Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blog Critique: Karen Kyle Ericson

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 I don't usually critique blogs that aren't writer blogs, today I've made an exception to review Karen Kyle Ericson's photography blog, Greetings from Monmouth County.  Take a look, enjoy her photos, and come on back.

Karen is a busy blogging bee. Besides her photography blog, Karen also blogs at Hope, Faith, and Life. Plus pretty much all the photography on both sites are taken by her.

Okay, girl, I'm admitting upfront I don't have a lot to say. Most of my critiques are generally about how to run a blog as a writer - both pre and post published - and it's tricky to transfer some of those tips. But here are the things I thought about when looking at your blog:
  1. Your profile should go at the top of your sidebar. We need to see who you are right upfront. Especially if you are trying to get freelance work from your blog.
  2. Your title should have something to do with what your blog is about. I understand you live in Monmouth and take pics there, but someone is more likely to find your blog in a Google search if you have relevant words in your title.
  3. I know who you are and what you do without researching. That's great!
  4. You're a photographer and your pics are the stars of your blogs. Give them the size they deserve! Adjust the widths on your blog so that you can always set your pics to the extra large setting.  You could really lose the sidebar so your photos give even more dramatic impact as Greg Kendall-Ball's photo blog does.
  5. I love that you tell the story behind your pics. That makes you different from other blogs.
  6. I want to see a picture you've taken or something more picturesque in your header. Less wording up there for sure. Don't tell us who you are - show us! Even a simple, abstract header like the one at Matt Bell's photography blog is enough to show who you are artistically.
  7. I like the really neutral background - it helps bring out your pictures. It's especially nice that it isn't just one color but a nice palette of blue, dark gray and that orange you use for some of your titles.
  8. Bring your links to purchase pics right to your blog. Don't make people go to your website to make purchases.  You can also sell them right on your blog like this blog, Tree in the Forest.
  9. Quotes are nice, but I'd rather see the quotes you have in your sidebar as links to purchase your work. If you spread your quotes among your posts that would show better. Maybe have one of those quotes as your tagline in your header and lose the rest of the words. You could lose the labels from the sidebar as well and put it as a footer so that the words distract less from the photos.
  10. Get us a real easy way to contact you. How can we hire you to freelance if we don't know how to find you?
I love your pictures. They are beautiful. Make them the spotlight and your sight will really shine. Good luck with all you do and thanks for letting me attempt to give some advice!

Any tips for Karen and her beautiful photography? 


AlexJCavanaugh said...

Links to purchase are important!

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

Thanks so much Laura- I love this feedback it's perfect. I desperately needed a web savvy person to look it over for tips. It's hard when it's your own blog- because I know everything already. Thanks again for this review. I'm going to work on your ideas and see what I come up with.

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

I just realized- all the photos and artwork on my blogs are done by me. That tells me I need to make sure all my work has my credits visible. I'm planning on setting up a gift shop for the cartoons on my main web site. Thanks so much- this was very valuable : )

Laura Barnes said...

Yes! Give yourself credit! Glad I could help. If you set up a gift shop on your main site, be sure to link there easily from your blog too. Good luck!

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