Blue-Shirt Trust: How to Increase Conversions on Everything

252 Intelligent Opinions

1956 Buick Special
Creative Commons License photo credit: MSVG

If you run a business it is conversions that matter most. Not traffic or Google rankings but conversions.

Sure, you need traffic in order to have someone to convert but unless you can capture a good percentage of visitors in some meaningful way you are largely wasting your time. All of your marketing, copy writing, SEO and social media efforts will amount to nothing.

In this article I am going to show one very basic but vital principle that will help you increase your conversions on everything. It is not complex or secret in any way but it is extremely important; especially if you don’t have it. Oh, and make sure you read all the way to the end as there is a nice little surprise at the bottom.

What exactly are conversions?

Just so we are all on the same page it is important to take a quick look at exactly what we are talking about when we say conversions. Because this blog is about online marketing we will stick mainly to internet products that you are attempting to get your visitors to interact with. These include:

  • Affiliate products
    Any affiliate product that you are promoting requires a conversion in order for you to get paid.
  • Email subscriptions
    The most important conversion in my mind, converting a visitor in to a loyal email subscriber is a very big part of growing an online business.
  • RSS or social network subscribers
    Just like email subscribers, any time you get a blog or website visitor to subscribe to your feed or social media accounts you are making a conversion.
  • Product sales
    The end game for many bloggers is where you convert visitors in to paying customers that buy your product. This is the most difficult of all because people are paying you money directly.

As I said, product sales are the hardest conversions because it is a direct transaction with you and your blog. You don’t have some other third party website doing all of the hard work. For this reason I am going to focus this article mostly on product conversions because if we can convert visitors there we can do it anywhere.

How to increase conversions

Arlington: Urban Village Market
Creative Commons License photo credit: cliff1066™

The following tips and strategies are things I have used on my own offline and online businesses for years. As always, however, I would love you to leave a comment if you disagree or if you have anything to add. It seems that Blog Tyrant’s commenting community has a lot of experienced knowledge to offer.

Build blue-shirt trust
When my little brother was attending an interview to get accepted into Medical School he put on a brand new baby blue shirt. I asked him why he bought a new shirt when he had a bunch of other nice ones and he told me that his mentor has said that blue is the best color to wear because it conveys trust and calmness and helps people to perceive you as reliable and successful.

Obviously the Medical Board doesn’t admit students based on their shirt color but it may have had a subtle impact on their perception as well as giving my brother more confidence.

And, yes, he got in.

Blue-shirt trust is all about the initial reaction.

If you want to convert visitors on the web you need to be perceived as blue-shirt trustworthy. As a general rule people are skeptical of websites (especially when using a credit card) and as such you have to work extra hard to help them feel safe. And this never happens by accident.

Some of the things that help in this regard include:

  • Using the right color schemes
    If I am building a website that I want people to trust I never use black or dark grey color schemes. They evoke thoughts of night, distrust and other objectionable frames of mind. Unless they are done right they often also look amateurish. Make sure your use white as a text background and stay away from too much darkness.
  • Use safe fonts
    Go to any bank website in the world and they will use Arial, Verdana or Helvetica fonts. Why? Because they are safe. People recognize them and feel comfortable reading them. Their eyes don’t have to do any adjusting and as such a barrier is removed. Stick to a safe font with a reasonable spacing to ensure your website “feels” familiar.
  • Being careful of hot spots
    A few weeks ago we took a look at blog hot spots and how important they are for converting traffic. One thing I failed to mention, however, is that you have to make sure these areas look nice and are encouraging. Seeing as people’s eyes fall here first you want to make sure you are giving them something that makes them want to go deeper.
  • Appearing big
    In The Art of War the famous general Sun Tzu said that when you are small you need to appear big. This is an important marketing point for bloggers to remember as it relates to social proof. As I mentioned in my Problogger Guest Post on blog problems, you need to appear to have a busy community so people don’t get scared off thinking that they are the first. At all times your readers must feel like they are part of a community.
  • Minimizing warning signs
    There are some things that always make me nervous when I see them on a website. For example, one of my loyal readers here on Blog Tyrant has a website with an unsafe certificate. Now, I know she is a trustworthy person but I never visit her site because my browsers warns me everything I click her name. This is a warning sign. Some others include red text links as they are associated with spammers and design elements that look chopped up or hacked. Everything needs to appear solid.

Do not underestimate the importance of initial impressions. Initial impressions are why companies spend millions of dollars developing a very simple logo. If you create a negative frame of mind with your initial impression you are less likely to convert when it comes payment/submit time.

Want to be judged by the Blog Tyrant community?

Are you worried that you don’t have blue-shirt trustworthiness? Are you concerned that maybe you have become too familiar with your blog or website and no longer know whether it appears safe, strong and successful to outsiders? Leave a comment and tell us what is worrying you and we’ll see if the Blog Tyrant community can offer their initial impressions on your site.

Beware. Once you ask you have to be brave enough to handle the criticism.


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252 Comments... Leave yours.

  • Shaun November 29, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I’m always skeptical about buying things online, but I feel a lot better about buying a product from someone I feel I know. Faceless sites give me no confidence, it’s much nicer if you feel like you have developed some trust with the person / site.

    I haven’t really monetized my site, but I’d be more than happy to have someone’s initial reaction. After a while you tend to miss things on your own site!

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    1. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 9:20 am

      Shaun, would you buy something from me?

      1. Shaun November 29, 2010 at 10:30 am

        Yes, definitely would! I think you do a great job of showing people what you are about and giving away great information that helps, so I wouldn’t hesitate to buy something from you.

        1. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 11:09 am

          Interesting though cos I am faceless, right?

          1. Shaun November 29, 2010 at 11:36 am

            Good point, but even without the face I think there is social proof i.e. your posts on Problogger that helps to bolster your integrity as well. Perhaps it just comes down to perception?

  • Dwayne Huggins November 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    BT community

    I have recently re-jigged by blog and I would appreciate your comments / impressions / feedback on it. (click on my name)

    Some simple, strong advice here BT, thanks. Its generally the simple things that we overlook that make a massive difference.

    Chat soon

    p.s – thanks for the email

    1. Rachelle November 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      Dwayne your site looks like spam. Too bright and too many contrasting colours. Oh and those annoying pop ups on the entry page, don’t do it. I don’t even know you and it’s too soon to ask me to give you my email.

      Girls want to be wooed first. :)

      1. Dwayne Huggins November 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm

        Ah ha, wooo her first, thats where I have been going wrong.

        Thanks Rachel. I will take your advice on-board

    2. chris November 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Echoing Rachelle…
      use a color pallette program and tone down those reds and blues. Think softer bank colors.

      1. Dwayne Huggins November 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm

        Hey Chris

        After reading this post, I have already started looking at my colour scheme.

        Thank for the comment.

    3. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      Dwayne, I’m with Rachelle on this one. My initial impression (unfavourable) was the ‘cheap’ colours. And I can’t repeat in public what I say whenever one of those pop ups arrive to block what I’m looking for.

      But, it was good to see your face on the front page and an ‘about me’ that I could click through to discover more about who is behind the site.

      Thanks for putting yourself out there! :-)

      1. Dwayne Huggins November 30, 2010 at 12:58 am

        Hey Olwen

        Thanks for the critique. Colours I am in the process of rethinking.

        Pop-up. Tricky one this. They used to annoy me also. But since I have put it there (has only been about a week and a half) I have doubled my daily of opt-ins.

        1. the Blog Tyrant November 30, 2010 at 1:05 am

          Its interesting Dwayne. People seem to make a lot of fuss about pop-ups but they are insanely successful.

          I think the most important thing is to make sure they don’t pop up for regular readers.

          1. Dwayne Huggins November 30, 2010 at 5:30 am

            BT I have sorted that setting out from the get-go. I don’t like pop-ups either, but they work. Hard to moan about something that works.

    4. Dean Fitzpatrick December 2, 2010 at 5:30 am

      Hey Dwayne:

      I had to look at your site critically from a couple of different perspectives: as a casual reader and as a blogger. From the standpoint of a casual reader, I think the pop ups can be annoying and an instant turnoff. However, as a blogger, I know you utilize pop up domination used by some of my favorite bloggers so I’m personally not annoyed. I’ll be investing in it myself in the near future. One thing about that particular program, however, is that I have to adjust the zoom on my pc to close out of it and when I was able to do that and went back to 100%, it was too large. Could just be my pc, but again another opportunity for me to say “later for this”. From a design standpoint, I don’t see much wrong. It all works for me. Your just in an EXTREMELY competitive niche and I wasn’t able to discern why I should sign up with you as opposed to the 2 billion other make money online gurus. My point: make your call to action stronger by giving readers assurance that what your offering is practical and actionable steps to help them create their own online empire. Good luck…

      1. Dwayne Huggins December 2, 2010 at 5:46 am

        Hey Dean

        Thank you for your input.

        Stronger CTA. Interesting.

    5. lisa December 3, 2010 at 8:38 am

      Hi Dwayne,

      Tone down the red and blue (they scream “bargin”), the site looks interesting just the colour scheme is not working. It doesn’t have the element that would make me trust you are an expert.

      ciao for now

  • Alvin Makoani November 29, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I agree on the color schemes. Just look at any website trying to sell you useless products, they all look flashy. I always try to avoid them.

    Thanks for a nice post,

    1. RinatisDinoro November 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm

      Yeah, and it seems quite weird why such a simple website like blogtyrant for example gets such a big authority. It’s a lesson we must learn – keep it simple (and real).


  • RinatisDinoro November 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Oh man, you can’t even know HOW MUCH it took me to make a pleasant environment for my website. “That black’s too ugly, that blue’s too fishy, delete that sovietic red of there….”, just some things I was telling to myself…So, yes, that can be a tricky part, the color scheme.

    p.s That’s weird, my latest post is somehow also about this.

  • Heather@Family Friendly Frugality November 29, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Now I’m wondering who has the unsafe site ;)

    I always get a bit giddy when I see a new post in my inbox from you. This is no exception. Great post.

    You know, it’s really an amazing thing to watch your readers grow to trust you. To see them go from never clicking your links to clicking almost all of your links. I remember when I first started out it almost seemed like people were going around my links purposefully (and they probably were).

    Now though, I’ve proven that I won’t steer them wrong, and I only want to help them. You can see the difference in the click through rate. It’s incredibly encouraging!

    1. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Heather.

      Thanks so much for getting giddy over me!

  • liz November 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Hi BT
    Is it my site that has the unsafe cert? Hope not.

    My blog does use a grey background but a larger font that usual and we’ve had some very positive feedback.

    The landing page of the blog is fine for now as we’re designing the overall site for a Feb launch.

    I’ve been putting in place many of your hints and tools and numbers are growing steadily.

    I’m open to feedback on my blog. Just don’t take today’s post as the only one as the gremlins were at work and I couldn’t do links to other posts … frustrating.

    Have a good week BT.


    1. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Liz.

      Nah, its not yours with the certificate. If it was you I would have just said “that bloody Liz…”.

      I like your new landing page. Looks really nice. The grey background on your blog has always bothered me; feels like I’m waiting for the white part to load. But if you’ve had good feedback then go with that.


      1. liz November 30, 2010 at 11:35 am

        Excellent feedback BT san.

        Thanks for taking the time to look at it. I’ll talk to my brother about the grey and we’ll see what we unveil when we launch the site and course in Feb.

        Loving all your writing … always full of gems.

  • chris November 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    My web site has a gray / orange theme. I’m going to be adding my own product within the next week. Should I use a similar theme on the product sales page? I’m thinking of getting a separate domain/theme just for the product.

    I’m not sure how gray / orange would be perceived.

    1. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 11:18 pm

      Chris the thoughts about same/different domain are a massive branding decision. That one has very little to do with color schemes.

      What are your thoughts?

      1. Olwen Anderson November 30, 2010 at 12:06 am

        Curious, I’m in the same position…..considering whether to arrange separate domain names for my different products, or keep them on my own site, where I’ve built up trust with subscribers and maintain the ability to cross-sell.

        Might be a subject for another blog post, Mr Blog Tyrant?


        1. the Blog Tyrant November 30, 2010 at 12:12 am

          It is something coming up in the New Year for sure. In fact, might have some relevance on this site too! ;-)

      2. chris November 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm

        I think my question had more layers that I’d thought. Is gray / orange ok?

        1. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 2, 2010 at 6:28 pm

          Chris your blog looks good. Your email sign-up, would it be better to offer something now than just to be contacted when you release “EQ Primer”, just a thought.

          The color scheme rocks, don’t change it.

    2. Hucky November 30, 2010 at 5:48 am

      Chris, I really like your layout.And I think your color schemes are just fine, just my two cents.

    3. Dean Fitzpatrick December 2, 2010 at 5:19 am


      Your site looks great, man! I wouldn’t worry about the color scheme; I think it works just fine. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a music fanatic myself so your content naturally drew me in.

  • Rachelle November 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Come on over and be honest, you can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.

    Some of you may interested in this article I wrote begging for help a while ago :)

    Due to the feedback I received then, I have hired a logo designer to help me create a logo/branding. I want something dynamic and he gives me clip art. Two weeks of utter frustration have ensued. I have also fixed certain elements of my site.

    In my case, I am currently using my site exclusively to advertise my services of apartment rental & property management. I want to give as much information for free as well for the DIY crowd.

    1. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 11:19 pm

      Rachelle what’s the deal with your logo designer? Where did you find them, how much you paying, etc?

      1. Rachelle November 30, 2010 at 2:45 am

        I got recommended from a friend of mine who is a blogger, I paid them $200. They are a business. It’s not that they are terrible, but it lacks that pizzazz. Maybe my expectations are too high.

        I’m kind of losing my mind, because it’s holding everything else up, it is hard to convey Landlord Rescue as a concept. Because I want everything to have the same look, the site facebook, twitter waiting is disturbing.

        It is literally clip art, and I am disappointed because I have the same ability as he does to use clip art. The latest plan is buildings exploding out of a life preserver. Then I get a house in a life preserver.

        I saw this logo I liked

        Plus I have a sneaking suspicion he hasn’t even bothered to go to my site and see what I’m about. The problem at this point is that I’m getting so frustrated I just want to say fine, to heck with it and just take the best one.

    2. Olwen Anderson November 30, 2010 at 12:11 am

      Hi Rachelle

      Your blog title makes it so clear about what you’re all about. Loved it.

      The advertisement as the only piece of colour confused me though; and if you’re big enough to get into the Globe, why is there such a big paid advertisement dominating the page? It distracts me from your message.

      I’m not sure how you did it, but the page manages to not look too busy, although the site is obviously information-rich. Maybe the tabs help.


  • Ernie November 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    First off, I love your blog. Thanks for all the helpful tips and encouragement.

    As for my site, I worry that it’s confusing – that it doesn’t clearly and simply outline who am I, the services I provide my community, and the free resources (my blog) I offer. When visitors land on my homepage, are the right tools in place to get their business?

    Thanks in advance for any input you have.

    1. chris November 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

      You home page is a killer…you are telling people how to contact you but you aren’t really promoting what you do. A photo of you working would be good. Bullet points of your services would be great. Sell me on how great you work and the services you provide and I’ll contact you. Then if you blog on lawn care tips, add that below your business promo content.

      1. Ernie November 29, 2010 at 5:02 pm

        Thanks mucho, Chris.

    2. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:18 pm

      Ernie, loved the clean, clear presentation of your website and what you do. Kind of like a well kept lawn, eh?

      To keep me front of mind as a potential customer, I’d love to receive regular tips on HOW to maintain a great lawn, and also I’d like to be able to download a free report to give me the information I was looking for when I found your web site (e.g “what to expect when you employ someone to maintain your lawns”)


    3. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 11:23 pm

      Hi Ernie.

      I hire a guy to mow my lawns because I never get around to it (and I get hay fever). The most important thing for me when looking at his website was social proof. If someone is coming on to my property when I’m not home or when my girlfriend is home alone I want to feel safe.

      If you want to take blue-shirt trust to a new level I would call some of your loyal customers and ask them if they could give you a testimonial with a photo that you can use on your website.

      Instant trust.

      Also, your website’s point is all about getting people to call you for a quote. Don’t dilute it with other distractions.

      1. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 11:29 pm

        Ernie your about page is a perfect home page.

    4. Ricardo Bueno November 30, 2010 at 12:50 am

      I agree with the Blog Tyrant, you’re About Page would make an excellent home-page. Also, it would be great to see some pictures of you in action or some photos and testimonials of your clients.

      Otherwise, lookin’ good!

    5. Jared November 30, 2010 at 1:14 am

      What I would suggest is a logo (that identifies you and your service; I’m a graphic designer hint hint) and testimonials. Also, I would (your choice) make your blog your homepage but have it start a little below your intro b/c you have great content. More color/design to your blog would be a great touch. That’s about it! i love the content btw!

    6. Ernie November 30, 2010 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks for the tips and encouragement. I really appreciate it!

      1. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm

        Ernie your site looks good. I would emphasize your contact point more, don’t be afraid to make it really stand out. A logo in the left of your header and your tel. No. bold as brass on the right side. That should do the trick.
        Like Olwen said, capture your customers names, offer a free trial for their email, or tips anything to build a database. You will never need to advertise again.

        1. Ernie December 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

          Thanks Pete.

  • TallSocks November 29, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Good morning everyone, I would like to monetize my web site and would welcome constructive comments on what I may be doing right or wrong. I had a severe shoulder injury and throughout my “re-hab” I have gained an appreciation for health, fitness and well being. My hobby is photography and I try to incorporate my photos into my site. Thank you for your consideration.

    1. Rachelle November 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm

      The photos are great and I like your writing but from what I understand, you need a self hosted wordpress site.

    2. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm

      HI Tallsocks

      My first impression – that this is a blog for sharing amongst family members. It appeared on first impression to be all about you, you, you and you.

      I couldn’t immediately understand what you are trying to achieve through your web site.


      1. TallSocks November 29, 2010 at 10:43 pm

        I see what you are saying, I can see that I need to make a bit of a change in the intro. It is all about me, but I need to present it better, thank you for your time.

        1. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm

          The only monetizing you can do with blogger is adsense. People do affiliate promotion with blogger, but as I am aware it is against bloggers TOS.
          If you are serious get a self hosted blog with WordPress and do your health and fitness blog. Be prepared to work hard though, it is a highly competitive niche.

  • Frankie Cooper November 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    This is a helpful post.

  • Monette Satterfield November 29, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Having just found the BT, the help and information here is coming in handy. Thanks for that!

    I’ve recently (in October) launched my blog-based consulting site and would appreciate a look and some input. Since it’s new, I’m sure there’s lots of room for improvement.

    Thanks in advance for the time and consideration.

    1. Rachelle November 29, 2010 at 6:34 pm

      I like the site, I love your content, I don’t like the font you use in your header, your feedburner and twitter icons are lovely, but you should get rid of your “cloud” and put your picture and email subscription to make use of your prime territory.

      1. Monette Satterfield November 29, 2010 at 7:43 pm

        Thanks Rachelle! I’m glad to hear you like the content – it would be a bummer if that reeked :)

        Thanks for mentioning that about the “cloud.” It does take up some prime space but I had stopped noticing that. I could move it to the bottom of the page or just get rid of it entirely.

        About the header font – too hard to read? Too frou frou? What is it you don’t like? It’s a work in progress so I’m all ears.

        I appreciate your time to have a look – thanks so much!

        1. Rachelle November 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm

          Much better without the cloud, but I still want to see your picture higher, maybe cut down the text around your email subscription so your picture moves up.

          About the font on the header, it is hard to read and is overwhelmed by your graphic. I like the graphic. Try a font in a different colour.

          It’s funny how you stop seeing your own blog but it’s easy to notice other’s blogs. I get the same thing with mine plus I’m scared of breaking something :)

          1. Monette Satterfield November 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm

            That’s good about breaking something – I should probably be more afraid of that since I’ve broken it a time or two :)

            Shortened the sub text as much as I dared. Now to fiddle with that header. That’s a trip back to the graphics program. I’ve been a little hesitant about that font from the beginning so it’s no surprise to me that it’s hard to read.

            I like your site. We’ve got some res. rentals and it’s nice to see someone taking the landlords side once in a while!

    2. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Monette

      Great content! But the graphic design doesn’t match up – your very delicate title header clashes with the bright and modern and big RSS etc buttons – they dominate to the point of distraction.

      Just my first impressions.


      1. Monette Satterfield November 29, 2010 at 10:16 pm

        Ahhh…. design consistency – another good point that my eyes no longer see. Thank you Olwen for mentioning that.

        I guess I’ll work on those buttons when I go back to tweak the header as well as look hard at other parts of the design.

        So good to have other points of view :)

    3. Amanda November 30, 2010 at 1:11 am

      Monette, I loved your content and became absorbed so forgot to look critically at the page! If anything, I think the font on your header doesn’t really work for me. Maybe needs to be a bit bolder?

      1. Monette Satterfield November 30, 2010 at 1:45 am

        Amanda – that’s the nicest thing you could say :)

        I’m glad the content is strong but I do want the design to be good too. After all, I’m targeting a group that will certainly notice it.

        You, and Rachelle, are right about that header. It’s just not right and I’ve really known it since the beginning. But, when you’re getting started, you can’t do everything at once and some things are just “good enough.” Now, it’s time to fix it properly.

        I’m so glad for the feedback here!

    4. Dean Fitzpatrick December 2, 2010 at 5:13 am

      Hi Monette!

      I enjoyed reading your blog; I especially like the point you made about companies focusing on policies rather than customer needs. You have a writing style that draws the reader in, and your site structure is solid. The only thing that I would suggest is you consider using a different font; it’s nice and big and easy to read, but it reminds me of one of my old blogspot blogs (man, I’ve been riding on them all night!), which in my mind screams amateur. That may very well be a reach, but it’s just my initial impression.

  • Todd@PhitZone November 29, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I read that once about the blue shirt. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I still adhere to it when needed.

    I know that it takes time to build a following, and it’s happening slowly, but I worry that my theme may be holding me back. Any thoughts?

    1. chris November 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      1. Get a better and smaller logo.
      2. Shrink the header.
      3. Replace “grab free newsletter” with a small signup form. See my site to get an idea.
      4. Kill the pop-up ad. if you absolutely must have one, TELL ME WHY I SHOULD READ IT! How often is it sent? What’s inside? that sort of thing.

      1. Todd@PhitZone November 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm

        I’ll take a look at shrinking the logo down, which will shrink the header.
        The pop-up and “grab free newsletter” image were both something that I just did. The pop-up was annoying me, and was on my kill list already. It’s now gone, and I put my small signup form back in place.
        Thanks for the comments.

        1. Kim November 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm

          I have to agree that the logo needs work. It just didn’t fit with the site. I love the info on the site though.

    2. RinatisDinoro November 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm

      Todd, honestly, for me it just seems too much content, or maybe that’s just my personal opinion. A blog should be something breezy :) :D if you get my point

      1. Todd@PhitZone November 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm

        I think that’s what may be bugging me about that theme. I like it, but it just doesn’t seem to flow very well.

        1. RinatisDinoro November 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm

          Just look at that title there, it just doesn’t seem right to have that wite space around the words, now does it? :)

          1. Todd@PhitZone November 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm

            That is the fault of the logo image. There is a bit of room on top of, and below the logo in the image file. I’ll trim that down, and the header space shrinks a bit.

          2. RinatisDinoro November 29, 2010 at 7:04 pm

            Yeah, you do that and it will look much better

          3. Todd@PhitZone November 29, 2010 at 8:02 pm

            I’ll do that. I think I’m going to have to break down and buy a good theme to clean up the look.
            Thanks for your help.

          4. RinatisDinoro November 29, 2010 at 8:08 pm

            I wish I had the courage to buy a theme for my website instead of wasting 2 weeks time to arrange things (and still i have headaches with some small glitches…)

    3. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 9:51 pm

      Hi Todd

      Loved the top section above the fold. Ahhh…. tabs to help me navigate on your site. But as I scrolled down the site got busier…and busier…. I started to suffer from information overload… how long will it take me to find what I want? Where’s the ‘search’ box?


    4. Amanda November 29, 2010 at 10:32 pm

      Todd, just my personal opinion, but I found it all a bit too busy for me.

    5. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 2, 2010 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Todd,
      Don’t go much on black backgrounds, but that is my personal choice. Your blog is well laid out, with quality content and lots of it.

  • Kim November 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I have been working on my site for a long time on my own trying to find my site identity. I’m nervous about this but I would appreciate any and all feedback.

  • - Financial Planning Demystified November 29, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Hi guys,

    I am a personal finance blogger, and a long time follower of Blog Tyrant.

    Would really appreciate your comments on the appearance of my website. I also sell my services (financial planning), so kindly have a look at that section as well (

    Thanks in advance…

    1. Rachelle November 29, 2010 at 8:06 pm

      You too failed to woo me before trying to get my email. No to pop ups the first time I visit your page.

      It’s just too much… the font is hard to read and the rotating text at eye level…no no no…

      It’s not sexy to chase the reader, it’s too desperate, just relax..give them free content, then when they need you or get confused… they’ll think of you first. Personally I like content front and center.

      Less is more.

      1. - Financial Planning Demystified November 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm

        Thanks a ton, Rachelle. I too think the pop-up should be shown at least on the second page you visit – when you have shown at least SOME interest in the website! Would have to figure out how that can be done…

        Would work on the font and the rotating banner.

    2. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      Hi Raag

      Your main website first impression: very overcrowded, the constantly moving ads distracted me. The pop-up that blocked my quest for information was really annoying.

      But….your ‘myfinancialplan’ page looked professional, with a logical layout and easy to navigate. Loved the ‘you tube’ video introducing you.


      1. - Financial Planning Demystified November 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm

        Thanks, Olwen – points noted! “Crowded” seems to be the popular opinion!

        I am glad you liked the ‘myfinancialplan’ section and the video – thats where I sell my services :-)

    3. Amanda November 29, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      Ditto re the pop-ups – I don’t love them at all and I find the moving ads very distracting.

      1. - Financial Planning Demystified November 30, 2010 at 4:26 pm

        Thanks, Amanda – am working on changing these.

  • Chris Whittington November 29, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Hi guys,

    I’m so glad I stumbled across BT a few weeks ago, I love this site and everything I’ve read so far!

    I run a website for parents of high school kids – teaching the best ways to help their kids study and kick ass at school.

    I’d be so incredibly grateful for any comments you have about the initial look of our site. What can we do better to help convert email subscribers – or even on the sales side too!

    Thanks in advance for any help!


    1. RinatisDinoro November 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm

      It seems quite good, but what’s with that Pink there? :D It hurts my eyes, really :D But, I guess this can also be a personal preference

    2. Amanda November 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Chris, I really like it – clear, not too busy and succinct.

      1. Chris Whittington November 29, 2010 at 11:17 pm

        Thanks so much for your comments!

        In regards to the pink – we played around with what colour helped to ‘pop’ above the blue/white/grey background and black header, and that one seemed to do it best. I apologise to your eyes!

    3. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:34 pm

      Hi Chris

      Great layout! Found it easy to immediately understand what your site is all about, and how to find the information I want.

      My only negative comment, is that I found the constantly changing images distracting.


      1. Chris Whittington November 30, 2010 at 2:32 am

        Hi Olwen

        I’ve been toying with the picture cycler. It used to be situated in the header (rotating the top image) – but I think that most definitely added too much clutter.

        I was hoping to not make the site look so stagnant without it.

        So you suggest removing it altogether?



        1. Olwen Anderson November 30, 2010 at 4:33 am

          The pictures you’ve chosen seem to communicate very well what you’re saying….but each time it changed my eyes moved away from the text. I stopped reading because following the pretty pictures was so more enticing.


    4. Jared November 30, 2010 at 1:01 am

      I really like your site and the content is GREAT! I can definitely say so being that I am a high school student. the only thing with the design is (i’m a designer so i’m quite picky) is the sponsors [i think] logos at the bottom. The borders should be fixed up.

      A matter of fact, I’ll do them for you! Just give me your email and I’ll email them to you with the hour!

      1. Chris Whittington November 30, 2010 at 2:29 am

        Hi Jared

        Thanks so much! I would be absolutely honoured if you could do that for us! You can find my email on the contact page (

        We’re about to launch our .com and see if we can share the love with our US friends! Seeing as you’re a high school student I’ll keep your email and make sure to send you a copy of one of our products when we launch (in a month or two).

      2. Chris Whittington November 30, 2010 at 2:39 am

        Hi Jared

        Thanks so much for your awesome feedback! And I would most definitely love to take you up on your kind offer. You can find my email on the contact page (

        We’re gearing up to launch our .com site soon too, to spread the love to all of the US high school students that could do with a helping hand. I’ll save your email and make sure to send you a free copy of whatever you like when we’re up and running!


    5. Chris Whittington November 30, 2010 at 2:46 am

      Hi Jared – for some reason I can’t post a direct response to you! Either that or three are about to appear.

      I would love to take you up on your offer! You can find my email address on the contact page (

      We’re about to launch a .com version of our website to share out study tips wiht student in need throught the US – so I’ll definitely keep your email and give you your choice of whatever you think might help you at school!


      1. Jared November 30, 2010 at 4:08 am

        Okay! You should have it by sometime tomorrow! Don’t forget to check out my tech and social media news site, and follow @mediain5

        Tell People about Us! :)

  • Edwin November 29, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Awesome post. Safe fonts are important because some people like to use fancy fonts which will lower sales.

    Anyways does anyone want to try my blog:

    1. Edwin November 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm


      1. Amanda November 29, 2010 at 11:36 pm

        Hi Edwin, I like the look of your blog – it is nice and tidy. However, I found the name a little confusing as it took me a while to work out what you do. Also, I found that your “About” page has some spelling and punctuation mistakes that need to be rectified asap.

    2. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:28 pm

      Hi Edwin

      Initial impression: I couldn’t ‘get’ what your site is all about – ‘guide goods’ doesn’t immediately communicate this for me.


      1. Edwin November 29, 2010 at 11:30 pm

        Hmmm. How do you think I can portay what my blog is about and also do you think my sidebar is too long?

      2. the Blog Tyrant November 29, 2010 at 11:34 pm

        Hi Edwin.

        Your “comment” encouragement text is taking up the most valuable position on your site. I would put your email subscribe area there.

        1. Edwin November 30, 2010 at 12:21 am

          Ok, thanks. Also what should I keep add to my site?

          1. Edwin November 30, 2010 at 12:46 am

            Moved a few things around and removed some stuff. What ya think now?

    3. Jared November 30, 2010 at 12:54 am

      Your sites nice but for one thing, make your logo transparent because I can identify the different shades of gray.

      1. Edwin November 30, 2010 at 1:20 am

        How do you do that?

        1. Jared November 30, 2010 at 1:30 am

          I’ll do it for you.

          1. Edwin November 30, 2010 at 1:34 am

            For real? Thanks, it will be free right? :)

        2. Jared November 30, 2010 at 2:11 am

          What’s your email? I’m done. And yes, its free. lol

          1. Edwin November 30, 2010 at 2:26 am

            Thanks dude so much. Please use the contact form on my site. Thanks:

  • Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Wow, what an opportunity! Yes please guys, I’d love your initial impressions of my site.

    1. RinatisDinoro November 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

      Seems good enough from my POV, especially if we think about your blog’s niche. That blue is somewhere on the edge between failure and success :) But it seems appealing

      1. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm

        Thanks Rinatis, appreciate your input.

    2. Rachelle November 29, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      Too much blue more white. Other than that the layout is terrific…

      1. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm

        Thanks Rachelle! Yep, I’m really hearing the ‘too much blue’!!! :-)

    3. Amanda November 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm

      Love the shade of blue, but could do with less of it, but good otherwise.

      1. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:22 pm

        Thanks Amanda!! Appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment. :-)

    4. Monette Satterfield November 29, 2010 at 10:51 pm

      This is probably a small thing and particular to me but you don’t have a favicon. I always check for them the very first time I visit a site. They seem to reassure me for some reason.

      I’ll just second the blueness comments :)

      1. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:20 pm

        Thanks Monette…, what’s a ‘favicon’? :-)

        1. Monette Satterfield November 30, 2010 at 1:38 am

          It’s the little image that shows up to the left of the page title in the tab/window of your browser as well as when you bookmark a site. Blog Tyrant’s is the top of the scepter-gold on white, mine is a blue circle with a capital “A”. More sites have them now and I’m just used to looking for them. Again, that could just be me :)

          1. Olwen Anderson November 30, 2010 at 4:34 am

            Ah, gotcha. Thanks :-)

  • Amanda November 29, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    OK, I’ve stuck my neck out and had my say on a few of you – my turn now.
    I would like to beef up my subscriptions a bit – any ideas?
    I am considering spending some money to have my logo (a photo I took myself) stylized – good idea or not? Any criticism folks?

    1. Monette Satterfield November 29, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      I’m not sure what you mean by stylized. If that’s just a rendering of the actual photo, it may end up hard to understand. If you mean having the elements of the photo distilled and condensed to a single graphic element – that makes more sense. (Are we talking about the bee on the lamb’s ear plant?)

      I think a clear logo would be easier to “get” at first glance and really play up the wonderful name you have :)

      1. Amanda November 29, 2010 at 11:11 pm

        Thanks Monette – yes, I mean that I would like the logo simplified, but still recognizable as a bee on the lamb’s ear. I think the photo is a bit unclear.

    2. Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:26 pm

      Hi Amanda

      Loved the unique, quirky title – very memorable.

      I’d definitely get a professional photo done that cements that unique title.

      Overall visual impression: washed out, very busy, and yet difficult to immediately see what you’re about. Yep, I’d engage a professional designer to pull it all together.


      1. Amanda November 29, 2010 at 11:42 pm

        Hmm – actually, I did!

        1. Olwen Anderson November 30, 2010 at 12:14 am

          oh dear…..i’m blushing

          1. Amanda December 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm

            Please don’t blush, Olwen! Thanks for the feedback!

    3. AstroFix December 1, 2010 at 7:06 pm

      Similar to what Olwen said, I’d make all of the blog post titles larger and darker – they’re difficult to distinguish from the rest of the page.

      1. Amanda December 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm

        Thanks for that suggestion – I see what you mean. I’m not really sure how to work Thesis, so any advice on how to change that would be appreciated.

        1. Sharon December 8, 2010 at 2:18 am

          Thesis > Design Options in your WP Panel… you’ll see all of the design elements can be changed (font, size, color, etc).

          If you need more help, just holler. I work on Thesis all day!

          1. Amanda December 8, 2010 at 5:51 am

            Many, many thanks, Sharon. That was loads easier than I expected it to be! I am totally intimidated by Thesis, so now I really feel very brave!

    4. Sharon December 8, 2010 at 9:13 pm

      Glad I could help Amanda!

  • Kim November 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    I have been looking at my design and have been worried that I am shooting myself in the foot with visitors from bad design. Any comments are welcome.

    1. Ricardo Bueno November 30, 2010 at 12:14 am

      Everything looks great. Love the colors and like the use of white-space. The one thing I’d add is like Olwen, to limit the amount of scrolling on the home-page. I’d also expand on the number of characters per post to shore more content, otherwise it just looks like a big list.

      Otherwise, love it!

    2. @creativeblogger November 30, 2010 at 12:32 am

      I checked out your blog, Kim. Try increasing the size of your font a little bit – it may help the need to overhaul the design.

    3. Jared November 30, 2010 at 12:50 am

      First off, you need a logo design. (Email me at for a good one in a day!). Second, your site shouldn’t scroll to the right on any browser. Third, your categories should be side-by-side downwards and you need a little extra color (not to much). Besides that, your site and content is GOOD. Try and add in some cool stuff to the footer but not to much, just helpful things. :)

      1. Kim November 30, 2010 at 1:26 am


        How wide should the site be to keep it from scrolling? Yeah I have had a few logos but never found “the one”

        1. Jared November 30, 2010 at 1:30 am

          No, I mean that your site CAN sroll to the right but you should avoid this b/c it may load incorrectly in some browsers. Other than that, your set!

          1. Kim November 30, 2010 at 1:48 am

            Now I am sitting here wondering if I should just do just the category names instead of the 3 teasers and really cute the page size down big time.

  • Olwen Anderson November 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Hi Kim

    I think you can put the gun down…..

    My initial impression was that this is a very information-rich site, but I started to feel overloaded as I scrolled down….and down…and down…..would it ever end?

    Ah, phew, you’ve got a search box. I’d make it more prominent.


    1. Kim November 29, 2010 at 11:32 pm

      I actually shortened it in half. It was never ending.

  • Ricardo Bueno November 30, 2010 at 12:12 am

    I recently changed my site design/theme to Prose. I went for a more minimalist feel and completely changed the header to include a new “RB” Logo and picture from one of my events.

    What do you think? Too much? Are the Call To Actions (as far as subscribing) prominent enough?

    1. the Blog Tyrant November 30, 2010 at 12:14 am

      Hey Ricardo.

      What’s the main goal of your blog? Get subscribers or get speaking engagements?

      1. Ricardo Bueno November 30, 2010 at 12:16 am

        Lately, subscribers. If you’d asked me six month’s ago though I would have said speaking engagements but I’ve fortunately built some momentum there.

        Do you think I should move that part out and move the subscriptions icons up?

        1. the Blog Tyrant November 30, 2010 at 12:17 am

          If I was you I’d get rid of those 125×125 ads and make the side bar pretty much just email subscription only (maybe some popular posts).

          Focus on building a list and market to those guys.


          1. Ricardo Bueno November 30, 2010 at 12:28 am

            Changes implemented.

            I’m not opposed to removing the ads. I think you and I both agree that an email list, with interested individuals whose attention you already have is much more effective. That at the after-post-content ad has interestingly converted well in the past.

        2. JB November 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm

          it might help to change the background color of the email capture widget. make it stand out.

          1. Ricardo Bueno December 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm

            Great suggestion JB, thank you!

  • rosemary November 30, 2010 at 12:14 am

    My blog is going to be a year old in December. I have 107 followers and about 140 getting posts emailed. I am in the process of paying someone to tweek the blog a bit….I don’t think I want to change too much. My header photo I think can be smaller and I would like some fancy writing on the sidebar. Not sure what else I should change. I would like to increase traffic for the next year and get into more events in NYC for reporting on the blog. Looking forward to your thoughts!! Thank you !!

    1. Ricardo Bueno November 30, 2010 at 12:17 am

      A thinner header so that we can see the content above the fold when we first visit the site would be great. Otherwise, lookin’ good.

      Happy blogging!

      1. rosemary November 30, 2010 at 12:32 am

        Thank you for the quick response! I am looking forward to what 2011 will bring for my blog…very excited. Glad you liked the layout…..

    2. Jared November 30, 2010 at 12:44 am

      One thing you should definitely add is a “scroll to top” function. You can either get one one the bottom or a toolbar that sits on your site like Wibiya. I also do some designing and graphics once in a while!

      1. rosemary November 30, 2010 at 2:53 am

        I will look into that idea…thank you !!

  • Jared November 30, 2010 at 12:40 am

    My site will be two months old this coming December 15th. I have over 300 subscribers and about 100 twitter followers.

    My niche is tech and social media news and I love it! It feels great to be the first one covering a story once in a while. However, I’m trying to build my daily views and my twitter followers. Why not check those two out? I’d love it!
    Tech and Social Media Delivered

    1. the Blog Tyrant November 30, 2010 at 12:47 am

      Its looking good man! How’s the traffic?

      1. Jared November 30, 2010 at 12:56 am

        It’s getting there I guess, traffic has doubled and maintained from two weeks ago but it still hasn’t reached my personal threshold. I know my niche is hard to conquer but I’m trying. I really think that shout-outs, mentions, links, etc. will really help!

    2. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr November 30, 2010 at 7:46 pm

      Hey Jared, nice blog dude. Really like the layout. Really suits the tech.Following you on Twitter now.

  • the Blog Tyrant November 30, 2010 at 1:43 am

    You guys are so amazing. The community here is just wonderful. Thank you all for taking the time out to be so fantastic!

  • Jason November 30, 2010 at 2:49 am

    I’m new to my role here. Would love any initial impressions or feedback to consider as we look towards an overhaul and “constructive feedback” for the CEO and CFO to justify it.

    1. Olwen Anderson November 30, 2010 at 5:03 am

      Jason, how old is this site design?


      1. Jason December 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm

        Thanks for the reply. My feeling as well. Just wanted some second opinions.

    2. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr November 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm

      Jason would have to agree with Olwen, looks like something from the 90′s. It is well laid out and easy to navigate. Needs a spring clean. Move to WordPress, so much better.

      1. Jason December 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

        Thanks for the reply, Pete. Yep!

  • Hucky November 30, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Blog Tyrant, first-time visitor. I absolutely love your blog, I’m really feeling the information that your kicking out. I was hoping to get a little feedback on my site.

    1. Olwen Anderson November 30, 2010 at 10:00 am

      Hucky – love your site. Looks crisp, professional, you can see immediately what its all about, and the information looks easily accessible. Interesting topic too – I’ve bookmarked the site to read the articles.

      1. Hucky November 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

        Olwen,thanks for the feedback it’s truly appreciated

    2. Rachelle November 30, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      I like it as well, the only problem I see right off the hop is that your subscribe to email overlaps your blog post and totally disappears into the adwords

      1. Hucky November 30, 2010 at 7:11 pm

        Thanks Rachelle

    3. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr November 30, 2010 at 7:39 pm

      Hey Hucky,
      Never realized that body guarding was such big business.
      Cool looking site. Well laid out, easy to navigate.

      1. Hucky November 30, 2010 at 8:29 pm

        Hey Pete, it’s a great business. In my 20 years I’ve had the privilege of protecting Prince and many other celebrities, although now I do more consulting and placement work. My hope with this site is to educate young people who want to get into the business, and help the more seasoned people to find employment or revamp their materials so they can be competitive. It’s been fun and rewarding and keeps me at home for my family…being on the road is for the young pups, not the old dogs!

        1. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 1, 2010 at 6:02 pm

          Hucky, I know exactly how you feel. Travel and work are great, but it does take it’s toll. I have a couple of friends body guarding in Iraq, they are both ex forces. Some of the stories they come out with.
          I live in the UK, it is not that big here, the ex forces boys have it pretty much sown up.
          Cool interesting Blog.

  • RinatisDinoro November 30, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Ok, and finally, what about mine? (It took me a while to ask this :D ) Ignore the top banner and the lower banner, those are atm standard banners to fill the space :)

    1. Olwen Anderson November 30, 2010 at 10:06 am

      Rinatis –

      I enjoyed the video about learning english!!!

      But I couldn’t see immediately what your site is all about, and what I could get from it. Is this a new site, some of the pages didn’t seem to be filled in?


      1. RinatisDinoro November 30, 2010 at 10:07 am

        You are correct, I just started it. So, how do you like it? :)

  • Dwayne Huggins November 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    This is by far the most interactive comment thread I have seen, and its all in a good way.

    Great stuff

    1. RinatisDinoro November 30, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Yeah :D We’re attracted by this nice design, we must admit! :D

  • Bill Masson November 30, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    HI all,

    Great thread with some interesting comments, I have just recently given my blog an overhaul and would appreciate any feedback good or bad.

    1. RinatisDinoro December 1, 2010 at 7:26 am

      Hmmm, I don’t quite the looks of the upper fonts and also those ads. Seem a little misplaced

      1. Bill Masson December 1, 2010 at 9:14 am

        Well thanks for your insights, Its nice to get a different perspective. The ads do stand out but hey that’s what there meant to do, after all it is a marketing blog. Not sure by what you mean by the Fonts, which are enlarged yes, but entirely justified due to recent search engine changes ;-) Different strokes for different folks i guess

        Thanks again

        1. Bill Masson December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am

          Rinatis, I reckon you should take another hard look at your blog if you are serious about marketing. It needs more…much more INPUT :-) looks kind of empty and plain jane, you need an identity, a logo or a magic wand ;-)

          Sorry to be so blunt but hoots mon! that’s what this thread is all about. ;-)

          1. RinatisDinoro December 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

            It’s ok, don’t worry. I am aware of what there needs to be improved, thank you very much :) I am not a designer or programmer so it took me 1-2 weeks to arrange stuff there. I will change the title image, you can be sure about that and will make it amazing Jane :D I wanted to give a pleasant environment for the reader. :) Later I will boost the aspects, now gotta work the content :)

  • Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr November 30, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Hi BT community, just jigged my blog a bit, would love to know what you think. Yes I am open to criticism. I am browsing all your blogs now.

    1. RinatisDinoro November 30, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Seems ok at first, but then i feel it a little too punchy for my eyes. Or maybe I’m just too obsessed with having a pleasant environment for the reader… :)

      1. RinatisDinoro December 1, 2010 at 9:56 am

        Yeah, but the block of ads seems a little too near to the pages :)

        1. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm

          Ok Here goes. I agree fully about ads on blogs. Like I have said to BT, this blog is new, it really is work in progress. I have a plan and goals which will be unfolding over the next 6 months to 1 year. Without a goal, you have nothing.
          The spacing for the ads is correct. I agree that they are close to the top, but that will be changing.
          All the ads are products I use myself and believe in.
          Just been browsing your Blog Rinatis, looks very nice, no content though.

          1. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 1, 2010 at 6:16 pm

            Just watched your featured video. Mmmm. Might offend some people.

      2. lisa chiodo December 2, 2010 at 12:43 am

        Hi Pete, I subscribe to by Yaro Starak, I am learning so much, the thing I like with Yaro’s site is it never feels “blokey” (sorry I am from Australia – I mean it appeals to women and men). have a look and see what you think.
        ciao for now

        1. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 2, 2010 at 6:58 pm

          Hi Lisa, I am a regular reader of Yaro’s. If you are going to read 3 blogs. Read Blog Tyrant, Problogger (Darren Rowse, another Aussie) and Yaro’s. These 3 will taech you more than you will ever need to know. Oh and of course me.

    2. the Blog Tyrant December 1, 2010 at 11:02 am

      Pete that space where the ads are is so valuable. Are you sure you want to promote other people’s stuff there?

      1. RinatisDinoro December 1, 2010 at 11:34 am

        Well, Tyrant, I guess you’re suggesting he should use an affiliate marketing strategy, but you know – it is always not easy to find the right product to advertise and to earn affiliate income out of it. So, for some it may seem easier to put there “random” ads and to leave the choice to the company.

        p.s – why don’t you advertise anything Tyrant?
        p.p.s – is this a strategy for selling the website later? :)

      2. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm

        Hey BT, I am working on a small project, 5 videos to give away. They will take dominance then. My Blog really is work in progress, one small step at a time. Really appreciate your feedback. Means a lot from such an experienced blogger.

  • Kristy November 30, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Good points here…thanks! I think a great way to earn the trust of your readers is to engage them in personal conversations.

    And yes, I’d absolutely be interested to hear your critiques of my site…let me know what you think.

    1. RinatisDinoro December 1, 2010 at 7:24 am

      You really need to quit Blogger and to start using WordPress! That’s the thing you HAVE TO do.

    2. Bill Masson December 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Kristy,

      You can tell that this blog has a woman’s input ( in the nicest possible way of course ;-) I love your background and your blog is very pleasing to the eye. I would look to blend your AdSense ads into your content area and footer. Apart from that its a great looking blog.

  • Kristi Valentini December 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Ok, my concern with my blog design is that my background colors/design and header photo may be too distracting to the actual content. I love the background and I love the photo, but more than that, I want people to have an easy time reading my posts. Your thoughts? Also, I’ve had a difficult time getting people to sign up for my newsletter (sign up box on the top of the right column) and I’m wondering if the sign up box is not very noticeable in its current location. Any advice would be great!

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 1, 2010 at 11:48 pm

      Hey Kristi.

      I think the photo takes up too much space. You want to fit as much content above the fold as possible.

      1. lisa chiodo December 2, 2010 at 12:32 am

        not keen on the way the band goes through the babies head, image a bit big, initially not sure what the blog is about? Sorry I would click to the next blog…

        1. Kristi Valentini December 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm

          Thanks to you Lisa and to the Blog Tyrant for reviewing my site. It’s just confirms what I was already concerned with. I don’t have much time to fiddle around with the design in blogger, but my next step would be to have someone create the design for me and I can give them these new directives. Thanks again for your help!

    2. Dean Fitzpatrick December 2, 2010 at 5:02 am

      Hi, Kristi:

      I have to agree with Lisa: the band going through the baby’s head is a bad first impression. Outside of that, I think your concerns about your design are largely unfounded; it’s not bad at all, especially for a Blogspot blog (not much of a fan of Blogger these days). As far as your sign up box, my first question is “why should I sign up?” I don’t see any sort of incentives your offering or any inducement that would drive someone to action. People want to be sold, but you have to have the goods…

      1. Kristi Valentini December 2, 2010 at 6:04 pm

        Thanks for the insight. I gotta come up with some “goods” to “sell.” Hmmm…

  • Rachelle December 1, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I have set up a page and I need some input on the logos that will be used for all my branding going forward. We’ll be putting it everywhere.

    I need input desperately…

  • Rachelle December 1, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Hi everyone,

    I need input on my logos, if you go to my site I’ve created a page titled logos. Could you check it out and let me know which one you like the best?

    1. Ernie December 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm

      I like the 3rd one.

      1. Ernie December 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm

        To clarify – the one without the ring buoy.

        1. Rachelle December 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm


          I’ve had feedback that the ring buoy looks like spam. Is it the colour?

          1. Ernie December 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm

            I didn’t think it looked like spam. It was a little too busy for me. I prefer simple.

  • Dean Fitzpatrick December 1, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Excellent, excellent points all! I will say, however, it’s tough to convey you have a community around your blog when you’re just starting off and just looking for a few eyeballs to fall on your site. So in that vein, I welcome any and all comments on my site design, content etc… thanks in advance!

    1. Rachelle December 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm

      Your first page is a mess. There is no photo on the Dean Soto post, that is there is a space for a photo but no photo is in that space.

      You have put black type on a black background in your header.

      On the right side of the page there is something strange going on there is text in a narrow column for no good reason at all.

      I see the back end of my site much more than the front end, but a simple look at the front page would tell you this. I try to check what every post looks like once it’s published to make sure it’s OK

      1. the Blog Tyrant December 1, 2010 at 11:25 pm

        Gentle Rachelle. Gentle. ;-)

        1. Rachelle December 1, 2010 at 11:42 pm

          I apologize, I am extremely aggravated by my own logo situation. I am getting good feedback on the logo from many different sources and other people like it, but I just don’t like it. It doesn’t feel right and I am upset because it is holding up everything else.

          I read the post from Dean Soto and it was very good content. I like the name of the site, maybe a different color background in the header would look better. I also have problems making wordpress do what I want it to do, when I am dealing with site issues it becomes very obvious to me that I have more to learn than I know.

          1. the Blog Tyrant December 1, 2010 at 11:49 pm

            Sometimes I think we just have to get out of our own way. If your readers are liking the logo then it might be hitting the mark?

          2. Rachelle December 2, 2010 at 12:23 am

            I hear you, and my readers go to my site to read my content because no one else will tell them what they need to know to succeed in this business.

            I have had 0 complaints about my non logo situation for months, lots of bloggers linking to me, I just got interviewed for the major financial newspaper on real estate. I get all my business from my blog.

            Maybe I should just get a grip :)

          3. lisa chiodo December 2, 2010 at 12:36 am

            Hi Rachelle,
            each time I click on your name to have a look at your site I get a warning box. Has anyone else had this?
            ciao lisa

          4. Rachelle December 2, 2010 at 1:09 am

            OK I have fixed it on this comment, no wonder people are reluctant to pick on me :)

            I wrote my website in as

            Come on over and pick on me, I don’t really have a phishing site

        2. lisa chiodo December 2, 2010 at 2:20 am

          hi Rachelle,

          a few things that stood out for me were:
          About Me page – Image not great (out of focus your little one here looks more professional)
          has a “personal blog” feel not a “professional” feel.
          If you use images make sure they are clear (certificate image very dark).
          all the best
          ciao Lisa

          1. Rachelle December 3, 2010 at 10:41 pm

            That image is unfortunately the best one I have, My friend is a professional photographer and he’ll be coming up to visit this April so I’ll have some good pics after that. I have shrunk the picture so it looks better.

      2. Dean Fitzpatrick December 2, 2010 at 4:24 am

        Well…thanks for taking it easy on me lol! As harsh as your criticism may be, I know there is a fair amount of validity to it; I’m having designer challenges of my own. I am definitely still getting familiar with WP, but I should not have let Dean’s post publish without the proper pic in place (don’t know why the one I have for him doesn’t show up- go figure. In any event, thanks for taking the time to check the blog out; it’s a work in progress, but a labor of love. I appreciate your candor; the first reaction is always the most genuine.

  • lisa chiodo December 2, 2010 at 12:27 am

    OK be gentle our site is a newbie, we are in action and have a web designer about to start “getting creative”. I would love some ideas … we still require a logo, and a clear direction. Our aim is to restore an Italian Village, thus Renovating Italy.

    PS Terrific idea Blog Tyrant and yes I would buy from you, I find the site has a simple understated yet clear authority, perfect!
    ciao for now


    1. Rachelle December 2, 2010 at 1:24 am

      I really like the design the blog posts are written in large enough letters to be very easy to read which is nice.

      If I were to do my logo/branding over I would spend much more time selecting the logo designer. I went with someone who was recommended by friends who had used him. I prepaid.

      The reason why I am upset and frustrated is because I feel like my designer should be providing the “creative” spark instead I am getting clip art. I know clip art because the last time when I worked on my company name/branding I saw it all. If I wanted clip art I could do it myself. I wanted someone to look at my site, my business and grok an image that would convey what I’m about.

      If I were to do it over, I would go on creative logo design sites and pick a designer from there.

    2. Dean Fitzpatrick December 2, 2010 at 4:54 am

      Hey Lisa:

      Just wanted to say thanks for taking me on the journey that is your blog. I like how you use images to drive the point home; the site wouldn’t be the same without it. About the only criticism I would have is that the home page could probably benefit from adding a color to contrast with all that white. Well done.

  • marzana December 2, 2010 at 3:56 am

    i’m a new blogger. have been for about 2 years. i would like to be judged by the blog tyrant community and find ways to improve my site.

    1. Dean Fitzpatrick December 2, 2010 at 4:45 am

      Asa, Marzana:

      There are a few things I think you have going for you on your site. I like your use of images, particularly with your son and the lentils: it gave me a feel for your homelife and established an instant connection. I also like how you have other posts recommended after your posts. The color is calming and inviting.

      Here are a few things I recommend you consider. First and foremost GET OFF OF BLOGGER!! Many of us, myself included, started out with blogspot blogs but after a while the training wheels need to come off. Consider getting a self hosted WordPress blog. Among other things, it sends a message that you are serious about blogging. Another thing I notice is that you have a conversational writing style, which is good, but at times it comes across as rambling (hope I’m not being too harsh with that one- I’m guilty of rambling quite often, this comment being exhibit A!). Last but not least: please, please, PLEASE get rid of the adsense! That is a major turnoff for me personally, as I find it distracting, out of place, and just annoying. Just my .02…I hope it helps.

      1. marzana December 3, 2010 at 2:17 am

        I took your advice of getting off of blogspot and try to do a self hosted wordpress blog. i started using bluehost but then canceled. i wish there was a simpler way of doing the hosted wordpress but am learning as i go along. i also got rid of adsense.

        one quick question: you said that i ramble (which im more than grateful for that comment) because i want to improve my writing but i dont know how. any suggestions on how to get to the point but make my posts a little bit lengthy? also how do i discover a niche? how do i blog better? how do i create pillar articles because i dont’ know where to start.

        any more suggestions is more than welcome.

        1. Dean Fitzpatrick December 3, 2010 at 5:44 am

          I don’t know if you’re familiar with the site or not, but that’s where I went to have someone put my blog together. It’s a site where people post what they’re willing to do for five dollars, and after hosting fees, premium theme and custom plugin installation, I paid about $50. I now go through hostgator and pay about $10/month for hosting.

          I’m sure there are more qualified people in this comment thread to answer your other questions, but I’ll give it my best shot. One quick suggestion on finding your voice and improving your writing is to start off by really knowing what you are trying to convey. Next, take that and condense it down to a sentence or two. Now take that message and make it your own. How would you say it if you were to holler off of a tall building in a way in which only you could? Remember, make it interesting: great writers take the ordinary and tell it in an extraordinary way. The reverse is true as well: to take something truly remarkable and tell it in a way that makes it seem routine is also the mark of a good writer. It takes time and I’m still working to develop it myself. To blog better, you just have to keep at it and you will improve over time. Connect yourself with bloggers you find interesting and your readership will grow organically. As far as finding a niche, it’s already in your life somewhere. Sometimes, it’s a matter of it finding you. What are you very famiilar with that others may not be privy to? You’ll be surprised. Look inward and the answers will all come. I hope this helps (see, I told you I ramble too :) ).

          1. marzana December 3, 2010 at 11:29 pm

            im missing something when i do the domain part bit. i set up a blog on wordpress but i’m still missing it. and im looking at and google-ing “self hosted version wordpress” i have no clue about c-panel either. where can i find more help or an easier solution to this?

          2. Dean Fitzpatrick December 7, 2010 at 4:42 am

            Please excuse the delayed response. For some reason, I can not reply to your last post, so I’m replying to my own. Are you going on or My knowledge on installation is limited since I outsourced that part of it. has been a great resource for me and there are a ton of blogs that give info on the technical aspects of blog maintanence. You may want to check out Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income blog ( He has a number of video tutorials on his site. Good luck!

  • Michal Pulda December 2, 2010 at 9:11 am


    first of all I have to mention the blog is not in English. It’s written in beautiful a language of Czechs, so… I don’t’ expect you to follow a lot :-)

    The blog is pretty new and has two or three points: forces me to understand things I write about and I like, should make people to talk/comment under posts (the name of the blog can be translated as “Let’s discuss it!”) and last but not least it should give me some credibility. The blog itself is (or rather will be) about innovative and forward looking small and middle sized businesses – posts are about usage of the long tail, word of mouth, generating referrals, creative problem solving, coexistence of real and e- markets…

    I’d like to have a judgment about couple of things including:
    * color scheme – is it appealing to the people I try to reach? I like it, but am not really sure about it.
    * logo
    * structure
    * any other thoughts?

    Thanks and please be critical a lot!

    1. Rachelle December 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm

      I like it. I like the color, it seems like a nice place to hang out… now all I need to do is learn to read czech

      1. Michal Pulda December 4, 2010 at 8:52 am


        Czech is pretty language, but not very useful (and damn hard). I know, however, one Canadian guy who recently retired and decided to live here in Prague and he’s actually studying Czech… Well, maybe one day :-D

        All in all, thanks a lot for your opinion! Really appreciated!

  • Kim December 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Huge thanks to the Blog Tyrant community for the excellent feedback and I am taking all suggestions and working them into my site.

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 3, 2010 at 2:37 am

      Amazing aren’t they?

      1. Kim December 3, 2010 at 9:27 am

        They are just incredible. It’s so refreshing to me to find a community that actually gives constructive comments and just not criticism. Makes me so glad to have found all of you.

        1. the Blog Tyrant December 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm

          And us you.

  • Rachelle December 4, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Hello all,

    I’ve got the new logo up, and the site redesign, can you pop over and check it out?

    1. Dean Fitzpatrick December 4, 2010 at 3:50 am

      It works…good color scheme, solid content, a noticeable improvement in terms of the new logo and site design. Nice…

      1. Rachelle December 4, 2010 at 3:59 am

        Thanks Dean,

        It’s been a struggle.

        I’ve noticed lately that I hardly ever visited my own site from the front side to check things out.

        Blog Tyrant really inspired me to pay more attention, and several comments from people who had a hard time getting in touch with me trying to hire me.

        1. Pete"BloggingGenius"Carr December 5, 2010 at 3:59 am

          Hi Rachelle,
          The Logo looks good. Just reading through your Blog, really good content there. Left you a comment to.

          1. Rachelle December 5, 2010 at 10:15 pm

            Hi Pete,

            Thanks for coming over :)

            I’m much happier with the site now although it still needs work. I did a few other things that needed doing because they weren’t working properly.

            The guy who helped me with the wordpress stuff I didn’t know how to do was awesome. He was fast and inexpensive. I was impressed and will be hiring him again to do other work.

  • Teresa December 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I just started a new website for beginner writers, so I am waiting to build that trust. Sounds like I can look trustworthy right from the get-go.

    Really interested in reading your e-book to help me out.

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm

      Hope it helps Teresa.

  • lisa chiodo December 8, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Hi all,

    just notified of a comment from Sharon re Thesis (I don’t seem to have this on my site?? Can anyone tell me how to make my “Blog” page the home page?? Also ideas on how to monetize my blog… thanks and have been enjoying the feedback and learning lots
    ciao for now

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 8, 2010 at 4:01 am

      Hi Lisa.

      GO to Settings, Reading, Blog Posts.

      1. lisa chiodo December 8, 2010 at 7:16 am

        Well that was easy!! Do you know how long I’ve been trying to work that one out?? thanks again…taking action!

  • lisa chiodo December 8, 2010 at 3:24 am

    PS how do I change my “angry little avatar” to a pic of my gorgeous self???

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 8, 2010 at 4:01 am

      Just head over to and sign up for an account. Then your picture will appear on every blog you use that email address for.

    2. lisa chiodo December 8, 2010 at 7:12 am

      Well thank you so much I am no longer the angry little avatar!!! Thank you also for the community you have created, I am totally enrolled in everyone’s blog creation…very cool!!
      ciao for now

  • Gamelicker December 12, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Thank you for this excellent and true post. I would like to ask your community for checking out my arcade game website and give me their frank opinions about it. What should we change on the website to attract more returning visitors? What is the first impression our site generates? I will be happy for any feedback and I think I can handle the criticism and all kinds of feedback.

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