Reviewing other bloggers rather than products and services, without duplicating previous content, and still providing a useful service is actually quite a challenge. This is especially true when you are trying to maintain a claim that all links are editorial, and writing more than brief 100 word promos. I like to offer more than “buzz”.
Fortunately Alvin Phang has a wealth of unique ideas on his blog, that I found extremely interesting, and although he is the author of a new blogging ebook for beginners, I can even offer a few tips he might have overlooked in his busy schedule (he has just come back from a seminar in Bangkok)
I have also proposed something different to Alvin for this paid review – Alvin mentioned a few things I might find interesting, and I decided that I will split the review into 3 parts.
- Blog & Content Review – that is what this post will be covering – I will highlight a lot of his unique content and one or two minor improvements.
- Ebook Review – I am an affiliate, and at first look I didn’t see anything within Alvin’s new ebook that I strongly disagree with – that is actually rare for many blogging ebooks, so I am going to write a separate review, and include affiliate links (the link above however isn’t an affiliate link, and was purely editorial if you want to take a look)
- Private consultation – there are a few tips that I don’t want to broadcast publicly, because if too many people know about them, they become less useful. In this case they are specific to some of the things he is doing.
The Gather Success Review
I like the design, the subscription options are very prominent in the header though slightly more subtle than my own. His feeds are all redirected to Feedburner using the Feedsmith plugin, though there is one problem, the “RSS Logo” and “Feedburner Logo” are not hyper-linked to his RSS feed. This means that RSS users would only be able to add him to their RSS reader using auto-discovery in their browsers. This might be something Alvin just overlooked, or a deliberate attempt to gather more email subscribers rather than RSS.
For monetization Alvin is using a number of subscription based affiliate programs which provide him with recurring income, and offers a useful free ebook as an incentive for email subscribers. He is also offers Sponsored Reviews, though I couldn’t see any conversions.
Alvin is a fan of MyBlogLog, and 2000 Bloggers. That is clearly evident from one of his viral projects, 2000 MyBlogLogs.
I am going to paste the widget code at the bottom of this review though I am going to use a “more” tag so it doesn’t slow down my front page from loading (it is heavy enough already)
Anyone can join in, they just have to visit Alvin’s site and leave a comment in the 2000 MyBlogLoggers thread.
He provides video instruction on how to set up the code to display in a page which is typical for the whole blog, he uses video extensively to express his ideas, provide tutorials, and conduct interviews with top internet marketers.
Ask Campaign Takes a Leap
This is the first time I have seen this idea, though maybe others have done this before.
One of the best strategies for product creation is to ask potential customers a series of questions and then use that for either blogging ideas, or for a paid product.
The concept and even a useful service was widely promoted by Alex Mandossian with his Ask Database.
It is also similar to techniques used in the Project Launch Formula, because he has created a blog post that over time will gather 100s of comments with people sharing that they are having the same, or similar problems online.
If Alvin eventually launches a product that solves all these problems, those customers are going to be warmer.
However Alvin has taken this to another level,
the World’s First Paid Per Comment
Rather than what is typical of an Ask campaign, offering an incentive for filling out a questionnaire, or a teleconference actually addressing the problems, Alvin is paying cash.
It is a smart idea that might need a little refining. I think it needs a random element, rather than declaring which comment number is going to win the prize, and also some prizes for best comment as voted for using a voting or rating plugin.
I am actually amazed at the quality of the comments so far, and it is clear that this technique could be used by others to great effect.
I mentioned that Alvin is using a lot of video on his site, and no exception are his monthly traffic data reports. He goes through how much traffic he has been generating to his blog, and what techniques he has been using.
He uses a lot of video for this, but as the following video shows, he is well aware that this type of video isn’t going to get him a lot of traffic.
Embedded Video – you may have to click through to watch
Well worth watching the video, Alvin goes through the kind of videos that are successful on YouTube, and points out how little traffic most marketing related videos actually receive, even if they are pushed by someone with a reasonably sized email list.
- When Alvin has tags in his content, he should really point them to his own tag pages, and not to Technorati.
- There are a lot of links to external sites in his sidebar, especially things like affiliate links that should be nofollowed. He uses lots of internal linking on every page which helps to counteract this, but why throw Google Juice away?
- I would like to see related posts as I find it useful when browsing a site, and it is good for SEO
- I would be tempted to turn off the MyBlogLog display of how many clicks an advert has received. You don’t want me to know your best performing adverts
- Add some tracking of your own for affiliate links – I use Adtrackz, but there are plenty of other scripts available which do similar things.
Alvin has been quite busy recently, with both a product launch and a lot of travelling, so a lot of things sometimes get overlooked.
I spent a fair amount of time reading Alvin’s blog, and I am now a subscriber. He is working really hard to develop unique content and I am sure most bloggers and marketers will pick up some useful ideas, not only from the content Alvin creates, but also in how he is doing things in a much more organised manner than many blogs in the same niche.
A review of Atomic Blogging to follow, and Alvin should have an email from me soon with some more private tips.
The 2000 MyBlogLoggers widget code follows