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Blog Critique: Ray Gun Robot

Todays critique is Garrett Albright’s Ray Gun Robot which has the tagline “Tech with Personality” – a good start!

Right away I have a feel for what the blog will be about. Great stuff.

  • I know the name of the blogger
  • The domain and blog name is catchy
  • “Tech” helps define a target audience, the “Personality” aspect tells us it is not going to be “dry”

OK, let’s browse around and see what we can find ..

Initial Impressions

  • Already mentioned the name and orientation, but also there is an “About & Contact” right up at the top of the sidebar. Also very useful
  • Clean template that does not distract from the content
  • Feed and email subscription are also prominently displayed
  • Another good tactic, subscription is also encouraged below each post, along with a digg button
  • As a geek I found the content interesting (aside: I actually worked on a PDP mini computer, they didn’t quite fill a whole room 😉 )
  • Looking at the archives I see it is a new blog, it’s a good start 🙂

My Recommendations

  • It’s Diggable – This blog should be perfectly diggable (if it hasn’t been dugg already) – it’s aimed at the correct target audience and has the appropriate light hearted tone. Make sure you gather lots of friends with digg accounts. Also maximise your use of the other bookmarking and social sites. Take note of the content that rises to the top of Digg and the kinds of headlines used, I am sure you can rock the social media audience.
  • Serialize – Consider making a new post series on a particular topic, for example cover all the popular personal computers from the 80’s or a retro gaming feature. This will serve as some flagship content and also work to keep visitors coming back for extended periods.
  • Heat map – I am not sure how serious you are with the ads but if you want to earn more follow the adsense heat map for ad placement
  • Uniquify – There are tons of blogs on tech so it is hard to stand out, work hard at developing your unique take and content. You are off to a good start with the quirky name and style. Develop your own sources outside of the norm.
  • Network – Make blogger friends, comment and get known. When you develop something you are particularly proud of pitch it to other blogs. Consider starting or participating in memes and carnivals. See if anyone needs a guest post.

In summary it is a really good start and should build to be a popular blog with consistent effort. There is a lot going for this blog and I think all that is required is a bit of blatant promotion 🙂

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Comments

  1. All right, Mr Garrett. Thank you for your time. I’m glad to year you dig it. Not that I’m on a childish search for validation or anything. (cough)

    With regards to Digg: I’ve been occasionally submitting some of my own articles if I think they’re strong enough (along with other things so I don’t look like a complete spammer). So far I’ve yet to have something get dugg into the double digits, but I’ve been noticing that each submission seems to bring at least a few dozen new visitors. It’s worth it even if the results have yet to be make-my-web-host-cry spectacular. Definitely something I’d recommend to others.

    Memes/Carnivals: I’ve dabbled in memes, but not too much, since it seems to be something that’s more common among marketing/promotion blogs (which I do read a lot of) than tech blogs. I do write a bit about the former subject, but I try not to write too much to risk boring those more interested in the latter. Maybe I’m just reading the wrong tech blogs…? Also, I’m afraid I’m not sure what a “carnival” would be in this context.

    Serialize & Develop own sources: A friend of mine is publishing his own CD of computer-created dance music. I was talking with him today and we thought it’d be cool if, once he’s all finished, I did a write-up covering his process; what software he used to make the music, the duplication process, the trials of selling the disc online… That could probably stretch across at least three articles. So hopefully I’m headed in that direction already. And besides giving me fodder to write about, it promotes his CD so maybe he can sell a couple more copies.

    I thought you were going to ding me for not having a “popular posts” section as you did with the cricket blog… It’s something that I’m planning to implement soon.

    And as for the PDP… Would this picture be an accurate depiction of it? Yeah, perhaps “fill a walk-in closet” would be more appropriate.

  2. All right, Mr Garrett. Thank you for your time. I’m glad to year you dig it. Not that I’m on a childish search for validation or anything. (cough)

    With regards to Digg: I’ve been occasionally submitting some of my own articles if I think they’re strong enough (along with other things so I don’t look like a complete spammer). So far I’ve yet to have something get dugg into the double digits, but I’ve been noticing that each submission seems to bring at least a few dozen new visitors. It’s worth it even if the results have yet to be make-my-web-host-cry spectacular. Definitely something I’d recommend to others.

    Memes/Carnivals: I’ve dabbled in memes, but not too much, since it seems to be something that’s more common among marketing/promotion blogs (which I do read a lot of) than tech blogs. I do write a bit about the former subject, but I try not to write too much to risk boring those more interested in the latter. Maybe I’m just reading the wrong tech blogs…? Also, I’m afraid I’m not sure what a “carnival” would be in this context.

    Serialize & Develop own sources: A friend of mine is publishing his own CD of computer-created dance music. I was talking with him today and we thought it’d be cool if, once he’s all finished, I did a write-up covering his process; what software he used to make the music, the duplication process, the trials of selling the disc online… That could probably stretch across at least three articles. So hopefully I’m headed in that direction already. And besides giving me fodder to write about, it promotes his CD so maybe he can sell a couple more copies.

    I thought you were going to ding me for not having a “popular posts” section as you did with the cricket blog… It’s something that I’m planning to implement soon.

    And as for the PDP… Would this picture be an accurate depiction of it? Yeah, perhaps “fill a walk-in closet” would be more appropriate.

  3. Chris,

    I can already tell after 2 posts that this is going to be an excellent series. IMO, there is nothing better to learn from that a good critique of sites we all can relate to. You have already pointed out some things that, while obvious to some, I haven’t thought of until now. Thanks!

  4. Chris,

    I can already tell after 2 posts that this is going to be an excellent series. IMO, there is nothing better to learn from that a good critique of sites we all can relate to. You have already pointed out some things that, while obvious to some, I haven’t thought of until now. Thanks!

  5. Your critiques are proving to be helpful. My blog has benifited from all your and a few other SEOs advice. So, maybe on the next round of critiques I won’t have so many mistakes.

    I am a firm beleiver in vaca, enjoy every moment off. It helps reboot the brain.

  6. Your critiques are proving to be helpful. My blog has benifited from all your and a few other SEOs advice. So, maybe on the next round of critiques I won’t have so many mistakes.

    I am a firm beleiver in vaca, enjoy every moment off. It helps reboot the brain.

  7. In relation to your critique to my ‘Not Just Cricket’ blog, this critique is even more helpful.

    Loosely, it is how not to set up your blog – as in Not Just Cricket and how to set up your blog – as in RayGunRobot!

    I believe this ‘critique’ series will be very helpful to me and my blog. Looking forward to more.

  8. In relation to your critique to my ‘Not Just Cricket’ blog, this critique is even more helpful.

    Loosely, it is how not to set up your blog – as in Not Just Cricket and how to set up your blog – as in RayGunRobot!

    I believe this ‘critique’ series will be very helpful to me and my blog. Looking forward to more.

  9. hi, Chris, how are you today?

    Great series. I’d love to see the bloggers ‘goals’ for their sites listed in these critiques. A screengrab would also be good to view the site alongside the advice.

    Looking forward to the rest!

    daniel

  10. hi, Chris, how are you today?

    Great series. I’d love to see the bloggers ‘goals’ for their sites listed in these critiques. A screengrab would also be good to view the site alongside the advice.

    Looking forward to the rest!

    daniel

  11. I’m a new blogger, and all these things I have thought up as well. But the problem is that I just switched my theme, and my current banner I need to modify so it will work. Also, I have tried installing the digg, del.icio.us , reddit, and stumbleupon but they don’t work for some reason. I don’t know any html or php so it is frustrating at times. But I’m getting the hang of it.

  12. I’m a new blogger, and all these things I have thought up as well. But the problem is that I just switched my theme, and my current banner I need to modify so it will work. Also, I have tried installing the digg, del.icio.us , reddit, and stumbleupon but they don’t work for some reason. I don’t know any html or php so it is frustrating at times. But I’m getting the hang of it.

  13. I’m glad you are liking the critiques, I fell foul of lack of internet connection but I hope to get back on track with them.

    @Garrett – I just remembered the PDP – it was a 16-bit model I worked on, so they probably came down in size. Still huge by todays standards. Had big separate “clunk-click” top loading hard disk platter units and a teletype rather than terminal console for entering commands.

  14. I’m glad you are liking the critiques, I fell foul of lack of internet connection but I hope to get back on track with them.

    @Garrett – I just remembered the PDP – it was a 16-bit model I worked on, so they probably came down in size. Still huge by todays standards. Had big separate “clunk-click” top loading hard disk platter units and a teletype rather than terminal console for entering commands.