I live in Kansas City, visited Chicago a while back, and find the city fascinating. I liked reading a few of your posts, because it gave me an insight into everyday Chicago life.
I obviously can’t identify with the rants, but maybe “wannabe Chicagoans” is a niche demographic you could target? Either way, I’m subscribing to your RSS feed.
As far as design, overall it’s good, and I like your header image. But why do the Google Custom Search widget and sidebar ads have black backgrounds? They’d mesh better with the site if they were grey.
Also, you may want to use the header tag a little less. It’s best to have a few paragraphs between each, and not have one directly after the title – this allows readers to more easily scan the post, making them likely to read more posts before leaving the site.
So, I’d say it looks pretty good overall. The #1 piece of advice I can give you is to keep writing.
Wow Odai, thanks so much for the review. Probably the best one I’ve had and I truly appreciate it! The ads are black because I recently switched to the “grey theme” rather than “dark” and forgot to switch it.
By switching to a lighter theme I actually almost doubled the time of my visitor duration. I think the reason behind it is that the text is a bit easier to read and looks cleaner now.
Also, great tip on the header tags, it looks smaller when its in a draft.
Glad you enjoyed it!
No problem! I definitely agree about a lighter theme – websites with a lot of text should really only use dark text on a light background.
Love the header!
Who is your targeted group?
I would categories things so that it is easier to find for new visitors.
-what to do in Chicago
-places to visit
Another thing I was thinking about was restaurant reviews, not sure if you have any but you can review the restaurant and get them to advertise with you… or at least get a free meal:)
You can do that with other businesses as well in the city.
Lots of good content,
Branching out is something to consider, but another thing to consider is competition (Google Trends is good for seeing how much people search for certain things).
“Chicago restaurant reviews” is undoubtedly more popular than “Chicago rants”, so there’s more potential traffic. But he’ll also be competing against major news websites, whereas chicagorants.com may be the only website of it’s kind.
Vicky, you actually addressed this idea fairly well in this thread 🙂
A hybrid approach to consider – branch out into reviews music, restaurants, and so on, but do so by applying your unique writing style (your “rants”). This gives people a reason to choose your review over a major website – a humorous, unique voice.
Thanks for the kind words Vicky! I love the idea about the restaurants. Once I build a more solid readership advertising and sponsored posts is something I’m considering, but I only get about 150-200 uniques a day (i used to get up to 700) but I’m on my way back up!
And Odai, I dig the hybrid approach thats the direction I am looking to take my blog, but easier said than done! In the next few weeks I’ll be setting up interviews with local bands, restaurant owners, etc. and throw my own spin on the mix in the form of satire or rant or something of the sort to have something different out there!
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