Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blog Critique: Praise, Prayers and Observations

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, go here.

We're diving in today because as soon as I finish I get to watch the latest Walking Dead. So head on over to Jessy Ferguson's Praise, Prayers and Observations and we'll talk below.

Jessy, first of all, thank you for the blog love! I appreciate the shout out.

I'm really impressed with your blog structure. It's very functional. Overall, there's not much we recommend. Of course, we're never without a few opinions.
  • We appreciate your simple neutral header in contrast with your very busy background. This is a good design choice.
  • However, we would like to see a few more colors pulled in from your background into your blog. Right now, you're using one color really - that rust red that turns more orange when hovered over. We'd like to see your date stamp and perhaps your links in different colors. On your latest post, you used blue for some of your links. You usually don't, and we say you should always be consistent, but that blue does add a nice color. You could use that blue all the time and pull another color in from your background as well.
  • Your template may not allow it, but I'd love it if your sidebar could be a shade different than your post area. Especially if your post area is lighter, it draws the eye to the most critical information.
  • If you added Link Within, I think people could get lost in your blog for hours. I recommend the addition. 
  • Make sure all your links open into new windows. You don't want to lose people when they click on a link.
  • You have great depth, I'm referring to your other pages. I enjoyed reading each of them. I'd only suggest adding a way for people to contact you to one of your pages, and also a Home button so people can easily get back home when they've clicked elsewhere.
  • Move your followers up under your Hearts, Hearths, & Holidays. I'm glad the link to purchase your book has place of pride, but after that, the follower button should be next so new followers can easily sign up.
  • Some of your sidebar could be cleaned up. Your A to Z Challenge badge could be put under achievements, for example. The more you have in your sidebar, the less people look at it. Put what you want seen up top, clean up as much as you can.
  • Some of your books deserve some explanation and links, if possible. I'm guessing that you have a piece in Chicken Soup for Chocolate Lovers and the Daily Devotions, but I don't know this for sure. If people can still purchase them, have them linkable to other places. If they aren't sold any longer, you may want to put those under your achievements instead of in your sidebar.
Overall, like I said above, I think your blog functions well. You're a great writer and I'm glad you've come back to it. Great work and good luck with your future endeavors! (I love the premise of A Bad Guy Forever - hope it works out!)

What other advice do you have for Jessy?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hyperlinks! Agree with that. Once people leave, they don't go back.

Lexa Cain said...

Great critique and suggestions as usual, Laura. Thanks for sharing! :-)

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