Monday, July 16, 2012

Blog Critique: Lifestyle on Jamaica's South Coast

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.

I meet so many interesting people through these blog critiques. Generally, writers, but sometimes I have the opportunity to step outside my small world and meet bloggers from different genres. Today's blog comes from June who blogs about Lifestyle on Jamaica's South Coast. You know the drill.

June, when you are blogging just for the pure joy of keeping a blog, I'm not going to be quite so picky about certain elements that your blog is lacking. However, I'm certain there are things you could do to increase your readership - something I'm sure even the most "for-fun" blogger is interested in. Also, I suspect you might have a motive since you are involved in real estate - is this true? Do you want to draw readers to purchasing real estate from you in Jamaica? That will make a difference in what I have to say.

If you are blogging just for fun then there isn't much to say. You have a straight forward message with cool, island blue. It's easy to read. You use pictures to attract readers. That's all good. 

I would suggest putting more contrast in your sidebar and your post area. Having it all stark white makes everything blur together. I'd also suggest you get a color palette - something more than just blue and white. That's too dull. Even if you are really set on just blue and white, you could get a few blues like this. Maybe use one of the lighter blues as a background for your sidebar. Choose another for your header background. Change your dates and footer info to one of the blues. Even better would be to add some orange like this.

After that, if you're blogging for fun, then I say you're done. Enjoy it. Blog often and passionately.

But, as I suspect you may be doing, if you are blogging to interest people in real estate, then I would suggest a lot more.
  • First, definitely fix up the color palette. It will make your information pop and help you appear more professional.
  • Second, get your personal info up near the top. Who are you? Let us know in a profile at the top of your sidebar.
  • Then, add pages for depth. Include contact info on one of the pages. Another page should include links to real estate available currently. You may even want to include some of your more popular posts about cost of living on the island or reasons to move to Jamaica as individual pages. Things to get people interested in your island.
  • I'd also make your background an island picture. You want your blog to make people desire being in Jamaica, right? It doesn't do that right now. Include as many enticing pictures as you can. In fact, include a page with just a photo gallery. My husband worked on this website. It's a website, not a blog, but it's a good example of drawing people in with pics. Don't you want to book La Villa Bella now?
  • I also would include the Link Within app. It draws people to look further through your blog.
  • I would work on getting links from other sites, places that talk about Jamaica or real estate in Jamaica, to lead to you. If you do that, you should also have a "Resources" page that includes links back to those sites. That would increase your traffic and your search rankings.
  • Be consistent with the font you use. Make sure it's the same size and font throughout all your posts. 
  • I love that you have the Google Translate option. That's ideal when you might have people from other countries visiting your site.
I love the things you write about. It's a great subject and you seem to enjoy what you write about. You stick to your "message" well too, which is sometimes tricky for people. 

The biggest issue, I think, is that when I look at your blog I can't tell for sure if you are blogging for fun or for purpose. This needs to be cleared up. It would help if you included that in your profile. Well, and include a profile. 

I hope this was a helpful critique. Again, I didn't know for sure what your intentions were, so I tried to give you the best advice I could with the information there.

Any advice from the readers?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Definitely needs a photo as part of the header. She could really have fun dressing up her blog.

Alark Betty357 said...

I think the color change looks nice! I didn't get to see your blog before you made the change, but I think the color change looks good!

David P. King said...

A blog critique? That is a novel idea. Taking notes from your suggestions. :)

robin said...

.thanks for sharing

Carol Riggs said...

Great critique. I agree that what's shown needs to be less plain, and match the colorfulness of Jamaica in general. :o)

Writing Service said...
I love the idea of photo gallery in the blog post. beautiful pictures grabs the audience attention and it looks colorful.

city said...

thanks for sharing.

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