Tell Me the Truth: What Would You Do to Clever Marketer?

Business Blog Critique Clever Marketer ImageI have found that some of the most valuable help in growing my business is when I’ve received feedback from others. It is always a little tough to hear what I’m not doing well, but nothing moves me farther ahead, faster than an honest critique from my mentors and coaches.

I don’t know how many of you know this, but my degree is in fine art and what I loved most about my experiences in getting my degree was the critiques on my work. I always was surprised by what people said and saw, and it gave me clarity and perspective in ways that I never would have been able to see through my eyes alone.

While I’ll never lie and say I was excited to walk into a critique. The butterflies were always there, and there were times I fought back tears because the truth hurt, but in every case I can remember, I learned so much more through the critique than the assignment itself.

My Past 3 Blog Critique Experiences:

I’ve had three amazing opportunities to get feedback from experts on my blog. My first instance was when I was invited to participate in a critique by Ty Tribble and Ann Sieg in the bonus webinar for their training MLM Blog Code.

I will never forget the nervous feeling I had, sitting in The Loon Saloon, a bar/general store/bait shop/pizza joint in Northern Wisconsin last July, which was the only place I could get an internet signal in the north woods, drinking a coke, too nauseous to eat. I had my headphones on, so I could hear over the music as I watched as these two MLM leaders and internet marketing experts critiqued my brand new blog and told me what I might change in order to get better results.

Then a few months later I had the awesome privilege of being Ana Hoffman’s first Traffic Generation Cafe Blog Audit, (more like a massacre) where she dug deep into Clever Marketer and gave me feedback on what was working what wasn’t. What I needed to work on, what I was doing well.

And once again, as part of our EIF Blog Marketing Tribe on facebook, the awesome Devesh Sharma who is the mastermind behind Blokube and TechNShare who also gave me some very helpful tips and suggestions to help me make my blog better.

Critique Me: What would you do to Clever Marketer?

My little blog has gone through a lot of changes in the last couple of months and I want to know what is working for you and what isn’t.

So, I’m asking YOU to look at Clever Marketer with a critical eye and tell me what you would change. I don’t care if you’re an expert or a brand new business blogger, your opinion is important to me!

Some of you are SEO gurus (I’m not), some of you have an amazing design eye (I’m so-so here), and others of you may be needing or wanting something that I’m not delivering.  And who ever you are and wherever you are on your business journey, I value your opinion.

Design: What things you would change or like to see in the future?

Content: What types of content and/or topics would you like to see more of in the future?  What do you see as my strengths and/or are there topics you think I should avoid.

Navigation: How could I make clever marketer easier for you to use?

SEO: Hey experts…have at it!  Tell me what to do!

Mentoring-Coaching-Products: What kind of support/resources do you need, what would you pay for, what price point would be comfortable for your budget?

So please let me have it!  Tell me the truth, I can handle it and please share this is social media so I can get the feedback of others as well!

Don’t go soft on me now, please! 🙂


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  1. Hey Heather,

    There’s very little I’d recommend changing. In fact I love your new header 🙂

    I think you’re amazing and are destined to do great things.

    But if I had to make a suggestion it would be to make your videos just a tad shorter.

    Don’t get me wrong, your videos are very good but sometimes if they’re too long, you lose people.

    I personally listen to your videos from beginning to end but I remember thinking on a couple of them that others might not be sticking around for the whole thing.

    Of course I want you to take that with a grain of salt, after all I’m giving advice to YOU, someone who actually makes videos, unlike me 😉

    Overall Heather, you get an A+++!

    • Heather Stephens says:

      I agree with you, Liz. I think breaking my videos down into shorter segments would be better. 🙂 They say 3-5 minutes is best.

      Thanks for your feedback! I really appreciate it!

      I don’t think I’ve seen you in the blog marketing forum yet. I hope you’ll join us!


  2. Heather, great minds think alike :).

    I love your recent changes. I love the colors, the matching design in the sidebar for posts and pages (so awesome), and the category and archives drop downs (it takes up too much space when they’re listed). Your site is clean and clear with great things to offer content-wise.

    I would move the social media icons and search box from the top of your site to your footer in order to bump your free offer up a bit (it’s quite a bit below the fold). The calendar in the footer could go (not really necessary) to make room for those things. I can see if your social media icons are a priority, that they would need to be at the top, but you have FB and Twitter links at the top of each post . . . just depends on your purpose and priority. Moving them would also put more emphasis on the free offer as your number one desired action. I prefer larger text and shorter posts. And the load time is slow. I’d check into what you could do to improve that. Also, you have a great Alexa rank but a 0 page rank. I wonder if you could get some really high quality backlinks (e.g. directories?)?

    I love your site overall, Heather. You’re doing a wonderful job!

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Leanne,

      I added the calendar for me, to keep track of when I was posting for the Prove it Challenge, but I definitely don’t think it’s necessary. To be honest, the social media icons at the top are so people can connect with me in social media, not to tweet or share.

      The blog theme doesn’t have the function to adjust where the search and social media icons are, but I can ask my favorite wordpress guy to look into that. On the home page the opt in image is above the fold, but it’s not on the actual posts and pages. I’m not sure why…but I’ll ask!

      I’m curious if the speed is due to adding the forum and membership site to the blog. I have noticed it being a little slower as well. I’ll have to look into it.

      And as far as the page rank, I think that’s a major complaint among many a blogger right now. Google isn’t updating that very often, and even some of the most popular blogs I visit, like Ana Hoffman’s Traffic Generation Cafe, aren’t getting page rank even though their alexa rank is just over 12K!

      From what I’ve learned the SEOmoz score is a good indicator and yes, I do need to focus on building more back links. I’ve been working on that just since February or so, but it’s definitely a work in progress and something I need to focus more on. 🙂

      Thanks for your awesome feedback! I so appreciate it!


  3. Well Heather, frankly I believe you graduate with honors. The only tiny tweek I would make would be to perhaps move your photo and signature up a tad higher, on my screen it seems the bottom of your signature is cut off and blends into the lighter background. With this said, it might be my settings…. not sure.

    If I were you I would probably splash some Pink or Plum all through it too… (that was a joke)

    Heather, you blow me away. I think you’ve done a great job. I am no SEO Expert so I can’t suggest anything there.

    I love you just the way you are!


    • Heather Stephens says:

      I LOVE the plum idea, Jayne, and after Ana’s comment I’m thinking that it might be a great addition to break up the monotone look! 🙂 Thanks for planting the seed. I’ll fiddle with the header. I’m thinking that maybe there is a way to make the black part of the header skinnier so that it moves everything up a bit.

      I appreciate your comment, compliment, and that you love me as I am! Likewise, my friend!

  4. Well Heather, “hats off” to you, for putting yourself out there, asking for feedback, making adjustments, and doing it all over again. And each time you’re upleveling in a BIG way. WooHoo!

    I’ll comment only on the design right now…(actually more usability of the design)

    the floating retweet/share/su submit blocks part of my screen on my laptop enough that it’s annoying, and I haven’t figured out yet if there’s a way I can make it go away. I tried to move it, but no luck…

    Also, I had to really search for your header tabs, way up on that skinny bar on the top of the page.

    I LOVE your header graphic.

    I’ve been told that your sign up box should be “above the fold” for sure, and many recommend that it be in the upper right hand corner.
    Yours gets a little lost below the dark images of your freebie.

    Lastly, the space between your beautiful header and the beginning of your posts and/or your sign up box is a little funky– it’s not clear what that’s doing or what purpose it’s serving.

    And I love your headshot on the bottom with the cool border– great smile, great energy. Really fun, too.

    What a process this is, huh? Enjoy the ride! And thank you for encouraging all of us to join you. We’re upleveling, too, just by being a part of this group.

    Wishing you well-

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Nanette,

      Thank you for your feedback! I totally appreciate it. Yes, I agree that space is a bit funky. I don’t like it either, but I’m not sure how to fix it…I’ll have to get help on that.

      Thanks for the feedback on the pages. I could possibly move them down below the header. I will have to play around with it!

      The sharing buttons are fixed. Your laptop probably has a smaller screen than mine. You can us the control + or – to zoom in and out on your window. Maybe that would help?

      I appreciate you!

  5. My dearest Heather,

    I can barely recognize your blog since the first time I saw it!

    I was ready to open my big mouth and once again tell you what I REALLY thought about your blog, but now that I looked around, I have little to say. 🙂

    Here’s what little means in my terms:

    1. Your blog doesn’t look like a blog any longer. When I look above fold, I immediately think “whatever this is, it’s gonna cost me”. I have to scroll down to see your posts (by the way, you are posting daily – wow! I am starting to get away from that) and then realize that there’s some information I can benefit from.

    Some of your visitors will never bother.

    2. Sidebar headers need to pop a bit more. Right now I need to really look for the headers to see what kind of widgets you have.

    3. Also, although I love your general theme and colors, everything became a bit monotonous. Just looking at “posts that include presents” makes me think you mistakenly included all the same posts.

    4. SEO: your title is too long; something is wrong with your description (it doesn’t show up in the SERPs – just google your site and you’ll see); you have a bit of keyword stuffing going on; Google definitely frowns upon that.

    See, only 4 little things. 🙂


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Ana!

      Thank you for your feedback. I do have a question about the keyword stuffing. I’m wanting to rank for several different marketing terms. If I have them listed in the all in one SEO, separated by commas, am I stuffing because the word marketing is repeated multiple times?

      I’ve taken a lot of the suggestions I’ve received so far from everyone and made some tweaks. Bumping everything up, adding a little more color, and trying to define the sidebar headers as much as possible without major changes that are above my head.

      Thank you SO much for all your awesome help! (Again!) Ana, you’re the best! 🙂


      • When people think of meta keywords for the home page, they think that it’s for the ENTIRE blog.

        Not correct though. Your home page is just that – a page.

        It’s impossible to rank one page for all the keywords you mentions. Your goal is to rank your home page for your main keyword, whatever it is.

        Google doesn’t pay attention to meta keywords as is, but when it sees an abundance of them on one page, it might send signal to them that this might be a spam site.

        Plus you are giving away all your keywords to the competitors. 🙂

        Have a great weekend!


        • Heather Stephens says:

          Hi Ana,

          Thank you so much for the clarification! I’ll go in and fix my keywords today. That makes perfect sense now! I was thinking of it as the whole blog.


  6. Hi Heather,

    I am brand new and the only feedback that came to mind were the colors. It’s a matter of preference but the dark colors make it a bit gloomy. Hope that helps 🙂

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks Diana!

      I’ve added a little purple and lavender here and there. Hopefully it will brighten it up a bit.

      I appreciate your feedback!


  7. Hi Heather,

    I like the colors but I think guys typically like this type of palette.

    Ana is right about the sidebar headers needing more pop.

    On one part of SEO: your images are good, I checked the names and file sizes. I’m uncertain if having the image dimensions listed in the file name matter or not (even so, they are at the end after keywords).

    You probably keep dimensions so you know which one to upload after resizing. I delete them.

    I agree with previous comments that you could do with finding a new home for the social media icons and Search bar. Less space needed between header and content.

    Article length: good. My quick observation and advice is to keep paragraph lengths at four lines maximum. Has your font always been this size? A tad larger may look better. But hard tellin’ not knowin’ on this suggestion.

    About Page: WIIFM? Lead off with a stronger “what’s-in-it-for-me” from the perspective of your visitors. It’s amazing how detailed you went into who you are and what you stand for (now I need to work on mine!)

    But I think even if you moved your “My Home Based Business Purpose and Philosophy” section to the top and sprinkled in more “you’s” directed at visitors that may be a good start.

    Is there any offering (opt-in) you have that would blend in well on the About page? You put in a lot of work there; if people are investing the time to read all about you there will be a number of them that would feel safe enough to sign up for something right there.

    If you go another round of launching on the Commenting Community, the landing page could have more of our testimonials and faces instead of comments? Or both. Test, test, test.

    Hope this helps.


    • Heather Stephens says:


      Thank you for all the incredible feedback. This was so meaningful to me and I’m excited to dig in and go through my about me page with your suggestions!

      I will be doing another round launching the community after those of use who joined first fall into a rhythm and everyone knows what’s happening. I’ll definitely love some testimonials and pictures for that!

      I’ve tweaked the search bar and the social media icons, moving both to the sidebar. I’ve also bumped the header up a bit making the black part smaller and adding some purple, since many people felt it was too bland. Obviously I’ve got more tweaking to do! LOL

      Thank you SO much for all your awesome feedback. It is greatly appreciated!


  8. Quite frankly dear Heather, I don’t feel like I have a lot to offer you in critique areas since my site is such a work in progress as well.

    I am one that likes more color as well (even though looking at my blog you wouldn’t know it, not yet anyway!!) so in my mind, your header would look very pretty with more color added.

    I had also noticed a slower load time and also on the video length, you keep an adults attention for a span of 7 minutes max!:) So I think the shorter versions are more likely to get viewed more.

    I’m like Jayne, I like you just the way you are!:) But I also realize that we need input in order to develop and grow. So just keep up the great work my dear friend!


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Karlene,

      Thank you for your suggestions. The theme comes with the dark header, but I’ve added some purple to it to brighten it up and add a little contrast to the blue and black.

      I agree with the videos completely! 🙂

      Thanks so much!


  9. Hi Heather,

    A round of applause for putting yourself out there. I have always loved your blog and I must say that I love the little smiley faces that you would almost miss.

    Since you are monetizing your site with your membership, I would gather some testimonials from your coaching clients and post them in the side bars. You already mentioned making shorter videos, which I also agree on. Unless you are teaching on a topic, I say 3-4 minutes tops.

    Hope that helps.


    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks Golda, for the testimonials suggestion.

      I’ll have to work on gathering some more testimonials. I used to have a page of testimonials. I removed it from the header to clean things up a bit. I’ll have to find a new home for it!

      Thank you so much for your feedback!

  10. Hi Heather, just 1 recommendation, get a globe and you’ll see how connected you are. I put one on my site about a week or so ago and I find it very inspiring to see viewers from all over the world reading my posts. Any problems with the link, just ask and I’ll send you one, it’s 100% free! All the best Peter ( I wouldn’t change a thing!)

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Peter.

      Thank you for the suggestion. That sounds like a fun widget.


    • Hey Peter,

      These type of widgets tend to slow sites down, what’s your experience?


  11. Jon says:

    Heather – You’re doing fantastic things over here, keep it up. Thank you for the community. Offering my two cents with this quick critique is the least I can do.

    I’m quite impressed how quickly you started implementing changes!

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks Jon!

      Glad to see you’re liking what I’ve done so far. Still got to tweak some things like the color of the text in the comments, side bars, etc. etc. etc. Little by little, step by step. 🙂

      I appreciate the feedback!

  12. Hi Heather,
    If you enlarge the print in the blog, your social media bar (tweet,share,submit etc) obscures the blog.Everything else is fine.

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Hi Riley!

      I’m sorry for the challenges, but I’m not sure what to do with the social media bar. I think the problem is trying to view the content on different size screens. If anyone knows a solution to this, please chime in! 🙂


  13. Hi Heather,

    First of all the blog looks great. The only thing I can see is to maybe make your picture a little bigger in the header and definitely everything Ana said. Btw, She is awesome 🙂

    I really like the layout though and the colors, but I am a fan of darker colors.

    If you ever need any design help, let me know. I would glad to help you.

    Thanks Heather and have a great day!

    • Heather Stephens says:

      Thanks Ian,

      I just enlarged the photo. If you have time, next time you’re here let me know what you think. I want enough white space (black space lol) around the logo and tagline that they stand out. Hopefully it’s not to crowded, but please let me know if you think it is. 🙂

      I appreciate the offer to help. I’ll keep it in mind!


  14. Hey Heather,

    You’re brave putting yourself out there. You go girl!

    I love what you have done here. To be honest, I had no issues with your “dark” colours. We all have different tastes.

    One thing that I’m going to try and implement is to increase my font size, it definitely makes reading so much easier.

    Like Liz, I used to find your videos a bit long, but I still watched ’till the end because your content is always fantastic 🙂

    I have nothing more to say, I love your blog, your style and content.

    All the best,

    • Hi Mavis,

      I agree, I need to work on the videos. 🙂 I think it’s because I get nervous still. LOL

      Thanks for the feedback, Mavis!


  15. Hi Heather,

    I agree with you about getting critiqued. Although, I don’t have one for you even though I’ve been blogging for sometime.

    I think you’re doing a beautiful job here. I see your site has evolved just in the last six months. So, I’ll leave the critiquing for those bloggers who know better. 🙂

    Jerome Ratliff

    • Hi Jerome,

      Thank you very much! I think you know better, so I really appreciate the feedback that you like what I’ve done!

      Good to see you!


  1. […] I’m loving it because it’s exactly where I was less than 9 months ago!  I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a couple of hard critiques. (MLM Blog Code bonus webinar with Ty Tribble & Ann Sieg, Blog Audit Friday with Ana Hoffman, and asking for feedback from my readers) […]