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Blog Reviews by blogreview.wordpress.com

Collin of Blog Review on WordPress.com is making an offer you might not want to refuse. He is offering to review your blog. Here is his explanation:

What qualifies me to review your blog? I can read. I enjoying reading other people’s blogs. I read many many blogs every day…I am “the intended audience”. You put it on the ‘net for people to read. Let me read it and give you my opinion.

Collin offers to examine the layout, web page design (WordPress Theme), structure, and design details, but his main focus is on the content. Be warned, he has a few things that will get you a bad review:

Three things I can’t stand:

1. Laziness of the use of spelling and grammar. The inability to spell I can almost deal with. There are enough spell checkers and online dictionaries that it shouldn’t happen, but I can cope. What I really hate is text speak. It is the work of the devil. Or the 14 year old English teenager. I don’t even “text” in txt spk and there’s certainly no need for it on a blog or website.

2. Autoplay music. If you have it you’re gonna get whacked for it.

3. See 1. I hate text speak that much!

Collin is reviewing WordPress.com blogs to start, though he is probably open to other blogs. The interesting part of reviewing a WordPress.com blog is that once you have reviewed the WordPress Themes for looks and layout, you’ve reviewed them all. There are only so many, so after you’ve poked the Themes, what’s left over?

Content.

That’s right. Content. The stuff between the pretty. The reason people “read” your blog. The reason you work so hard on your blog. To share content.

If you want your WordPress Theme reviewed, then post a note on the WordPress Support Forum Your WordPress – Theme Reviews. They will rip and tear your WordPress Theme apart, but ignore content for the most part. For the specifics on what they will review (or not), see WordPress Codex – WordPress Site Reviews.

If you want your content reviewed, a serious look at what you write, how you write, and if you are making your point when you write, then submit your blog for review to Collin at Blog Review and when it’s your turn, you will get your content, and blog, reviewed.

To give you a head’s up, here are a few redundant things he has said so far in his blog reviews you need to know about so you can clean up your act before he reviews your blog:

For the second time in two posts I’m going to start with a question. Who are you? In Mirkwood’s review I linked to Lorelle’s post called Who The Hell Are You. Please go have a read and see if it makes sense. All the reader really knows about you before they dive in (maybe) to your posts is your name.

If you do create an About page, please consider putting a note in with what your blog is about. I know, this sounds strange, but right now I can’t figure out the main focus of your blog. I can see personal, political, religious, patriotic and current affairs posts. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all, and I can certainly see that you’re getting a good few hits, I just can’t figure out the main focus of the blog.

And when it comes to posting style, Collin holds back nothing:

The posts themselves can be a little confusing. It took me a few minutes (yep, minutes – not seconds) to figure your writing style to understand the context of some of the posts. That said, there’s nothing wrong with the style. It’s to the point, delivers the facts and does its job. But that’s about all it does. I would like to hear YOUR opinion on a story that you’re covering.

I’m very excited about his reviews and I look forward to watching the interaction as people begin to concentrate on the content and not just the pretty. Pretty is fine, but the content carries a blog without a doubt. Keep up the great work, Collin!

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

5 Comments

  1. Posted June 4, 2006 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    How exactly is this guy qualified to ‘review’ my blog? He reads blogs. So what? I read blogs too, but don’t deem myself qualified to criticise design choices and writing style. That’s down to the designers and writers. You could probably argue that the critique comes from a personal point of view, and not a professional one, but that’s still very subjective (and not objective), and not definite – one man’s crap is another’s beauty.

    And I think tearing someone’s blog apart without request is somewhat uncalled for. “Leen” didn’t ask to have her blog reviewed, and what’s more, it’s obviously the blog of a young person who’s blogging just for the hell of it. Not someone who’d benefit from a review or tips on how to improve, really. What place does the opinion of an older, much more mature person have here? He seems to have given the same treatment to “Jay”. If you ask for it, fair enough, but I don’t think it’s fair to “review” someone’s blog publicly without permission if you’re just going to tear it to pieces. Most bloggers get into it with a very low confidence level, and a bad “review” is just going to deplete their confidence even more.

    It’s a nice idea, I guess. Everyone wants to improve, and tips are always welcomed. But this guy shouldn’t be handing them out to anyone he wants, he should limit them to people who actually ask for it.

    Pardon the long comment.

  2. Posted June 4, 2006 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Freedom of speech allows us to say what we will about whatever we want, with few qualifications. A review is an opinion, based upon whatever criteria or expertise the reviewer has. And if you disagree with a review, then have a go at the reviewer.

    As for qualifications, what really makes someone qualified to review? Collin explains his qualifications more so than most reviewers. We read a lot of reviews on books, movies, and television shows from reviewers who have no more qualification to review than watching movies and television and reading books. Did they go to a review school?

    Because of the narrow focus reviewing WordPress Themes on the WordPress Support Forum, I wrote WordPress Site Reviews to create a format and structure for such reviews, as well as a guide to help the reviewer and reviewee understand what will be reviewed and what won’t. We felt this was important because a WordPress Theme is about the design, and not about the content, though the content should “match” the design, it doesn’t have to. We wanted to avoid debates about content and stick to issues directly related to WordPress site development and design.

    Does that mean that the volunteers who review WordPress Themes are expert reviewers? No. It does mean that they agree to work within the Forum’s guidelines and that they have some experience (and opinion) on web page design and WordPress fundamentals. On that, they can have all the opinions they want.

  3. Collin
    Posted June 4, 2006 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle and Rich

    Lorelle: Many thanks for the shout, I hope that I can do justice and maintain a high standard that will help other bloggers.

    Rich: I quite understand what you are saying. I have no formal qualifications whatsoever. Yes, my opinion may be subjective rather than objective and yes, I did “attack” Leen and Jay without their knowledge or permission. I will not apologise for those and I stand behind what I have said.

    I have spent much time reading about being a blogger, how to blog, how not to blog. I have also read many of the “review” sites on the net. What do I not want to achieve. Have a look at italk2much.com (purposely not linked). Yes, what they write is humorous, but not (I believe) what the blogger is really looking for in a review.

    As for the review on Jay’s blog, yes it was bad, but if you’re gonna put yourself up on the ‘net for all to see then at some point someone’s gonna comment on what you’ve said.

    As I have said on my blog, what I would like (and am trying) to offer is a review service that will help a blogger improve their writing. If you read the review (requested) on Shirley’s blog, I didn’t attack at all. For the most part there’s no need. Many bloggers (as Shirley admitted) do not know how to blog properly (look at the pasting an HTML table rather than using blockquotes) and I would like to help them make their blog more accessible for more readers.

    Yes, I will always have opponents. People that will flame me for a bad review (whether requested or not) and I am quite prepared for that.

    Now, to ask you a question. You set up a “new” review service. How do you get your first couple of reviews before people start hearing about your service? Leave a comment? “Hello, I’d like to review your blog please.” That’s called spamming isn’t it?

    Ho hum, the damage for Jay (who responded in the positive) and Leen (who hasn’t responded) is done and there’s nothing I can do about it.

    If you disagree with something I say in a review then I would welcome your opinion on that person’s blog too, or at least a reasonable comment on why you disagree. That way we can ALL learn to be better bloggers. No?

    Thanks again Lorelle, I hope you don’t mind me linking to your content every so often!

    Collin

  4. Posted June 4, 2006 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m excited about what Collin has to offer, especially as he is taking requests. And as for his qualifications, I think he’s identified them exactly: he’s a reader, the intended audience. The value of these qualifications should not be underestimated. In my non-blogging life, I teach college composition, and attentive readers who will give feedback and review can be hard to come by–but exactly what all writers need. As I understand it, Collin is not claiming to be an expert in grammar, specific content, or anything else–he’s claiming to be an attentive, interested reader, and that’s what I want. I’m planning to request a review from him. I may not agree with all he has to say, but I’ll certainly give it thought, and his review will help me to see my blog in a different way. I say “kudos!” to Collin for making the offer and “thanks!” to Lorelle for passing it on to her readers.

  5. Posted June 5, 2006 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Brrrrr…..
    Sounds so tempting, and at the same time scary.
    There are a few things in my blog that I think could be turn offs, and I have my own list of bugs I want to fix.
    However, what interests me is that he is indeed that “stranger” we all hope will find our blog one day, like it, and become a recurring reader.

    My very young blog is currently read by only a few friends and family. I’m still struggling with the focus of content, and today it occilates between professional and personal, leaning more towards personal. It is possible that despite all objective feedback, Collin may not be my blog’s natural audience. However, the idea of getting some objective feedback from a stranger sounds so tempting. I just have to get over my fear of getting an awful public review.


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