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.
I received an e-mail from an old friend the other day asking for a review of his blog, and so of course I was more than happy to oblige. His name is Jon Wheatley and his blog is j0n.org. Before I continue with the review of his blog, let me share a bit of history between Jon and I.
I first met Jon 2… possibly 3 years ago at Sitepoint Forums. Later, a small group of web entrepreneurs started hanging out in an IRC chatroom Jon had created called ChatWebDev (IRC link). I hung out there, as well, for around 6-7 months or so and thus ran into Jon a lot.
My blog was fairly new at that time and I did not put much focus on it, so I had a lot more time to undertake entrepreneurial projects. Jon, too, is very much an entrepreneur (perhaps even more-so than me since he’s always starting new projects; unfortunately neither of us finish most of them, heh…) and so we ended up doing a fair number of business transactions together, buying and selling each other domains and websites. We even partnered up on a project for a short while.
The largest transaction I did with Jon was when I bought DomainForums.com from him for $10,000. Since we had already done so much business together in the past, that conversation (as most of them go) went something along the lines of:
Tyler: Hey Jon, are you still interested in selling DomainForums?
Jon: Yeah, sure.
Tyler: How much do you want for it?
Jon: [states PayPal address]
Jon: Received, thanks. Sending domain transfer and FTP info.
Jon has a real good knack for obtaining premium domains. He’s by no means a domainer, but nevertheless manages to get himself top-notch stuff. Some of his past acquisitions include OnlineGames.net, WebmasterForums.com, DesignForums.com, DomainForums.com, and Fluff.com.
In fact, he sold OnlineGames.net for a very substantial amount of money… close to 6-figures.
But then, Jon started to (as far I was aware anyhow) slow down in his online pursuits; he rarely came to the chatroom, and let his blog die and even go offline.
I stopped going to the ChatWebDev IRC channel once it turned into a farm of TylerHaters. In fact, I believe that most of the TylerHaters that roam around are derived from that chatroom. It’s too bad as it was a great place to network and have fun. Although, I wouldn’t really have time to go there these days even if the members did grow up.
So, after leaving ChatWebDev, I hadn’t heard from Jon (he was one of the few people who didn’t turn into a TylerHater, at least not that I’m aware of, heh) until he contacted me a couple days ago to review his blog.
It’s nice to see that Jon is back (and apparently has been back for a while now) and is already back with a number of new entrepreneurial projects in hand.
Review of J0n.org
J0n.org is, as you might expect, a blog showcasing Jon’s entrepreneurial efforts and latest projects. However, it differs from the majority of “make money online” blogs for two reasons.
First, his blog is a lot more “personal” than the typical webmaster blog. Jon has a lot of fun with his posts, and nearly every one is done in a comical, humorous way. He also tends to focus and write more on his own personal web projects than he does on writing general webmaster or entrepreneurial tips and advice.
While the majority of “make money online” blogs these days are making posts such as “How to increase your RSS” and “New Advertising Network Launches”, Jon is making posts on updates of his various projects, new sites he’s launching, etc.
If you’re interested in reading about somebody who regularly buys/sells and creates websites, J0n.org is a good blog to visit. While not all of his projects do well (as is normal for an entrepreneur), he does have a pretty impressive portfolio of past sales, as mentioned earlier.
The second way that J0n.org differs from the regular “make money online” blog is that nearly every one of his posts is actually a video post.
It’s very refreshing to see video on an entrepreneur blog as it is quite a rare thing surprisingly. When people do post videos, they are usually something from a convention, trip, or else off-topic. Jon, however, makes all of his posts in video rather than text – discussing his ideas, thoughts, and concerns on his projects.
However, while I think that having a blog that posts mainly in videos is nice and unique, I can’t help but think of the poor SEO benefits that arise as a result. Spiders cannot crawl video, and so Jon is missing out on a lot of important search-engine traffic he would have received if he would have written those posts instead of filmed them.
In addition to poor SEO benefits, embedded videos do not display in RSS feeds, which means that anyone subscribing to J0n.org will essentially be seeing absolutely nothing except for the title of his post and a sentence or two. Check out his RSS feed to see what I mean. It is because of these two reasons that I do not make video posts on my blog anymore.
There are also other downsides to video blogging though. People cannot skim through a post, readers are less likely to visit the blog at work, school, or in public due to the audio, and it makes it much harder to be referred, quoted, and linked to since other bloggers can’t simply quote a line or paragraph from the post.
To help combat these downfalls of video blogging, I think it would be wise for Jon to supplement his videos with more written text. He should at least give a summary of the video in each post to help entire any RSS subscribers to visit the actual post and view the video. And the more he writes, the better. But personally, I think his blog would have a lot more success if he did less video posts and posted more written ones. I think video posts are great, but also think it’s a lot harder to get a blog going on video posts alone.
I have two more simple suggestions for Jon. His posts actually receive quite a lot of comments (mostly from ChatWebDev members, I presume) considering the size of his blog. He currently has “write out loud.” linked at the bottom of each post, which apparently links to his comments. This is awkward and confusing, and it took me a while to realize that this was actually for commenting on the post.
I’d recommend changing this simply to “Comments”, and then display the number of comments after it in parenthesis, such as “Comments (13)”. Displaying the amount of comments will greatly increase the likelihood that visitors will comment themselves.
Secondly, I’d definitely appreciate it if J0n.org had a dedicated archives page. Right now he is using the default WordPress side archives links, which does not do a lot for usability or navigation. It was quite a bit of a pain looking through his past posts when doing this review.
I’d recommend installing a nice Archive plugin, like mine. An archives page may not seem like that big of a deal, but it really helps new visitors to your blog get an idea as to the quality of your posts, and helps them decide if they should bother subscribing or coming back in the future.
Jon’s Video to TylerCruz.com Readers
Jon had a friendly competition going on with one of his friends on who could reach 200 RSS subscribers first. In fact, that was partly why he purchased this review, in the hopes of winning the contest. Unfortunately, his friend beat him this morning – right before this review will be posted.
But now they are going for who can reach 300 RSS subscribers first, so if you enjoy Jon’s blog, subscribe to his RSS and help him beat his friend. I’m not linking his friend here in order to help Jon a bit
Here’s a video that Jon made specially for TylerCruz.com readers: