Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blog Critique: The Six-Fingered Monkey

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.

There's no time to chat. You must go check out today's blog NOW. Because we're going to need a long time to talk about The Six-Fingered Monkey. (Yes, it's a shouty caps type of day. By the way, I recommend using bold instead of shouty caps. It's cleaner and more professional, but I don't always do as I say because I'm LAZY.)

Here's the major thing that Tom, Joe, and I have to say about Six's website: NOTHING.

Here's actual quotes from my g-chat with Joe about Six's site: "He's awesome, I have almost no comments."

It really doesn't get better than that. 

That doesn't mean I'm speechless. I'm still going to tell you some minor things we suggest and also what we love about The Six-Fingered Monkey, for those of you who are wondering.

First, the suggestions:
  • Graphically, the kid's arms show the edge of the header. It's not ideal because other than those cut-off arms, we can't see where that header ends. To fix this, Joe has three possible solutions -
    • Make a shadow around your header to match the shadow around the boxes on your blog so that it seems purposeful.
    • Move the arms to descend from the top or the bottom of the header instead of the side because we already know those are the borders.
    • (the coolest fix, but hardest) Figure out how to edit the code so that the arms will always protrude from the edge of the reader's monitor, no matter what the width. The downside of this option is that it may look off because it won't be lined up with the lower section, but we'd love to see it.
  • Get a link to buy your damn book on your actual page. You want people to buy your book. MAKE IT EASY. This goes for everyone of you published authors out there. NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.
  • I wouldn't mind seeing a couple of other colors in your palette. Keep the orange and find a complimentary color for your date stamp and/or your link colors. 
  • I generally hate ads on blogs. But yours don't bother me. Why? Because you are humorous and upfront about being a money-grubbing slut and the ads just sort of fit in. Plus, they are very tastefully placed and don't bother anyone. Here's the one issue I have though: the front page ad boxes aren't showing the ads (for me, anyway) so they just look empty and that's annoying.
  • Your name is hidden. Seriously. Are you trying to be anonymous? Because you have your name in your email and contact info. Either get a completely anonymous persona or tell us who you are. 
  • I wish you had a search box so I could look for a post that maybe explains why your name.
Now what we love and why:
  • Let me talk to the readers here for a sec. Here is a lesson for you all: Nothing beats personality. Truthfully, Damon's blog is pretty clean and professional looking without reading a single post. But once you read his posts, you know that even if he made huge mistakes, you'd forgive him. Because he's got personality. He's consistently funny - raunchy, even - but also extremely sensitive and beautiful. (Read I Really Missed You Today). 
  • Back to talking to you, Damon. There's distinction between your post section and sidebars.
  • It's easy to look at.
  • There aren't a bunch of pictures, but there is color in your posts because of your share links.
  • Your social media links are very clean and coordinated. Nice.
  • You have your Accolades on a separate page. And anyone who ever says "YourMom" is my hero. It's a standard out of my mouth, though it tends to confuse my kids when they ask me something like, "Who's making dinner?" and I answer "YourMom."
  • It's easy to follow you.
  • Your labels crack me up.
  • Hell, everything you say cracks me up.
That's my Six-Fingered Monkey critique. Please, go over there, follow him and LOVE him. Every day. I mean it. That is all.



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Need to see the name all right!

Lexa Cain said...

This critique makes the site sounds so great I am heading over there right now to take a look.
Great post! :-)

Elsie said...

I'm a follower of his and love how you did this critique. It's fair and honest. If I wasn't such a chicken, I'd have you do my blog.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Am I missing the link to the site other than the "I really missed you today" post? Today's not my link day. The site sounds awesome. I'll check it out.

Laura Barnes said...

Whoops! My bad! Fixed now.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

So, you're saying you like his blog? :) I've been over. It's great. What's not to like?

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

I just wanna say thanks for your kind words and your suggestions. I already made most of the changes! :)

Mina Lobo said...

I follow this feller's blog and lemme tell ya: that groovy clean look totally makes up for the potty mouth. ;-) Keep the goodness coming, Dudes.
Some Dark Romantic

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