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January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

This isn’t a blog review but I think anyone who owns a blog should know there are rules. Check it, out read up, its pretty cool!

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New blog posts coming this week!!!

January 12, 2010 1 comment

I promise… Im going to have at least a months on back order ready to go by friday… Life happened over the holiday break by thursday if you click my photo you’ll find out!

I’m a slacker or something… but I still love this project!

Categories: Uncategorized

A “Sweet and Saucy” Business Blog

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m back and I survived finals… and now have major relief.

Today I’m going to review another local blog, but this time there is a twist as it is the first business blog I will cover. My Sweet and Saucy (@mysweetandsaucy on twitter) is a organically grown business making amazing deserts. If you find yourself in the LA area check it out!

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When it comes to business blogs normally there is a lot to dislike. Business blogs (even small business ones) often lack personality, creativity, and substance. I could go on and demonstrating weak, unauthentic, uncreative, and out of date blogs. However I strongly believe that there is more good in highlighting a business that is doing it so well.  Sweet and Saucy makes a great case study.

As I land on the home page the very first thing I notice is the consistent feel and general navigational comfort. The blog is the very first page one would land on from the web, so clear navigation is important. The blog also hits the mark on getting photos right at the fold. Its like getting a taste (pun) of what the blog is about.
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(Side note) There are several different schools of thought as to how users should arrive at a corporate blog from the web. A whole debate on the subject has often been waged in various marketing circles that I wont dive into. My personal take is that the location of a blog  on a website depends on a bunch of variables.

::sponsors and partners::
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Many businesses are very nervous about allowing sponsors to have space on their blog. Contrary to what many may think this fear isn’t irrational! Google ad words is probably not a good solution for a business blog… unless that business wants links to the competition on the website. Selected sponsors may offer awful service  tarnishing their reputations and yours. The benefits can be substantial, new streams of revenue, partnerships, etc. It’s not a no risk, no reward situation.

If you’re running blog and you are considering adding sponsors, I clearly want to state this is not a bad idea! However take a tip from sweet and saucy, clearly label that they are a sponsor. Include a link for advertisers who are interested so they can contact you. Finally never allow a selected sponsor space until you have used their product. In the end its your brand you are protecting.

Last thing I want to highlight… Sweet and Saucy shares baking resources which I think is a great idea. Some may argue that these resources actually cut into revenue because people will bake on their own.. They may have a point but the more likely scenario is people that bake have added a positive brand impression. This group will lean toward sweet and saucy when they don’t want to bake.

Avoidance and fear are not the solution creativity and selectivity are.

Melody the owner won’t even have open @ reply conversations on twitter with non-affiliated partners (ie me)… its classic and wise brand protection. However she always sends DM back acknowledging positive comments!

Check out http://www.mysweetandsaucy.com/ leave a comment below / rate the site.

Again as always if you would like your blog included send an e-mail to : hockeyonabus@gmail.com

or send a @ reply to mhandy1 on twitter.

Where did I go… I think this explains it

December 10, 2009 Leave a comment

After finals I’ll be back with new posts ( thats next week)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , ,

Resa Michelle dot com …keep it personal

December 1, 2009 1 comment

Today I’m going to highlight a non hockey blog, Resa Michelle dot com.  She is a great source for all things Apple and offers a personal touch with stories and insights. . .

I think personal blogs should be human, one way to do this is to include an image of yourself. It doesn’t need to be fancy  but a photo helps readers remember that the writer of the blog is a person.  Resa did this in her header and as you can see I do this in my side bar.

**Noteworthy: The search the site button in her header is a smart move..helps you; helps readers.

Keeping with the “keep it personal” meme the “about me” section of your blog is an opportunity to highlight your favorite subjects. Some blogs can do this so well that a tag cloud would be redundant, which is the case for Resa. Reading this section I wouldn’t be suprised to see a post about classes, general marketing thoughts, SEO, apple products, fashion, or Salsa. The about me section is on the TOP of her sidebar which is very cool.

Just above “the about” me section she offers very pretty graphic links to her online locations. Your twitter page, youtube channel, facebook account, flickr account etc. are like a list of spots you hang out online. Including them helps fans find you and keep up with what you are doing.

I haven’t talked about Comments much but they are really important! If you are lucky enough to have people so engaged that they are willing to comment (less than 5% of people will) you need to respect that. Comments are like a conversation with your blog. You started the conversation by posting a blog if someone answers back make sure you engage. This doesn’t just apply to private blogs, companies could learn this lesson as well.  Look at what Resa does in the section above… someone comments she comments back, and instantly she has a fan.

As always if you would like your blog featured please send an email to hockeyonabus@gmail.com or send a tweet to @Mhandy1.

Please rate the blog reviewed below and offer your take in the comment section!

“All Habs” Day

November 29, 2009 3 comments

Today I’d like to review a blog from a guy I follow on Twitter @all_habs his blog is appropriately called All Habs (aka Montreal Canadians).  I love the custom banner on his blog. Some might consider the banner to be a little large but it does a good job in one glance explaining the site you have arrived on.

One thing  Im a big fan of is a very simple side bar, or at the very least one that doesn’t complicate the blog. Sadly for my taste his sidebar is a little complicated. If your ‘re looking to sell ad space this can actually hurt click through rates because your audience will stop looking.

Another thing I noticed was the red background in the side bar can make text hard to see. If you want to use a red or yellow I would suggest adding transparency or go with a different color background with highlighted accents in red. The other option is to use a white or gray text so there is a greater contrast.

This blog is a collaboration blog (many authors) and lists the authors in the middle of the side bar. If your blog is going to mention who is offering content they deserve a place of honor at or really close to the top. I always suggest that writers get a top shelf spot on the side bar *within the first portion of the post. They really shouldn’t ever be relegated to the basement of the sidebar as an after thought (All Habs doesn’t do that).

If you use a lot of tags or categories that are unique try to graphically show them rather then list them. Graphics will keep the side bar from growing to unmanageable lengths and offer aesthetic appeal to your blog. If you are looking for a tool to make a graphic cloud on blogspot try THIS OUT.

If you see something I missed, disagree, agree, have suggestions let me know … Comment comment comment

If you would like me to offer my take on your blog let me know Via Twitter @mhandy1 or email me at hockeyonabus@gmail.com

The infamous Icethetics.info

November 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Welcome to review #2

Today we are going to highlight…

I’m going to review one of the very first hockey blogs I encountered, icethetics.   The blog is basically a hybrid of hockey and art. Chris the owner has concept art competitions and a bunch of very cool fun features. I have seen this blog come from humble beginnings on blogspot (I’ll talk about platform b/c of this briefly)  to the great site that it is today. One thing that makes it great is that it’s a blog that is constantly improving.

Before I dive into the review, Im going to breifly talk about the blogspot platform. For icethetics I think blogspot was a mistake from day one. If you are a blogger and you use blogspot that’s okay, as long as it suits your purpose. My big issue with blogspot is that it doesn’t support custom urls.  If your goal is to build a brand I’d suggest using a platform that allows that type of integration. Starting with the correct platform will save headaches down the road.  That said one huge advantage to blogspot is that its probably the easiest blogging platform to use which is great for *new bloggers.

Moving forward… One disadvantage to the method (single blogger) Chris uses is that he is the only person producing content (even though some images are produced by the public). This makes it difficult to produce content on a regular basis particularly because life tends to happen in between blogs. I’m sure he has lost some eyeballs as a result of inconsistency which is sad. Add to that his multi page events that must be sustained and you can imagine how it becomes difficult to keep a promotion up to speed with what is going on on the site.

One cool feature I’d like to point out is that icethetics has a box in the sidebar highlighting his top stories. Consider using this if you have major themes you want new visitors to be aware of that may get buried in the day to day use of the blog!

Something else to notice  is that icethetics almost always has is an image above the fold (where browsers cut off). Newspapers have been using this concept for a long time. The idea is that you will only have eyes for a few seconds use images to draw readers in!

My biggest concern when I look at icethetics is the amount of content and the number of events he runs. If you are starting out try to keep your blog simple.  If possible dont be afraid to bring in other writers if you need to. Just keep content coming (ideally 3 to 5 times a week).

One way I keep content moving is to have blog posts prewritten but not published. This allows me to start with content in the bag, if life comes up I can just publish a pre-written post.

Im sure I will come back to icethetics in the future (he does so much well).

Vote on the blog reviewed below and comment comment comment! I want to know your take!

If you would like me to review your blog please send an e-mail to hockeyonabus@gmail.com or send me a twitter message @mhandy1