I was recently contacted to look over All Tips and Tricks, and give it a review. After looking at the site, I was quickly able to tell that its content wasn’t what was holding it back.
There are so many little design mistakes that this site makes, that I could talk about what it needs to do all day. The site has been built in such a way that it doesn’t say “professional” despite the content being very professional in writing style and tone.
While the woman in the header is attractive, easy to look at and captures the eye, it says nothing about the site. I think it is time for this site to bring a sense of professionalism by dropping the stock photograph and getting a logo done on Sitepoint for around $100.
The next thing that I noticed was that when clicking the header, I was brought to the Feedburner page for their RSS feed. This is counterintuitive to what I am used to, and as a normal reader, I wouldn’t be more likely to subscribe just because of this. I would rather it go to the home page after viewing a post. There are other ways to promote RSS readership.
The navigation looks out of place on my Camino web browser. While not all that different from the site, it just doesn’t fit properly. A decent coder could fix this up without much of an issue, again providing the site with a more unified appearance and a more professional looking end result.
Why is the blog not the front page? Why isn’t the front page handled by WordPress? It looks so different from the rest of the site, and isn’t implemented well at all. I would say that the front page should be removed, and instead show me the blog right away.
The content of the blog is handled well though it could use some tweaking from someone with a great design eye. I believe that related posts should only be shown when a user is looking at at single post, rather than cluttering up your index page with that kind of information. It make me unable to go through multiple posts quickly.
Comments need better styling. They look horrible and could easily be improved. Creating an open line of communication is the key to any blog succeeding, but people aren’t going to read comments that don’t even look like they fit with the design. They are not padded correctly like the rest of the content, and look very unprofessional.
The Archives page needs to be fixed as the search is outside the borders of the page. Also, I would change it so the archives are done in a way that they show the last twenty or so posts, then the categories and then finally the archives by date, as pretty much no one looks for something by date.
While it is nice that they have decided to feature the Feedburner e-mail subscription service at the top of the sidebar of the site, I have found that very few people will take advantage of such a service, and so you are better off moving it down the sidebar and giving such featured importance to other subscription methods, like RSS, which is much more widely used.
The recommended posts are great, but it feels like every block of in site navigation is separated by either advertisements or nearly useless widgets. Do you really need to show close to one hundred of your recent MyBlogLog visitors? Do you really need those other banners and buttons below that MyBlogLog widget? Displaying your Alexa rank won’t help your rank improve. The people that run Alexa have said this numerous times.
In the world of ever increasing footer sizes, All Tips and Tricks went completely the other way, with almost no footer. This space can be effectively used to place elements from the sidebar, thus de-cluttering it, and creating a better use experience.
Kudos to you for not having a footer that goes on forever, but you can use this space to your design advantage if you so choose.
All Tips and Tricks does automatically redirect non-www URL’s to their www counterpart, which will make sure Google knows that http://www.alltipsandtricks.com/blog/ is where they belong.
They have good meta-keywords and description. Keyword density is something that should be looked at as the words tips and tricks could be put into articles more often without making the articles look like they are spam. This would improve the blog’s ranking in those words, and help continue to grow the branding.
For a site that has been around a year, the growth just doesn’t seem there. Alexa, while not the most precise system in the world, shows a big jump at the start of the site’s life, and then a very slow upward trend that says that this site will have to be around forever before it really takes off. I think that it should be growing much faster for the type of content on this site.
Look at what your competitors are doing, and learn from them. While your content is great, they are growing much faster than you while talking about some of the same things.
All Tips and Tricks employs the normal advertising you would expect on any current blog, including 125×125 pixel advertisement boxes, Google’s AdSense and PayPerPost.
The issue with each of these is how they are handled. The block advertising on the sidebar are not lined up correctly, and take away from the design of the site. Also, while four of the advertisements are the same size, two others don’t match up, which leads both to wasted space, and is distracting.
AdSense is optimized to make the site money, which means they will be able to make money off their work, but I find their use of AdSense on their single posts to be a bit distracting due to having it be a huge block above the content. I don’t think that users will come back and read full articles often if they are going to continue to see such breaks in the content with advertising filling up that spot.
The AdSense advertisements could use more blending in regards to colours, so that it matches the site, rather than standing out in what appears to be the default colour set.
The other major issue I see with the site is that there is almost no advertising program that they haven’t signed up for with articles including Chitika’s eMinimalls, and another widget based store front program. I think that it has a few too many ads, but even more so, the execution of the ads is so poorly done that they overshadow the content, and that is never a good way to run a site.
Again, I want to make sure everyone knows that the content at All Tips and Tricks is great. I enjoyed more than a few articles during my review process.
There is so much that can be done with this blog, and it should continue to do well. I think now is the time for it to make itself look more professional, and blend advertisements better. Other than that, it just needs to continue to produce high quality content often.
Here are some great articles:
- 11 Free Photo Editors At Your Choice
- How to Learn Foreign Languages by Association
- Browsers shortcuts common to IE and Firefox
I feel that the site focuses too much on advertising, and making money, and not enough on producing more quality content, and trying to look good, and while that is a mistake many make, it is not a profitable long term strategy, as search engines will catch on and so will readers.
Originally posted on October 29, 2007 @ 6:00 am