Although i’m producing more content than ever before, i find myself caring less about how it comes across or what way it’s presented. That’s simply because i don’t have the time to analyse stats in great detail, i spend roughly about an hour per day on the blog and 99% of that time is spent writing, the rest commenting…
Can do better
Although i spend a lot of time reading about design / trends / SEO etc… i very rarely apply any of that knowledge to this blog. So i know i can improve things around here, it’s just a case of sitting down, dedicating the time to it and implementing change.
I give the feedback around here…
There are a lot of things that could be improved on smemon.com. I’ll run through some of them…
- Social media links need to be visible above the fold, promoted more.
- Popular posts get buried easily.
- Good designs get buried easily.
- Font isn’t consistent in header / sidebar / content / footer.
- Comments section needs more work, needs to stand out more.
- ‘Read More’ slider needs to be dropped, creates more hassle than it’s worth if i’m to fix some other problems.
- All images should link internally, rather than to flickr although if memory serves me right, that might violate their TOS.
- Portfolio sections needs to stand out more / move to separate site.
I now have over 1,882 posts on smemon.com so making sure the best of them stand out is important. I also need to go back and fix some of them (broken links, images etc..). Dirty work, but worth it in the long run.
In terms of SEO, i could be a lot smarter with my use of titles and descriptions on posts, pages & indeed images. I’m well aware of that but as i’ve said before, it’s not easy organizing everything day after day, it requires a lot of time. It’s much easier to just hit publish and upload and tell yourself ‘job done’.
Early on in the year, traffic for 2010 was looking bad. It was down by about 20% and i’d made it a goal of mine for 2010 to increase traffic to this site. Right now it’s down by about 6% on 2009 so i’ve pulled it back a good bit and we’re slowly starting to build momentum. My target of 200,000 visits doesn’t look like it’ll be hit…. we’re on course for about 100,000 visits with 6/7 weeks left in 2010. At this stage i’ll be happy to simply beat last year’s total and try to take a more strategic approach in 2011.
Stats are all a game to me by the way… i could just ignore them but i always like to think i can ‘control’ stats and keep them on the rise. I always think it’s better to ‘make’ stats rather than analyse them. It’s easy to analyse, not so easy to create and i know people will challenge that, but that’s my own opinion… what makes me even more defensive about this point, especially in Ireland, is that everyone is very quick to spot mistakes and criticise, which is a good thing…. it’s healthy…
However, criticising whilst at the same time not offering solutions, feedback or any encouragement is a really negative, damaging type of criticism and i don’t think we’re emotionally tuned in to that. It’s like simon cowell (the older, bad ass one) on xfactor calling a spade a spade. “You can’t sing, goodbye”. That destroys some people and in most cases, he’s completely right… they can’t sing. But i don’t think you can shoot down people’s ideas like that. Yes, the idea itself may be rubbish but creativity in anyone shouldn’t be discouraged, so in this case, we’d take the cheryl cole approach and tell them “not today, love, but thanks for coming in”.
It’s the same outcome, but one method is like stabbing someone, the other a quick, sharp injection.
When is change coming?
Right now, college is taking priority… Christmas exams are on the horizon and so far in all assessments, i’ve done reasonably well. I always tend to do better in CA work than in exams though. That’s not because i’m better at practical stuff or don’t do well in exam situations…. it’s just because as of yet i haven’t pushed myself in exams, i haven’t needed to. This year 70% is the magic mark and i’ll be aiming for that. I got 68% last year overall which was disappointing (from the point of view i was 2% off a higher grade). If i can up my work rate by 5-10% this year, i should do better.
So i can’t really commit to change on this blog right now, but i will be putting the wheels in motion to improve this place and i’m aware of it’s weaknesses. It’s a constant work in progress and always will be.