It’s Makeover Monday — today we’re reviewing Lori Lowe’s blog, Life Gems. I’ll give Lori some suggestions for ways she can improve her blog, and then it’s up to her to either:
- make do-it-yourself improvements
- hire the team at Blogging Bistro to do it for her (we have talented graphic designers and developers in our stable who work wonders on Web sites and blogs)
- do nothing. But that wouldn’t be right!
Join the fun — enter your your blog in the Monday Makeover Challenge.
Lori’s blog is hosted at WordPress.com, a free blog hosting service (this is different than a self-hosted WordPress.org site, which gives you many more customization options). She’s using Cutline, a popular, but somewhat Spartan theme. Here’s a screenshot:
First, the positives:
- You update your blog several times a week, which is great. It lets your follows know you mean business, and assures them that you’re consistently going to deliver helpful content.
- Your blog posts are interesting and entertaining, and they stick closely to your theme of “tips for improving your marriage.” Some recent post titles, for example:
- You regularly include guest posts. This gives your fans an opportunity to be featured, and it allows you to cover a wider range of topics and perspectives.
- You’ve beefed up your blog by adding two additional pages, an About page (essential) and a page that promotes your free e-book.
Here are some suggestions for improvement:
- Your topic lends itself well to searches, but your Search box is buried “below the fold” in your sidebar (in other words, readers have to scroll down to see it). I’d move it up so your readers can quickly search for topics of interest to them.
- You also have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, but your “follow me” icons are scattered throughout your sidebar. I’d group them so readers can see all your social networks at a glance.
You’re writing a book called First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: How Adversity Can Unite a Marriage, in which couples share their experiences with drug addiction, infidelity, military separation, opposing religions, stranger rape, life-threatening illness, financial crises and much more. Their lessons will help any couple prepare for or overcome difficulties.
I’m assuming that your blog is your primary means of building your reputation as an expert on adversity in marriage so that when your book comes out, you’ll have a strong, loyal following who will buy your book.
If that’s the case, I recommend thinking about the following:
Blog name – Life Gems is a short, catchy title. But how does it advance your “marriage” brand? More importantly, how does your blog title alert search engines to your blog’s theme?
Header – How does the header image of a café in a city relate to your “marriage” brand?
Theme – Your site is clean and uncluttered, but some additional color might be nice. Marriage, after all, isn’t clean, white, and uncluttered. Look at other marriage sites and evaluate how they use color and imagery to enhance their message.
Images – Speaking of images, only a few of the posts on your blog’s front page use images, and they’re various sizes and in various locations. Strive for an image in every post, in a consistent location every time.
Mailing List – You’re going to need a strong mailing list to help your promote your upcoming book. I suggest tying in your free e-book to a mailing list subscription. For instance: “Subscribe to my mailing list and instantly receive my free e-book, Love Everyday: Thoughts on Loving Amidst the Chaos of Life.” That way, your fans get your book in exchange for giving you permission to market to them. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Readers, what additional elements did you notice that Lori can work on improving?
*If you’d like to submit your blog to our Monday Makeover Challenge, check out the guidelines.