I've been excited for today's blog critique because I know that Beth Stilborn is very actively working on improving her blog. She frequently comments here and is obviously very engaged with bloggers. No matter what her blog looks like or is doing, that engagement is more than half the battle. So let's journey on over and see what her blog looks like.
Okay, Beth, overall I like the structure and the clean, simplicity and all the elements I want to see in a blog are there. I have a hard time getting to all that, though, because the first thing we see is that your colors don't fit together.
Now I admit that I'm not a great color expert. I just know something feels wrong. But Joe, one of the graphic designers on this critique team, picks up the problem right off the bat. The header blue doesn't go with the other blues. Additionally, you need a contrast color to make it pop. Here's a link to color scheme designer with the colors that should be in your header and your contrast color to fit into your existing palette. If you have a good eye, you'll see that your header blue is not among those colors.
To decide what you want to make your contrast color, think about what you want to pop on your page. What do you want people to see immediately? Your name? Your titles? Your links? These are all things that you can make one of those contrast colors.
One more thing on your header: those tiny gray words that say "By Word of Beth" - can those be removed?
Now that we're past the color scheme I can really look at the rest of your blog elements.
- I love that I know who you are and what you do.
- Your name is in your title. Score!
- You have a good placement of your profile info.
- You have a search box! Yay!
- I like that you have many ways for people to subscribe to your blog, but that needs to be placed higher. You want to make it easy for people to follow you.
- You've already told me, but I need to tell the readers that Beth is having difficulty with her template and her navigation tabs. She has to put her links on the side instead. I suggest you continue working on resolving that issue. It would definitely help with the cleanliness of your blog.
- You use LinkWithin - I love that. I'm always curious why bloggers choose to only use the 3 across version of Link Within though, when you have more room on your template. If you chose the "Show 5" version, you would have five boxes and they would fill the space better.
- I think you do a good job at informative concise posts.
- You have a lot in your sidebar, but it doesn't look crowded.
- You tell us when you blog - nice.
- And you tell us what's coming up - that's a nice touch as well.
- Okay, we must address the graveyard at the bottom of your blog. (That blue fits your palette - did you notice it in the link I placed above?) There's just lots of stuff down there. It looks like you're trying to shove stuff under your bed. Get rid of the nonessential and make that area just as clean as the rest of the blog. I'd stick with your labels and the copyright info and that's it.
- Speaking of your labels, I prefer that they are alphabetical. One of the main reasons we use labels is so that readers can find stuff easily. When it isn't alphabetical, it's harder to sort through.
Good job blogging and engaging, Beth. You are a very busy writer bee and your dedication to your craft and the arts is apparent in your work.
Did I miss anything? What do you readers think? Oh, and if you want to test your own color scheme skills, take this test. I got a 6.0. I don't think that's a good score (hangs head in humiliation).