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 www.productivity501.com.

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. 😎