The following is a paid review and is completely of my own opinion and is not influenced by being paid. If you’re interested in having me review your site or product, please view my advertising page.
StockMarketBlog.com is, as the domain suggests, a Stock Market Blog which is focused on everything related to the stock market. Launched in March 2007 by a stock market enthusiast named Jan, the blog has posts dating back nearly a year.
Prior to the past few weeks, StockMarketBlog.com was regularly updated (around an average of 2 posts per day) with posts which included interesting stock-market, Internet, and financial related stories from the news. These posts were short and simple, yet regurgitated and summarized the stories well. In addition to these interesting news posts, Jan wrote reviews of related sites, products, and stock market books.
I don’t know anything about the stock market, yet the posts were all very interesting to me. They are written in a simple and easy-to-read manner, and aren’t laborious in the least. I’ve actually wanted to try the stock market out for a while now, but have put it off since I don’t know if I have enough cash to try it out, and wouldn’t know where to start. But I do know that I would most likely be a regular reader of StockMarketBlog.com if/once I ever do get into the stock market.
Jan took a break from the blog for a little while, and then came back to it in late January of this year. With his resurgence came a new direction for the blog as well. When reviewing StockMarketBlog.com for this review, I started reading from the oldest post forward, and the one thing I thought was missing from it was some personality. I wanted to read about his personal trades, how much he’s making, general advice, etc. After all, if all I wanted to read was news, I could visit the financial section of any news site.
It appears that Jan understood this as well, since he now writes the blog more like a personal journal than a newspaper, which is just how a blog should be. His posts give full disclosure as to his day to day trading, detailing exactly which stocks he bought, how they went, and how much he made or lost. He provides trade recap images, such as the ones below, within each post for easy reference.
A nice touch that Jan adds to the end of each post is his Daily Self Evaluation, where he lists the pros and cons of his trades, and basically reflects on his trading. It’s very useful and interesting to readers, as it puts you through part of the thought process, and helps explain why he did what he did.
Here are some of his recent posts:
- Breaking All The Rules- +$426.68
- Twenty Minutes Of Action- +$381.56
- Sleeping In And Jumping In- +$151.69
- Damage Control- +$47.18
- Carnival Ride- +$523.68
- Trading On The Very Short Term Trend- +$443.15
- Monthly Recap- January 2008 +$1973.94
- Taking A Break Does Pay Off- +$1344.06
While I’m thrilled to see that Jan is now writing posts on his day-to-day trades, I can now see that he has gone a bit too far in this direction. The personal journal posts are great, but since he started, he completely stopped writing the stock market news posts. I would strongly suggest for Jan to balance both types of posts, creating a good mix of both “journal” and “news” posts.
Jan has a nice blog with good content, and he certainly seems to know his way around Wall Street, but there are a number of basic improvements he could make to his blog to drastically improve it.
I’d like to touch on just a few of them here since I think that these suggestions could dramatically improve his blog. Let’s hope he implements some of them!
StockMarketBlog.com has a lot of great content, but there is nowhere to comment on the posts! When I first discovered this, I was speechless!
A large part of what makes blogs so popular these days is the community interactivity. Visitors feel that they are able to connect with the author/blogger and fellow readers. Enabling comments is also a very useful way to gain valuable feedback. I can’t tell you how much my readers’ comments have helped me improve my own blog.
It’s also a very important platform to allow visitors to post their questions to, especially on a subject such as the stock market. I can almost guarantee that enabling comments would increase repeat traffic.
Enabling comments is an absolute must… I almost find it pointless to run a blog without comments!
Create an Articles Page
I strongly recommend creating an organized articles page which lists posts and articles that in detail explain how to get started in the stock market for absolute newcomers as well as general tips and advice.
For visitors like myself, it is very frustrating to see all these posts about making money on the stock market, but have no information on how to get started in it.
Here are some questions I have. Each of these questions deserves it’s own lengthy post.
What is the stock market, exactly? How does it work? How dangerous is it? Why should I invest in the stock market? How fast can I buy/sell a stock? How much money do I need to get started in the stock market? What are some good books for absolute newcomers?
Create an “About” Page
As stated in the main review, Jan recently started making more personal “journal” posts of his day-to-day trading. This is a great start, but StockMarketBlog.com still lacks some personal connection.
Who is this Jan guy we keep reading about? How old is he? Does he do this for a living? How long has he been doing it?
These are all questions most readers will inevitably ask themselves, and there is no mention of it anywhere on the blog. Therefore, it would be recommend to create an “About” page which introduces Jan and explains what the blog is about and what it’s for.
The “About” page is usually the very first thing I read after quickly skimming the first post, as it quickly and easily gives me a complete overview and history of the blog. It also lets readers connect to the authoring blogger better, knowing that it is written by a real, living, breathing, human being.
Create an “Archives” Page
It was a pain navigating through the site and reading all the past posts when reviewing the blog for this review. I’d strongly recommend for Jan to add an archives page to make browsing and reading easier for visitors.
I recommend the SRG Clean Archives v4.1 plugin.
Improve “Contact” Page
Currently, the contact page is not a page at all, but simply a “mailto” link to the author’s e-mail address.
It’s 2008 now, and so Jan desperately needs to create an actual Contact page which has a contact form. This makes it much easier for visitors to leave feedback, and also eliminates the issue of the “mailto” link only working for users who use an e-mail client such as Outlook Express; those who only use webmail or visitors using a public or friend’s computer will not be able to use the “mailto” link.
The “Contact” link should also be at the end of the menu, and not the first item.
Don’t Lose Credibility
StockMarketBlog.com has a lot of ads throughout the blog, but for the most part they don’t bother me since they are integrated well, related, and easily distinguishable.
That is, except for the following trick:
On the main navigation bar, StockMarketBlog.com has the following links:
Home, Contact Me, Investor’s Business Daily, Trade King Brokerage, and Fantasy Stock Market
The first two links are legitimate, but the other three are all ads. Each of them is actually an affiliate link! Now, this may seem like a smart trick, making the ads look like legitimate links, and I’m sure it gets good results. But this is complete trickery.
There’s a fine line between maximizing your site’s monetization and keeping your visitors happy, and you do not want to cross it. Being tricky to make a few extra bucks will quickly lose you credibility, especially in a niche such as the stock market where trust is a major factor.
It’s also bad for another reason: I had actually clicked on one of those links when first visiting the site, not knowing it was an ad, and once I saw that I at a completely different site, I closed it immediately with the same speed that one might automatically close a pop-up, which ended up closing my entire browser.
I wouldn’t have found the blog again if I hadn’t already known the URL for this review.
I strongly recommend removing these “trick links”, and if my previous suggestions are implemented, this space can easily be replaced with links for the About and Archive pages.
Layout & Positioning
Here are a few more quick suggestions:
- There should be a subscribe by e-mail RSS option which is beneficial to everyone; the blogger receives more repeat traffic and grows his RSS feed, and visitors can receive new posts by e-mail for better convenience.
In addition, the RSS feed should be more clearly defined and labelled, and put into the top right sidebar instead (or in addition to) the main navigation bar.
- The search field which is currently at the very bottom of the right sidebar should be near the very top, and needs to be redesigned as it is currently nearly invisible!
- I don’t like the “My Trading Rules” section on the sidebar. It’s quick and basic useful information, but it doesn’t justify taking up such a large chunk of every page.
In addition, it is especially useless to repeat visitors. This is yet another reason why an Articles page that is dedicated to such information is useful.
If you have any interest in the stock market, StockMarketBlog.com is a great blog to add to your bookmarks or RSS reader. It is regularly updated, and the posts are all quality.
If Jan ever writes some detailed articles on how to get started in the stock market, and some general posts with basic information for absolute stock market newbies like myself, I may finally take the plunge and try my hand at the stock market myself.