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I can't get rich online and neither can you. Topics include why you won't get rich with your blog, ideas you wish you had thought of, and other Internet phenomena.

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Archive: ReviewU

ReviewU- Xavier Media

Happy new year everybody. Might as well kick off the new year with something that’s become very popular on this site, a ReviewU review. Andreas from Xavier Media wrote in two weeks ago to request a review, so it’s about time that I got around to it.

If you’re a regular reader, you should know by now that most of my ReviewU reviews are full of hatred and rage, but sadly enough, I can only find one thing wrong with this blog (he’s still using the Blogrush widget). Xavier Media is a good example of what a blog should look like, so I’d recommend checking it out.

The content

Xavier Media’s blog seems to be filled with things you should know if you want to establish an online presence. Topics include mistakes to avoid if you’re blogging for your business, coding, web trends, and other net-related things. I especially like his article on using TLDs to create domain hacks. Interesting stuff.

The layout

I usually hate the layouts and themes of the blogs I’m asked to review, but this one is pretty close to perfect. The navigation menus are on the left, the ads are on the right, and the content is in the middle. The color scheme is very effective and pleasing to the eyes. The few ads on the site don’t obstruct the content in any way. Again, the only negative thing I have to say is about the Blogrush widget, which in addition to being useless, looks slightly out of place on the right sidebar (due to its width).

The $$$

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like ads in the header. Well, I’ve been forced to change my stance. While it’s true that Adsense blocks in headers are ugly, Xavier Media’s header includes an ad that blends in well with the theme of the site. Not only that, but it’s highly visible and works very well overall.

As for the other ads, they seem to be advertisements for the other aspects of his website. This is the first blog that I’ve reviewed that is advertising his own services, and it looks pretty clean and professional, so I have nothing negative to say about it.

A short review

I feel kind of bad for the shortness of this review, but I really have nothing bad to say about this blog. Usually, after ripping a site to shreds, I offer tips on how the blog author can improve his site. The only thing I can say to Andreas is this: Keep it up.

And get rid of that Blogrush widget.

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ReviewU: Usmanmoney.com

Usman, the 14 year-old owner of usmanmoney.com, has requested a ReviewU review. I’m sorry Usman, but I’m going to be brutally honest with you: I hate your site. It personifies nearly everything I hate about the make money online niche, and I can’t find a single redeeming quality about it. Read on and I’ll tell you why.

About the author

As I’ve already stated, Usman Zulefqar is 14 years old. This information, which I obtained from his ‘about’ page, has instantly destroyed his credibility. Why? Because he’s 14 years old. Most people aren’t going to take business advice from someone who can’t even drive. If you read a little further down the page, you’ll see that he claims that he makes between $5 and $50 a day. This little fact could do a lot to make him more credible, except that he doesn’t provide any proof. If you’re going to claim that you make that much money per day, it would be helpful to see a picture of a check or an earnings report.

The layout

The layout is decent, but there is room for improvement. For starters, the header is vertically huge. Also, those buttons at the top are unnecessarily large. Trim it down a bit and it’ll look 10x better. I’m also not too fond of the color scheme, but that just personal bias on my part. I tend to like darker color schemes, as they’re easier on my eyes. Some people might like an endless expanse of white, but I’m not one of them.

The content

I can’t seem to find any unique content. It’s all topics rehashed from bigger sites and forums. Add that to the fact that some of his posts are incredibly short, and I find myself completely uninterested. The final nail in the coffin is the grammatical errors. Call me a grammar Nazi, but I find sentence fragments and slang to be very unprofessional.

How would I fix this mess? To start, try coming up with some original content. Tell us about how you are making money online, not just general techniques. Tell us about your successes and failures, and try to connect with your readers. Also, try to clean up the spelling and grammar.

You know what though? He updates frequently. I can respect that.

The $$$

As you all know, in order to be the subject of a ReviewU review, you have to try to make money with your site. Usman’s site seems to have Adsense blocks scattered throughout his posts and a completely emtpy Scratchback ‘Top Spots’ list ($1 per spot). Even thought I hate Adsense blocks, I can understand using them. The Scratchback list, not so much. How long has it been up there, completely empty? I’d just take it down. To me, an empty Scratchback list says “Nobody is advertising on this site because it’s not worth advertising on.”

Other site elements

I keep saying that I’m not going to put the Feedburner widget up until I pass 50 subscribers. Usman has no such reservations, and he’s put the widget up with a whopping 4. Personally, I’d find that embarrassing.

He also has a nifty little widget in each post that makes it easy to submit each of his articles to social bookmarking sites. Twenty-six sites to be exact. I’ve never even heard of most of them. If you want to use a widget like that, that’s fine, just be sure to write articles worth submitting.

Finally, I noticed that he has the default Wordpress option for URL naming. For example, here are two URLS, one from his site and one from mine:

  • http://usmanmoney.com/?p=23
  • http://www.cantgetrich.com/2007/12/26/set-some-goals/

His style creates URLs for each entry by numbering them incrementally. Mine contains the date and title. I seem to recall reading somewhere that search engines prefer the latter, but I could be wrong. Anyway, it’s fairly simple to change. In Wordpress, click on ‘Options’, then ‘Permalinks’, then check ‘Date and name based’.

The bottom line

This site, like 95% of the make money online niche, is just a rehashing of information presented by bigger, more well-known blogs. It’s also a fairly saturated niche, so unless you’re going to post some original content, you’re not going to get any readers. My advice to Usman is simple: Find some way to stand out from the rest of the herd and you’ll succeed. Think of it this way: You’re only 14 years old, and there aren’t many 14 year-olds that make $50 a day online. Tell us your story of success and we’ll listen. Keep rehashing Digital Point Forum posts and we won’t.

EDIT: Usman seems to have completely changed his layout since I wrote this review, so that section is completely inaccurate now. He also changed the URL structure as I suggested. I’m going to have to start taking screenshots for future reviews.

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ReviewU: My Reflections

Dan from My Reflections wrote in to request a ReviewU review, and he asked me to be brutally honest about his site. He’s about to get what he asked for.

First of all, I can’t figure out what this blog is about. It doesn’t seem to fill any particular niche. With topics ranging from Microsoft to cats to his phone, I’m really not sure what the point is. A random-topic blog isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case, it is. Why? He’s trying to monetize it. I’m seeing three Google Adsense bars, and one of them is in the header! Why would you put ads in your header? It boggles the mind.

Adsense Header

While I’m on the subject of the layout, I guess I’ll share my opinions on that as well. First of all, it’s very clean looking, but the green and blue theme is ruined by the bright orange link text. If it’s orange to catch the readers attention, mission accomplished, because it stands out more than anything else in the entire site. The only other way I can the sensation is this: Imagine you’re having a picnic on the beach, looking out over the clear, blue water. Now imagine roughly 10,000 fire ants ruining your picnic. It’s kind of like that.

Another thing I don’t like is the fact that you have to expand every entry if you want to read it. Why not have the most recent entry be full-length? It’s just a hassle.

Speaking of posts, can anybody guess what I’m going to say next? Hmm, let’s look at the time stamps on the last five entries: December 20th, December 19th, December 13th…Novemeber 2nd? October 28th? What happened for the entire month of November? Again, there’s nothing wrong with updating whenever you feel like, but if you’re going to try to monetize a blog, you could at least update regularly.

Overall, there’s nothing hugely wrong with this site, I just tend to get annoyed when people try to monetize their blogs without a consistent update schedule and a clearly defined subject. That reeks of a personal blog, and I just can’t stand people trying to monetize their personal blogs. If you want to make some money, pick a topic and a schedule.

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ReviewU: The 1000 Push Ups Club

Jack over at The 1,000 Push Ups Club has requested a ReviewU review, and after looking over his site, I’m happy to oblige. Let’s dive right in, because I’ve got plenty to say about this one.

The site

The 1,000 Push Ups Club is a site based around the idea that doing 1,000 push up every day is incredibly awesome. I agree. Being able to say “I can do 1,000 push ups a day” is definitely a good ice breaker for use at parties. According to him,

One thousand push ups represents commitment, dedication, and stamina, all things I’m trying to improve in my persona.

Good for you man, that’s a great goal to set. I can’t even fathom what my upper body would look like if I could do 1,000 push ups a day. Actually, I think I’ll try to join your club. Here are my pecs right now. I’ll post a little update when I can do 100 without stopping.

Anyway, the general theme of the site is push ups, how to reach your goals, and other life lessons learned from doing push ups.

The $$$

I’m sure you remember that one of my rules regarding ReviewU reviews is that the site has to be trying to make money. This guy definitely fulfills that prerequisite. I hate to say it, but he could almost call his site the 1,000 ads club. He’s got three vertical Adsense bars on the left, and three vertical banners on the right, along with an embedded video with a bra advertisement banner below each entry. He also seems to be changing his page layout as I’m writing this review. That brings me to another point: The layout. For every one entry, you get eighteen other page elements (not counting the header and footer). Go ahead and count them. The clutter is amazing. Unfortunately, at least to me, it seems that content plays a minor role in each page.

What I would change

First of all, I would establish a consistent update schedule. I seem to be saying that a lot lately. The site was last updated on November 26th, almost three weeks ago. If you want to justify having that much space dedicated to ads, you’re going to want to update frequently.

Secondly, I would alter the layout. Take out some of the extraneous page elements like the playlist tracker and the live traffc feed. This will reduce page load time and improve the overall look of the page.

Finally, I would focus more on content. Write longer articles, show us some progress pictures, and focus on the actual goal at hand: doing 1,000 pushups in one day. Stick to the root of your subject matter, and post articles with other topics sparingly.

The bottom line

This site could be huge, and all it needs is a better layout and more content. People absolutely devour advice on bodybuilding and weight loss, and this site has the potential to attract a large following. All it needs is fewer non-essential page elements, more content, and a predicable update schedule. Once it has those three things, traffic will start flowing and all of those ads will start paying off.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do a few push ups.

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