Eerik from XP tricks has won this jump-the-queue blog review worth $150 as a prize in the Lets Win This Contest Together that ran for a month at Shanker Bakshi’s blog and concluded on 1st September. Inspirit Blog had sponsored the contest with prizes worth $185. Today I am going to review Eerik’s blog XP tricks jumping over the queue of so many blogs already waiting for a free blog review from Inspirit Blog.
Having said that, I’d start with this blog review that will cover all the elements of a blog from its design and eye candy to the add-ons and content, from the management of navigation bar to the sidebar widgets, and everything else that is significant for a blog. Whatever I’d tell through this review will (of course) be related to this particular blog, but I’d recommend that all of you read through and try to pick the maximum tips from this review to better up your own blog.
5 posts on the home page is optimal and the read more tag has been sensibly used to optimize the length of the home page. You can dig through the previous posts by clicking on the Older Entries link below the 5 posts on the main page. However I am disappointed not to see the archives anywhere. Its hard to navigate older entries beyond a few pages without the archive in place. No having or listing an archive virtually kills the prospects of your previous blog posts getting their due exposure. You might get some search engine traffic to them but unless people read that buried comment, rate or review it, social-bookmark it, you’re not going to get good rankings in the SERPS (Search Engine Results PageS) even!
The navigation bar at the top is minimalistic with only the most basic pages listed there : About | Contact | Register. However when I ran through the links in the rightmost sidebar just above the footer, I figured a link to the Link Exchange page. That can come in the top navigation bar as well, instead of being down there so neglected! My personal recommendation yo all of you is to list all the pages on your blog together at one place, be it the navigation bar or a prime spot in the sidebar.
Besides all this, the posts have not been categorized (or labelled) and hence there is no categories widget in the sidebar or anywhere else on the blog. Sorry Eerik, but I am not at all pleased with the navaigation on your blog and I really recommend you add the archives in the sidebar, and tag or categorize your blog posts appropriately so that they can be easily accessed from the tags/categories widget. Also, move the Link Exchange page to the navigation bar from the bottom where no one will easily notice it. Your Link Here looks more like a text link ad-spot.
Sidebars and Footer Overview
The very essential features that I feel should always be there in a blog’s sidebars are navigation elements (as we talked above), feed subscription options, social bookmarking, social networking and blog promotion widgets, blogroll and resources link-list ( and advertising elements – if you wish to). Out of these basic elements, you have the feed subscription options in the right place on the home page, and social bookmarking buttions like digg, reddit, etc. on the single post page. You may add the RSS subscription options on the single-post page as well.
You should start working on other elements as well. The prime aim of any blog is building traffic. As soon as possible, join social networking sites for bloggers like blog catalog and mybloglog, entrecard, etc. and work on growing your blog’s community. Build a healthy readership base so that all your hard work doesn’t go in vain. If you’re investing your peace and time in publishing useful content, you should market it in the right way so that people actually see it. It’s important to build traffic and grow your blog’s readers community.
Another important thing that you should take care of while writing an About page is that it should give the reader an idea of what the website or blog is about and who’s the person behind it. You’ve briefed about XP tricks in 2-3 lines but I did not see your name anywhere in the whole blog. I would have never known that you’re Eerik if you’d not told your name while entering the contest.
You’re using Google Adsense smartly on the main page with text-links unit just below the title and an ad-block below the post. Nice places to put those ads, actually. However consider avoiding the in-line ad placement in your blog. I find that quite distracting as your blog’s content container isn’t as wide that it’ll accumulate the ad quite well. You should consider this post of yours and see how the image used in the post is being pushed out of view due to the ad placed along with it. You may consider placing adsense somewhere in the sidebar, instead.
Overall, your blog has quite some content worth reading but not everyone is as patient as me to navigate through all the older entries through the link at the bottom. Work on your blog’s navigation bar so that posts and pages are easily accessible. Try to minimize writing content that can be found elsewhere on the internet and bring up more original and interesting tutorials, tips, tricks and tweaks unless the intent of your blog is to share the goodness of internet that is already there.
I hope that this review helps you optimize your blog and build some traffic and a healthy readers’ community. Feel free to drop your comments, share ideas and opinions and write about this review on your own blog to share with your readers.