This is Day 16 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.
Blessed with old-fashioned neighbors who take the time to care about each other, I asked one of them to indulge me and review my blog. She agreed. However, as soon as I asked her, she scurried home to look at my blog and be prepared. My oldest son suggested that only way to find a true first-time reader is to go to the library and ask some guy on a computer to load your blog.
All joking aside, this assignment was still an enlightening experience. Usually, comments on a blog post rarely reveal what the reader is thinking about the blog as a whole. Perhaps the comments will contain a compliment or a reflection on how the post touched the reader’s life, but there is rarely an in-depth analysis.
Through this assignment, I was able to determine what my neighbor found attractive about my blog and what she thought should change. Also, I was able to observe how much time she spent reading a post or glancing through it and which links she clicked on to read additional posts.
While my friend scanned the blog, she also had questions about the sidebar. She wanted to know what all the different symbols and logos stood for. She inquired about the subscription bar and subscribe by feeder link. The need for clarification between a tab and a side bar reference also surfaced. A correction is needed.
While I thought this assignment provided insight that normally I would not have gained from just a comment, I felt the assignment would have been more revealing if the observer could have been invisible while the reader reviewed the blog. It’s quite hard to look at someone’s work while they are looking over your shoulder.
The greatest advantage in this assignment for me came in the second part where we ask the reader to answer the questions posed by Darren Rowse. My reviewer found the easiest questions to answer were:
- Did you find it easy to read and understand?
- What words would you use to describe the design?
- What are the main elements you remember about my blog after you have left it? and
- What suggestions do you have from a user perspective?
- What benefits do see in getting the perspective of a first-time visitor?
- Do you have any tips for getting feedback from a first-time visitor?
- Did you do today’s assignment? If so, what were the most significant things you learned?
The Extra Mile
A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…
- Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
- When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
- Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
- Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
- So, please review Cindy Skillman’s blog, Journey into the Son, and give her some feedback.
Janis Van Keuren is a freelance writer with a heart to encourage and inspire other Christian women. She is married to an easy-going husband and they have two zany, sports-loving sons. She blogs at Open My Ears, Lord and you can find her on Twitter at @openmyearslord.