How Can I Improve My Blog?

It’s been a while since I participated in meme’s. I have tried to stay away from some for obvious reasons but when my friend Stephen Cronin of Scratch99 tagged me with the Blog Improvment Zone meme, I had to take it.

It couldn’t have been better timing to be tagged with a ”How Can I Improve My Blog‘ meme. I am just in the process of finishing an overhaul of ShanKri-la and I have made some improvemnts. I still do have a list of improvements I would like to work on in the coming weeks.

Improvements I just made

  • Cleaner Layout: I think this layout is visually more appealing than the last theme. I was losing a bunch of above-the-fold space in the previous theme.
  • SEO Benefits: My previous theme loaded the sidebar before the content area. This has some negative effects in terms of SEO and when I tinkered with changing the loading order, I managed to completely mess up the theme. Another ill-effect of that was that if one of the sidebar widgets like BlogCatalog took time to load, it appeared like ShanKri-la was loading real slow. With the new theme, even if it the zillion things in the sidebars took its sweet time to load, you will see the content right away.
  • Customization: Because of the way the header graphics were used, customizing my header or other parts of my theme was harder than it should be. One of my big interests is in learning a little bit of web design and tinkering wtih ShanKri-la is my learning experience.
  • Better Comments Section: The comment section is now much more easier on the eyes.

Improvements I would like to make

  • Pillar posts: I would like to write a few pillar posts that would serve as a reference for myself as well as others.
  • Increase RSS subscribers: I have been postponing running a contest to gain a little bit more exposure and increase .
  • Comment Avatars: I would like to add a face to the commentators by implementing one of the Avatar plugins.
  • SEO: The new theme instantly gives me some SEO benefits with the content area appearing before the sidebar. But, right now the pages have 2 H1 tags and I would like to remove the other. Also, the content headers and the sidebar headers are all H2 tags. I am planning on making the sidebar headlines to a H3 to emphasize the content title’s importance. With these and other changes, I hope to increase the search engine traffic.
  • Monetizing: I haven’t made any serious attempts at monetizing ShanKri-la besides running Google AdSense. So far, my search engine traffic has been just around 20% of the total. With improved SEO, I hope to attract more search engine traffic. Plus, I am planning on looking at other monetizing options in the coming months. But, I am only looking at options that wouldn’t be interfering with your reading experience.With a predicted Google PageRank of 5, I was hoping to use services like ReviewMe, PayPerPost to write sponsored posts in between regular content. But, it looks like Google PR update may never come.
  • Favicon: I would like to get a logo designed for ShanKri-la and get a favicon as well. Right now, you are just seeing the default favicon that came with the WP theme.

Now, since this is a meme I have to tag a few people to keep it going. Please feel free to ignore this tag if you don’t like participating or have already participated. I just think this is a good opportunity to look back at what you have accomplished and what kind of improvements you would like to make to your blog. There is something about writing things down for me, I usually get them done.

Now I would like to tag

I have mentioned a few improvements that I think are important. But, what matters the most are the improvements you would like to see here. Let me know in the comments and it will not be falling in deaf ears.

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12 Responses to “How Can I Improve My Blog?”

  1. Brown Baron October 2, 2007 at 6:51 am #

    Heh you’ve got me thinking now. I like this meme. Thanks for the tag buddy.

  2. K-IntheHouse October 2, 2007 at 12:35 pm #

    You are welcome, Brown! I would love to see your thoughts on this.. and if you have any suggestions for me!

  3. Maurice (TheCaymanHost) October 2, 2007 at 11:49 pm #

    This is my first visit to your blog (been following the meme) so I can’t comment on your old layout, but the current look is easy on the eyes.

    If you don’t mind a suggestion from a first time commentator, I’d make one small change and that would be to make your subscription options more prominent – above the fold. I appreciate you are using a plugin in your posts, but for the less RSS savvy, your email subs would probably get a better response if it was more “visible” when people first land on the site.

    Just a thought. I like the blog and I’ve added you to my Bloglines, so I’ll be reading from now on :-)

  4. K-IntheHouse October 3, 2007 at 1:19 am #

    Maurice, welcome to ShanKri-la! That’s exactly the effect I was hoping to have on my readers. :-)

    I absolutely love it that you came forward with this suggestion. I will definitely get the email subscription form/link added to the current RSS subscription area.

    Great point and hope to see you around more! Oh yeah, thanks for subscribing. :-)

  5. Kyle Eslick October 4, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Doh! I’ve been tagged! :twisted:

    I think your site took tremendous strides with this new theme, both in terms of SEO and in user experience. I really like the new theme.

    This theme loads a lot faster, but I would at least consider moving a few of the widgets. MyBlogLog is fun, the Alexa widget is very useful, so I would keep those. The other ones are fine, just keep an eye on load times and if it slows down, figure out which one is the culprit! :mrgreen:

  6. K-IntheHouse October 4, 2007 at 1:49 pm #

    I had to know what your evil plans are for your blog, Kyle! :twisted:

    Appreciate the kind words and really glad to find out it’s just not me who thinks this theme is nice. As it gets popular, I am sure we’ll find it on a lot of blogs, so I am going to slowly make cosmetic changes that’ll give me an unique look.

    I am very interested to see how the new theme improves my search traffic. I am forcing myself to get rid of some of the widgets. I am going to give BlogRush a couple more weeks after the upcoming new version. I do have a quite a good community in BlogCatalog so I have to keep that.

    I am going to do away with Archives in the sidebar as it is already in the main navigation. This should make the sidebars a little bit cleaner and faster.

    I guess the content loading before the sidebars definitely has a positive impact and one of the main reasons I switched.

  7. Tish October 6, 2007 at 1:54 am #

    Great meme, K!! And thank you for the tag! As you know, I love your blog. I think you’ve done a fantastic job with it, and I look forward to your new improvements!

  8. K October 6, 2007 at 7:04 am #

    Tish.. you are welcome! Your words have given me a fresh boost of energy. :grin:

    I was just lucky enough to win a logo design by David Airey at a ProBlogger contest. So, hopefully it should give me the branding I have been meaning to build so far.

    Of course, it wouldn’t be possible without support from my fellow bloggers like yourself! Looking forward to see your post.

  9. Stephen Cronin October 7, 2007 at 9:07 am #

    Hi K, sorry I’ve been so slow in commenting – I’ve been away for about 5 days with no Internet!

    First, let me say your new theme rocks! The changes you’ve already made are great. Second, thanks for participating in this meme. All your proposed changes sound great too.

    You make a very good point with the SEO change – all of my sidebar headings are H2, whereas in my posts I use H2 for the post title and H3 for subheadings. There’s no way my sidebar heading should be more important SEO-wise than my subtitles! This is now on my list of changes I need to make. Thanks!

    You tricked me with the favicon. I thought the S was for ShanKri-la and thought it was cool! Anyway, it’s all good.

  10. K October 7, 2007 at 3:29 pm #

    Stephen.. glad to have you back! Great to hear that you like the new theme.

    I just won a logo design by David Airey in a ProBlogger contest and should have it may be in a week. I think that’ll nail the favicon as well and really eager for this change. :-) Thanks for tagging me.

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