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February 24, 2009

Hold on to Your Hard Hats: Blog Renovation Zone

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Pat and V

Pat & Me at SES SJ Search Bash. Photo by the lovely Kate Morris.

Patrick Sexton is a wildly passionate, remarkably generous and insanely crafty SEO. This morning he gave me some sound advice on how to make the BC blog better. I’m still blushing over the obvious effort and care he took to do so.

You may recognize Pat from a number of ventures he runs across the Web. His blog SEOish, his adorable widgets, his groundbreaking local listing resource, his mad skills over at kneesockz.com… The man is an Internet marketing machine!

Last week I made a public confession that I was trying to improve the community presence of the BC blog. The support that came pouring in afterward was truly astounding!

One of those supporters is Pat, who has replied to my post with a brutally honest appraisal of what is hindering the blog’s capacity for engagement. It’s a lesson I think will not only help myself but others facing similar problems as well.

Pat listed his fixes to the blog, and while it will be no small task, it makes a lot of sense:

  1. Get rid of the sideways barcode problem we’ve got going on.
  2. Include lots of images!
  3. Let people communicate real time through the comments.
  4. Make the comment approval process better.
  5. Kick the blog navigation up a notch.
construction zone sign

Photo credit Granth via Creative Commons

Susan and I have knocked out our new plans for the blog. Yes, there’s going to be a full blog overhaul. No, it won’t happen over night. A number of Pat’s recommendations can be made right away. (See all my pretty pictures?! Quick learner over here, folks!) Some of them will take a bit more time.

First, we can eliminate the barcode syndrome and “please people visually” by peppering lots of images throughout the text.

Check it:

As far as the comment approval process and its hindrance to communication, we plan to address this problem with a better spam filter so that each comment doesn’t require manual approval. This is one of the fixes that’s gonna take some time. Improvements to navigation, however, are underway as I type. The sidebar is undergoing a makeover, complete with a new feature that pays service to regular contributors. Over the next few months we plan to move the entire blog over to WordPress, where a number of amazing functions will be available.

I want to thank Patrick again not only for giving us the kick in the butt we needed, but also for the thought and love he put into his post, all in the name of helping out a fellow blogger. There were also a number of kind commenters who shared their sentiments and support for the content of the blog, if not the design.

So everybody grab your hard hat, pardon our dust, and enjoy your view of the construction zone!

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7 responses to “Hold on to Your Hard Hats: Blog Renovation Zone”

  1. RKF writes:

    Sorry to see another blog leave MT for WordPress – but it’s hard to argue against the logic any more.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

    Any plans to re-decorate the rest of the site, or only the blog for now?

  2. Virginia Nussey writes:

    Hey Ryan! Yay for a newer, shinier blog! WordPress is going to add so much with its open source platform and large developer community and all the SEO-friendly features. The site, however, isn’t really my domain (har har!) so while I can’t say whether a redesign is in the works, I can tell you we’ve got some exciting new features coming up!

  3. Patrick Sexton writes:

    Wow, you don’t waste time do you? Looks great and I look forward to what will come next. Thanks for all the praise, and I will be watching :)

  4. Mike Kelly (aka Yellow SEO) writes:

    Congrats Virginia, first time reading the blog since the switch over from Lisa. Will be interesting to follow and see the evolution of the BC blog.

  5. Virginia Nussey writes:

    Thanks Pat! I think you explained a lot of common frustrations with the blog. And you presented in a way that’s easy to address.

    Mike, thanks for stopping back to see what’s been going on since I started blogging full time. No pressure or anything, but I’m working hard not to disappoint!

  6. Kim Krause Berg writes:

    yay! I have faith the changes will be fine :) Pics and great writing are always a good combo. Pics of Sir Patrick are a bonus. Just sayin’…

  7. Virginia Nussey writes:

    Thanks Kim! I get all excited just thinking about it. And yes, Patrick and pics of Pat are scrumptious!



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