Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blog Critique: Social Vani

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.

Don't laugh when you see the subject of today's blog critique. When I first visited Chitraparna's blog, Social Vani, I thought, "You want me to critique your blog? I should be coming to you for advice!" Yes, Chitraparna is a self-titled social media hobbyist. She knows her stuff and it shows. But even the experts can use a second (or, when you add Joe and Tom, a third and fourth) eye. So here we go.

First, Chitraparna, you are the only person through all my blog critiques who emailed me a few days before to make sure you were still on the schedule. That's a nice touch. Good job.

As for the blog, there is much I really like:
  • Your profile is placed well.
  • Your social media buttons are in a nice visible spot.
  • Your blog is clean and uncluttered.
  • You have a search box.
  • We have a connection to your portfolio.
  • It's easy to contact you.
  • You have an easy to navigate menu.
  • You use pics in your posts.
  • You have a consistent message and it's immediately apparent in your posts, from your title, in everything you display.
Really, I'm pleased. But the graphically we do have a few suggestions and things to think about:
  • Your "share" button moves.  This means that when someone looks at your blog from a narrow window, it covers your navigation bar. Also, it personally kind of bugs me that it follows me everywhere I scroll, but that's just me.
  • As a society, we are trained to read left to right and the biggest words stick out at us first. That means any new viewer of your blog immediately thinks that your current post headline is the title of your blog rather than Social Vani. Correcting this isn't an easy task. You may want to rethink having the blog title in the right hand corner. You could also make your headlines smaller and lowered. I'm not saying that you have to always have a banner across the top with your title, but that's how our culture reads. You could also consider putting that entire sidebar on the left side. That might help. 
  • The white of your posts is really bright with the dark background. Consider lightening it to a tan or a an off-white.Or use the gray color you use in your "About Me" box. This will make your red pop more. Red on a dark background is really hard for the eye to look at.
  • The "Recommended Buys" box in your sidebar extends too far out. Trim this up and make it fit in the sidebar.
  • You have two search bars. Get rid of one. The one at the top is in a nice place, but it's hard to see. 
  • Lose the !s in your navigation bar. You don't need them and make me feel like you're yelling at me when I read them.
I also have to say that your blog does not at all appear like a baby blog. It has the sophistication of a pro-blogger.

What do you think readers? How is Chitraparna's blog looking to you? 


AlexJCavanaugh said...

Yeah, I would think the title of her post was her blog's title as well.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I'm with Alex. I also thought the title was the name of her blog. I was wondering how she could blog about owning that many domain names. It was an interesting post. It took me a minute to find how to subscribe. I found all the share buttons, but the subscription seemed a little difficult to find.

Chitraparna said...

Thank you for subscribing!

Southpaw said...

Maybe adding a strip of red in the wrapper area (below the navigation) that blends into the blog title area would help establish the blog title.

I love the color choices.

While I was reading a post a slider came up recommending another post to read. I don't really care for that. It distracted me from the actually post I was reading. I like the related posts at the end - but a space between that and the social icons would be nice.

I couldn't find the rss feed signup.

Southpaw said...

Oh, I got here via Alex.

Chitraparna said...

Hi, thanks for commenting about my site. I am still trying to get all the technicalities not that much of a techie person YET.

On the right hand side, below the Share Buttons is the link to subscribe by email. If you want, you are welcome to subscribe.

Thank you once again for visiting the site.

Laura Barnes said...

Great feedback! And thanks for coming on over. I'm already a follower of yours :)

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