Monday, February 6, 2012

Blog Critique: Artzicarol Ramblings

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.

Today's critique takes us to Artizicarol Ramblings by the amazing Carol Riggs.  Carol is another blogger that I feel very close to (hi, Carol!) and so, yeah, I got a little nervous when I went it came time to critique her wonderful blog. You may all know Carol too, but if you don't, go on over and sneak a peek at her blog so we can discuss it.

I shouldn't have been nervous. I have to admit, Carol, I've been reading your blog through Google Reader for so long that I haven't been to your actual blog in quite awhile. You've really implemented everything I'm always harping on. I'm not going to spend a lot of time highlighting all the pluses though, because I have some other things to talk to you about. First, a few minor suggestions:
  • You may have no control over it, but we'd like your header to be a little wider. It's great! just a little off balance.
  • The color of your dates is outside the palette. A blue color would be more appropriate, but then you wouldn't be able to see it on the blue background. We'd actually like to see the date within the post box to fix this. Otherwise, perhaps use the darker blue that you use in your sidebar.
  • The light lilac or purplish color you use on your post backgrounds would look nice if you could bring it in your sidebar as well.
  • I would like a background behind your profile. It's too important of a piece of your blog and gets just a tad bit hidden in the blue background.
  • Your "Want a Critique?" box bothers me because the first line of the paragraph is indented. It makes it look a little off center. I would keep it left justified so the heading looks centered above the whole block.
Um, wow. That's it. I don't even mind your blog awards on your sidebar because they look very clean and are appropriately placed below everything else.

What I'd really like to talk about is what you plan on doing next in terms of marketing yourself. You have an agent, you're about to go out on submission (right?), so you haven't sold your book yet. At this point, what should your blog be doing for you? 

This answer isn't a concrete one. Of course your main focus should be on polishing up that book for submission. But the minute you send it off, during those weeks or months of WAITING, I recommend you work on driving your numbers up. You have awesome, informative posts, and an attractive blog, get people reading your posts. I don't imagine that you need to know how but for other people who want some ideas, here's three:
  1. Visit new blogs and leave comments.
  2. Hold a contest getting people to tweet and facebook your blog.
  3. Join a blogfest.
I realize these are time consuming tasks (why do you think I'm not doing them?), but it is where I would go next with Artzicarol Ramblings.

What do you suggest for Carol? You know she wants to hear from you. :)


p.marques_guerreiro said...

Great post Laura - I'm really finding your blog critiques very useful as I'm in the middle of trying to turn my own around (both in terms of the look of it and my audience) so it's invaluable advice. Will now be going over to check out Carol's blog!

Southpaw said...

Yup, love the header. It caught my "eye". :) I, too, would love to side it wider, perhaps adding a few more books on either side.

The only other thing I would suggest is the blog critique in the side bar link to a page with more information and maybe a sample critique.

AlexJCavanaugh said...

Yeah, I think a sidebar color would bring it out better. Hard to see.

Laurabdiamond said...


Beth Stilborn said...

The content is great, and the main parts of the blog are put together well (wow, that's a lot of awards!) so I'm getting really nitpicky here, and I know it's just personal preference, but I found that single eye staring at me from the header to be a bit off-putting. I loved the post on grammatical errors!

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks, Laura!! Hmm, some of the things you mentioned are part of the template I chose, like having nothing behind my About Me/right column, and having the date above the post. I'll have to go into the Template Designer and see what I can do. Hey, I never noticed the header wasn't centered! I think it was at first, but then I made the right column wider at one point, and that probably made it off-center. I could re-make the .png header with more space on its left, and that would center it more. Thanks for the other tweaky ideas!! I may start making tabs too.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Great critique! I think you are spot on. Her blog looks fabulous! I'm headed over to it now.

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you! You can choose to comment as a guest or use any of the other login options available after you hit "Post As". Thanks for contributing to the conversation :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...