Criticize the site you’re guest-blogging on. Yea, that’s smart (not really). What better way to help the main author, the blog, and the readers than a review? (I’m sure there are better ways, not to mention less lazy ways.)
The following review of BloggingTips.com will help you make more money…somehow.
Kevin is pretty slick with the 728×15 Google Adsense ad unit. It’s right next to the main navigation bar so you might get tricked into clicking it, which would earn BloggingTips.com some moola. However, Kevin’s slick integration doesn’t take advantage of accidental clicks from tab browsing. Especially true for Firefox users, we open a lot of tabs while browsing multiple websites. You can take advantage of accidental clicks by placing the 728 x 15 unit at the top of your page. Some inexperience web users might even think the ad units are actual website navigation links.
Along with the 728×90 leaderboards at the top and bottom, I see that BloggingTips.com is promoting several other programs in the sidebar. I don’t like those button banners in the sidebars. If you want to make money off of your affiliate links, move the links closer to your content. Write a post to review each service and sprinkle your affiliate links throughout the review.
I do like the 468×60 Google Adsense banners in between each post, but the borders are bringing too much attention to the banners. It defeats the whole point of making them look like content links.
As for the inline Adsense ads within certain posts, BloggingTips.com has a big enough of a main column to use the 300 or 336 ads. If you’re going to use inline ads, don’t be shy :).
Colors are a little bit out there. It’s hard to find something to focus on. I say change the red and yellow to one color that’s not red nor yellow.
Although it’s good to establish contrast among design elements of your page and clearly define the space of the main content, there are better ways to increase contrast than making your sidebars light on dark.
I do like the three-column layout with the main column in the middle. With three-column layouts, if you place the main column in the middle and place a 336×280 Google Adsense ad at the top of the main column, your click-through rate will average from 5 to 15%, depending on the condition of your visitors’ cases of ad-blindness. For those just starting out with Google Adsense, a 5 to 15% click-through rate is pretty good.
I like the fact that the main column is wide and that the text within the main column is bigger than the sidebars. Both of those points make content easy to scan and digest.
I don’t like the search form because I didn’t even know what it was, at first. However, it’s a very convenient search form, once you’ve realized that you can use it…to search.
At the bottom of the page, I don’t like how the Next and Previous links are so close to a Home link. If you’re going to have them placed close to each other like that, you might as well place another Google Ad Unit next to the Next and Previous links. That will serve you better than a Home link.
BloggingTips.com comments template is easier to follow than some other blogs, but comments are pushed too far to the right. Also, it needs a bigger line-height (affects spacing in between each line). The line-height for BloggingTips content text equals that of the comments template. However, the content text is black (easier to read). The comment text is blue (needs more line-height to read).
I had MyBlogLog avatars installed on Wpdesigner.com before so I can tell you from experienece. Those avatars slow down your site considerably. That bother Matt Coddington (netbusinessblog.com) so he removed it just like I have for my own blog. Second, there’s no reason to feature both MyBlogLog and Bumpzee avatars, unless you want duplicate avatars. I’m looking at one set of duplicates on BloggintTips.com right now. One is from MBL and the other from Bumpzee.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Similar to my other blog reviews on Wpdesigner.com, I pointed out that if you worry about SEO then don’t use multiple H1 title tag on one page. BloggingTips.com does use multiple H1 tags.
So did you learn anything from my review of BloggingTips.com?