Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blog Critique: Mithril Wisdom

A to Z is over and it's time to get back to our regularly scheduled programming. That means blog critiques!

First of all, I have to say I'm sorry to Jamie Gibbs, the author of today's blog Mithril Wisdom, because I put him off for this critique, like, a million times. Finally, I'm getting back in the routine of things. Thanks for your patience, Jamie!

So let's not keep Jamie waiting. Get over there and come on back to discuss.

Okay, disclaimer. I actually already followed Jamie's blog, but I usually read from Google Reader. That isn't usually an issue, except that I am going to talk about some things on Jamie's blog that may only be temporary for the A to Z Challenge. Just keep that in mind as we go forward.

I really like Jamie's blog. It is clean and easy to read. His header banner is tight and original. The background has a great texture. His profile is up high and easy to find. He has a contact and about me page. He has depth (more than one page). You can easily subscribe to follow him. His tag cloud is brief and precise.

Man, it looks like Jamie's a guy who follows my advice! This leaves me little to say.

Notice I said "little" to say, not "nothing" to say. I always have something to say. So, Jamie, here it is:

  • I usually want to see your name in your header. It is easy to find, but I'd love your subtitle to be Jamie Gibb's Fantasy Reviews. Unless, perhaps, you are eventually moving to have more than you review? I can see that you might be setting up for that.
  • While I am a big advocate of telling your readers what's going on, I'm not too fond of the paragraph at the top of the blog. I don't really have an alternative except to put it in the sidebar. At the top, it is easily seen, but it makes it cluttered. I might even prefer it if it was just one paragraph all together instead of broken up into three paragraphs. That's minor complaint. Especially since the paragraph is a temporary one.
  • Here's my bigger issue, one that again may not be relevant. The colors of your blog, while belonging to a nice coordinating scheme, do not coordinate with your logo. Do you use this logo all the time or just during the A to Z Challenge? Those should be your color scheme. That tan, brown, gray and blue. Right now, everything you have in your blog that accidentally has that color blue stands out. You need to use that blue on purpose to bring out blog elements you want to highlight. 
  • One more thing to be aware of: I'm a middle-of-the-road fantasy fan. I like some, but I'm not an expert. So I had to Google "mithril". Does it make sense to have a definition of "mithril" somewhere on your blog? Or are we good with people maybe not knowing?
Yes, overall, Jamie's blog gets an A.The most important thing about blogging, as I always say, is how you interact with readers and other bloggers. Jamie is a very attentive blogger and comments on other blogs (well, mine anyway) very regularly. I love conversations with him and always enjoy the content on his blog - even though I'm not that good of commenting in return. For this, Jamie deserves an A++. 

Do you have any tips or comments for Jamie?


Jamie Gibbs said...

Thank you for having me, Laura! You're spot-on about the colour scheme; creating a palette that works well has always been my weak point.
Now that A-Z is over, I'll make sure to follow your advice. Thanks so much for the critique :)

AlexJCavanaugh said...

Had to laugh that you needed to Google Mithril!
I like the setup on Jamie's blog. I've followed him for two years now and watched it evolve. And the guitar and sword were for the A to Z but I like that logo and hope he keeps it.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Thanks for having me, Laura! You're 100% spot on about the colours; having an effective palette is one of my weaknesses. Thanks for the advice, I'll be making the changes as soon as I'm able :)

Victoria Caswell said...

oooh! interesting!
jamie's such an awesome dude! i'm glad he's getting this kind of advice... i would never have noticed the opportunity for improvement.

Southpaw said...

I've followed Jamie for sometime to and have see changes over that time. I like the look now.
Now, um, I didn't know what mithril meant either and never bothered to google it. It might not be a bad idea to add a definition in the sidebar somewhere.

Matthew MacNish said...

I love Jamie's blog. I too find it funny that you had to Google Mithril, but then I often forget: not everyone is the Tolkien/D&D geek I am.

Callie Leuck said...

I'd suspect that most of Jamie's primary audience would be familiar with the term 'mithril.' That said, it wouldn't hurt to have a little burb off to the side briefly explaining the title. As it is, I'd like to know exactly what he means by "Mithril Wisdom." Wisdom that is super-strong and lightweight? I like the title, but I do kinda want to know the story behind it :)

Actually -- a suggestion: What about a tab "What is Mithril Wisdom?"

Callie Leuck said...

I suspect this paragraph from the "About/Contact" page is hinting at an explanation: "So what can you expect from Mithril Wisdom? Primarily, fantasy book reviews that are honest and balanced. You'll also notice some movie reviews, video game reviews and comic book reviews. I'm nothing if not flexible."

I'm pretty sure "honest and balanced" are the key words here.

Callie Leuck said...

I didn't know it had anything to do with D&D. That makes me even more intrigued by D&D...

Jamie Ayres said...

I love your critiques! I think my color scheme may be a bit boring *sigh* Add one more thing to my to do list, lol. I like the look of Jamie's blog, but your suggestions could improve it for sure:) Hey, how do I get my blog critiqued, huh huh huh:):):)

Beth Stilborn said...

Since I don't read fantasy, I don't know what Mithril is either, but I didn't feel that I needed to know it, so I just let it go. Not all of us read fantasy, Alex! ;-)

My only comment other than that is that I had to scroll all the way to the bottom to find the Facebook and Twitter links. If I hadn't been checking out the blog for the purposes of this critique, I doubt I would have got that far, so if I'd wanted to follow the blogger, I wouldn't have known he was on FB or Twitter.

Donna Hole said...

This is my first time reading a review. Not bad at all. I do enjoy Jamie's blog, and his style.

Nice to meet you Laura :)


Jamie Gibbs said...

Thanks for the comment, Beth. You're right that the buttons are pretty hidden, though I didn't want them clogging up my sidebar. Hmm, it's a tough trade off, but I'll try to make them more prominent. Thanks!

Jamie Gibbs said...

I like the idea, Callie :) Maybe I'll pop it in as a definition at the very top of my "About" Page but rename it "What is mithril wisdom?" Thanks for the feedback :)

Beth Stilborn said...

Maybe if you had them smaller, you wouldn't feel they were clogging up your sidebar? Those buttons are pretty huge (they're awesomely cool, but pretty huge).

Alark Betty said...

I like the fact that, Jamie's blog had a picture for each post and that words that he wanted to stand out were emphasized in a dark black! I too found it to be , A material! Good job, Jamie!

Great critique, Laura!

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