Productive Strategies iPod Contest

Mark Shead over at Productive Strategies is holding a “Review My Blog For An iPod Contest.” Hmmm, I wonder where he got that idea?

Productivity501 is holding another iPod giveaway contest. This time (taking inspiration from the evil John Chow) we are targeting people who have their own blogs. It works like this, you write a review of Productivity501 and post it to your blog. The best 5 reviews will go into a drawing for a shiny new iPod Shuffle engraved with

That sounds good to me! This is my review of Productive Strategies. This is also part of the ReviewMe (aff) review Mark ordered to generate some buzz for his contest.

What is Productive Strategies?

Productive Strategies is a time management and personal productivity resources blog. Its blog author, Mark Shead, created it as a place where he can share ideas that help him be more effective in his practice. Mark’s blog began life back in September 2005 with just two entries for the entire month. Things have picked up a bit since then. Mark made eight blog postings last month and five in January. Some of the more noteworthy posts include:

Productive Strategies has a nice clean layout and is very easy to read. The blog is a classic two column, with content on the left and blog navigation on the right. The picture of Mark at the upper right gives the blog a personal feel and helps to identify the author with his readers. Mark makes good use of images and icons in a post to help draw attention and explain what the post is about. With the exception on of a single 125×125 Google ad, the blog’s front page is ad free.

Areas Of Improvement

Productive Strategies needs to do more updates if Mark hopes to increase readership and RSS count. A contest and review on this blog will get you only so far. You’ll get a nice boost in traffic and generate a lot of buzz but with only 1 new post every 3.5 days, it’s pretty hard to get people to visit on a daily basis.

Productive Strategies requires you to click a “read more” link in order to read the entire blog post. The front page contains only excerpts. This is not the most productive way to read from a reader’s perspective. With one post every 3.5 days, there’s no reason to use the read more link.

When you do click on a post to read the full entry, a 250×250 Google ad between the first and second paragraph disrupts reading. The Google ad is also in violation of Google’s new images next to ad rules. Mark needs to fix this and work more on the user experience.

Part of the reason Mark is doing this contest is to increase his RSS count. However, I couldn’t find the RSS button at first glance because it’s located near the bottom of his navigation bar. He should consider moving it to the top, maybe under about page link or within his Email subscription box. Productive Strategies offers a full feed RSS.

Mark offers open access to his Site Meter stats so it’ll be fun to see the effect this review will have on his stats. Check out Mark’s blog, enter his contest and win the iPod! If I win, I’ll give it away to a deserving John Chow dot Com reader. 😎

47 thoughts on “Productive Strategies iPod Contest”

  1. Matthew says:

    do you ever sit back in awe of the effect you have on bloggers?

    Each post you write gets several linkbacks, and others dozens. Just by posting one message you grow, seemingly, significantly

    1. Even though this is a ReviewMe review, you’re right. John is pretty generous to the blogging community!

      1. Jason says:

        It’s true. It’s also true that sharing traffic and tips with us, will lead to further growth on John’s own blog. The lucky recipients of extra traffic will of course link back to the master, and send even more traffic back his way.

        Isn’t it great when you can create a genuinely win-win situation?

        1. ilker says:

          We Love John! πŸ˜›

          1. Matthew says:

            i didnt necessarily mean by this review, but anything, im sure 99% of his blog postings get link backs from someone else blogging about his blog post… just pretty amazing i guess

        2. When will this link-back madness end? Sometimes it’s tiring to read all of these ReviewMe-type posts!

          1. Matthew says:

            ive actually found some pretty good blogs and sites through these reviewme posts that i otherwise wouldnt of found

    2. Ali says:

      John, Did you know there is an article on digg saying you are related to the N. Korea dictator?

      Sorry completely off topic.

      1. ilker says:

        Whatever……….. πŸ™„

      2. John Chow says:

        Ya I saw that. I had a good laugh about it.

  2. Matthew says:

    Great review, I’m saving up for my john chow review πŸ™‚

    1. HMTKSteve says:

      I can’t afford the high price tag!

      1. ilker says:

        I wouldn’t mind paying him if I had the money.. his reviews are good!

        1. Matthew says:

          if i had the money i’d definitely put it towards a john chow review πŸ™‚

          I gotta pull some strings lol

  3. derrich says:

    Maybe he got the idea from…um…his head…ya know. Evil John. 😈

  4. HMTKSteve says:

    I see his traffic is about half of what mine is… Not too bad, not too bad at all!

    What the heck is downloadsquad??? You have a ton of refereals from there.

    How does he have 921 feed reeders with traffic being so low?

    What happened last November, get dugg or something?

    1. Gary Lee says:

      The Mark Shead Guy has a higher PR than John . . maybe he’s doing a lot of reviews of other sites? I checked his Technorati and it seems he has a lot reviews on Asian Sites.

    2. DownloadSquad is a great site! Lots of good tech tips!

      1. ilker says:

        I check DS every now and then too.. thanks for reminding me!

  5. You are the pirate! Nice work stealing the competition! πŸ˜‰

    The source of all evil, hell yeah!

    1. ilker says:

      Axis of Evil! LOL 😈

  6. Scott Howard says:

    It seems like the reviews are the way to go right now. Well, I have made some major changes to my blog over the last day. I decided to do away with the aggregator and go solo besides a few guest blogs here and there I should have alot more time to spend on dipnoi now. Let me know what you think if you check it out.

  7. Ryan says:

    Nice review … are all posts within the next few days going to be all reviews? πŸ˜›

    1. John Chow says:

      Nope. Got to mix in some normal stuff as well. I have a video food post coming. He he he :mrgreen: 😈

      1. ilker says:

        Yeah.. we want more fine dining stuff!

    2. derrich says:

      Heck…he just had a huge jump in ReviewMe orders.

  8. Tyler says:

    Oh another blogging contest! I love em their so much fun Now if my writing was a bit better I might have a chance!

    1. Tyler says:

      hrm guess I need to remember my own URL one day!

  9. Gotta love ReviewMe. I was actually talking to Aaron Wall on MSN the other day. Nice guy. Learned some interesting stuff about PayPerPost too. I still think it’s genius how PPP got all that free press on TechCrunch by pushing Michael Arrington’s buttons and posting all the comments. They sure know how to milk their 15 minutes of fame.

    Nice work on getting all of those reviews John, just don’t turn your blog into one massive pay-per-review type of thing – that’d be a shame. Make sure you keep providing real, useful information for people that blog. I’ve been a long time reader and just started my blog based on the success I’ve seen you have with yours, so don’t let me down πŸ˜‰

    1. ilker says:

      A lot review stuff lately.. maybe I should jump this ReviewMe wagon too?

  10. Shawn Knight says:

    Free iPod, can’t go wrong there. Surely it has to do better than my $50 in free cash giveaway; and you’d think ppl would be all over free money! Maybe I should take the money and put it towards an iPod lol

  11. Matthew says:

    i actually have a contest going as well, nickels and pennies compared to an i-pod

  12. Mark Shead says:

    Thanks for the great review, John. I appreciate your suggestions.

    By the way, I did check with Adsense about the clock image next to my ads in the center of the article pages. According to them:

    “your current implementation
    appears to comply with our program policies”

    I guess they don’t think anyone is going to be confused into thinking that the ads are actually for Big Ben. πŸ™‚ I imagine that I might run into trouble if I tried to place a bunch of smaller picture lined up with each of the individual ads.

    A lot of people keep telling me that you can’t have pictures next to your ads, but if you read the terms closely that isn’t what it says. You just can’t make people think that the pictures are somehow related to the ads. Or trick people into accidentally clicking on them.

    Here are some answers to a few other questions people have been asking in the comments:

    The downloadsquad traffic is from a comment I left on one of their articles that made it to the front page of Digg this morning about how you can find contests for free stuff on blogs. It was very lucky timing on my part. For awhile it was sending more traffic than, but I think readers of this blog are more likely to participate.

    A couple people commented that I seem to have a bunch of foreign links. (Some people wanted to know how I spammed all of those foreign blogs.) I think most of those came from links to my list of academic podcasts articles. I guess people are using them to learn English. And there is some guy from Turkey who likes translating my articles into Turkish. At least he says they are my articles. I have no way of knowing.

    The way I got 921 feed subscribers is by getting on the front page of Digg a few times. The last time, I ran another iPod contest where you had to sign up for the email update from feedburner (these count in your RSS numbers). That contest got me about 250 subscribers.

    I think a lot of people stick around on the RSS feed because I try not to post unless I really have something to say. This means fewer posts, but it seems to be working as far as keeping people on with RSS. My RSS to traffic ratio is much higher than what I would expect it to be. The downside is that it means fewer people come to the blog every day to see what is new. I’m working on trying to create more content without running out of subject matter like To-Done.

    Here is my current theory for contests:

    Always have some contest ready to go. Have the post written and saved as a draft. When your site starts getting a lot of traffic (Digg, etc.), run the contest. Make sure it is something that requires people to “convert”. That can be signing up for RSS, email list, leaving a comment, linking to you, etc. That way you can take advantage of the traffic and hopefully get a higher percentage of the visitors to come back for another visit.

    In this contest I tried to create the traffic with a paid review by John. We’ll see how it turns out.

    If you can pass the contest link on to anyone who might be interested I’d really appreciate it.

    If anyone has any questions about how much traffic the review here generated or anything else, drop me a line at mwshead ( at ) gmail.

    1. Matthew says:

      exactly what im looking to do as well, just dont have an extra i-pod laying around, lol. good luck

      1. Mark Shead says:

        Then you should enter the contest. πŸ™‚

        1. Matthew says:

          lol true, im not the type of person, like john is, who seems to win these 1 in 400 people contests πŸ˜‰

          1. Mark Shead says:

            You never know. πŸ™‚

            Could you send me an email at mwshead at gmail. I want to ask you about something on your blog.

  13. Matthew says:

    just using me for my good looks!

    see that john, hes seducing me over email.

    “evil” 😈

  14. Vincent Chow says:

    Was about to join the contest until I saw other reviews – I stand no chance to win with those great reviews by others.

    1. Mark Shead says:

      Vincent — Keep in mind you also get a link back from the contest page to your post. (There is a running list of all the entries at the bottom of the post.) So with everyone linking to the contest page, the PR 5 from the site itself, etc. it should be a good thing for your site from a PR and traffic standpoint.

      (And after having read your blog I think you have just as much chance of writing a winning review as anyone.)

    2. Tyler says:

      I know I’m not the best writer (check my blog or my FL reviews) but I am trying to learn a little bit.

      You’ll never know unless you try! Right?

    3. Nah, you have to give it a go, or you may never know! It won’t hurt, anyway.

      1. Matthew says:

        i changed my mind after seeing there will be 150 other reviews lol

  15. Stuart says:

    Wish I could win a new ipod πŸ™

Comments are closed.