Evaluate Your Blog

Tips on how to evaluate your blog by The Deliberate Mom #blogging #tips #evaluation

How often do you evaluate your blog? Evaluating your blog is essential to its success. There are organizations which charge for blog evaluations but here are some free and simple ways to conduct your own evaluation.

Visual Appeal

Look at your blog with fresh eyes. Imagine you’re seeing it for the first time. Ask yourself the following questions: What do you like? What do you want to fix? What stands out? What makes it unique? How easy is it to navigate? What makes you want to stick around?

After you’ve done your own assessment ask a trusted friend or family member for their opinion. Compare their feedback to your own.

Page Load Time

Page load time is so important! I won’t go into detail about this again, but you can look at my post Make Your Blog Stand Out to get an idea as to how to evaluate the speed of your site. Don’t lose readers because of a slow loading blog.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is a huge indicator as to how your readers are interacting with your content. Essentially, if you have a high bounce rate, that means your readers click your content and then quickly leave. Your bounce rate can be easily reviewed through a variety of websites. My personal favourites are: Google Analytics and Alexa.

Navigational Tools

As I mentioned previously, you want your readers to stick around.

How easy is it for readers to browse through your blog? Ideally, you want your readers to find treasures around every nook and cranny. You want them to browse and find surprises in multiple places. The longer they stick around, the lower your bounce rate.

Some great navigational tools for your blog include:

  • Clearly defined pages with related content on each. I have been using InLinkz (note: affiliate link) to convert my pages to have attractive links for related blog posts. You can look at my BloggingParenting, and Homeschooling pages as an example.
  • Have a search bar at the top of every page.
  • Have a related links widget below each post.
  • Several posts should be easily seen on your main page. Rather than having 3 or 4 full posts on the main page, consider having snippets of 7 or 8 posts). This increases your click rate and also helps with the load time of your home page.
  • Include a popular posts widget in your sidebar.
  • There should be a clear “Previous” and “Next” or “Older Post” and “Newer Post” button at the bottom of each posting.
  • Most of your blog postings should have content that links to another post on your blog.
  • Display a recommended content widget. I have a recommendations widget through Addthis. It’s a fantastic widget built into their FREE “layers” overlay. If someone follows me on any of my social media links, a “Thanks For Following! Recommended For You” page pops up and shows four other posts on my blog. A pop-up for recommended content also periodically appears on the bottom right hand side of the screen.
Interaction
How often do people visit and comment on your blog? This can be a key tool in evaluating your blog and a means to assess the content you provide. If visits, shares, and comments are low, then perhaps something needs to change.

With that being said, it’s important to be patient. I remember when I first started blogging, I expected to hit publish and have a mail box full of comments. Boy was I wrong! It takes time to build readership, so be patient with yourself.

An Outside Opinion

Sometimes it’s hard to look at your blog with a discerning or critical eye. You may also be hesitant to enlist the assistance of friends or family to evaluate your blog.

I recently used the services of Peek User Testing. It’s a FREE service where you are given a 5 minute video of someone viewing your website. Their feedback with you is shared on the video “live” as they are experiencing your website for the first time. You can obtain feedback up to 3 times a month.

Remember, this is a brief evaluation and the person who reviews your blog may not normally be interested in your content… so some bias may be reflected in the nature of their feedback. If you want to know what it’s about, feel free to view the feedback I received on my blog.

What tools do you use to evaluate your blog?

Jennifer-The-Deliberate-Mom-Signature
HootSuite Social Media Management for Business.

Comments

  1. says

    Ooh I love the Peek Evaluation, totally going to do that (fresh eyes are so important!!). Thanks for sharing more of your keys to success Jennifer! Have a wonderful weekend xx

  2. says

    Some great tips you have listed here. The visual appeal is one that I do quite often as I think that is so important. I am also very mindful of the time it takes for my page to load – a big one for me as well. I use Alexa and I also use Hubspot to assess my marketing strategy. I would be pinning this. Stopping by from SITS!

  3. says

    Thanks a lot for sharing this tips Jennifer. I am heading to try the Peek User Testing tool. God bless you and do have a super blessed weekend!

    • says

      You are so very welcome Ugochi! I love the Peek User Testing tool. It’s an interesting experience to watch and listen to someone encountering your blog for the first time.

      I hope these tips help you out. Blessings to you too. Thanks for visiting.

    • says

      Thanks Caroline. Building my blog was a goal for me this year. Next year I’ll probably be working on something else. Since I don’t work outside of the home, I like to give myself regular challenges or goals to work on.

      I hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

    • says

      I’m so glad you found this advice helpful. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I’ve been blogging for 3 1/2 years and just started “building” my blog. It is never-ending and its timeline and the process is completely individual.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

  4. says

    Great stuff! Now that I have had a new makeover on the blog, I think I’m going to have someone take a look at it. I personally love the clean fresh look, but it would be nice to get evaluated on content. Does my content match my niche? Things like that…

    Thanks for sharing, friend!

  5. says

    You make some very valid points here. My big issue is my bounce rate, which I feel is high. I don’t understand it, since I have a high number of subscribers and and about 1 % or less have unsubscribed since I began my blog. I get a good number of comments, so again it makes no sense to me. How does that happen?

  6. says

    Jennifer I had never heard about Peek User Testing… I had always wondered what people think about my blog, other than my family and friends. I will make sure to do this too. Thanks for sharing this great information.

    • says

      I love Peek. I’ve heard from some users that it can be fickle with the email address you use (It frequently rejects Yahoo and Gmail emails).

      I found it a very useful service and will definitely use it regularly as long as it’s free.

      Glad you enjoyed this Remy!

  7. says

    I need to do this but I feel so overwhelmed as is! (it’s 1 am and i have to be up early and here I am!). I wish I knew how to do it all. Thanks for this post. I’ll pin it for later.

  8. says

    Wow Jennifer great post and so informative! I’m sure Peel is going to be overwhelmed with requests lol. I’m excited to see what you will be working on next year…hope you share with your readers! Have a great Sunday!
    Carolann
    Sassytownhouseliving.com

  9. says

    Hi Jennifer! I just signed up to have a Peek Evaluation. Yikes! It’s a little intimidating, but what the heck, it’s free. I took a look at yours, and it’s too bad you had that particular person. I think someone with faith would have done a little better job.
    I sure hope I don’t get an atheist, or I am sunk…
    Always wonderful input. Thank you!
    Ceil

    • says

      Ooooh, I hope your evaluation gives you solid, informative, information.

      I don’t mind that an atheist got my blog. It’s my identity, I don’t plan on hiding it… and perhaps it will minster to others, perhaps even her.

      Wishing you a blessed week my friend!

  10. says

    Thanks for the insights. I’ve been thinking about making a few changes to my site as I reach the one year mark. This has given me some good ideas to think about.

  11. says

    Very helpful post! Thank you, Jennifer! The peek user testing sounds interesting. I watched most of the one for yours and it’s definitely biased (the faith thing) but I’m she had so many good things to say! :) How cool!

    • says

      I’m delighted that you enjoyed this Kelli. Even though my faith was a huge turn off for her, she did have some very positive things to say. I don’t plan on changing my “About Me” description. My faith is part of my identity. I don’t believe in hiding it.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • says

      Thanks Yvette! It’s so important to do an evaluation and then begin our cleaning process. This way, we allocate our time and efforts to that which actually needs changing.

      Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a lovely day.

  12. says

    So late in my comment, but another fabulous post Jennifer. I have SOOOOO much work to do on my blog, just need to find the time. Would it be bad to call in sick to my regular job just to have time to work on my blog :)
    Thinking of you today my dear.
    xoxo

  13. says

    I tried Peek too. It was interesting. At first I was irritated because she kept clicking on really old posts that weren’t my best, and she was super negative about my site. And then at the end after all that, she said she would be back, because there was something about my site that she liked. Talk about mixed messages. But it was good, if only for the standpoint that it made me think about my content going forward and things that I need to do to freshen it up.

  14. says

    great post!
    i never thought of evaluating my blog, at least not using your points. I will do that asap! I think it will help my blog grow and be better
    xoxo
    Orly
    coffeebeansandhighheels.weebly.com

  15. says

    Wonderful advice, Jennifer! Loved the links to the tools. I have been giving design a lot of thought lately and want to take a step back and look at it with fresh eyes. Love the idea of customizing the 404 page. I’m not on blogger, but I’m sure there is a way to do that with wordpress. I will poke around online. Looking forward to implementing some of these ideas. Thanks so much for sharing. You have such a lovely blog. It’s wonderful to meet you. xo ~Topaz

  16. says

    Hi Jennifer,
    This is really an informative post.
    Good to know more about our own status
    thru these Technic. I check mine by Alexa
    thanks for the other links and other information
    Keep up the good work
    May you have a wonderful and blessed weekend
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip

  17. says

    I love the Peek User Testing idea, I’ve never heard of it. I will definitely give it a try! I also use a Broke Link Checker plugin to automatically check for broken links so I can correct or remove them. This is a great post to use for a blog evaluation!

    • says

      Kemya, I highly recommend the Peek User Testing – such an awesome service. I’m with Blogger so we don’t have those broke link checkers. What an awesome tool to have.

      So glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge