
- What do you call visitors who can’t find what they want? GONE!
TIP: Search boxes should be located near the top right either in the header, the navigation just below the header, or at the top of the right sidebar.
Both of these new blogs really need to have search boxes added because great content is meant to be shared!
* SOCIAL NETWORKING LINKS: Feature links to the Social Networking Sites you use most so visitors will know where to find you.
Make these VERY obvious. You might also want to add Share This or Tweet This or some other options to encourage your posts to be shared. You’ll notice I’ve chosen to feature Twitter and FriendFeed links from GrowMap to make it easier for my readers to connect with me there.
* ASK FOR SUBSCRIBERS: I recently visited a blog somewhere that suggested subscribing to their blog and offered a link just under the submit comment button! What a brilliant idea! If I can find it again or find where I saved the text they used I’ll add it here.
BloggingWithoutABlog uses something similar. When submitting comments there you see this text:
“Don’t risk missing another lesson, link or observation – Subscribe for free in a reader. Catch them all, and come back to share your thoughts. Have a question? Feel free to leave it in the comment section. I’ll do my best to help.”
* About Pages: All sites including blogs must have one. Why? Because some of your visitors want to know more about why your site exists, what your site offers them, and a little more about you.
- Dennis Edell – This about page tells us a lot about Dennis’ personality and writing style. While it isn’t “professional” it is fun – and isn’t that more likely to bring you back?
- Easy Cash Contests – This about page tells us what the blog is about and why. The WHY is very important! Did you know giving someone a reason or stating something is BECAUSE greatly increases the possibility that they’ll listen or take action on what you write?
I’ve previously discussed Enabling Your Readers to Subscribe to Comments. We know Dennis already knows about these concepts. He is also familiar with Threaded Comments and Enabling Comment Editing.
While we’re reviewing let’s mention all the things Dennis did right in this contest:
- He was very specific about what he wanted entrants to do.
- He got those who entered to subscribe to all three blogs.
- He not only received at least two links to each of his blogs – he asked for and obtained links for all of this sponsors who donated the prizes.
- His blogs receive exposure from each blogger who enters.
- He will hopefully receive some suggestionsfor improving his blogs that he will decide to implement.
ADDITIONAL CONTEST BENEFIT:
Finding More Quality Blogs with experience to share – especially about making money blogging. If you don’t have time to visit them all, do make the effort to check out these:
- Peter Lee’s Work From Home Business Blog – Making money from home including blogging techniques, affiliate programs, link building and How Blog Commenting Got Him 1200 Backlinks in Five Days.
- SuzanneFranco.com – Teaches How to Make Money Online. Offers a Blogging For Bucks Bootcamp
BLOG REVIEW CONTEST PRIZES:
So what did you miss by not entering this blog review contest? Here is the list of prizes Dennis lined up:
Sponsors & Prizes:
CASH VIA PAYPAL:
Dennis Edell @ Beginner Marketing Tips – $25
Dennis Edell @ Win Cash Online – $25
Dennis Edell @ DennisEdell.com – $25
Yep, I’m personally putting up $75 .
Mirjam @ MeMyselfAndIBlog – $10 Blog Subject: Make Money Blogging.
Rodel @ Professional Cebu Blogger – $25
Suzanne Franco @ SuzanneFranco.com – $30
BANNER ADS (1 month ea. w/value if available):
Sherry @ SherrysShopping – 125×125
Sherry @ AnotherContest – 125×125
Superman Joe @ PostBlogger – 300 x 250
Sharmin @ ContestSpot – 125×125
Erwin Tan @ ErwinTan.com – 125×125 ($20)
Jonathan @ How To Blog – 125×125 ($15)
Garry Conn @ GarryConn.com – 468×60 ($70)
ZK @ WebTrafficROI – 125×125 ($20)
Yan @ Blog Setup – 125×125 ($20)
Archie Pennies @ SomeExtraPennies – 125 x 125 for 4 months
Collin @ FeedFlare – life time blog roll link
Harish @ BloggingKid – 1 month text link ad
Archie Pennies @ SomeExtraPennies – site wide blog roll link for 4 months
Peter Lee @ Make Money Blogging – New Home Study Course,”Quit Being a Wage Slave in 10 Easy Steps” ($47) – Peter Lee authors the Work From Home Business Blog
Ben Pei – @ Make Money Online – Instant Blog Traffic ($47)
Kathy Hendershot-Hurd @ VirtualImpax – 8 Week Power Blog Launch product ($77)
Mirjam @ MeMyselfAndIBlog – Blog Review ($25)
Superman Joe @ PostBlogger – Blog Review
Nishadha @ rumblinglankan – Blog Review ($20)
Rodel @ Cebu Pacific Promos – 1000 EC
Wiehanne @ Wiehanne Lounge – 500 EC
Wiehanne @ Medan Daily – 500 EC
Wiehanne @ SimplyWP – 500 EC
David R Young Jr @ Niche-It – custom squeeze page template package ($7)
Brian D. Hawkins @ ExtremeEzine – one year Pro membership to YourAdTracker ($39.95)
RELATED BLOG DESIGN POSTS:
- The Perfect WordPress Design Part 1: Backgrounds, Style, Number of Columns
- The Perfect WordPress Theme: Headers, Search, Sidebars, Footers
- 4 Reasons Your Blog Needs a Logo
ADDING FAVICONS TO BLOGS:
- How to Favicon For Your Blog For Blogger and Self-Hosted WordPress
- How to Change Your Favicon in Blogger
- Tips for Adding Favicons in WordPress and Joomla