Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blog Critique: Bonnie Way

Another Blog Critique Day: In this series I give constructive feedback about the look and function of an author blog from a marketing perspective. As always, I rely on help from graphic designers Tom Barnes (my hubby) and Joe LaRue. To review the blog elements we look at or to submit your own blog for critique, go here.

While Monday's blog crit was on a baby blog, today's is on an old-timer. Bonnie Way of The Koala Bear Writer has been blogging for five years. Have you looked yet? Well, go on.

You can definitely tell people who have been at it longer. These blogs, while not always more polished, are certainly more defined. The bloggers know what their blog is about, as does Bonnie, and there's no need to guess. Some things we love about her blog are:
  • It's clean and straight foward.
  • Her profile is easily seen and her koala is explained here.
  • It's not cluttered. This is hard when you've been around for awhile: You amass stuff - blog stuff - and keeping it clean is a job. 
  • She has an easy to see format with one side column.
  • She uses photos in her posts.
  • She has depth, aka: extra pages, that shows off important stuff like her writing and editing bio and book reviews.
Bonnie, some things to consider to polish your blog up:
  • I had to search a little for your name. Consider putting it in your subtitle like so: Bonnie Way, freelance writer and stay-at-home mom blogs about her life.
  • The section of your blog is narrow compared to the green background. I know that it adjusts in size so if you have a small screen the background is probably a perfect size, but unless you're reading from an ipad, most people have larger screens these days. Mine's not real big and I'm seeing lots of green.
  • You have a low amount of follower for an old-timer blog. If you want to build up more, consider joining some blogfests. More followers could drum up more freelance work.
  • Just a thought on your religious badges/photos/links: I'm not dissing religion - I myself am the Director of Liturgy and Music at my own Catholic Church (yeah, I have like 4 jobs, it's insane) - and I believe in proclaiming your beliefs, but as your blog is SO about writing and your message is writing, the religious badges seems off-topic. If you had only one, perhaps, or if you also had other writing badges it would feel more balanced. But when I see them I think your blog should be more about religious writing. It's also not a great idea to get religious or political in the same place you are trying to get hired (if you are hoping your blog leads to jobs, that is). That's just something to consider. I think it's okay that you blog about religious things in your life, by the way, because it's not overwhelming and it fits in with the rest of your life sharing.
  • Finally, I wouldn't be me if I didn't say think about adding a search box. It sure helps people who are wading through old posts trying to find something.
Bonnie, congrats on your awesome blog and a special nod to your years of commitment. That's real dedication and we have a lot to learn from that. Thanks for taking part today!

Readers, do you have thoughts about Bonnie's blog? 


Joanna Marple said...

I love the little unique koala!

Bonnie Way said...

Laura - thanks so much for the critique! I really appreciate an "outsider" opinion, and you actually answered some questions that have been going around the back of my head. :) Thanks!

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