How to evaluate a blog
It is encouraging to see how many nonprofit organisations discover the power of social media and the added-value of blogs. Comes a time, though, where any blogmaster asks the question: “I am on the right track here?”
You can look at your own blog until you are dizzy. You still won’t see what someone else sees. You’re too deep into it. No wonder that often people ask others for help. “Have a look at my blog, what do you think”? Some ask for a subjective one minute glance, others request a more in-depth analysis and concrete help to improve their blog.
How does one approach a detailed analysis of a blog? How do you structure the areas you want to cover and offer suggestions?
In this tutorial, I describe how I evaluate a blog, in 8 steps:
- Ask questions: Get to know the background: Why, How, Who?
- Check the numbers: Analyze the basic traffic patterns and Analytics numbers
- First impressions: How does a first time visitor see the blog?
- The Blog’s real estate: Are all the relevant parts visible?
- Usability: How accessible and “usable” is the blog?
- Speed: Is the blog optimized for all band widths?
- Search engine optimization (SEO): How does the blog cater for search engines crawlers?
- Graphical presentation: The different parts that should make a blog “pleasing to the eye”
Whenever you evaluate someone else’s blog, keep some tips in mind:
- Be balanced: many blogmasters spend a considerable time and efforts on their blog. Show respect for their work by stressing the good parts just as much as the points to improve
- Relativate your comments: some points you will mention are objective, some others, especially ‘first impressions’ and the ‘graphical presentation’, will be subjective. Make a clear distinction between the two.
- Be constructive: don’t just point out the problems, but also propose solutions or alternatives
- Educate as you go along: indicate which tools you use to analyse the different parts so they can continue working on their blog, where you left off
- Reserve the time to explain: Often you can not write down all the different bits and pieces in detail, so take your time to elaborate and expand on their questions while sitting with them one-on-one or during a Skype session.
- Illustrate your comments: When you refer to certain posts or sections on their blog, include a link to that part, and insert a small screenshot of it, in your evaluation