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Round 8 update

Written by Tyme White on November 17, 2008

Just a quick update on my progress. I’ve gone through the list once. What I normally do is wait a couple of days to a week (or so) then go through the list again. Usually the sites that weren’t working during the first pass (or have broken feeds, etc.) are working the second time around. I do this to try to block out what I saw the first time and have a fresh perspective the second time. Going through so many sites at once can be draining.

I know you guys are anxious but look at it from this perspective. From the amount of sites we receive each round in submissions if I went through them as quickly as many would like it would mean I spent seconds on each site.

You don’t want that.

When I go through a site I browse it just like a reader would. I read a random selection of your articles then I take notes on my experience on the site. I use those notes to give feedback later. It takes time to read the sites that were submitted. This is why we don’t have a cookie-cutter rule book on what articles “should” have because each site is different and the author(s) are unique. What works on one site can bomb terribly on another.

I’m not prepared to give an exact date on when the results will be posted but I will keep you guys update. In the meanwhile, next week is Thanksgiving. If you are indulging, have a wonderful holiday and enjoy the time with family, friends and loved ones.

If you have any questions…you know what to do. Yes, that’s right – don’t throw them out on Twitter and pray I see it. Write a comment or send me an email where you KNOW I’ll see it. You guys are so smart!!!!

Round 8 Is Closed

Written by Scrivs on November 5, 2008

Thanks to the 90 million people who submitted. It took us a while to write down all the information on index cards, but we were able to do it. I am proud of us. More so I am proud of myself because I only suffered five paper cuts through the process. Thank you for everyone that submitted.

I don’t have an exact date as for when the acceptance list will be posted, but it will be done much quicker than usual. The last submission round of 2008 is complete!

Round 8 Is Open

Written by Scrivs on November 4, 2008

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Reminder: Round 8 starts tonight and a site tip

Written by Tyme White on November 4, 2008

Round 8 opens tonight at midnight. It ends on the 5th at 11:59 PM EST. Feel free to browse the tips written in the past for ideas on how to improve your site. Continuing the tradition – a tip before the round opens.

One of the things that is very clear interacting with people about their blogs is how rare it is for bloggers to have neutral feedback on their site. From people who are strangers, with nothing to gain from being honest about your site. For example, a friend or family member might not give you the real deal about what they are thinking because he/she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. But there is another reason for doing this. Having someone you don’t know browse your site and give feedback will give you a different perspective on your site.

When I want an objective opinion I go to the library (or another public place I can whip out a laptop) and ask people to surf the site. I pay close attention to the expression on their face and which pages they go to first. How far do they scroll down the page? Does anything catch their attention? Their expressions can be priceless at times – giving away what they “really” thought. They liked the site and hated the color combinations on the site. They liked the design but the content didn’t interest them. I usually ask at least five people. This isn’t a lot of people, obviously, but it is enough to spot design problems when they all have similar reactions.

Remember that everyone won’t see your site as you see it.

I look forward to reviewing your site Round 8. If you have any questions, let me know.

Update: I have responded to everyone that emailed me about site feedback. As of 5:00pm EST I’m not accepting any others because I cannot respond in time before the round opens up.

Round 7: Site Feedback

Written by Tyme White on November 3, 2008

Reviewing the feedback via emails and comments most people preferred private feedback but did not necessarily have access to an instant messaging service today. Let’s try this instead:

1. Send your feedback requests via email (9rulesTyme@gmail.com) for sites that were rejected Round 7 today until 6pm EST. I will be checking to see if the site is on the submission list.

2. I will do my best to respond prior to the when Round 8 opens up (November 5th). I will be answering them in the order received.

3. Requests received after 6pm EST today are going in the “respond when you get a chance” folder.

Some common reasons as to why a site was not accepted:

  • The site has less than 6 months of consistent posting.
  • We do not accept Blogger/Blogspot sites that have the navigation banner at the top. Those “next” links can lead to anything. We do have members that have Blogger/Blogspot sites WITHOUT the banner.
  • Lack of consistent quality/entries lack depth. Many times bloggers slip into the habit of publishing “something” and will post quick entries that lack depth. For example, a review that says a game plays well with a good recommendation. Be more thorough. What are the system specs it was played on? How were the graphics? Installation? What did you like, didn’t like, could be improved, what should have been left out?
  • Exception: some sites are meant to be “quick” for people on the go. However, quick does not mean lack of depth. If the reader does not receive the information they want the “quick” entry will prompt the reader to look elsewhere.

    An example from a personal blog: “I went to the store, then work, had a boring day. What will I eat tonight?” That’s a set of Twitter entries. Our Personal community is about a person’s life. You went on a date, what happened? You have a problem – discuss the points. Share the funny thing your children/spouse did when you got home. Something the reader can take interest in. The goal is for the reader to get to know the writer, not their schedule.

  • No dates listed on the article. Our readers use dates as a indicator to how deep they’ve navigated in your site. If they are reading an article from 3 months ago perhaps he/she might want to look for a more current article on the topic.
  • No PubDate in an RSS feed – we need that to grab your updates.
  • Lack of proper navigation. Archives, categories, tags, etc. It’s great to have a blog with lovely content but what good is it if the reader can’t easily locate what he/she is looking for?
  • No brain dumps. This relates back to the personal blog example above where a writer drops a bunch of stuff into an entry. We’re looking for conscious, purposeful, focused entries.

If you take an objective look at your site and your site falls into one of those categories, that’s most likely why your site was not accepted. Some of these are quick and easy fixes (Dates, navigation, removing the Blogger banner and if the blog did not have 6 months of consistent posting last round it might be fine now). #3 and #7 are bigger fixes and depends on the direction you want to take your site. If you are pleased with your site as is, end the end, that is all that matters. :)

For more pointers for blog improvement tips you can view the archive of previous articles. Don’t forget to put your blog name and URL when you email!

Update: I’ve responded to every one. If you did not receive a response, let me know.