This Monday brings us magpies. Well, Magpie Writes, that is, a blog from Alex Villasante. Go visit and we'll jump right in with our Monday critique.
This is going to be a quick little critique, I think, because overall I really like your blog, Magpie Alex. I'm never short of opinions, though, so I do have a few to share:
- Magpie. I love that. But I'm curious what that has to do with you, Alex. I don't need to know, but I do need think you need your name - your author name - in your title or subtitle. I'm not really sure how to do that with your current title.
- Graphic Designer Joe wants some break up of the minty color. He admits that it may be a personal thing, but I also think its a tad too minty for me. Joe's suggestion is a header with some different colors in it. Or maybe your navigation bar could be solid. My suggestion is to change the hue of your post boxes - make it a light cream or something. Joe is the graphic designer, so he's probably the one to listen to.
- Joe also recommends using more of that orange highlight. I like it too. It would be nice if that was your navigation bar alternate color instead of that greenish hue.
- Yes! Your profile info is at the top!
- I'd put your followers right under your profile. Make it easy for people to follow.
- I usually am not too big of a fan of side columns, but yours is nicely organized and not over cluttered so good job.
- I love your posts and your personality. Fun reads.
- You use nice photos to add color to your blog.
- I'm happy you have your WIPs on your blog. I have heard more than one story about agents asking for material from a blog. When you get an agent, you'll have to take your excerpts down, just by the way. Be prepared for that. Another option is to just have a blurb about your work, such as what you include in a query letter. Either way - good job at having this.
- Include an email subscription. This is good not only because it gives people options to follow you, but it also helps you build up emails for the future.
- The shelfari gadget at the bottom of the page is nice too.
- Personally, I like it when blogs that have a good amount of posts have a search box. Yes the box at the top does searches, but it isn't a great search box. And I use search boxes. We've talked about it on this blog before and others don't care so much. But I do.
- Um, I'm a huge proponent of no word verification on comments. It kind of pisses me off when I see it. And sometimes I won't comment if I see it. There are other awesome bloggers out there that have recently spoken out against them as well. Do you really get so much spam that you can't deal with turning it off? See, I think that if you are trying to invite people to follow you and engage with you, you need to make it easy for them. Don't put up barriers. Okay, I'm off the soap box about word verification. Moving on...
That's really all I have to say. You told me you were ready to move your blog to the next level, though. So I have to ask where exactly you want to go now. Do you want to build followers? Or just make sure your blog is tip top presentable? I'd be happy to continue the conversation in the comments.
What are your opinions, dear readers?