For our third and final peer review I have been given ‘Carly Camera’. Upon first glance her website seems to be a platform for her to express her more artistic side, primarily through photography. But upon looking a bit deeper into some different posts and pages, it becomes clearer that this blog is also a way for her to express herself in a general sense as well.
I can’t be positive of what her target audience is, but my best guest would be to say that she is hoping to share her content and connect with likeminded people. Personally I am a big fan of her blog, I love her vintage and simplistic artistic style and thoroughly enjoyed her post on how she edits her iPhone photos to look as if they had been taken on a 35mm camera. I can assume she probably uses Instagram as her primary channel or platform outside of her website as it is definitely the most effective and useful platform for any sort of artists. By prioritizing her Instagram, she can promote and draw greater to attention her blog/website through her Instagram accounts and individuals posts. Sharing content on Instagram automatically subjects it to a large audience, an audience that can then be brought over to her website through reference to it in these posts.
Instagram can be a very, very useful channel for photographers. Not only does it give photographers an easy way of creating a public portfolio and a trackable, active following – it also allows for a lot of internal collaborations and networking. Photographers on Instagram are almost, if not always, open to collaboration and working alongside fellow likeminded people, something Carly may want to consider. Earlier this year a few friends of mine (all of which happen to be amateur, aspiring photographers) and I went to an Instagram meet up in Stanley Park which was organized entirely by photographers in the area through Instagram for the sole purpose of meeting new people, connecting and networking. It’s things like this that in my opinion make Instagram so useful and important, not only is it a platform where she is able to present to a mass audience everything she has been working on, but she will also be able to use it for so many other purposes related to the blog she has created and, from lack of a better word, ‘brand’ she is trying to create.
All in all, I think the concept of Carly’s blog is really great and can easily be built upon. Im excited to see where she goes in regards to which channels she chooses to use and the audience that she will draw in.
For this week, I had the opportunity to review Jasmine’s blog, based in Vancouver B.C. The header is very simple and takes up a large portion in the first page of her blog. The simplicity of blog title, “just jasmine” gives me an impression that her blog’s goal is to deliver her audience a view on her every day life which reflects on what kind of person she is.
She currently has about 5 blog posts and there isn’t a consistent theme, but they are heavily based on her personal review on topics including female empowerment, Vancouver chocolate fest, and etc. From her home page, it’s quite difficult to understand who exactly her blog’s target audience is. However, she describes the purpose of her blog in herAbout tab, which is “a fusion of things that interest [her], [her] thoughts, and the things [she] enjoys , eating/drinking/doing”.Similar to what I mentioned earlier, it seems to be a mixture of many things integrated to produce a lifestyle blog. Jasmine’s blog has 4 categories: About, Blog, Food and Beauty. The “blog” tab seems to act as her home page, but in a different format as to what we originally see when we enter her direct URL. A question I have for her is where she is categorizing her posts on “Here’s to Strong Women”, and “Is the Indian Wedding Industry Out of Control?”. These posts do not go under any of these categories, and I feel that she could build a category for these kind of posts that revolve around her personal review on societal issues. As a reader, I feel that her simple design on distribution of content within a small space is very efficient.
P.S. make sure to change the URL for “Here’s to Strong Women” because it’s currently set as http://jkallu.com/blog/517/. When there’s set of numbers at the end of the URL, it could be perceived as less people friendly. By having the audience easily recognize and pass around the post URL, it improves the SEO so I highly suggest Jasmine to alter this right away.
Although she already has 5 blog posts, I could view all of these posts at the top of her home page without having to scroll all the way down. She uses a carousel of thumbnails of each post ordered from newest to oldest, making it easier for the user to navigate through her content from the beginning.
As this week’s peer review is focused on marketing of the blog, my tip to Jasmine is for her to further understand the role of social media widgets in her blog. When I first started to create my blog, I thought that including social media widgets in my blog acted as a way to promote my social media accounts and gain potential followers (really!). However, I recognized that if my blog has no relation to the social media I’m sharing on my page, there’s no purpose. Everything that is posted and displayed on one’s online space must relate with the purpose of the blog, or else it becomes out of context and unnecessary. Jasmine attached her Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest account on her page. Instagram could be a very useful space to share content that doesn’t have to exactly be the same with her blog posts, but used as a space for people to further view her posts that follows the theme of her blog. Facebook can also act as a platform in the similar way as Instagram where the audience can connect with her to enjoy her future posts. However, when it comes to her Pinterest account, I was slightly confused in terms of relation with her blog. Her “pins” only consists of three posts and they’re heavily based on DIY content which becomes off-topic from the goal of her blog. In addition, her last-pin was made 41 weeks ago which means that she hasn’t been recently active. I suggest Jasmine to remove her Pinterest widget if it’s not an active space for her audiences to connect or have strong relation with her blog.
As a student following a similar lifestyle concept blog like Jasmine, I like the content she produces within her online space. She doesn’t simply rave about the food and music she consumes, but she discusses and shares quotes and phrases that empower a specific group of people in some of her posts. It’s good to see how her blog content she produces makes the reader learn something new at the end of the day. Keep up the great work Jasmine!
With a witty play on one of my favourite food network TV shows, Lauren’s blog “Goode Eats” is well developed and shows her online personality well.
As Lauren states in her “Audience” post, her intended audience is most likely foodies living in the Vancouver area. Goode Eats is an extremely marketable blog towards that audience, since her blog is about, well (if the Food Network pun title didn’t ring any bells to you) – food.
The content Lauren produces on her blog is really well suited towards her intended audience. She posts about places where she goes to eat and details her experience very clearly, adding pictures and her own fun reactions and opinions. The pictures added to her posts of the beautiful decor or the appetizing looking food makes them engaging and fun to read. As well, the tone that Lauren writes her posts in is very simple, easy to understand, and amusing. Going through her whole blog, there has not been a single post where I have been bored and felt like I wanted to click away (not even the process posts for some odd reason!).
Her blog is not only appealing to her intended target audience, but I believe it appeals to quite a lot of people – take a look yourself! Simply just looking at her pictures of food and reading her blog has made me hungry and wanting to visit the places she posts about.
A small problem with her content is that there are quite a few grammar errors scattered throughout her posts, some of them being typos or just oddly worded phrases (they are quite minor so it’s not a big deal) but they are scattered throughout too many posts to link specific instances of them all.
Another thing Lauren does extremely well in her blog marketing wise is that when she leaves a favourable review, she links the addresses and websites of the places where she goes to eat. This optimizes her chance of getting affliates and sponsors from places who may want her to review it in the future! She also lists the prices of the food she orders which is good for any prospective foodies wanting to eat at the places on her blog so they know what to expect budget-wise! Lauren also fittingly is leaving hashtags at the bottom of all her posts – a smart move which increases the possibility of her blog showing up through a search engine.
Overall, Lauren’s blog is very solid from a marketing perspective.
Design wise, her blog is quite easy to navigate and looks very cute. The logo Lauren has made and uploaded as her header fits extremely well onto her theme and it makes the blog seem much more cohesive and professional! The combination of the cutlery symbols + type outlining what is on her blog is wonderful for branding and is in fact what many small companies do when starting out before gaining recognition (because when starting out a logo itself is not recognizable enough to an audience). There are a few minor issues with the navigability, however.
One is that the names of the top menus are a bit confusing.
After clicking through them I can understand what the ‘Get Your Grub On‘ and the ‘You Cooked?!‘ categories are (although I suggest taking out the You Cooked?! category if there are not going to be any cooking posts), but I am still not exactly sure what the Get Your Buzz On category means. That could be confusing to a reader opening your blog who does not have the patience to click through the categories to figure out what they mean, so I suggest renaming them something that is better understood.
The Instagram-esque grid sidebar gallery full of pictures of food is a nice touch! The feed doesn’t clash with the blog theme at all, since the pictures are all earthy, muted, natural colours (which is what seems to be the overall colour scheme of her theme), and the preview pictures of food look delicious, keeping a potential reader of the blog’s interest.
As well, Lauren links her actual Instagram below, which is a smart marketing move especially for foodies, where Instagram is a major platform for gaining an audience. Something I would suggest design-wise, however, is to either add more social media links where the Instagram widget is, or to get rid of that widget and link the Instagram account separately. This is only because the widget container looks quite empty, having a black border around the Instagram link but nothing else filling the space making it look empty and a little bit awkward.
Overall, Lauren’s blog “Goode Eats” does amazingly well, and very appropriately tailored to suit her intended audience. Her blog is super cute, really engaging and I loved going through it! From a marketing perspective, her blog does a good job selling itself to the reader, as well as giving herself the possibility of promotional opportunities from places she reviews.
For the third peer review, we were told to review the “website’s marketability to their intended audience group” of one of our assigned peers. I was assigned to review Helen’s blogwhich is mostly about her life, as well as “sharing fun DIYs, fashion inspirations, fitness tips, and more”. From my point of view, her audience group would most likely be consisted of girls from the age of 12-20. Although her blog is mostly about beauty and leans towards girls, the idea of DIY’s is great because it’s suited for anyone. I’m not sure if her content is only relevant to females, but the post about “Crafts” and “Lifestyle” could be significant to anyone.
From my perspective, Helen’s blog has the potential to gain many viewers! The posts about the reviews of products and clothing are great to inform readers if the products and clothing are worth buying. For example, she reviewed the Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oiland a bunch of Active wear. These reviews are great because if anyone is uncertain on whether a product works or not, they could read the reviews Helen has posted. I also love how Helen goes in depth of the each product and tells her audience how it works, if it’s worth buying, and where to purchase it. This is just a suggestion, but maybe once Helen gains enough followers, she could allow her audience to recommend different products to review. Another suggestion is to review products that are trending on the internet and possibly new products that people are hesitant to try. Although the products Helen chooses to review are amazing, the following could increase if she review things people suggest, know of, or have been wanting to try.
I’m uncertain if Helen only wanted her post to appeal to girls, but an idea to gain a following for both genders is to make more DIY’s or just life hacks the posts would interest anyone. The “Lifestyle” posts are also another way to gain a male followers and the idea of posting about her favourite YouTubers is suited for a broader audience.
Shaun with his blog IAMSHAUNGILL draws the viewer in from the front page. It is marketed to two apparent audiences: young people looking for music, fun, and advice, and anyone who might be looking for a male model for photographs. It is better attuned to the audience of young people, as the existence of music mixes and other fun elements make it seem less professional. However, for both audiences, the use of graphics, photos, and hip GIFs from popular cult films is very eye-catching. The great graphic design is essential in a blog, mainly if the blogger has the moxie to go for a really unique individual look, as it can discourage others from appropriating one’s attitude, ideas, or material; a blog that stands out visually has the personality to avoid being plagiarized (Hurst, 2016). IAMSHAUNGILL’s look is immediately visually striking, using a photo of (presumably) the author looking directly at the camera with an intense, somewhat ambiguous look. The look doesn’t immediately push the viewer away, as it is not entirely hostile; but it isn’t overly friendly, either. It is more intriguing, making the viewer wonder what kind of attitude a person with such an ambiguous expression is going to radiate through the prose. Are they going to be as attractive as the photo? More approachable?
The video primer also advises that each blog post should use an image in each post; posts without any unique visual element do not draw in the eye and make the reader curious. The primer also argues against looking clip art, as it tends to use dated; if you do use clip art, it should at least be stylistically consistent within the blog, or at least within the post (Hurst, 2016). IAMSHAUNGILL uses more great visual elements in the listing for each article on the front page, including a very professional looking photo of the author on the “portfolio” link and a very engaging, crazy movie GIF for the latest post, and some very attractive pink neon letters on black to draw the reader into the “No Bad Vibes” post. The front page of this blog follows the advice we have learned so far, but without being obvious that it is following rules. It simply looks good and is engaging visually.
The posts themselves are more of a mixed bag. The “No Bad Vibes” feature, which is a weekly mix drawn from the author’s Spotify, is only going to be engaging to readers who share the author’s taste, and yet find it original enough to supply them with new songs to listen to. This is risky, as few people have the same taste, and pop music is pretty well disseminated. The latest post is a personal post, which is very positive and upbeat but a bit vague and hard to glean much specific information from. All in all this blog shows a great deal of creative literacy (Norman, 2018). It is a great-looking platform that is sure to do a great job as it fills up with content. However, it needs to pick one audience: people looking for models, or young people looking for fun.
Hurst, A. (Director). (2016, May 21). Upgrade Your Graphics [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jywS21cDz_A&index=6&list=PLZAuW5ZP5ImWeQeefPOeZ6zj_KUGsp0PD&t=0s
Norman, S. (2018, February 21). Lecture Files Week Six: Digital Literacy.
Shazia in her week five’s process blog post (http://shaponders.com/posiel/week-5-my-imagined-audience/ ) says that her content/site is aimed for 18-25 year old students of international background, also “Vancouver foodies” who like coffee. Her set up of the site is meant to remind the site visitors of Instagram; she says this is because she believes Instagram is the most popular social media platform. Scrolling through her different category pages I do see the nod to the Instagram format; the posts are displayed on a grid with three columns. Something I notice and am wondering about is why there are no pictures featured with her blog posts in the initial inventory. Her concept opens a very good opportunity for pictures, of the food she’s having, the places she’s visiting. Her content inventory right now is black and white, and only text. She has some very interesting posts, but because there is not a lot of stimulation, as a reader I am not as excited to click on her posts as I know I could be. In her week six post (http://shaponders.com/posiel/week-6-changes-in-design/) I read her rationalization for not having the pictures on her homepage, but I would have to lovingly, gently disagree. While the lack of pictures may seem more professional as she says, the vibe I get from her posts is not of professionalism, but of personal interests and passions. I think the lack of pictures on the homepage take from the personality of her posts. Just the black and white text in my opinion leaves her audience less to relate with and be excited by. In addition to engaging her readers, the images also are important for distinguishing her posts from one another (its contents).
For marketability I think this presence has good potential to draw an audience. Vancouver is a great place to have this site rooted in. The food scene is pretty diverse and really great here. I think a challenge for Shazia is making her food/travel/thought blog stand out from the many others out there. There are lots of food/thought blogs out there, she has to present herself in a way that no one else has yet. She envisions her audience to be of international descent, I think that there is not a whole lot of this influence in her online presence yet (her posts, site design). I’m having a hard time picking out specific decisions made for drawing the audience she intends (the international part of it anyway). In her week 5 process post that I previously linked she mentioned that she’s imagining a large part of her audience to be East African students. I think she could start acting on this demographic by going to places that specialize in East African cuisine, and writing about that.
In one of her posts she mentioned that she has an Instagram for this site. I think that that is a really great idea! If she has an Instagram for this site though, why is her site following an Instagram-like format? I think if she already has an Instagram for this site, having the format of this presence also like Instagram, it might get repetitive and boring for her visitors (in my opinion). Because she already has an Instagram I think she could try something new with her site’s format; something that compliments her Instagram presence, enhances it, but it not be too similar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
This week I have the pleasure of reviewing Ashley’s blog The Book Less Travelled. Her blog is all about Fantasy literature, full of reviews, author spotlights and fun reading challenges like the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. One of the first things I looked at for this review was Ashley’s social media accounts. From the content […]
For now, the “Blog” category works as a good place to hold all her personal blog posts. But in the future, she may want to consider breaking up this category into more distinct groups based on her content. This could be something like “Vlogs” and “Travel”. The more content she creates, the easier it should be to put posts under assigned categories.
The header photo adds a strong personality to the blog. Her position and the title integrate well together. However, as I start the scroll down, that personality is lost as the blog design is reduced to her posts and whitespace. Her sidebar could be utilized better if it were made “sticky”, in that the bar would move along as readers scroll down the blog, never leaving the screen. This would help fill up the whitespace and add a stronger level of balance. Speaking of the sidebar, I love the “Corner of Fame” feature, in which she draws attention to other content creators she likes. This is a nice way to promote fellow bloggers and create a connection.
Usability and Design
Strong readability. The pixel size is big enough to read clearly, but not overpowering. She also separates her content into short, easily digestible paragraphs. One of our guest speakers, Mauve Pagé, discussed how performance, balance, rhythm, proportion/scale, contrast, and unity, all work together to shape the experience one has in engaging with websites. She explained how creating an online identity involves the use of consistent colours, fonts, style and theme of photos. This blog uses these elements successfully.
I suggest she insert a “To the Top” arrow that will appear in the lower corner of her blog when readers have scrolled down enough. This will increase usability by allowing the reader to quickly navigate back to the start of her homepage.
I personally did not notice the social media icons at the bottom of the blog until much later in my time reviewing this website. Moving these icons to a more visible area would increase the chances of readers visiting and following her social media accounts.
It is quite clear to me what kind of audience this blog is striving to attract. I see her content resonating with young girls, teens to early 20s, possibly just starting their post-secondary educations and looking for a blogger that they can see a bit of themselves in. Teddy’s blog posts address topics like starting college and the challenges that come along with it, vines, memes, and other various pop culture. These are all current trends which her target audience would be interested in, and if she is ever struggling to come up with new topics, she can always look at Google Trends, a resource that was brought up in our lecture on digital publics and the public sphere.
I liked the blog post “San Francisco Travel Diary” for her honest reflection of the city, the good and the bad from her perspective. In this particular post, I think it would be beneficial to include hyperlinks of the places she went to. By adding this, readers are given more valuable resources to draw from, and may even be inspired to take a trip to San Francisco themselves. I would love to see more travel posts.
I advise her to remove the word “relatable” from her tagline “My relatable adolescent stream of consciousness”. Firstly, I think the word relatable should be used with caution as you don’t want to assume that your content will be relatable – this may rub readers the wrong way and I think it’s best to avoid it all together. In “Publics and Counterpublics“ by Michael Warner, Warner suggests to “put on a show and see who shows up.” Rather than starting a blog with a preconceived notion that your content will connect with others, try to produce posts that are entertaining to you, and from there, you can measure your reach through analytics. This tagline edit would also improve the flow of her title, making it a little less wordy.
One final piece of advice I have for Teddy to strengthen her overall brand marketability, is to explore more ways she can authentically and meaningfully express herself online. Pushing herself to dig deeper and reflect further on the experiences she shares with us, would really take her content to the next level. Another thing she can try is including hyperlinks to reliable sources that relate to her content, thus improving the value of her posts. I think she should continue to vlogging, as this seems like a passion of hers and a place she can really shine.
This week in our Publishing class we were asked to take a look at a website from a student in our neighboring tutorial, and take a closer look at their site design.
This week I had the pleasure of visiting a Lifestyle blog from Joyce titled Pride & Joy.
Her site, with the latest blog post titled “MEN GET PRAISED TOO MUCH FOR EXISTING” which you can find and agree with here. Her posts continue to talk about food reviews at Snowy Village!!! on Robson(my fave) and a fresh look at Carly Rae Jepsen’s music career.
After reading through a few blog posts of hers to get a sense of who she was, and what she cared about, I reasoned that her blog design appropriately fitted her content. In Week Four Lecture notes about Design from Suzanne Norman, there is a design principle called “Balance” which I think Joyce does really well. There is lots of white space in and around her blog, which allows her content to be the main focus, and deters any attention towards her posts.
The main page of her blog is symmetrical and her blog title “Pride and Joy” is nicely centered at the top in bold font. The movement throughout her blog is minimal, quick and linear; working your way through her blog is simple, as the menu is properly placed at the top which guides you through her posts and pages.
The proportion of her images to her text are balanced, one not overpowering the other. Each component on her blog whether it be a photo, video or paragraph, work well with each other to form “Unity”, another design principle described in Norman’s lecture files.
She has also chosen a typeface that goes well with her lifestyle theme, and fits her content well.
She captions, links and lists her media well, making it easy for the reader to identify which video is about what song for example; you are never left confused about how the media relates to the topic.
However, I think the white background may be too white, her title lacking some depth. Her opinions seem strong and important, so I am looking for that in the design of her website.
Perhaps some color to the front page would add contrast without being distracting
I feel some color, pattern or overhead image would break into the otherwise white space nicely, the change in rhythm wouldn’t be too overwhelming.
All in all, Joyce’ website is well put together, I will be looking forward to seeing what other posts she adds to her blog next, and to see any possible changes she makes
Norman, S. ( 2018, February 1 ) “Some Consideration on Web Design and Type On Screens”Week Four Lecture Files – Design Retrieved from: http://posiel.com/author/suzanne/
For my second peer review I was assigned the website ‘Cami The Veggie.’ After first sight the website is very simple and easy to navigate. Personally I am a big fan of minimalism and simplicity, but I did find myself questioning whether or not this website may be to simple. The white background is very appealing to me, but possibly may take up too much space when looking at the website as a whole. There are many different ways in which parts of this space could be filled, including maybe the use of more photos, a sidebar or a header/logo. The overuse of white space on this website leads to the lack of a focal point, leaving my eye wandering and not quite sure where I should be looking first.
I love the simplicity of her navigation bar, the minimal amount of categories and pages makes navigating the site extremely simple and therefore enjoyable. I do not find myself lost or overwhelmed by this website which for me is very important as I am not the most knowledgeable when it comes to technology. The ‘about’ section of this website is well done. I like how she chose to keep the description of her self and her website short yet also informative in regards to who she is and what can kind of content can be expected.
The content of her website is also well done, I love the casual tone of her writing as it seems to create a more personal relationship between her and her readers. I know that I as a reader feel as if she is speaking directly to me rather than to a mass unidentified audience. Though the basis of her posts seem to be very simple, Cami has a way of developing them into something of much more depth through her detailed descriptions. In her ‘Week 2’ post, she discusses a variety of engaging topics such as what she was eating, why she created this blog based around her daily diet as a vegetarian, the criticism she has opened her self up to by doing so and much more. This post specifically allows for the reader to get to know her as person a bit better, and shows many different angles that Cami could take in her future writing while also remaining consistent with the theme of her website.
Overall, I very much enjoy this website and it seems to be coming along very well with a good layout in regards to organization and easy navigation as well as interesting and consistent content. My only critique is in regards to the design aspect of the blog and the overuse of white space – which can very easily be adjusted through the use of more photographs, a header, a sidebar or many other layout details.
Ashley’s blogdesign is amazing, and her overall choice of theme and colour ties in really well with her blog’s purpose/content. The first thing that catches my attention is her self-made (short clip/GIF) header. The pink background and subject (dog) contrasts in colour, which allows me to understand the content of the blog right off the bat (dogs). By having a header comprised of not merely on texts, it allows the viewer to further understand the atmosphere of the overall site.
The home page consists of a carousel (slider) feature to show her posts and catches my attention with the minimal usage of words, yet eye-catching images. This carousel feature allows the blog’s surface to provide the most content (posts) within a small space. Therefore, I would not have to scroll down to view all her posts. Something I would suggest ashley to change on this feature is to rethink about the order of posts. A slider often shows a linear process and in terms of this blog, I suggest that she should reorder them based on dates. Beneath the “Read More” box, the date it shown and it seems to be from oldest to newest. I feel that it’s best to reorder them based on the newest to oldest posts so that audiences that often visit the page will be able to view any updates when something new is published.
In addition, there seems to be an issue with her home page when I scroll past the carousel. There are 3 “You May Also Like” sections, which are initially all the same content repeated.
Ashley does not have a social media integration with her blog and this is not a major issue because she may not have an account dedicated to her pet. If she publishes a social media widget to share her personal account (e.g. Instagram), there would be a demonstration of no correlation. We learned in Week 4 that individuals should not post images or anything for the sake of it or prettiness, but we should do it if it relates to the content.
This blog consists of various fonts; however, they all have hand drawn quality and is legible to read. The combination of sans-serif and serif font is works together very well, especially with contrasting sizes. Although these two typeface’s have different personalities and convey different moods, it shows characteristics of modern, casual, and elegant features. These qualities also demonstrate a visual hierarchy and attracts the viewer since the same font is not followed throughout the entire blog.
The biggest tip from me to Ashley would be to adjust the rhythm of her blog. There seems to be too many patterns all over the place including carousels, grid patterns, and large individual posts. This kind of movement through space becomes randomized and lacks a flowing rhythm. By formatting content in a consistent method, there’s a order in design and allows the audience to navigate the blog more efficiently by recognizing a regular pattern.
I love dogs, especially french bull dogs, so I am in love Ashley’s blog! I hope to see more adventures Tobi (her pet) and his friends have because they’re interesting and fun to read. Great work!
This is a review on Israrul Haque’s website, Journey Through the Lens. At first glance, it is clear that this blog is about photography. Both the title and header show that. The first thing I noticed about Isrual’s blog is the header image. I thought this was appropriate, and a great way to showcase his image! I also scanned the page for ads, but as expected did not find any. I feel that Israrul and I have the same goal for our sites. As photography blogs, we want showcase our images. Personally, I feel that ads might distract from my photos. It seems that Israrul might feel the same way.
Israrul uses a very simple and clean theme. He uses a white background and black, easily-readable font. A minor detail that could be improved is his balance, something mentioned in the lecture we had on design.
When reading his posts, I kept finding myself looking at the white space on the left side of the page. It was a little bit distracting while I was trying to read the post. I would suggest inserting images on the left side to balance out the body of text. For example, for a peer review post, you could have a screenshot of your peer’s site on the left side of the post. A design element that I really liked on Israrul’s blog was the vibrancy of his photos
This image in particular stood out to me because I feel that it showcases his talent, not only in his photography. but also in his editing. The colors in this photo pop out. All of his other photos carry the same kind of vibrancy. I think his editing skills really fit his site because they stand out against the white background.
I found this blog to be very organized. It was very easy to find what I was looking for using the menu at the top. I also like that his menu has a drop down option, so you can easily get to a specific post. An improvement he could make is hiding his posiel posts from his main page. I did this on my blog by using a widget. This would improve Israrul’s blog because it would be faster to get to his photos if you did not have to scroll through the posiel posts.
Israrul’s blog has a lot of content. He has a lot of photos on his ‘Vancouver Chronicles’ page, and he is consistently posting posiel posts. This is a great opportunity for monetizing his site, because you are more likely to make money off of a site that is active.
Audience / Monetization:
Israrul’s target audience are those who are interested in his images, but also his process of taking/editing photos. I would understand if he did not want to use ads because they might distract from his photos. However, if he did want to incorporate ads, I feel that affiliate links (mentioned in this reading) would be a better option than the traditional photo ads. Affiliate links are links that generate profit for the writer if an audience member purchases from that link. The reading specifically talks about Amazon’s affiliate link’s program. Israrul could make this work if he wanted to. For example, his ‘Why Photography’ page includes a photo of his DSLR. If he had an account with Amazon affiliate links, he could insert a link to that camera, in case his readers were interested in purchasing it.
Overall, I really enjoyed scrolling through Israrul’s blog. His photos are very captivating. In the future, Israrul could make money from his website by using affiliate links.
I was pretty impressed by the head image of Zoe’s blog. Her blog is a comprehensive one and I am have discovered various interesting topics, from her personal stories to media critics on film.
In terms of the menu, Zoe has a reasonable number of sections. She has Home, About, Personal, Posiel and Things I Don’t Mind in her blog. I think Personal and Things I Don’t Mind are two stunning sections and I am attracted by those at once. I clicked on ‘Things I Don’t Mind’ at once, where I found articles ‘Some Good Songs’. Zoe’s formatted the article with bolded song titles and a brief note on the songs. It is an article that readers can easily scan through. She used effective hashtags for the posts as well.
She has linked her blog to her Twitter which could direct her readers to find out more about herself. It is a good way raise her social presence on the internet. Linking to Twitter means she can update the online self without solely relying on writing a blog post.
I like how her blog is personal. It generates a sense that Zoe is approachable as she shares her everyday life with the audience. Her ‘Personal’ column consists of personal reflection on down-to-earth issues, such as friends and personal struggles.
In ‘Notes of Seasons Passed’, Zoe made a reflection based on random notes that she made. Each note has a story behind it and in concise sentences, Zoe has managed to share her angst and sadness effectively. I am like reading emotions and go through the ups and down as her. “They are my word but I am not theirs.” How sad it to feel like being an outside from a group. These shared feelings and thoughts made me as a reader, feel connected with Zoe.
To improve her blog, Zoe may fix the indent of her posts. For example, the ‘Peer Review #3’ is indented in on her home page.
The font size for the title is also larger than that of other posts. To make the layout more consistent, Zoe may fix the indent problem, making the post align to other posts. Similarly, in ‘Personal’, ‘Notes of Seasons Passed’ stands out from the rest of the posts because of inconsistent format.
All in all, Zoe’s online character is friendly and welcoming. I appreciate her ‘Personal’ column. With simple revision on the layout, her blog would be wonderful. I am sure Zoe’s blog will continue to flourish and I look forward to her new posts.
I’ll be reviewing basically solely on content instead of layout this time, so here we go!
Fashion Posts – first impressions
When scrolling through the posts on this blog, the first thing I noticed was the excellent use of images. This blog actually uses the same theme as me, and personally I haven’t tinkered around with it a lot, but my photos always show up really small in my posts (then you can click for a larger size) but I always wanted to change it so it could be bigger and break up the post in a nicer fashion. Guess I’ll have to start tinkering!!
I think the frequent image use is really important because of the theme of the blog. Fashion is heavily image based – there needs to be some kind of visual to see how outfits are put together/the exact style of the pieces/how it looks on a person vs on the rack. I also noticed there wasn’t a lot of text in each post – however, I think this works because fashion is mostly image and visual based. Seeing an image of an outfit is way more effective than describing the image via text – in fact, who would actually do that? No one.
From what I observed (I didn’t do deep research on these lines because I am not a follower of high fashion, so this could be wrong), the blog talked about the latest designs from some famous fashion designers. There was also a post on colour palettes which was a nice change-up.
I think this leaves a lot of room for marketability and monetization because there is a clear theme going on and the audience is clearly defined – this blog would appeal to not only companies or designers that are trying to hop onto the latest trends to appeal to the market, but also just avid fashionistas that want to keep up with the latest trends in the fashion world and potentially give their wardrobes a little update.
Ads would be less disruptive to this kind of blog assuming they fit under the theme – such as linking to online shopping websites potentially that sell these particular designers listed on the blog. This blog is more informational than personal, so I feel like ads would be less invasive. Popova might have thought that ads don’t put the reader’s best interest first because her website is more personal, since my blog is a personal lifestyle blog I feel in a similar way.
The only thing (as of this moment) that would hinder the website’s marketability is the lack of content. I was a little disappointed to see that there were only 3 fashion posts/non posiel posts. However, I’m glad that you posted them at the top as your featured posts. I wished there was more content, I feel like there is a lot of room in a fashion blog even if it is not your own personal fashion blog. I wished it would have more about some hot new trends (ie: apparently the “it” colour this fall is red?? What is the latest statement piece to add to an outfit??) instead of just new lines from designers. I think there is a lot of room for expansion since there is a lot of talk in the high fashion world.
Who doesn’t like food? Silly question because no matter who you are or where you live, odds are you’ve eaten something in your life and have preferences to things you do and don’t like. Living in a city like Vancouver, I like to refer to it as a melting pot of culinary options. You can try cuisine from all around the world within one city. This leaves endless opportunities for Tiffanie and her website, Food For Thought, which centres around food reviews. Just by looking at her photos attached to her blog posts, it’s evident she is a foodie, and one with good taste at that! Her target market can easily be locals looking to check out good places to eat around their city or even tourists wanting to know what places to hit up given their food preferences. But as you continue reading through some of her older posts, you’ll notice that her food reviews aren’t just local to Vancouver where she lives, she talks about restaurants she’s been to on the other side of Canada as well as on the other side of the world. This pushes her target audience to be comprised more of people who are interested in food rather than just interested in a particular city’s culinary options. Which is wonderful in my opinion, perhaps in the future, as she continues to write about her culinary adventures, she could have her posts organized geographically so her readers from all over the world can quickly find out good restaurants to check out closest to them.
As for monetizing this website, I really don’t see why not, it might need a bit more content and perhaps a more obvious food-centred layout (i.e. pictures of food on the home page/banner) but otherwise I think it could be a successful enterprise. That being said, placing advertisements on your website isn’t always a clear line to success, for one it can really piss off some of your readers but with ad-blocks these days, you might not even be able to make a decent amount of money with them. Just look at the website The Toast for example, highly successful with over a million unique viewers but it was forced to shut down due to what they called “ad revenue woes”(Carpenter, 2016). Online advertising revenue is a tricky game to play so sometimes it’s best to look at other ways of monetization, Tiffanie could reach out to local restaurants and offer to do reviews of their business in exchange for a complementary meal or even payment. Seems like a win win if you ask me, free food is always welcome but you also need to tread with caution on this front too, if you aren’t upfront with your audience about this arrangement it could create distrust. That being said, the food reviews she does, don’t always have to be positive, if you really didn’t enjoy your meal tell us! Like my mother always said, the truth can be a cold hearted bitch, but we wouldn’t want her any other way!
An Outsider is a blog written by Taisia Lapko about her journey moving to Vancouver from Belarus. In this review, I would like to comment on the audience group and marketability of An Outsider. Also, I would focus mostly on personal blogs Lapko had published so far but slightly touching upon the process or posiel posts.
In terms of design, the banner placed at the front page catches my eye. It gives me the feeling of loneliness but excitement for a new adventure. The banner visually attracts readers to dig deeper into her blog and find out how it feels like to be an outsider and what she had experienced.
However, I am slightly disappointed with the content in her personal blog. From the website biography, I know that Lapko is an international student from Belarus and she would love to share the challenges she experienced after moving to Canada. Unfortunately, the theme of her blog posts does not match with the message she intended to deliver. In “Something I have been keeping to myself”, the post talks about the struggle with facing someone she liked in the past. In “Writing and keeping up with blogging”, she writes about having a hard time expressing herself through writing blogs. Lapko shows her sincerity by being honest with her audience. But telling your audience the insecurities you have means telling them to stop reading your blog. It is understandable that writing in English could be difficult for international students. Yet I would suggest Lapko add more photos to her posts and type a few captions underneath. By doing so, you do not have to struggle with typing long paragraphs, but still, express yourself and draws in the audience who like images and visual attractions.
For me, I am a Canadian who was not raised in Canada. I am going through the same challenges most international students face. Upon reading the biography of the website, I do look forward reading more about how Lapko struggles to engage the Canadian community, what she likes and dislikes about Vancouver or why she decided to immigrate here. These suggestions are all decent topics to share in the blog and draw in her audience, which is mostly international students or young adults who moved to Canada by themselves. Furthermore, Lapko could definitely create a community through her blog or social media like Instagram or Twitter. And promote her blog by organizing events and get-togethers for her audience to share their experiences living in Vancouver.
I think Lapko chose an amazing topic for her blog, but her posts are slightly off the track. She does have a large pool of audience out there but in order to draw them in she needs to put in more effort publishing content with a suitable theme.
If you want to know more please visit Lapko’s website:
The first thing I looked for on his blog were ads and as expected, there weren’t any. I even went over to my phone and checked out his site on my device just to make sure if there were any, and again, none. I had a feeling that he wasn’t going to monetize from the title of his blog, From Hong Kong to Vancouver: Fob’s life. I had the impression right away that it was going to be more of a lifestyle blog and something similar to a diary. I think he just wants to genuinely document his journey and experiences for himself and perhaps his close friends as well rather than making money off of it. And I completely respect that because that’s what I’m going for too for my blog, but I did put in ads just for fun:). I do appreciate that he didn’t monetize his blog because it keeps it very pure and authentic. As Shelby Carpenter writes in her article about The Toast shutting down over ad revenue woes, the battle for online revenue is harsh and it affects big and small mediums of the like. I think if there is a following for a blog then it’s common to monetize but it can also be toxic at the same time. Honestly, it probably doesn’t even apply to what we’ve created in PUB101 because some of us may not even continue with our blogs after the semester. I think in terms of marketability, Jason’s blog is attractive to readers who are living the same “fob” life. It may also be just a blog to keep his friends and family updated on his life in Vancouver since he spent his childhood in Hong Kong.
I’m impressed with the header image because it is a great greeting for readers. I’ve noticed that the image alternates between 2 photos: One with the mountain and one of Hong Kong (I think), so every time I visit his page, I’m greeted with one or the other. The header image of the mountains is quite appealing and I think it might attract users who are into photography or the like. I’ve noticed in the “See What I See” tab, there is a compilation of his personal photos and I would like to say, definitely keep updating with more photos because visuals are a great way to engage with an audience.
The “Canton Pop Music” page in my opinion, is a very nice touch to his blog. I feel like it adds so much personality to his online identity and is a great way to personalize his online space. I think this develops his personal voice and style to his blog and by sharing his favourite song picks, I have the impression that he is very passionate about this interest of his and it feels like he is just simply expressing his honest opinions rather than sharing just for the sake of this course. I can tell that Canton Pop music plays a significant role in his life and it is something that he wants to share with his readers/users. Almost on every page he has set up, a widget dedicated to a weekly Canton Pop song can be seen on the right column, with a YouTube video embedded into it. Since it is labeled “Canton Pop Song for the Week”, I’m assuming that it will be updated regularly. I think this is a great way to engage with his readers because they will have something to look forward to every week. Even if his intentions are to keep his friends and family updated with his life, it is still a neat way to have them look forward to what his current interests are.
One thing I would say that is a bit distracting is his social media icons, widgets, Instagram feed are present on all of his blog posts. I think it’s hard to read a text when there are so many distractions going on, especially if there is a YouTube video on the side ready to be played. Other than that, I really enjoyed exploring Jason’s blog!
Jenny Chan’s blog, “Between the Stripes”, is a beautifully simplistic space to explore new worlds of music while being within the comforts of home. Especially at a time of the year where I would be sitting inside, by a window, while the weather can do whatever it pleases outside. The design reflects this, as if the sun or the natural light was peering through the window trying to see what I was doing.
Exploring the site itself, I first notice there is a strange “social media & sharing icons” link that brings me to a page for plugins with WordPress; I’m not sure if you can get rid of that or not, it’s at the bottom of the page, so it’s not the biggest deal if you can’t. However, it looks a little off just because it isn’t aligned right with the blurb above it that reads “BETWEEN THE STRIPES Powered by WordPress and FancyThemes”.
Like I mentioned before, I love the colors, not sure if you could add a bit more shadow around the title and play around with that a bit more? As for the menus and categories, I also think the Home About and Captures sections would benefit from and stand out a bit more if it was placed on the black stripe, but if that was the point to be in between the lines, I would add shadow to that as well.As for the content, I love how you incorporated all the different senses in the “About” section. Keep up the Captures page!
Your “Recent Posts” section keeps repeating every time you post “song of the day” so maybe change that somehow, or number the title in each one? As well, as a reader who may want to comment, it was hard to understand that the“post comment” button was there because it is highlighted black, so it was a little confusing until I hovered over it to make a comment. I would change that so it’s not highlighted black. The mobile version of your website looks very nice as well.
I’m loving the social media outreach on the site; it makes it very interactive and builds more dimension to the simplicity of the site. My one suggestion would be to use specific social media pages as the blog, instead of your own personal Instagram, or your own personal Instagram. With a Between the Stripes Instagram, you could post your song of the day, maybe a blurb with it. You can also purchase InstaReport to keep statistics on that as well! I know some music-based social medias post parts of songs and perhaps you could do the same on behalf of the page. My confusion with Pinterest leads me to ask if there is a specific page on Pinterest you’d like us to look at that is relevant to your blog? Because there are many boards related to your Pinterest. Maybe make sure it just links to a specific board or perhaps a completely different Between the Stripes Pinterest account instead of your whole Pinterest profile. Otherwise, I have definitely been inspired by the social media interactivity and aspire to reflect that in my website as well!
For this peer review I will be looking and my classmate Sharlyn’s blog. Sharlyn’s ‘About’ page fully describes to what she intends to write about, and therefore describes what type of audience she intends to write for. I believe that her primary audience, at least at the beginning, would be people that are already a part her life and wanting to keep up with how she is doing. And seeing she does have friends and family from all over (i.e Brunei and Malaysia), I think that her blog is successful in marketing towards that audience. On the other hand, I also think that as new people begin to stumble upon her site, they will start to learn more about her and what she’s about and want to continue following her life. This audience would likely be within the age range of 18 to 28, who have similar interests as she does.
Sharlyn’s content is clearly meant for people who are interested in following her life and adventures. It is also great for people who may want to escape their own lives for the moment and step into her shoes to see what she’s been up to lately – which is made easy with plenty of images that she includes in her posts. In fact, she posts more images than text in most of her personal posts. It is also great that she posts images of herself doing the activities that she posts about, as it adds even more of a personal touch to her blog.
One aspect of her blog that I think would attract new traffic and have her audience keep coming back is her “My First Apartment!” segment. I believe that many people who will be or are currently going through the same life change as she is would have great interests in keep up with her current transition. As well, the topic of moving homes is an easy one for monetization if she does intend to make money through her blog.
Scrolling through Sharlyn’s blog, I noticed that she has a mix of both her personal and academic (PUB 101) posts. Seeing that she has decided not to hide her process posts from her main page, her audience would also have to be interested in seeing the process of her building the blog as well as other aspects of her academics (i.e. peer reviews and essays). I also noticed that she has many posts and has been posting regularly, which is important as consistently posting is the best way for Sharlyn to learn how her audiences respond to her content and be able to adjust accordingly (Jesse Thorn, 2012).
Sharlyn’s blog has a great minimalist design, with simple and concise widgets on the left side, which I like because it allows the readers to focus on her content as they scroll down the page. She also has an image that takes up the full screen upon landing on her home page, along with the name of her blog and a tagline. Although it is a beautiful picture, it does not really illustrate what her blog is really about. The tagline ‘At times, I wish I was Lara Croft’ also doesn’t tell me much about her content. A change of image and tagline to something that reflects more on what the blog is actually about may be helpful as that is the first thing that audiences see when they land on the page and the image will be what helps them determine whether or not they would like to stay.
On the other hand, I love that Sharlyn has made her own logo. As she has mentioned in her “Remix” process post, she wanted it to have a “report” feel, which seems fitting as the name of her blog is ‘The Sharlyn Report’. It is also nice that she has something that makes her blog stand out from others, especially in the “copycat culture” that Travis Gertz talks about. In the current culture where everybody uses the same themes or designs because it’s what works, it is nice that Sharlyn was able to customize in order to stand out from other sites that may be similar.
Overall, it looks like Sharlyn has a great idea of who is writing for and what she would like to write about. Her personality and authenticity shines through in her posts, making it very easy to be interested in her and her life – I feel as if she I actually know her and am her friend. I look forward to seeing more from her in the (near) future!
Maddi’s website sets the stage for many viewers to enjoy the simplicity of life, in an attempt to discover the writing in an open landscape, free flowing and direct, straight to the user. From an unbiased perspective, I really love the layout of Maddi’s website as it clearly depicts and directs the audience to a clean atmosphere for an ease of reading. I really also enjoy viewing the large “notes and such” title that displays a large, yet subtle way to convey an open and creative atmosphere for the viewer. Maddi’s website is a place for anyone to see a glimpse of her life and what she likes to read, her opinions through reviews, and just really anything she is up to lately.
Looking at this in terms of advertisements, I feel that Maddi’s website can gain a lot of traction through the use of affiliations to the types of books, films, or articles she chooses to review. A lot of companies are looking for people to create an in depth review of their content, so I feel that this website could be that perfect platform for the audience to follow her content on a regular basis, also creating an environment for marketing to a certain niche. Furthermore, her content can also have banners along the side of the website, as the layout is more open than other websites, which can be an advantage to market that way as well. Links to Amazon, Kindle, or any of the book sharing websites may be something that she can do in the future as a following starts to grow on her website!
However, I noticed that Maddi’s beautiful and open layout caters to a relaxed atmosphere, I feel that she can improve by adding more visuals to appeal to a larger audience, especially those who are drawn to images and large letters. With this, I her title and her “moon and sun” post draws me in immediately, I would also love to see more of those visuals present in her other posts to gain even more traction in the marketing aspect of things.
All in all, Maddi’s use of her open layout create an atmosphere that is visually appealing, marketable, and is adaptable for a future for advertisements and potential revenue gaining tactics that will grow her audience base into a much larger one.