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I first came across the Maine Maven site a couple years ago. It’s one of those blogs I subscribe to that’s kind of like a good old friend: no matter how long it’s been, I seem to be able to pick up right where I left off.

I was having a bit of writer’s blog when my Twitter friend MargaretsCards suggested I write about Maine Maven. Good idea!

The Maine Maven keeps things fresh and graphically pleasing with a periodically changing Maine related illustration. And that's just the beginning of the thoughtful design.

Maine Maven is an online destination for all things Maine. It’s a hybrid of a blog, review, and magazine website. Kristen, the site owner and original maven, is great at marketing it. Here’s what she’s doing well:

Maine Maven uses giveaways to engage readers and improve her brand.

The Maine Maven wanted feedback about the website and offered an LL Bean card giveaway in exchange for the information. According to the follow-up blog post announcing the winner, hundreds participated. That’s quite a reach!

By offering a giveaway that was easy to participate in, the Maine Maven not only pulled in different people who normally don’t comment on the site but she also was able to get the information she needed from her target audience.

And this was not a one time event. Giveaways are a regular feature on the Maine Maven site, which is great for driving traffic to a blog.

To keep the site graphically fresh, Maine Maven changes her blog header.

The illustration of the car with the Christmas tree is quintessential Maine this time of year. I’ve visited this site throughout 2009 and the illustration does change to reflect the season. (Though since I am an RSS subscriber, I may not have been noticing all the changes in design.)

Often, I notice websites (blogs in particular) can be a little weak on visual appeal. Yet blog posts with photos/graphics get way more hits so it is not only prettier but also more functional for a blog to have a visual component.

Maine Maven not only has graphics but the are all Maine related and done by the same artist, giving the site both an artistic feel and consistency. (A martini glass with a lobster claw? Adorable.)

The Maine Maven does social media.

Like many successful bloggers and companies, the Maine Maven can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Not only great for promoting the latest post or giveaway, Maine Maven can interact with fans and learn even more about Maine from her readers.

Maine Maven is transparent.

When I first saw reviews on the site, I was a little skeptical, until I read the Maine Maven’s Code of Ethics which is clearly displayed on the front page of the site. Reviews are not compensated, which as a reader makes me trust them.

If you are thinking of publishing online, take a look at the Maine Maven site. There is plenty of inspiration to be found, not just about good Maine finds but about a sophisticated and successful online presence.

Love the idea of a blog but don’t know where to start? Breaking Even Communications is a full service internet marketing company that can help you set up a blog for yourself or your business. For more information, contact Nicole.