A great blogger's resource is problogger.net who are running a group writing project - "What I'd do differently if I started my blog again." I am writing this post in response - but I am opening it up to you as well - send your comments and add to the discussion please. If you have a blog or other web resource I would be happy to link to it as well as thanks for your efforts. Let's title it - fix this blog! Be critical please - but kind, I don't have as thick a skin as I should.
So - to Fix this Blog here are the Top Six things I would do differently:
1. The blog URL is dumb - I originally planned on just doing something simple to see what blogs are all about. What could be more simple than a "daily erg workout?" The problem is twofold - who wants to erg when its 90 degrees out, and frankly - daily workouts are boring to produce (and read). I would have started out with "RowingScience.com." I do own the domain now, and it does point to this blog (try it!) but it only redirects to the original URL so there is no help with search engines and it screws up the stats I get - you wold all look like you came from RowingScience.com rather than where you actually were before coming to this site.
Does anyone have an easy solution? I can't afford to host it myself right now. All the pages have already been indexed on the original URL and that is what people have already bookmarked!
2. I would have started offline - or at least not publicized it. That would avoid a few issues - one, I could have let it evolove to what it has become and then two, I could start with a bunch of content already written with a better URL!
3. I'd use a three column template - still working on it, but I don't like how some things in the sidebar are pushed so far down and I really don't have the time to fiddle with the template too much.
4. I'd have found a way to get more feedback from users - so far it is limited and I know it can help improve what I'm doing! What topics are most read? I tried a few five star ratings, but nobdy used them. I'd have a form to send in ideas or requests for topics perhaps?
5. I'd have categories for posts that would be easily accessible - want to see everything on biomechanics? click here! That sort of thing. I can still do it - there's time.
6. I'm not sure I would call it a blog! I think I'd call it a site! Why? So far no luck getting the biggest resouorce on the net to link to us - because Row2K has a "no links to blogs" policy. I think this is more than a rant about my team or my life - I get their policy - but I wish it were different, because they could increrase readership with just one link!
Those are the biggest things that come to mind right now. It isn't perfect, but it is evolving and I think I like where it is going. I like the incremental changes and the growing readership. And I appreciate the feedback from those who have given it.
Do you have things to add to the list? Add comments - please!