Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blog Critique: Sher A. Hart

A Wednesday critique to try to keep up with the overwhelming requests I've had. In this series I give constructive feedback about the look and function of an author blog from a marketing perspective. This time I got help from graphic designers Tom Barnes (my hubby). To review the blog elements we look at or to submit your own blog for critique, go here.

Our blog comes from Sher A Hart who matches her catchy name with many punny statements.  Take a peek.

Sher, overall, we like your blog. It's clean, easy to read, easy on the eyes. The colors are soothing and you do an excellent job of using pictures to spice up your posts but not clutter them up.

But, as always, we have some suggestions, though not many:

  • Title and Message: You use your name! Love that. Major bonus points. But we are confused. Is your blog mostly directed to the fancies of a fantasy writer or to writing for right? You seem to have two messages. I would stick with the Fantasy Writer's Fancies and cut your subtitle. Maybe you could share more about your "write for right" on a separate page. Of course you could still include posts about writing for causes. Just don't make it your title unless every post is about writing for a cause. Also, the color of your title is a little hard to see. Maybe try black and a thicker font.
  • Background: Your background photo doesn't tell us a lot about who you are or what your blog is going to be about. We get the connection if your message is the "Fantasy Writer's Fancies" but it doesn't tie in at all to your write for a cause. This is fixed just by removing the subtitle.
  • Profile: It's too low. I'm glad you have your Google+ pic up high so we can see your face right away, but your profile is more important. It should be top on your sidebar. In fact, let's talk about just that....
  • Sidebar: Though your sidebar doesn't look cluttered, it seems there are a few things that are taking the wrong priority. I suggest the following order:
    • Profile
    • Welcome to Erth One
    • Followers
    • Subscribe to
    • Social Media 
    • Search Box (you don't have one, but you should)
    • Popular Posts
    • I'd lose the blog awards and the linky list (is that a current linky list?) If you really want to include them on your blog, move them to another page. Right now, though, your sidebar extends past your posts which is a no-no.
  • Facebook "like" box: it extends off your sidebar. You should be able to adjust the actual HTML code for this. Open up the box that has this code and change the "width" number to 250 instead of 450.
  • Captions on pictures: Tom doesn't like how your book covers have the titles above them because you can already see the title on the picture. I think it's a good idea, though, because it helps in search engine optimization. In fact, carry it further. Add the author's name.
Ok, that's all I got. What about you awesome readers? Any tips for Sher?


Carol Riggs said...

Oh, now it's letting me comment. It gave me an error message at first.

Anyway, I enjoyed your last 2 blog critiques! What a fun and informative thing. Good suggestions here. :)

Misha Gericke said...

Awesome idea to advise people on their blogs. ^_^

Susanna said...

Catching up after 4 days with no power...! Enjoyed both the blog critiques I missed. Always lots of good things to think about.

LauraBarnes said...

Thanks, Susanna! I wouldn't survive that long without a computer, FYI. You must be amazing :)

LauraBarnes said...

Thank you, Misha!

LauraBarnes said...

Thanks for the feedback, Carol. I'm glad it let you post in the end!

Susanna said...

Not amazing - just no choice in the matter :)

LauraBarnes said...

Bummer :(

Jamiebrookthompson said...

New follower here! Thanks for the great blog critiques! Thanks!

LauraBarnes said...

Glad to meet you! Thanks for the comment and the follow :)

Sher A Hart said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I put off coming over to see while I prepared a social media lesson. Now that's over, maybe tomorrow I'll have time to work on my blog again. I like your idea for making a "Write for right" page. I don't write fantasy just to write fantasy. My Erth One books focus on how Boy Scouts outsmart bullies and help fix a messed-up ecology where even tobacco has evolved to an active menace. If I had a color map of the heart-shaped Heartland, that would be my background.

I still haven't figured out why that pesky google+ button won't show my followers. The odd thing is I used to have my sidebar listings closer to how you said they should go until someone told me to put my followers right up top. I've thought about making my contest page include all contests and awards. I don't have enough awards for a separate page, LOL.

I couldn't figure out what book covers you were talking about until I went to look at Monday's post and saw Rob's book covers there. I didn't want to mess with his formatting so just copied his.

Anyway, thanks for doing this! I'll have to come back and check through the suggestions again tomorrow.

LauraBarnes said...

Sorry it took me so long to reply to this. That's funny that someone else thought your followers should be on top. Everyone has different opinions! But practically, if your blog is supposed to represent YOU, then your should be as visible as possible so I'm sticking to profile first. Thanks for submitting your blog and good luck with everything!

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