Tag Archives: audience

My Transmedia Strategy | Week 10

Before knowing the “transmedia”, I was already critically aware of the importance of having not just a cohesive online brand, but one that cross-promoted itself. Before starting djalexrose.com (and still now), Instagram was my primary social media platform. I had always promoted my Soundcloud using the business website function and by posting previews of songs, however, now the connection is deeper. My Instagram and Snapchats focus primarily on “story” function engagement with polls, event promotions, and exclusive media.

My Facebook and Twitter are both quite neglected, being automated to post content whenever I upload to Youtube and Soundcloud. I’ve heard from colleagues that Facebook has a much stronger ROI on advertisements than Instagram (which I recently tried) so I’ll be investing more into that platform soon. As of now, neither one has exclusive content.

Soundcloud has shifted to have only my best musical content. From originals to bootlegs to remixes, Soundcloud houses all the tracks that make it Spotify and ones that can’t clear copyright but are still strong releases. It also includes links to all my other social media platforms.

Youtube is the king of my content strategy. It’s home to weekly vlogs, 30-80 minute mixes, exclusive mashups, and much more. As you can see, djalexrose.com remains a focal point being included in my banner.

The final service I’ll mention is ArtistUnion, a download-gate service that exchanges downloads of your music for specified actions. In my case, I require my audience follows my Soundcloud and like and reposts the song they wish to download.

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Insights from my Google Analytics | Week 9

Let’s start off with my User Overview. We will look at my data since the website’s inception in January, including February 20 – March 10th whose data was lost due to a tracking code issue. My traffic is relatively low and consistent. According to 21 Handshake, my type of site has an average bounce rate of 70-90%. Compared to this benchmark, my bounce rate is very good at 38.44%, however, my low amount of users makes most of my analytics insubstantial. The biggest thing I’ve taken from this section is to remove my Youtube videos from my site as session durations are too short for them to be relevant.

Next up: some technology-related data. Most of my users are in the Apple ecosystem and use Google Chrome like myself. Not much to say here other than I may consider implementing an Apple Music widget as well, seeing as my music is hosted there as well as Spotify.

Now for geography. The website follows my Instagram and Soundcloud analytics in that I am predominantly popular in the United States and Canada. Interestingly, the website maintains my popularity from Spotify which is concentrated in Latin America, especially Chile and Brazil. This is most likely due to name confusion with Latin artist Alex Rose (the reason my name is spelt “alex rose”).

How about discovery? Well, there’s a pretty even split between Direct, Social, and Referral here. Most of my social traffic comes from Instagram (my primary social media for engaging my audience) and I’ve also seen a lot of traffic from my peers’ websites referring users to me. I should continue focusing on my Instagram as a traffic source and expand my collaboration to ensure more referrals. Finally, I plan to improve my SEO to see my organic search improve.

 Finally, pageviews broke down by page. No surprise that my homepage would have the most traffic. It’s also comforting to see that my shows page, where my audience can purchase tickets and RSVP to events, is second most popular. Shows are a growing form of revenue for me so this is a welcome insight. Unfortunately, my blog doesn’t appear to get much attention. Most of my blog content can be found directly on my Youtube, but moving forward I plan to have exclusive blog content focused on SEO friendly tutorial content.

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5 Things Developing a Website for My Brand Taught Me | Essay 2

djalexrose.com home page, January 2018

 

The first four months of 2018 have felt like the fastest of my life. At the crossroads of doors opened and closed, I’ve developed a digital home for myself to chronical what has begun to feel like the legitimate fruition of my creative pursuits. To say I’ve learned a lot about myself, my industry, my art, and my brand is an understatement. I want to focus the many learnings I’ve had into the 5 most important. Some of these I knew in a different context but had to realize they still applied, some were taught to me by mentors, and some I learned over the coals. Regardless, they continue to inform my decisions about this website and my digital presence overall.

Teach yourself

Unfortunately, none of us come out of the womb knowing how to use Adobe Premier, how to produce in FL Studio, or how to design a website. Thankfully we live in possibly the best time to learn ever. Companies like Skillshare, Khan Academy, Lynda.com, and many more have been built with the sole intention of educating people and developing their hard-skills, with the World Economic Forum estimating the e-learning market was worth an enormous $166.5 billion in 2015. The best part? If these services aren’t the content for free, someone on Youtube is.

Here is a short list of hard-skills I’ve become proficient in mostly from video tutorials and with no formal training: DJing (both on controllers and on CDJs), music production (primarily in FL Studio), playing the guitar, Photoshop, Premiere, Salesforce, and so on.

I’ve seen far too many of my peers roll over and die at the discovery of their own ignorance or incompetence. News flash: success doesn’t come from your genes or luck, it comes from closing your Netflix tab and spending that time learning deliberately.

 

Build a home

I had some initial scepticism about the costs and benefits of creating a website for my brand. As a musical artist, my priority should be directing the public to my Spotify as my main revenue stream and putting clicks in between discovering me and listening to my music could lose potential listeners. I’ve learned very quickly however that this potential cost is vastly outweighed by having my own domain, my own home on the internet.

Magnetic Magazine puts it best in saying “one of the biggest advantages of running a website is that the artist has full control over it”. Unlike social media platforms like Instagram where I am at the whim of the algorithm about whether or not my tribe even see my content, every piece of content on this website is created and designed by myself. I can experiment and change as much or as little as want at any speed. The agility and freedom of having a website has allowed for me to engage my tribe how I see best.

Integrating widgets on the homepage

 

The other huge benefit to having a website is the consolidation of the many platforms I use. Instead of linking people my Spotify, Soundcloud, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, I can just tell them to come here. It’s fantastic. Especially as I learned to integrate widgets throughout the site instead of hyperlinks, djalexrose.com became the easiest way to follow me on Spotify, subscribe to my Youtube, and much more. My blog and media pages are also filled with relevant content that is well organized, meaning my tribe can explore the site and find value throughout.

You are not your audience

Many creatives say that they make their art for themselves and that their desired audience is “people like me”. While the response may come from a place of wanted to seem authentic and empathetic, it can’t be true. If it were, any content you produce would have 0 value to the audience as they’ve already thought of, known, or seen it. It’s possible to have a past version of yourself as an intended audience, but to say you are your audience is a failure to understand your own potential and the variety of interests people have.

Take me for example. I am, as of writing this, a 21-year-old male from a major North American city who produces bass-heavy / ghetto house music at an intermediate level, DJs multiple genres at clubs downtown, is classically trained in music theory, and a vocalist. If I only targeted myself as my audience I would miss a lot of opportunities. For example, my experience as a classically trained musician who is literate in music theory is unique in the dance music production industry, meaning I can teach those who do not have my level of theory. Being a vocalist means I can attract other vocalists from outside of the dance music world. If I only focused on my own age range I would miss a huge potential audience of teenagers who consume dance music. Finally, as an intermediate producer, I can’t teach other intermediate producers but I can teach novice producers techniques I find valuable.

Your target audience should be value-aligned to your brand, meaning that they can extract value from your content, but that target is far larger than you as an individual. Accepting this fact does not come at the cost of authenticity, in fact, it amplifies it by making you seem inviting and accessible to the public.

Make it easy

After 4 years of a Communications degree, my writing and speech heirs more on the side of quantity over brevity. My tendency towards purple prose is still noticeable in my writing which is a huge problem when communicating with a general audience. Thankfully, the medium of a blog incentivizes concise content over the 3000-word research papers of my university faculty.

When it comes to creating content for my audience, I always keep in mind that I target beginner producers and dance music fans who have little-to-no technical knowledge. This manifests in my content in a couple key ways. First I try to never have videos go over 10 minutes to make sure my tutorials are focused and streamlined. Second, in editing I simplify sentences as much as possible. The more density of meaning and the less repetition the better.

This philosophy even impacts my UX design. Compared to other DJs, my website is very minimalist and visually simple. Take a look at Dutch superstar DJ Hardwell’s website. It is so cluttered with carousels and text boxes it leaves me nauseous. Of course, this is due to the challenges of being world famous and having multiple music labels to promote, but for an artist who is always so cutting edge, his website is surprisingly unfriendly. I try to do the opposite of Hardwell with my website. I am okay with having more than 2 pages for the sack of accessible and we as designers should always have the user’s ease in mind.

Don’t keep secrets

The world of music production like any art is prone to copy-cat’ing. Once Tchami and Oliver Heldens combined the worlds of deep house and mainstage electro to invent the genre of future house, Youtube exploded with tutorials on how to make their bass synth patches and percussion patterns. The same would happen with future bass, future bounce, and now Confession-style ghetto house. Because of this, most producers are reserved about sharing their techniques out of fear of being copied.

A project file in FL Studio

I believe that an artists sound goes beyond just the bass they use (see Tchami’s evolving style from 2014-2018) or the shaker they prefer. Videos titled “How to make music like _” or “How to sound like _” equip developing artists with new tools to add to their arsenal in developing their unique sound. Personally, learning to make percussion like Oliver Heldens, kick patterns like RICCI, basses like Tchami and Malaa, and melodies like Martin Garrix have allowed me to craft my own sound in my productions like Drank.

Sharing my techniques with other only works in my favour creating a stylistic movement behind my music. If someone produces a track similar to Drank, others will say “hey that sounds like Drank! I like it!” and both myself and the other artist benefit.

Conclusion

There you have it, my top 5 learnings from developing a website for my artist brand. I expect to continue learning more as this site and my career progress, but I’m extremely happy with where its come in such a short time. If you’re a returning reader, thanks for sticking with me, and if you’re new, welcome to djalexrose.com.

 

 

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Essay #2: My Experience

This spring, I signed up for Publishing 101 because I thought it would be useful to learn about social media, especially because I’ll probably work a lot with website building in the future. I’m an Interactive Arts and Technology major, and I’ve learned about graphics and interactive design, but they don’t teach us about the social media part of web design.

I can’t say that this is my first blog, I’ve ever made, because when I was a nerdy teenager, I made this lame Tumblr blog. But it was just reblogging pictures I thought that were cute. I’ve also made a website before for my graphic design class, that focused on making a portfolio and interactive design. This blog I’ve made, PICKIEATER is a huge improvement from my previous websites, especially in terms of design and content.

PICKIEATER is my diary of food. This blog is for myself. I never intended to make money off blogging or gain fame, I just enjoy sharing my dining experiences, so that I have the chance to look back on them. Although, I do think that this blog will be useful for those looking at restaurant reviews before visiting them, or people who don’t know what to order from a restaurant.

PICKIEATER reflects who I am. The way I write shows that I’m a young adult, who is laid back, and very honest. I would never pretend to like food that I didn’t actually enjoy. I also like to write as if I’m telling a friend about my experiences, so my writing isn’t significantly sophisticated and at most times, colloquial. I wanted my online personality to be that average university student who loves to eat and takes pictures of every meal, because that’s who I am in real life. As for the design aspect, the minimalism and aesthetics encompasses my general approach to design. Everything I design is minimalistic and colors are not vibrant. Another thing I tried to incorporate was photography. I wanted all my photos to be original and high quality. I edit all the pictures I use, but I don’t always have my camera with me when I go out to eat. But I am proud of how the pictures went from dull and poor quality to vibrant and appetizing. I also wanted to have a logo, but it is still in it’s draft phase.

I thought it would be easy to make a blog with WordPress at the start of the semester. But I learned that it is not easy to make the blog look like how I imagined it to be. I have no experience in coding for websites, so it was hard to customize the things I wanted to customize. I had difficulty the fonts and colors, and I still don’t understand why my category excluding code does not work. But I learned from research that fonts and many other things can be customized with plugins. However, I also learned that very specific and easy to use features of plugins are not free. Of course, I am planning to learn how to code in the future, but for now  my blog relies on plugins.

The lecture on website design is one of my favorite lessons of Publishing 101. In my opinion, it is the most important. People are visual, so if the blog looks unpleasant, why would the public want to read through the blog? I learned so many important aspects, for example responsive design, spacing and proportion, and typography. 

Even though, this blog is mostly for myself, it’s interesting to understand who the audience is. Google Analytics is an immensely useful tool to recognize the readers and to strategize how to gain more viewers. Last time I checked my Google Analytics, I learned that most of my viewers found my blog through my Instagram. I started posting more, and promoting my food Instagram on my personal Instagram. Now, over 50% of my audience is acquired through social media, and I have had about 45 viewers in the past month. If I want to monetize in the future, promoting my social media is definitely the direction to go in.

Publishing 101 also had interesting lessons on one’s online presence. One of the most memorable moments, was the ted talk about Justine Sacco, and how a tweet ruined her life. I’m already a cautious person online, but the video really showed me how unintended words could lead to a disaster. It was a good reminder to consider the consequences of what you’re posting.

In conclusion, I have learned so much about publishing online, and about the online world. Even though, I have improved tremendously, I have so much more to improve on. I want to have my Instagram feed on a sidebar, a gallery of all my photos, a map on every food post, a few videos, and a finalized logo. I think that I will continue blogging since it is fun, maybe I’ll even take Publishing 201.

 

Essay 2

Reflecting on My Journey Through Pub 101 

The process of creating a blog was much different than what I anticipated. I thought that it would be a fun and straight-forward process. And while the process was fun and exciting, it was also confusing, frustrating, and sometimes aggravating. The following images illustrate what I thought blogging would be like vs. what blogging was actually like:

 

What I thought creating a blog would be like. Image source: Arts on the Horizon.

 

What creating a blog was actually like. Image source: Kennedy Institute.

One of the main things I struggled with was finding a purpose for my blog. The amount of freedom that I was given in this course was foreign to me. I think academia has conditioned me into thinking that there is always a right or wrong way to do things, and this mindset was really difficult to overcome when I started blogging. After reading Gardner Campbell’s (2009) A Personal Cyberinfrastructure, I realized that the amount of freedom afforded in this course was necessary in order for students to learn the ins and outs of cultivating an online identity. Campbell (2009) notes that by building a personal cyberinfrastructure, students will “acquire crucial technical skills for their digital lives … [and] engage in work that provides richly teachable moments” (para 7). Therefore, it is only through a hands-on, self-driven approach that students may be able to fully explore and understand the intricacies of the online realm. Overall, while I learned how to blog in Pub 101, I also learned about the “so what?” and “why?” questions underlying what is done online.

Initially, I decided that I didn’t want to set too many restrictions on the content that I would post. The theme of my blog is fairly open – I have a “blog” section for personal posts, and I also have categories for food and beauty. Later, however, I realized that having too many categories created some difficulties for me – was I being concise enough? Should I focus on one specific topic? How was I defining my audience? Had I known what I know now, I probably would have been more precise about the purpose of my blog.

In Process Post Three, I noted that my imagined audience includes someone similar to myself: female, late teens or early twenties, student, interested in posts related to food and beauty. In addition, I think that my blog might attract other South Asian females because culture is discussed in some of my personal blog posts. Conversely, my real audience comprises my close friends, some of my classmates in Pub 101, and of course, professor Norman.

Keeping My Audience in Mind

I did not have a distinct audience in mind when I created my blog. Instead, I followed Warner’s (2002) suggestion to “put on a show and see who shows up” (p. 82). Unfortunately, I failed to understand the importance of defining my audience. Now, however, I realize that keeping a potential audience in mind is an integral component of the blogging process. At the same time, this is a personal blog first and foremost. Therefore, my decisions are mostly informed by my personal preferences, and my imagined audience is a secondary consideration.

I decided to stick with a minimalist theme because it is trendy and easy to navigate. This is ideal for my target audience because I expect that most individuals in their late teens or early twenties are comfortable with a clean design. With regard to my content, I kept a casual tone and tried to include personal anecdotes where possible. In addition, I included a sidebar with an image and description of myself. I did this because my blog is personal in nature and I wanted my audience to feel like they could relate to me.

After Mauve’s lecture on design principles and Heather’s peer review of my site, I decided to incorporate a seafoam green accent colour. Unfortunately, the theme that I am using does not allow me to include an accent colour. In order to do this, I had to make changes to the CSS using the editor tab. By doing this, I realized how malleable themes really are. I think that an accent colour enhances the consistency of my website and is also aesthetically-pleasing for my audience. In “How To Survive the Digital Apocalypse”, Travis Gertz (2015) raises concerns that we have designed ourselves into a corner by being reliant on design choices created by machines. To address this concern, I customized my theme to reflect my personal taste. As a result, I believe that my audience is better able to get a sense of my personality and style.

Moving Forward

Pub 101 has inspired me to do a better job of linking my existing social media accounts to each other. In “Publics and Counter-Publics”, Michael Warner (2002) argues that “no single text can create a public… nor can a single voice, a single genre, or a single medium” (p. 420). In class, we learned that the medium we use can ultimately influence what and how we post. Thus, I think that transmedia integration is an effective way to provide my followers with a more nuanced and comprehensive look at my online self.

To be honest, I do not think that I will continue with this blog. However, I might re-structure it to narrow the scope of my content (e.g. create a personal blog, a food blog, or a lifestyle blog). Currently, my blog is a mix of personal/lifestyle content and I don’t think that will fare well if I want to expand my site. Admittedly, this blog is a bit of a mess. But, at the very least, Pub 101 has equipped me with the tools that I’ll need to clean this mess up.

References

Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructure. EDUCAUSE Review, 44(5), 58-59.

Gertz, T. (2015, July 10th). Design machines: How to survive the digital apocalypse. Retrieved from https://louderthanten.com/coax/design-machines

Warner, M. (2002). Publics and counterpublics. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88(4). 413-425.

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Peer Review: danielledufresne.com

Target Market

When first landing on Dani’s website, I immediately understood the intended audience of her content. Pastel flowers and soft typefaces are typical feminine signifiers and the personal nature of the blog posts lead me to believe Dani is targeting young women like herself. I’d suspect that her content appeals mostly to her extended university network, but also has the potential to reach strangers who fit the same lifestyle profile.

With this profile as our established target market, we can now examine her website through the lens of appealing to it.

Writing & Language

Speaking in a voice that is familiar to your audience is crucial to connecting and engaging with them. One facet of Dani’s writing I have noticed is the use of parenthesis to disclose tangential thoughts. The technique adds an organic element to her writing, making it more similar to the spoken word. Dani also uses very plain language with very little purple prose or technical language without explanation. This is a very effective way for her to engage a lamen audience who would benefit from introductory content like her Workout Routine post.

The subjects of her posts are also strongly relevant to her intended audience. Fitness and food are two of the most popular topics for young women and vegetarianism is growing in popularity with young people. The length of her posts is also accessible being not too long or too short. I suspect most readers will be F-shape skimming the posts, but they are not so technical that meaning would be lost by doing such.

Some other quick notes about Dani’s website: the title “The Dynamics of Dani: the Pieces of me Beyond the Pictures” is somewhat confusing. Is this alluding to her being a photographer? If so, there’s no evidence of this anywhere else on the site. What does the word “dynamics” mean in this context? It seems to have just been selected for alliteration – a weak choice to make when choosing something so important. Another note: the use of the term “Stalk me” for her social media is actually quite clever. This is a common colloquialism among young females that helps Dani connect with her audience.

Summary

Dani does well attracting her intended audience of young women. Her writing, design, and aesthetic are all aligned to service her particular demographic but her title seems fitted to a different site.

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Peer Review 3

This week, I was assigned Monica Alves’ website, Multi Monica, to review. The main goal of this review was to assess her site’s marketability to her intended audience. According to one of Monica’s process posts, she would describe her reader’s as having these characteristics:

  • Young women in her early twenties
  • University student
  • Creative
  • Travel, photography and music lover
  • Living in North America
  • Has a steady part time job or internship
  • Is in a committed relationship

My first thought was that this is a very specific audience. However, Monica further explains in this process post that this is essentially a description of herself, so it only makes sense that her audience has similar qualities. However, she made sure to mention that she is not closed off to other types of readers, and she hopes to grow her blog so that it relates to all kinds of demographics.

For the purpose of this review, though, I am going to use her description of her audience’s persona to determine whether her site is marketable. Lucky for her, I fit 6 out of the 7 characteristics that she described her audience as having.

Upon arriving at the home page of Monica’s website, it is clear that she is doing a good job of catering to her audience. She has both a music page and a travel page, which are two of the interests her intended audience should have. She also mentions her audience as liking photography, and sure enough, her travel page features some of her own photos. In addition, she has a footer where she features her photography (titled “Through my Lens”), and it can be accessed through any page of her website. Seeing as photography, music and travel are the three main interests she described her audience as having, I appreciated that there were easy-to-access pages devoted to each of them. This makes it easy for her readers to find the content that best relates to them.

Another thing I noticed was that Monica included a lot of photos in her posts. This made the website more colorful, and her posts more interesting to read. In class, we have been talking about bounce rate and session duration, or how long people spend on our websites. I found that because of the pictures, I stayed on her website longer. They lured me in and made me want to read her content, which is something that is hard to do. So props to you, Mon.

Overall, I think Monica’s website has great marketability. As someone in her audience demographic, I thoroughly enjoyed her content, and was very impressed with the layout of her website (she has a great balance of white space and color). Out of all of my classmates websites, hers has resonated with me the most.

If she were to add advertisements to her website, I would suggest that she put them on the right hand side of her home page, because there is white space, but the ads would not clutter the page. She mentioned in another process post that she tried putting ads in already, but that it messed up the layout of her website. I think that if she fix that issue and increase the number of users on her site, she will have an easy time monetizing her website. 🙂

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Vol. 10: Peer Review #3

Howdy!

This week, I will be reviewing Teresa’s blog: teresahanulseo.com. I want to be clear from the beginning, as per usual, that I will be examining her content as well as visual design. In light of this, it would be best to start off by trying to describe the audience persona she has envisioned for her blog.

Already from the homepage of her blog, I feel that I can quickly try to identify the type of audience it is for. Her blog title, “The Confusing, Jumbled Life of Teresa Hanul Seo” already denotes that her blog is intended for a more young, fun, and lighthearted audience. Right away, humour is present within her blog, denoting one should view this without taking anything too seriously. If I were to give an ideal demographic audience, I would say that it would be roughly between the ages of 15-20, either male or female, and closely tied to attributes of Millennials.

Right away, I’m presented with a humourous picture of Childish Gambino. I would say that in terms of designwise, it seems out-of-place, but it ties the theme of her blog together in the beginning. The one thing it does correct is that it entices me to want to see other things for a possible laugh or smile. The colours used are vibrant pops of red and yellow, yet are on the softer side to ease the eyes. I’m glad she didn’t use overly vibrant colours or I would’ve commented on it. Her text is also a different colour, and gives a nice contract to everything. I would say the tagline under her title is a little hard to read, and possibly reworking the title a bit could have it feel more balanced.

The red pop of her menu bar struck out at me too much in the beginning, but once I realized some text inside her blog was the same colour, it was now consistent with the rest of her blog. I would say maybe now the blue of her title might be out of place–I personally find 3 colours that are very different from each other hard to handle. But, nonetheless, the carefree nature of her blog might say otherwise.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Teresa also has a calendar at the bottom of every page in her blog. Though the it is nicely presented, I found it kind of off-putting since there was no real use for it–we can quickly view the calendar from our mobile devices or laptop.

Teresa’s about section already sparks her style of writing for her audience. It’s very conversational, and I find it warming. Her ability to be this loud helps me realize how much she can be that dependable friend, or the main character in those tween movies we adore. This is her voice, and I find it quite powerful!

Though the design is sleek on different pages, I find that it is not creative enough for the intended “feel” she was going for. Maybe Teresa ought to put pictures in posts too, to at least bring some colour to her text.

I can’t say too much about her content, as none of it resides outside of pub101 posts or peer reviews, but I will say if she did post any content, I wish for her to include the quirkiness she has in her language, some colour to denote the fun and silly atmosphere, and to be creative! Overall, I find that she was able to pinpoint her audience well with her design and whatever content she has on there, but I am rooting for her to include more and post more for her audience!

’till next time, homies!

Peer Review #3- Honestlynaomi

First Impressions

This week, I’ll be reviewing Naomi’s blog, honestlynaomi.com, with a focus on marketability. My first impression of Naomi’s site is that it is clean, elegant, and easy to navigate. Naomi has implemented a pop of colour in her logo, as well as a personal tagline that reads “daily doses of my lifestyle and pop culture, with a little sarcasm mixed in.” As a reader, I immediately know that this will be a personal and lifestyle blog, and I can decide whether I would like to explore further based on this initial information.

Logo and tagline of honestlynaomi.com
Audience

I think that Naomi’s blog will attract females in their late teens to mid-twenties, especially those who are interested in fashion, food, travel, and the post-secondary experience. I like how Naomi has explicitly outlined her target audience on her “About” page, which reads “if you love fashion, food, and travel you’ll feel right at home here.” Through this statement, Naomi recognizes that “a public is self-organized… it exists by virtue of being addressed” (Michael Warner, 2010, p. 413). By addressing her audience in both the “About” page and in the sidebar, Naomi has effectively acknowledged and welcomed her audience.

 

Sidebar widget on honestlynaomi.com
Marketability

Naomi’s site is a personal and lifestyle blog; therefore, the marketability of the site rests on Naomi herself. I think she has done a great job in this area – she has a descriptive “About” page, a sidebar featuring a personal message and photo, and a customized logo. I think that the personal photograph in the sidebar is a nice touch that humanizes Naomi and allows her audience to put a face to her posts. In “How To Survive the Digital Apocalypse”, Travis Gertz (2015) raises concerns that we have designed ourselves into a corner by being reliant on design choices created by machines. By customizing her logo, sidebar, and theme, Naomi has addressed the concern that “originality is risky” (Gertz, 2015).

I suggest that Naomi post content more frequently and consistently, especially if she is looking to monetize her blog in the future. This would increase the amount of traffic on her blog as well as show potential sponsors that she is dedicated to her site.

Content 

Naomi’s blog currently features two posts. So far, Naomi’s posts have explored her personal life and food. These topics are broad enough that they will appeal to a range of individuals including her target audience. In order to increase readership in the future, I suggest that Naomi monitor her Google Analytics after posting some more content. This will allow her to determine which posts receive the most traffic. In turn, she can tailor her content to reflect what her audience is interacting with the most.

Layout and Site Structure

The menu consists of four major categories: “Life”, “Food”, “Fashion and Beauty”, and “Travel”. One suggestion I have is to reduce the number of categories until more content has been posted. I suggest removing the “Travel” category because it does not feature any posts, and I think that most users navigate away from websites once they reach an empty category or a broken link. By removing unnecessary categories, Naomi can enhance user flow within her blog. In turn, Naomi will enhance the marketability of her site by keeping users on her blog for longer periods of time.

Blank “Travel” category

As a reader, I was a bit confused by the “Fashion and Beauty” category – it consists of a few images of clothing and make-up, but the images are not accompanied by any text or description. This can be easily addressed by incorporating these images into a text post and providing links to the products. As a result, Naomi would increase the content on her blog, as well as provide potential opportunities for affiliate marketing.

Social Media

At this point, Naomi has not integrated any forms of social media onto her site. I would recommend incorporating at least one social media platform using the widget feature. In “Publics and Counter-Publics”, Michael Warner (2002) posits that “no single text can create a public… nor can a single voice, a single genre, or a single medium” (p. 420). By incorporating social media widgets onto his site, Naomi would interact with her audience through various mediums in order to contribute to the “reflexive circulation of discourse” that is required of a public (Warner,  2002, p. 420).

Design

I think that Naomi has done a great job designing her site with her target audience in mind. Naomi’s audience likely consists of young females who are students or hold part-time jobs. This is an audience that does not want to exert too much time or energy navigating a website. Naomi’s blog is great in this regard – the design is clean, there is minimal unnecessary content, and the blog is easy to navigate. One minor suggestion I have is to clean up the “About” page by removing the comment box. The comment box creates a lot of unnecessary clutter and throws off the visual equilibrium of the page.

Conclusion

Overall, I enjoyed reading Naomi’s posts and I think that she is off to a great start. One thing that stood out to me was how Naomi directly addresses her audience in her “About” section and in the sidebar. As a reader, this acknowledgement made me welcomed and appreciated. There are a few minor changes that can be made to the menu and “About” page, but this can be done fairly quickly. I look forward to reading more of Naomi’s content in the future!

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Some Semester Thoughts

This semester has been not just about creating a website, but about creating an audience. I have always been inspired to create something that benefits others, because a lot of what we learn in life is that the world can be a really negative and greedy place. But I feel that if we don’t take a little time to think about ourselves as well, we won’t be able to help others. If everyone thought like this, I believe the world would be a better place to live in for sure. My blog is for those who have the same ideals. It’s for those who feel a little lost or stressed out, for those who would like to contribute to a space that isn’t trying to sell you something, and a place for others to express their stories and how they get through their lives. I particularly want to cater to those going into University, because when I started, there was an overwhelming amount of opinions about what is healthy and what isn’t. Fab diets, fat loss pills, and insane and unrealistic expectations of how you should work out and look like are huge issues. My blog reflects this with calming or goofy pictures meant to make people reflect what they do in their own lives, or even laugh. It’s a space for people to get information that isn’t from a top-down perspective. Although I haven’t started gathering comments on my website yet, I would hope to see more as I post more content. I get a lot of comments and reviews on my Facebook as well, not necessarily on the website itself, but so far I have gotten a lot of good reviews and look forward to more, with criticisms welcomed.

Personally, I was really moved by Audrey Watters article, “The Web We Need to Give Students”. This class and this article sum up what I believe University should be all about; not just education, but promoting creativity and new ideas and challenging our perspectives. I feel that University doesn’t do that as much in this day and age. It is such a traditional industry that dates back thousands of years — don’t we think we’ve gone beyond that old structure by now? We need to be challenged and driven to new ideas, and constricting us to these traditional teaching practices is stamping out creativity and drive. This class allowed the students in PUB 101 to “have control over the look and feel of their own sites, including what’s shared publicly. This means they have some say — although not complete — over their personal data, and in turn they begin to have an understanding of the technologies that underpin the Web, including how their work and their data circulate there” (Watters, 2015). As Watters (2015) says, “giving students their own digital domain is a radical act”. I call for these education industries to do the same in returning the agency to students, and in return you will have students who will be enlightened and contribute back to society with enthusiasm and passion.

I was really glad we went over online behaviours, particularly the bad ones, and because of this I was extremely interested in Whitney Philips’ article, “Let’s call ‘trolling’ what it really is”. Trolls are essentially “why we can’t have nice things online” (Philips, 2015). In an internet-driven world, I constantly worry about what my younger sisters will have to go through in their online environments. My little sister even knows the term ‘trolling’ and will use it when describing certain people even though she doesn’t have any social medias. Philips (2015) emphasizes that the term itself “implies a level of playfulness that tends to minimize their antagonistic behaviours, or at least establish a firewall between the embodied person and their digitally mediated actions”. This was a huge wake-up call for me and I am able to better position myself on the impact of people’s online behaviours, especially knowing that’s not just us being sensitive when we go against trolls; we are standing up against hate and violence. Especially violence people wouldn’t even commit or act in if they were face-to-face with the person they were ‘trolling’.

Another wake-up call for me was actually when I reflected on my online data trail. I haven’t had much filtration or thought about what I put online besides the basics, like no revealing photos of my body or me at parties, no obscene language, etc. My digital breadcrumb trail extends long and true. I thought about it this way; if I tried to run away and disappear, I am not sure I’d be able to stay ‘missing’ because I know I’m very dependent on everything I use, like my bank cards, phone, computer, etc. Although I have to admit I love anything that makes my life more convenient, it does disappoint me how much companies know about me. Like with how Suzanne Norman experienced going into the Amazon bookstore in Seattle, data is collected everywhere. I believe I’m most noticed in my online shopping, because all the advertisements online are tailored to what I’m always looking for. Maybe we have just grown accustomed to accepting a lack of privacy. Podacademy sums up the issue perfectly in one question: “Should we then as producers of data benefit from the money that we help generate or is the fact that we use these services for free suffice enough to serve as a form of payment in return for our data?”. I would have to argue yes, because what other choice do we have? If Facebook suddenly decided that it’s users had to pay a monthly fee, would I? Probably, I’m too dependent on it now. It sucks but it’s the truth. All I would be able to hope for is a different company to come along and offer a free service.

I would like to continue on the blog and see how it goes, however, especially as I move into PUB 201, I actually have a lot of inspiration to create a new blog based on the EDM industry. It is something I am truly passionate about and can possibly monetize off of, whereas with this one, I don’t think it feels proper to have a lot of ads on my blog. I also have a lot of inspiration for it so I look forward to creating that before the next semester even starts.

You can find my inspired articles here:

https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713

http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/staff-editorials/12898/trolling-stem-tech-sexism/

https://publishing.sfu.ca/2016/03/breadcrumbs-of-data/

Podacademy’s article/podcast by George Philip, Jennifer Anne Lazo, Rooham Jamali and Rudy Al Jaroodi: http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/

Peer Review #3

For my third peer review, I was assigned Ji-Yun’s blog shiksohyeda, with the focus on her marketability for her intended audience group. Being an avid music lover, Ji-Yun uses her blog to express her love of music by sharing videos of various covers and artists. In turn, there is a lot of potential for monetizing in...