I met Mario Lopez, CPA, over a year ago on the My Virtual Power Forum. A financial professional looking for international work, Mario is a sharp, eloquent, giving, thoughtful professional. He started a blog and asked me for my critique a number of times, and I finally got around to checking it out.
If you want me to review and analyze your blog, it’ll cost about $500 (I say that because I get lots of requests, and don’t necessarily have the time, even though I love to do it).
In short, Mario’s blog is great, it serves it’s purpose, and it has matured over time. There is still much work to do, which Mario recognizes, but this blog shows Mario’s professional breadth and depth in a way his resume couldn’t. Remeber, the personal branding award, You Get It, is all about recognizing professionals who use technology to help others understand their personal brand.
Let me dig right in to my analysis of his blog. I’ve already sent this to Mario, and he has responded, but many of the points here might be helpful to you as you move your blogging strategy forward. This is the email I sent to Mario:
Mario, que crees? I finally got around to critiquing your blog (http://financialculture.blogspot.com). I’m really impressed with how far it’s come. Please know that I’m being honest, and might not be right, this is just a review off the top of my head while I hang out at an airport. I’ll blog about this if you let me… let me know if you are cool with that.
– I like that this is in English. Show’s your English proficiency. I wonder, though, who your job search audience is, and if you should have this (or another one) in Spanish? I think it’s great in English, but consider your audience (which I don’t know).
– I like your use of YouTube videos in your posts. Relevant information to each post, on-brand, informational, etc. Hearing from one blogger all the time (like me) is probably boring… you help diversify the information you put in, while staying on brand, with the videos. Plus, it makes you look technologically cool, as not all bloggers have figured out how to put video in.
– this is a cultural thing, so take it with a grain of salt. In the header you say “This blog intends to create discussions with…” I would say “This blog creates discussions with” You already know I think you are wordy (although I must say, your posts are more concise than what I was expecting to see), but it might help to get a native English speaker to do you a favor and spend an hour or two and proofread your blog, and help minimize cultural and language nuances in your messaging. When I write, one of goals is to “tighten” my wording, which means cut out as much as I can and still keep the message. Cut, then cut some more, and then cut again.
– I have to say it: I hate blogger. Your blog needs to be hosted with a wordpress install on a server. Until then, change the layout to make it look less like blogger (… the gray background – gag).
– I LOVE the image with all the dollars on the top right. It is really, really, really big… taking up more real estate than I would want to give up, but it leaves NO question about your brand, expertise, and message.
– You have way too many widgets, links, images, and noise on the right side of your blog. Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. I would totally clean that up, and put those things in a Page, or multiple pages. Get it off of the main blog page, as it really detracts from your messages, and your messaging. Getting rid of all the widgets *might* make me like your blogroll, which is really great to reach out to other financial bloggers, but still very, very long. Consider breaking it into categories, like I do on my JibberJobber blog.
– Post with more frequency. 3, 4 and 5 posts per month is NOT enough to build a community, readership, or get a lot of SEO benefits. You have great content, a great voice, and really show your passion and expertise. But It’s not frequent enough to engage me.
– does blogger allow you to put a “subscribe by email” widget on your blog? This should be on the top right, and not having it is what I consider one of the sins of a blogger.
– I’m not good with colors and layout, but the red header and the blue sidebar don’t seem to go well together. change one or the other, but make them match better, not clash. (Mario has since changed this)
– get rid of the snapshots widget. It drives me nuts.
– link out to more blog posts, and blogs. You need to market this blog more (you get 0 comments), and that’s a good start.
– Your email signature includes a link to the blog, but also links to other stuff… I got lost for a second, and I knew what I was looking for.
I also got some feedback from Twitter friends:
Mario, you are on the right track, I’m excited to see your blogging strategy move forward!
Congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else ), and a cyber-high five! And, a new addition to the prize list is the two hour (!!) recording of Blog Marketing 201 – 501 (part of the CEO Training for Me, Inc. – listed at $49.95 (but much more valuable than that!).
Feel free to post the You Get It award on your site!
Click here to see past winners.