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I will be doing a thorough review as always, based on my impressions, issues I see and ideas for improvements.
Karen has also asked about SEO and ideas for traffic generation, which is 10 blog posts in itself, but I will touch on that at the end of the post to give her something to work with.
When I opened the website Kip Kitchen I was pleasantly surprised to find a website that is:
There was also not the usual clutter I see on many websites, and no advertising ruining the harmony of the site. So a great start!
The fact that this is your first attempt at a website shows you have an eye for it and have done your homework!
As I mentioned above, the layout is great. It’s easy to find what you are looking for, and easy to see and read the posts.
But in the section I just want to touch on some minor improvements you could make.
Tip: If you want a general idea of things to look at, you can read my previous post on blog design where I give lots of other tips
Your recent blog posts on the home page are quite large (take a lot of space), so very little is visible above the fold.
One suggestion to improve this is to reduce the amount of text preview shown in each blog post on the home page, and show more posts as a result.
Alternatively, you could go for an image slider above the blog list. Although I am normally not a huge fan of this, it can work for very visual sites like yours.
Here is an example from a competitor of yours She’s Got Flavour, she has the image slider (cream puffs image) followed by a list of blog posts taking less space.
The blog posts on this site have less text, a small thumbnail on the left, and a smaller font size for the title.
Of course your version is perhaps more compelling as the images are larger.
There is no clear winner, but something to think about.
I noticed on one of your pages that your bold is not displaying correctly (ie. not dark). I suspect the italics are also broken.
Upon investigation I found that you are using a Google Font but have not imported the bold or italic version of this font into your website.
The result is that when you use bold or italic text in your pages or post, it will not look correct.
This is easy to fix for a developer. You need to import all three font variants from Google Fonts into your site.
This is the code you need (hopefully someone can fix it for you):
<link href='http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Arimo:400,700,400italic' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>
It is good to see you have a contact page, it is important that people can get in touch with you easily.
But, I would restyle the contact form and remove the gray border from the table surrounding the form fields. It crowds the page.
Your About Page is quite good, but I do not see anything about YOU.
Often what separates us from our competitors is our personality. So tell us more about yourself.
I would add some of the following to personalise it some more:
You can also add similar info (including a photo) on the sidebar to give people a good first impression of you, when they first land on the site.
You have some great blog content that is very well layed out, with nice visuals and a clear flow.
I also noticed that you are using the recipe rich snippets which can result in your pages ranking better and appearing in Google like this:
Just ensure that this is used on every page. I found it is a great summary of the recipe and Google loves it too. Win-win!
Your posts are great, but things can get a little dull if you keep posting all the same types of posts.
Here are a few suggestions for improving your content and changing it up a bit:
Here is a great article from Hubspot on how to great endless content for your blog. You could also just Google “blog post ideas” and you will find lots of other tips.
You want to keep your readers on your site as long as possible, and some of the best ways to do this is to keep them reading other content.
So you need to make it easy for them to find it:
** You already have a related posts at the bottom of each post! Great stuff.
Here are some more ideas on reducing bounce rate on your site.
You have fundamentally done a great job with your use of the Hello Bar (at the top) and a subcription/optin form on the side bar at the top.
You also only ask for an email, so that keeps it simple for the reader (less fields is great) and your call to action buttons are a contrasting color – perfect!
Nothing is perfect of course, and you could improve with the following:
You will get more subscribers with these small changes.
Tip: If you are only using the free MailChimp account, you can deliver the free pdf in your thank you mail. Add a link to an uploaded pdf on your site
This is an important issue for any site because it affects your readers and the way Google ranks your site. Load speed is super important.
Overall your site is in good shape. It is lightweight (ie. no crazy big images), and I see use of minification on your scripts so perhaps you are using some form of WordPress caching? And if you are not, then i recommend installing Super Cache or more complex W3 Super Cache.
When I tested it, your load time is just shy of 3 seconds, which is a little bit slow, although not as bad as some.
I see that your mail chimp signup form is causing a 0.75 second delay. Perhaps you could replace this with an integrated signup connecting to Mailchmip but not using their form (if this is what you are doing). I can give you some advice on this if you write to me.
Also something from Sumome.com is also loading a little slow, so seriously consider if you need it.
For the rest, it looks good.
This topic is huge, so I am just going to give you some quick tips with references and you can always ask me questions by email if you like.
I had a quick look at a couple of your post topics and analyzed the competition for the keywords.
Conclusion: it is a tough niche!
One thing you really have to take advantage of is long tail keywords (ie. 3 or more word phrases that people search for).
Take a look at my post on how to use Google Keyword Planner to find ideas.
You can use more than one of these phrases in your post. Make sure some are in headings, the URL, bold, italic etc.
Don’t go crazy and stuff your post with them, Google hates this. But make sure they are in there at least 2-3 times.
If you really want to find out what it takes to get on page one of Google, I whole-heartedly recommend Market Samurai (I am an affiliate).
This tool shows you what the competition is on page one of Google (which is where you want to be) and why someone ranks there.
You can read my post on that too, if you want to take it to the next level. Fortunately this tool has a one time cost only. Rare in the SEO industry.
Tip: Don’t forget although it is hard to get links to your site, you can link to your own posts from within. It is a must!
Getting ranked on Google is hard. But there are a few things you can do to help:
Karen your blog is off to a great start. To get a jump on the competition you have to strive for perfection!
The things you need to do to improve your site are actually quite small. And hopefully you can knock those nails on the head easily.
The SEO challenge is a longer road, and certainly takes a while to achieve. But if you do some research before you write a post it will certainly help.
All the best with the blog!
Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).