Wow these blog critiques have been popular lately – I hope you are getting as much out of them as I have fun writing them 🙂
This critique is for Althaf Ahmed who runs a site called Everyday Guide which he described in his email to me as “an online repository of mini guides”. He also has the .net version of the domain which is due to be merged with the dotcom.
What are these “mini guides” you might ask? Good question, I am glad you raised it. Here are some examples:
Essentially this site aims to be an “everything for everyone”. A particularly tough nut to crack!
- Not being anything in particular
- Not having any specific target audience
- Not providing a deep experience
and it also means going up against the big hub sites, wikipedia, Squidoo …
Now this approach can work. You can get social media traffic by creating DiggBait, and you can get links and search traffic through linkbait. Just be aware of what it is you are creating. Essentially a traffic vehicle, and some ad opportunities.
My recommendation though is to tweak the strategy somewhat. Will return to that in a second. Let’s get some general impressions down first.
Now if you go visit the site, I am sure you will agree that the first thing you will be struck with is that you are unaware of what the site is about. It seems to be about a lot, and then not very much. This is because, as regular readers will remember, we need to offer some sort of orientation.
- Where am I? – People need to know where they are, and might not even be entirely sure how they got there. You might be dropped into a deep page from a search result or blog link, or might have clicked a homepage link in a social media profile, or some other random occurrence. You can not guarantee the visitor will have been given any context.
- What can I see/do? – Navigation is not enough, and in fact more often than not in blogs you are overwhelmed with options. Too many choices is as bad as too few. Your popular content in the sidebar is good but too low down the page to get noticed.
- Why should I care? – The old chestnut of WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Give the visitor a benefit, or even better a problem that your site solves. Individual guides might well solve a specific problem, but why would they return?
- Now what? – What can we do now? What should we do next. Always have a next step!
The content quality varies, as does tone and style, which gives an impression of no single voice or personality, while the about page says there is only one person behind the site. Either make it a multi author blog (preferred) or a single author blog with a single voice.
My preference for multi author is because I know your future plans involve really growing the content, and this is your best route to that. If you go single author, you need to put more of “you” into it. Make it more conversational, provide picture and more detail about you.
A lot of the content is quite “thin” and does not entirely deliver on the promises made in the headlines. This is a similar problem to the content you find on article marketing sites and ezine directories, where the content is simply “enough to meet quota”. Do not fall into the trap of search fodder, create truly valuable resources and you will get far more links, word of mouth and social media votes.
Here is how I suggest you progress:
- Select an under served niche rather than go up against Wikipedia
- Target that niche’s specific audience rather than “everyone”
- Provide the very best answers for that audience’s specific problems – ask them what they need to know
- Approach advertisers who want to capture the attention of that audience
- Network with the leaders and personalities of the niche to grow awareness of your site
Essentially, rather than be “everything to everyone” become something specific for a specific group! You will gain by
- Grow links, search and traffic traction
- More profit with no “ugly adsense” downsides
- Easier to create content ideas
Not only that, it gets better!
When you attract a specific audience with something truly useful to that audience, you can grow a subscriber base of people who want to hear from you. I can not underline enough how powerful this is.
It is only a slight change from your strategy, and in fact you can split off content into sub-sites or their own domains.
- Starting a business
- Getting healthy
All it needs is to really get inside the mindset of each audience and give them what they would most respond to.
Over to you
What do you think of Everyday Guide? Please share your thoughts in the comments …