DISCLAIMER – I have had a NUMBER of people ask why I would subject my ego and my site toÂ criticism. Well, I want to have the best product possible AND it is almost impossible to critique your own work. I can produce fabulous products for other people with a focus on optimizing and providing great design BUT like the shoemaker, myÂ site was the last one to get the star treatment! Â Thank you men with pens for the kick in the pants I needed to re-visit my site!
So I was surfing around one day and came upon a site (Men With Pens) that offered to critique blogs. It seemed like a good idea at the time so I offered up Marketing Artfully for abuse!
Here is the breakdown of what I am doing wrong:
She was a looker, this victim. She was into the ponies. Meerkats too. Odd combination. What sheâ€™d done, I didnâ€™t know. It was something to do with the declining real estate market, I assumed.
The MWPs think my Random Rotating Header is off track. They think that I should have pictures of houses. Since I am marketing now instead of selling houses I disagree about the house thing, BUT I do agree that the site doesn't look like my other marketing materials – which all feature realtor-ish people. HMMMM should I change the headers? I like them and they are artful. Will take this one under consideration!
All I knew was my companyâ€™s new mission statement. Exceeding customer and shareholder expectations with flawless execution. It wasnâ€™t much of a statement. Hell, it wasnâ€™t even a sentence.
The MWPs hate my mission statement! I didn't even know I HAD a mission statement. Anyways, this is unacceptable and will be fixed once I find it! Obviously they want all my sentences to BE sentences too – not sure I can do that one. – UPDATE: I never found my mission statement BUT I did update my about us page, it is MUCH more informative and professional now. I can ABSOLUTELY say that I got the site up with “stuff” and now am finessing the content for SEO and also more targeted information!
Anyone who knows my pet peeves knows that the first thing I looked for was an archive page. Unfortunately, there was none to be had. Marketing Artfully uses category and month links, as well as a list of five recent posts. The lack of an archive page hurts MAâ€™s ability to get its posts indexed by Google, and it shows. Very few individual blog posts have been indexed. About the only thing you will find in a search is the main site. One of the keys to long-term success is a good archive page. It allows readers and search engines to find the articles you want read.
I do have archive links but will research how to get a better placement with an actual archive page. The MWPs also suggested submitting a site map to google, I will hit that one too!
â€œThe navigation really fades into the background too. I donâ€™t like that it isnâ€™t clear and easy to see. Tabs, maybe, nicely visible, or a navigation bar. Why doesnâ€™t she have a â€˜Servicesâ€™ page? Why isnâ€™t her name in the About Us?
Rats. A services page for a services company. These guys are tough! I will make a services page, with services. I can't do much about the navigation at this point because it is a WordPress template BUT I can make the content better. Like most of you, I got the site up with STUFF in there and had every intention of fleshing it out when I had time. I guess it is time to make time. UPDATE – I have re-done my services page with added data capture forms and a link to case studies.
The theme colors are lime green, light blue and gray. The colors are attractive and professional looking, with an upbeat feel. I think it works well for the site. I would probably change the subscription button to a lime green so that it matched. Marketing Artfully does a good job of emphasizing the feed subscription options. Itâ€™s right there at the top of the right column.
YAY – they like my colors and my feeds! Small victory, but I will take what I can get!
I would get rid of the MyBlogLog and Amungus widgets though. They make the blog seem more casual than professional. This blog is promoting professional services. It is fine to look creative, but a site like this should avoid any gimmicky widgets.
Blasphemy! I like my widgets! Ain't happening Men With Pens – and because of them I know where you are!!!!
Having removed the widgets, I would move up the ads for her services. They are attractive and blend well with the site colors so there is no harm in moving them directly underneath the subscription form. Make it easy for people to do business with you. DONE!
And improve the copy,â€ James mumbled absently. â€œâ€˜Hire me.â€™ To do what? Plus, with that lack of clear navigation, people canâ€™t see right away that there are services being offeredâ€¦â€
Clear SERVICES are now in the navigation – I left the right side button as is as it is supplimentary now!
For the most part the posts stay close to the stated purpose, but I notice that many of the posts contain long paragraphs with few headlines or other visuals to break up the text. Readers on the web tend to get bogged down by large blocks of text. I would consider adding some graphics to the post and using more headings and lists.
Long rambling posts? Moi? Okay, after today I will reform!
This is a marketing blog, so I expect great headlines. Blog owner Tara Jacobson has the appropriate creativity when it comes to writing headlines for her articles, but her references can be a little obscure. Headlines are not meant to entertain your existing readers, they are meant to draw in new readers. If I came across an article titled, Your Favorite Medium, I could only guess what the article was about. A headline such as, Reaching Your Market: Is Your Medium Too Small?, identifies what the article is about while staying creative. The key to good headlines is to be creative AND informative.
I am on it!
So, overall I am pleased with the verdict. A few tweaks, totally changing my writing style, adding some services and I am good to go! I am going to be implementing these changes over the next couple of days. THANK YOU Men With Pens for the great critique and keep up the good work!