StSS Reviewed on #Blogchat

I…or, should I say, SportingTheSmallStuff.com…had the honor of being reviewed on #Blogchat – a weekly Sunday evening Twitter chat about blogging started by Mack Collier in 2009. Each month, several blogs are chosen from a pool of applicants to be reviewed (and sometimes lambasted) by #Blogchat participants.

Mack Collier Blog Announcement

To see the announcement on Mack’s blog, visit The three blogs we’ll review at #blogchat tonight are…

Pre-Review

While perusing Twitter last week, I ran into Mack’s call for blogs and I entered SportingTheSmallStuff.com, requesting suggestions on SEO and audience engagement. I have participated in #blogchat in the past and it is one of my favorite chats. It is the largest chat that I know of, having so many participants that it’s sometimes difficult to follow all of the concurrent conversations. For this reason, and due to the caliber of participants, there is never a shortage of excellent ideas and suggestions.

I was ecstatic to learn that my blog was selected as one of the three to be reviewed, but I knew that my blog could be torn apart, so I braced myself. The 20 minutes people spent reviewing my blog turned out to provide me with a wealth of invaluable information.

SportingTheSmallStuff Screenshot

Review of SportingTheSmallStuff

While the full chat transcript is available here, there are particular comments and suggestions that I want to highlight. If you agree and/or disagree with any of these comments, I would love to hear from you!

Blog Post Titles and Topic Suggestions

On your titles/headlines, try pasting 1st draft into Google to see what comes up. You’ll be amazed – and improve. Keywords at beginning are stronger, but curiosity or a story lead can appeal too. Answer — WIIFM. WIIFM = What’s In It For Me. Why should I read? What’s the benefit to reader? – @pheffernanvt

When writing your blog post titles, stay clear and detailed. Think of phrases potential readers might search for on Google. – @RyanCohn

Consider creating 3-5 ‘topic buckets’ for your blog. These will help with posting as well as SEO – @MackCollier

Look at your Twitter lists and Klout topics – great crowdsourcing for your best topics – @eswayne

Think of a single person (your best friend) and write a post just for him/her – @RisonSimon

Figure out the main 2-3 topics you want to blog about and base SEO keywords/phrases around those topics – @MackCollier

Maybe set aside certain days for certain topics? “Tech Tuesday” for example? – @patricksplace @NicWirtz @MackCollier

You’re influential about Running. Try writing more about it & see how your traffic #’s change. – @RyanCohn @eswayne

Likes

Title and tagline – @patricksplace @vincerobisch

Nice use of images and thumbnails for consistency – @SbuxMel @NickWestergaard @MackCollier

Thank you for not moderating comments – @CollinKromke

Ease of finding links to subscribe and connect on Twitter and LinkedIn – @CollinKromke @LHInsights @patricksplace

Blog layout and look – @NicWirtz @PattiTWG @LHInsights @patricksplace @LovelyLu @JTDabbagian @Canada_armywife @BarryBirkett @deepexistence @maggieci @jeanalawrence

About Page – @swichi293 @azmomofmanyhats

Suggestions and Pet-Peeves

Add videos (vlog) and more pictures – @samfiorella @suzanne_doughty @NicWirtz @maggieci

“16 is the new 14” = increase font size – @jaypalter @CollinKromke @patricksplace

Don’t truncate posts and use longer excerpts on the homepage – @MackCollier and @CollinKromke

Design looks “technical” rather than sports/adventure – @MissVersatile @maldyj @ToughCookieMom @samfiorella @juliacantor @gingerconsult @RyanCohn @maggieci

Need a logo and/or text style in title – @RisonSimon @ajmanik

Remove the admin login from the footer – @RisonSimon

Blog on a schedule – @kamkansas @patricksplace

Get rid of the category/pages on the page bar. Make it static pages only. – @JTDabbagian

Unsure what the blog is about upon first glance – @vincerobisch @jeanalawrence @Canada_armywife

Link Eric’s name in the sidebar – @VirginiaSquare

Bigger title, more tags, full article views – @dashingly

All active elements could be placed under “Action” all “Adventure” elements there. Categories/sub-categories. – @NicWirtz

For more readers, try posting comments on other popular sports/adventure blogs. – @kamkansas

Remove the First Name/Last Name fields in the sidebar signup – @ajmanik

Debates

Blog on a regular basis – @deepexistence VS posting when there’s something to talk about – @JTDabbagian @vincerobisch

Colors should be more engaging – @swichi293 @deepexistence @dashingly VS Greyscale helps to focus readers – @JTDabbagian

The highlight of my evening:

Twitter Collin Kromke

Top 5 Ways to Improve My Blog

Take home message:
1) Increase font size
2) Modify the color scheme (and/or add a logo and/or image header – anyone have suggestions?)
3) Blog either more often or on a schedule (or both)
4) Give a clearer indication of what the blog is about upon first glance (re-organizing topics and categories may help with this)
5) Include more photos and videos

I am confused about the general “acceptance” of excerpts over truncated posts. At the beginning of #blogchat, I considered them to be the same, but by the end of #blogchat, I was questioning the difference. Care to weigh in on that Mack and Collin?

It appears that I have my work cut out for me! If you have your own suggestions, have at it in the Comments section below!

For more information about #Blogchat, visit What Is #blogchat?

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Author: Michele

Co-Founder of 615media. Married to Eric. Strong attachment to coffee. Occasional blogger. Social media and marketing consultant. Website designer and manager. Recent masters grad. Toddler mom.

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  • Hey Michele, great review, wow you had a lot of notes!  You know, I have seen a lot of people saying the fonts were too small for all the blogs reviewed so far. I might need to increase my own.

    For the header, remember you can use Flickr pics licensed under Creative Commons – Flickr: Creative Commons  I would just add an attribution link to your About page(which you need) maybe.

    Good luck, and thanks for the mention!

    • Hashtracking helped with the notes! 😉 Good idea with Flickr – I’ll look into it. I just have to decide what to do with it. Haven’t had an “Aha!” moment with the header/logo yet.
      Thanks again!

  • Sorry the Flickr link didn’t work, here it is – http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

  • I’m glad to see my praise was the highlight of your evening! I have to admit, though, that I don’t know the difference between an excerpt and a truncated post. I think they are the same, and I’m not against them. I think my suggestion was to include LONGER excerpts. I don’t practice what I preach on this advice, though.

    • Yup, you did suggest longer excerpts and you were definitely one of the highlights of my evening! 🙂 You may not practice what you preach on excerpts, but your font is larger than most blogs… Is it 16 or 14??

      • I use a 16px font on my blog. I had it at 14 for a while, but still felt it needed to be bigger. I actually pass up on reading many blog posts that use 12. It’s just too small.

  • Dpliner

    Judging by the requests for enlarging the font size, it appears you have an aging readership.  Being Michele’s father, I vote for 18 point.

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