For my third peer review, I got to take a look at Jade Boiser’s blog. For this peer review, I will be looking at how marketable this blog is for its intended audience. I will also be taking into consideration how this blog gains its audience and what can be done to get more traffic so that more individuals can see Jade’s content.
In one of her process posts, I noticed that Jade mentions that her imagined audience is between the ages of 13-20 as she feels as though she can relate to individuals within this age group. She talks about how individuals closer to her age group will find her content relatable. Going through many of her posts I noticed a few things that allowed me to see how her blog is truly created for this age group. The first would be that her posts are easy to read. The words she uses get across to the readers easily and are not complicated for young audiences. Her posts are also short enough that young audiences feel encouraged to read them, and most importantly, they are engaging. I think her posts are engaging for young audiences because they seem relatable. Some of the topics I came across included personal relationships, breakups and what she has learned through her experiences whether negative or positive. Her content allows young readers to feel as though Jade is just like them.
According to an article from week 5 – Searching for a public of their own, I think Jade has definitely nailed it with producing content that relates to the teen demographic. The article talks about how choosing what to share and how much is up to the content creator. Jade choses to share a great amount of personal stories and the connections she makes with the music she listens to. This demographic she is targeting in particular seems to be all about their music and therefore her content can be extremely relatable for this audience.
In order for this blog to attract new readers, I feel as though Jade could perhaps either make her Instagram account public or create a specific one for her blog. I see that she has her private account on her site in the sidebar, however because it is private, viewers on her blog cannot access her posts and see the person behind the screen and it seems a little pointless to link the account if it is private (I do recognize her great use of pictures in her posts- which go amazingly with the content). Also, because the account is private, she cannot use hashtags on Instagram to promote her posts. I think Jade could really use this social media platform to get her blog out there as it has such a unique concept and young individuals could really connect with her through her posts.
This is a peer review of Ashley Yien’s blog, adventures with MIA, which can be found here: http://pawsitiveashley.com. Ashley’s blog centers around her French Bulldog, Mia, and branches into other dog topics as well. She blogs about Mia’s dog friends and shares information about the BC SPCA and ways to help dogs in need.
I believe Ashley’s targeted audience are cute dog or animal lovers, whom I believe her blog successfully appeals to. When we first arrive on her blog, we are greeted with an animated header with a cute Frenchie drawing and a cute paw print cursor. This use of an attractive header image helps peak audience interest and gets readers into looking more through her blog. The only critique I have of it is that I believe there should be no apostrophe in “adventures”. I’m not sure if this was a mistake or intentional but good grammar can help portray a professional-quality blog, which helps marketability. On the other hand, I think the writing style of Ashley’s blog, which is sometimes from Mia’s point of view, is very appealing to dog lovers. It adds a humourous and personal touch to her blog posts that I enjoy.
Overall, Ahley’s blog’s layout is simple, user friendly, and visually pleasing which eliminates user frustration and can help further the appeal of her blog to her intended audience. She integrates adorable and relevant pictures into her blog which helps engage readers. Many internet users today want information fast and don’t like to read large blocks of texts.
I believe Ashley really blogs about what she loves and has a clear sense of her personal online-self and a well-defined audience. “Designing from the heart of our messages out means we fully acknowledge that they will not speak the same way to every person.” (Gertz, 2015) She connects well with a wide variety of audiences. Additionally, she includes information on rescuing dogs and dog memes. This helps to further her blog appeal to passionate dog lovers and viewers who are just looking for a laugh. Also, I believe that there is a large community of dog lovers on the internet, which is her targeted audience. By blogging on a popular area of interest, it is helpful in gaining a bigger community for your blog and helps marketablity.
One improvement I think Ashley can make to the marketability of her blog is to include social media accounts. “The experiences of some news organizations offer another finding about the importance of diversification: bringing in revenue from several sources.” (Vara, 2015) An Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest account with pictures of Mia can potentially help attract more viewers and create more potential methods of monetization. One barrier to the marketability of Ashley’s blog is that there is already a high saturation of social media accounts of dogs. I’m not too certain about the number of dog blogs though. “Abundance, it turns out, is a much bigger problem to solve than scarcity, or as Clay Shirky frames it: “Abundance breaks more things than scarcity.” […] It is far better, economically, to have the fewest number of authors, the fewest titles.” (Nash, 2013) I think this can be overcome by providing consistent and quality content that continually appeals to her targeted audience. Ashley’s blog has great potential and I’m excited to see it continue to grow.
This week, guest speaker Juan Pablo Alperin posed several interesting questions to the class. First, he asked us to envision a future that sees the decline of Facebook and to elaborate on what kind of changes or shifts would lead to this decline. Next, he asked us to reflect on the constraints that Facebook imposes on us as users and to consider how these constraints influence our behaviour online. In this response, I will address the initial question.
Imagining A Future Without Facebook
Professor Alperin started off by addressing the common misconception that the Internet and the Web are the same things. To my dismay, they are two distinct concepts. I have been using the terms interchangeably for years. The shame. Theembarrassment. I will address this question with the newfound knowledge that there is, in fact, a distinction between the Internet and the Web. The “Internet” refers to the physical structures that connect the online world, while the “Web” describes things like HTML and hyperlinks that comprise the core technology of the web. Therefore, Facebook is an application that uses the Internet’s infrastructure.
Every empire falls eventually. Social media platforms and applications are no exception. At one point, Nexopia was the leading social networking platform. Today, most people would give you a funny look if you told them you were on Nexopia. Eventually, the next best thing comes along. Old social media platforms are replaced by new ones that do the same as the last and more. Some applications even integrate popular features from existing applications, such as how Instagram has implemented “Stories” that were initially seen on Snapchat.
Keeping Users Within The Application
Ultimately, all social media giants will fall, but for different reasons than the last. We all learn from our mistakes, and sometimes, we learn from the mistakes of others. Again, social media platforms are no exception. Current platforms have looked to the mistakes of former giants and quietly avoided making the same mistakes. For example, Nexopia failed to consider that hyperlinks would re-direct users to external websites and in turn, decrease its amount of traffic. Now, applications like Facebook and Instagram redirect users to pages that are opened by the app rather than a separate browser – a subtle ploy to keep the user within the app. At this point, Facebook has avoided some of the problems that other networks have encountered. So what will lead to Facebook’s demise?
Will Privacy Concerns Lead to Facebook’s Demise?
Giving up personal information is a requirement of using Facebook. But at what point does this become an issue?
Today, Facebook fell as much as 8.1% to $170.06 in New York (Time, 2018). This decline comes after reports that users may have had their data used improperly. Cambridge Analytica, the data-analysis firm that helped Donald Trump win the presidency, was able to obtain and misuse personal information from more than 50 million Facebook users. The company’s shares show that users are not happy.
It is evident that privacy concerns can be detrimental to a social networking site, even one as large as Facebook. I think that if privacy concerns arise in the future and users become aware of any misuse of personal information, then individuals may become wary of using Facebook. As a result, Facebook may be replaced by a social networking site that is more transparent about users’ privacy.
My findings in Google Analytics allowed me to see that most, if not all of my website’s audience is North American. This means that even though I’m an international student, I have to cater to my audience who are most likely North American and may not be able to relate to International student related content. The audiences were from Canada, America and Peru. To me this is quite surprising because I am Tanzanian and I know for a fact that I’ve asked some individuals in Tanzania to take a look at my sight and give me feedback. This does not seem to have been recorded by Google Analytics and therefore makes me feel as though I should not trust all the data Google Analytics is providing to me. Does Google Analytics only record data from activity taking place in North America? It does not feel like a credible source.
Also, according to Google Analytics, readers mostly go to the site on days that I post. This means that in order to drive traffic to my site more frequently throughout the week, I need to spread out my posts throughout the week. I can post on Mondays and Wednesdays if I’m only putting two posts out or Monday, Wednesday and Friday when I have a third post to put up. Furthermore, it seems as though when I mention the posting on Instagram, it seems as though more individuals come from there. Therefore I should keep promoting posts on my Instagram account as well as on Facebook because it seems as though despite me not posting on that platform, readers are also being driven from there. This could allow me to get more visitors and views to my site, allowing me to be able to activate my Google AdSense.
In my opinion, I believe that Facebook is already in its declining stages as older individuals are beginning to dominate the platform. We see our mum’s, aunties and uncles spending more time on Facebook sharing posts that are not credible; sharing pictures without thinking about what Facebook is doing with all their data and allowing strangers to view their pictures and private information. For many of us in our 20s, we understand the importance of protecting our privacy. We need to be cautious of what future employers, and coworkers are seeing. Although it is illegal for future employers to go through our social media platforms when deciding whether or not to employ us, it is a very common practice and therefore we should be cautions when posting anything on any open platform.
As for keeping in touch with individuals around the world, a world without Facebook would not necessarily make much of a difference in many of our lives today. This is because there are many other more engaging platforms such as Instagram where individuals can share highlights of their lives and keep it much more private. We are also able to have conversations with individuals on various platforms such as Skype, WhatsApp and so on.
Facebook is more difficult to keep private, as the user has to figure out exactly how to privatize different aspects of their profile. This includes privatizing albums, posts and profile pictures all separately. As for Instagram, the user simply privatizes their entire account and this means that those who do not follow the individual cannot access their posts. For me personally, I choose not to post anything on Facebook anymore because I allow anyone that I know or have heard of to become a friend. I have managed to delete old unnecessary posts and privatize pictures of when I was younger to the point where only I am able to view them. On Instagram however, I only allow close friends or individuals I want seeing my posts follow me. This allows me to keep my life private and protected from individuals who have no business in seeing my personal life.
I am not sure how I feel about Google Analytics – it is incredibly helpful to me as a website owner but, at the same time, it is extremely creepy. Looking at my Google Analytics, I learned a lot about my readers… probably a lot more than they would ever think.
That said, I was super surprised about the activities of my users. Of particular interest for me were: a) how my site was accessed and how much time was spent on my site; b) which site pages were most viewed; and c) the activity flow of my readers.
How the Site was Accessed/Time Spent on Site
I was a bit surprised about how my readers were reaching my website! I was not too surprised about my site being accessed directly because, when I tell people about my blog, they usually just type in the URL themselves. However, I was surprised at the Social categories because I have only advertised my blog through Instagram.
In terms of the bounce rates, I was surprised that people who have accessed the site through a social networking site spent the most time on it. I suppose that this is because those who do click on the link in my Instagram bio (I am assuming that this is where people are coming from) are the most interested in actually cooking and thus, will spend more time on the site.
In the future, I think I will advertise my website on my social networking platforms (probably just Facebook) more and see if that increases traffic to my site. Also, to decrease bounce rate (and thus increase the amount of time that people spend on my site!), I think I will change up my homepage in a way that the user would want to stay on my site for longer. One idea I have to do this is to have a pop-up of some sort that says something along the lines of: “What are you craving?” or something and then having the user be redirected to the recipe that they are craving, or a recipe similar to that craving. Hm, that sounds complicated but I think it would be effective.
The Most Viewed Pages
I was a bit surprised that only two of my recipes even made it to the top 10! I think that the sour cream banana bread post is the most popular recipe because I personally think that its featured photo is the best looking.
Thus, I think I will work on improving my featured photos. I only really like three of the featured photos that I have taken (the banana bread one, the smoothie one and the oatmeal one) and I want to replace the rest. I think having more attractive photos will increase the likelihood that users will visit other pages.
User flow was the most interesting to look at, as I could see which pages my readers visited, and in what order. I found it interesting (rather than surprising, per se) to see how users reached certain pages.
I think having the banner on my homepage helps to gain readers’ attention to certain recipes (and thus leading them directly to these recipes, rather than having them click through my site), as well as the sidebar on each of my posts. I will pay better attention to user flow and add more links onto my homepage and/or sidebar and see if I see any differences!
Google Analytics has provided me with great insight that I would otherwise not know. That said, it is up to me to implement the changes I mentioned above and see if it helps my site grow.
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!
For my third peer review, I will be reviewing Matan’s blog, The Pawer of Photography, focusing on his site’s marketability.
I actually remember talking to Matan during the speed dating exercise that we did early on in the semester because his blog name is so catchy. Like I mentioned in my reviewof Lauren’s blog, Goode Eats, I am jealous that his last name can be used as a pun. Lucky people.
Anyway, first impressions of Matan’s blog: it reminds me of Instagram. Since his site is a photography site, this is to be expected. I really enjoy the simplicity of the site.
The marketability of Matan’s website is a bit questionable because it seems that his website is just for himself as a place to store his work, as per his About page. However, I see a lot of potential for this site to be used as a way to attract clients or employers by using the site as a portfolio to showcase his work rather than simply store it. At the moment, the site seems to be more of a private space, rather than a public one. As Warner (2002) writes, “[a] public is self-organized . . . [i]t exists by virtue of being addressed” (p. 413). Thus, since the site is made publicly available, it should be treated as a public space! I would suggest interacting with your site guests through each photo post through your captions/write-ups underneath. At the moment, it appears that most have very generic captions; I feel the most connected to Matan in his posts where he writes more than just a line or two.
Going off what I just said, here are some examples of the write-ups underneath Matan’s photo posts:
As you can see, Matan’s Lantern post lacks engagement with his readers whereas his Seafoam post does a bit of a better job because it asks a sort of rhetorical question. I really like his Seabreeze post because it gives us a better idea of who he is. However, depending on who his target audience is (if any) I would change up the information I share – perhaps add more information about the type of photography you like to do and why? Regardless of who his target audience is, I think Matan should be mindful that this site is available to the public and thus his posts should reflect that and address an audience!
In terms of design, I think that the site is very simple and easy to navigate. Couple of things that I would suggest he change are the background of the website (instead of the mountain image, I think the site would look a lot better if a solid colour background is used) and to change the size of the photos in the photo posts, as they are very large and take up the entire screen on my laptop.
One other suggestion I have is to not categorize all of his photo posts under “photography” – it is pretty self-explanatory that this blog is a photography blog. Instead, I would categorize the photos by the type of photography (e.g. “street photography”, “nature”). It would help clean up the blog and serve as useful for his readers, who may be looking for certain types of photos.
Overall, I think Matan’s site is straight-forward and serve its purpose. In short, I would suggest: a) rethinking if he’d like to have this as a private or public space; b) catering his content towards an audience, if he so chooses to; c) reconsider his choice of background; d) resize photos; and e) add more specific categories and eliminate the general “photography” category.
Looking forward to see how Matan’s site improves!
Warner, M. (2002). Publics and counterpublics. Quarterly Journal of Speech 88(4), 413-425.
“Do you want to monetize your site? If so, how will you do so? What changes will you need to make?”
Who doesn’t want to make money? Seriously? No one. Everyone wants to make cash, let alone a little extra cash. We need it to survive. And most important, we need it to go out for meals so we can take photos of our duck confit and blog about it.
In all seriousness, there’s a right and wrong way to go about making that cash we so desperately need. There’s also an efficient and inefficient way to do it, and that varies from person to person. As far as monetizing my blog goes, I don’t think I’m there yet. Actually, I know I’m not there yet.
Using Google Analytics, I can see the traffic on my blog. Exciting! People are viewing it. OK, I’m famous. Slap some ads on there and bring me a mimosa cause I’m about to sit back and rake in the revenue I get from the…..
14 people that have viewed my blog this month.
OK, maybe I’m not famous.
As we’ve learned in class, monetizing your blog is something that may actually push new users away. AdBlock exists for a reason: people don’t want to see ads. Adverts often play to the subliminal, using data mining to target the perfect audience and at the very least remind them on the products and services the ads are selling. So, why monetize a blog with such a small following? As much as I would love to make a little extra money, I’m not there yet, and theres no use in ‘nickel-and-diming’ your users, especially if it’s such a small following.
Side note: February 5th, 97 users viewed my blog. Considering 141 users have viewed my blog… 97 is a pretty big chunk. Whatever happened on February 5th…. I do not not. But damn was I popular.
Long story short: no, I will not be monetizing my blog. Yet! Let’s wait until I do get a big following (it’s only a matter of time, I swear), and then I’ll revisit the idea.
I really admired Trevor Battye’s guest lecture last week. I was pretty amazed at how money-oriented his thinking is – he seems to always be thinking about how he can profit. I don’t think like that at all.
That said, I do want to eventually monetize KIM KIND OF COOKS. I will do so by adding ads on my blog, once I figure out how Google AdSense actually works. I think that incorporating advertisements will force me to make some design changes. I don’t want to have my site clogged with obnoxious ads, so I’ll have to strategically placed my ads around my site in a way that is effective (i.e. my readers will click on the ads) but non-invasive (i.e. don’t take away from my content or overall experience that I want my readers to have). In addition, I will also have to think carefully about the types of ads that I want to host on my site. Considering that this is a cooking/food blog, I’d want to keep the ads on this site relevant.
An additional reason that I’m holding off on monetizing my blog (besides figuring out how Google Adsense works) is that I really want to make sure that I know my audience, which I can do by looking at my Google Analytics. I have a love-hate relationship with Google Analytics. As the owner of a blog, it provides me valuable data about my audience so that I can create content geared towards them. However, as a user, I really dislike the amount of information that one can gather about me! I think data trails are creepy. I personally try to minimize my data trail as much as possible because I’m aware of just how much information I’m actually providing websites. I’m sure that the average Internet user is quite unaware of all of the data that they’re making available just by accessing certain websites or by providing information on social media platforms. Call me paranoid, but what I’ve learned through my cybercrime course has only solidified my decision to keep my data trail as small as possible.
Initially, I was against the idea of monetizing my website. My website provides me with an outlet and the idea of making money off of my personal posts makes me a little uncomfortable. I want to share posts that other people can relate to and monetizing my content seems to be at odds with the aim of my work. In my mind, it feels disingenuous to be posting content that is meant to be for others but also benefits myself.
I wanted to say that I didn’t care about money, but I realized that doing so would be a disservice to myself. As much as I want to deny it, money is necessary to satisfy a number of the things I value in life: an education, food and shelter, and even some of my hobbies. If I want to post about my hobbies, I will need the funds to do so. This is where monetization comes in.
Although I installed Google Adsense, I have refrained from implementing any ads on my blog. I like how Google Adsense allows users to regulate what ads are posted and I think that a lot of bloggers can effectively use Google Adsense to incorporate advertisements. In my own experience, I tend to question the credibility of websites that feature too many advertisements. I find that an excessive number of ads detracts from the purpose of a website. Overall, I think that a few strategically placed advertisements can be beneficial for individuals looking to monetize their website. I don’t like the look of advertisements
If I were to monetize my website in the future, I would do it via affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing would allow me to promote products that I have personally tried and that are relevant to my blog. In order to enhance transparency with my readers, I would ensure that my audience knows that certain posts may result in monetary compensation.
Ideally, I would like to eventually monetize my blog. But I think I still need to work on being a more experienced blogger. I need more time to realize the kind of content I would like to post and to develop blog series (such as “Outfit of the Day”, “Views of the Week”, “Workouts of the Week”). This would make it easier for me to blog consistently because consistency is one of my struggles at the moment. Currently, I am having trouble thinking of what I should blog about and this is something I would like to work on. Also, I would like to build more of a readership first. From the data on Google Analytics, my blog doesn’t receive much traffic at the moment. “Generally, for online publishers to make enough money off of standard display ads, they need to reach and maintain an audience at a scale that’s generally impractical for small organizations that lack venture-capital funding.” (Feldman, 2016) Adding the problem of adblockers, this would make monetizing through ads even more difficult. Thus, I will continue to consistently blog and provide good content in hopes of building a bigger readership. Then I will look into Google AdSense, affiliate marketing, paid review, and eCourses or online services.
Some people say that data is the most valuable resource and it can be useful for producers and consumers. Personally, I think the fact that every little data is collected, sometimes without us knowing, is worrisome. As a producer, there is an overload of data and this can sometimes make it difficult to use effectively. As a consumer, confidentiality and privacy is a bigger issue now and is difficult to have. I would like to think that I minimize my data trail by doing things such as deactivating my location feature on my phone or setting most of my social media accounts on private. But I think in reality, I am leaving a bigger data trail than I think I am. “Our lives continue in the Digital world and leave digital breadcrumbs on the way.” (Pod Academy, 2016) For example, every time I online shop, the same items appear on my Facebook newsfeed. It is difficult to avoid having my data being collected.
After my Vice Presidency of Account Deliver at AIESEC Simon Fraser University, I calculated that I had been responsible for over $1,000,000 in sales and accounts. This number shocked me because I was never felt like I was in a sales profession, motivated by greed as the stereotype would assume. I have yet to calculate the number again after finishing my presidency last December, but I can assure you of is that I was always motivated by building strong value-add partnership that furthered the goals of both AIESEC and our stakeholders. I committed myself to exception servicing and value delivery, always.
I carry this philosophy into my work as an artist. I deliver value first and foremost and focus on building relationships with those who support and collaborate with me to ensure mutual success. Since becoming a Producer and later a DJ, I’ve kept track of all my expenses and revenues as a commitment to myself that I would take this endeavour seriously. I am actively pursuing a life where my music is financially sustainable so that I commit as much time as possible to it.
Don’t let that fool you though. I’m definitely not a musician for the money, as evident by my profit/loss calculation. Producing music is responsible for most of my expenses and sees the least revenue. This was one of my motivations to begin playing shows along with increasing my brand visibility in the local scene.
If I was solely concerned with profitability, I would more vigorously pursue DJing opportunities including weddings and similar events which I currently refuse to do. The reason I reject these opportunities is that I value working on productions very highly. Even though “The Key” has only just earned back its cost for distribution (about $15) and is nowhere close to covering its promotional costs, the long-term benefits of having production skills are great. No DJ can reach substantial success without producing original songs that draw crowds.
Another possible revenue stream is advertising. I am perfectly comfortable with placing advertisements on my website and on my Youtube channel, as long as they are tastefully implemented. For example, I would not put in-article advertisements as they break up the intended flow of my writing. Before monetization is even an option on Youtube, however, I need to focus on building my following as much as possible by taking every opportunity to network and build a primary fanbase for future capitalization.
As a musician, there are many options for monetization. The challenge comes in what is both sustainable and sensisble with my brand.
According to Ad Sense, this blog needs to have posts with more words so that they can get a gist of the type of ads that would be appropriate for it. Apparently multi media posts are not considered when Google ads decide to approve a blog for monetization. This means that I am going to have to produce more wordy posts, which I am okay with doing, even though in my opinion I find them to be quite boring and I probably won’t re read ever. Do I want to monetize this blog? Of course I do. Nobody puts in effort into something without expecting a beneficial outcome. I should also put up posts more frequently if I expect to make more than a cent if even that.
Personally I think blogs are dying out in the same way as magazines are dying out. I’m taking a course – PUB 375, which is about magazines. Designing it, the costs of publishing it etc. The most important thing I’ve learnt from this course so far is that I do not want to work for a magazine. I once wanted to become an editor for some magazine, any magazine after I wrote a post for the SFU OLC/ Engage blog. People do not want to read if they don’t have to. I too hate reading after taking all the communication courses I’ve taken so far. Approximately 30 pages for 2-3 reading per week per course are no joke and no fun. I would much rather watch a 60-minute video per week for each course. This is why I believe that blogs are dying out, just like magazines.
For this week’s process post, the task was to remix something. I decided to remix a character from one of my all time favourite TV shows – Gossip Girl! It recently got put onto Netflix and I binge watched the whole show in less then two weeks! I love Blair Waldorf because she’s such an iconic character. Her confidence and sense of style are things I look up to.
I found this image of Leighton Meester, who plays the character of Blair Waldorf in Gossip girl using the Creative Commons web page. The web page took me to alien_artifacts’ Flickr page, where this image was located. I then downloaded it and uploaded it to befunky.com where I was able to change the lighting and tones of the image. I then exported it to an app called PhotoWonder where I replaced her original mouth with the the blue lips and crown. Here I also mirrored the image to give me two identical Leighton Meester’s. I also added a Gossip Girl quote that I found on Pinterest in the centre.
Let me know who your favourite character is from Gossip girl. I’d love to know!
This week’s process post assignment was pretty vague: “Remix something.” Okay, sure.
To be completely honest, this remix post was not entirely planned. This past week, I decided to finally pick up the ukulele that I bought three years ago and learn how to play a song. I found this tutorial video and within a few minutes, learned how to play Elvis Presley’s, Can’t Help Falling in Love.
I sang the actual lyrics a few times and recorded myself so that I could share with some friends. As I like to do with other songs, I decided to change up the lyrics. Without really thinking about it, I sang the following:
Kim kind of cooks
She doesn’t use a cookbook
She really should
She isn’t that good.
If you care to hurt your ears a bit, this video is essentially just audio of me SINGING (Kim kind of sings?) the song. AHHHHH!
So, I accomplished three things with this: 1) I finally learned how to play a song on my ukulele; 2) I inadvertently came up with a theme song for my blog; and 3) I now have content for this remix post. Win, win, win.
Quick shout-out to Jasmine for being the first person I shared the raw footage of this with (I only used the audio in the video above because I looked like an actual potato).
For my remix, I used the cut up technique and took phrases from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham to create a poem. I basically changed Romeo and Juliet’s romance aspect of the play and created a humorous poem about the love of food.
Last week, we had peer review #2. Going into this one, I was feeling a bit more confident: since peer review #1, I had now settled on a theme, a logo, and a colour scheme.
This peer review was done by Kim Kind of Cooks, and she has a lot of insightful and useful information!
1. “Lauren has decided to use a background image whereas the demo page has none. (Side note: I would think about changing the background image to a photo more optimized for backgrounds – when I zoom out, I can see that the image is simply repeated in the background). Nonetheless, I like how she changed the colours so that the hyperlinks accent the leaves in her background photo.”
Dammit Kim, you’re right. I tried to take Mauve Pagé’s colour-scheming advice into consideration but I think I missed the mark a bit (I’m glad she at least saw the intent, though!) The tiled background looked awkward to me but I kept it anyway, but now I’ve switched it to a gold fork tile that doesn’t have mismatched edges. I think I still need to play around with it a bit to make it less ‘in-your-face’, ya know?
2. “…going back to Lauren’s logo, I really like how she used script – it really makes the title of her blog stand out. One suggestion that I have would be to make the “Food Drink Cook” font consistent with the font used on the rest of her blog.
This is something I hadn’t thought of! I think this is a good point, but I kind of like the linear font juxtaposed with script in my logo, and I don’t love the look of serif mixed with script that close together. For now, I think I’ll keep it but it’s definitely a good point that I’ll be considering changing.
3. “I feel that the search box and tags serve related functions. Maybe opt to get rid of the “Tags” box? I think that it would help clean up the sidebar.”
Gone goes the sidebar! Initially, I was thinking quantity over quality when I finally figured out how to use Widgets (or what they even were… see this post for more on this struggle). It looks a lot cleaner, as Kim thoughtfully suggested it might!
4. “On Lauren’s About Me page, I noticed that there is a duplicate post. It looks like one is part of a static page, whereas the other is an ordinary blog post.”
See, this is why peer reviews are so helpful! I hadn’t even noticed this, probably because I haven’t revised that page since I won’t be posting to it anymore. As Kim pointed out, I actually had a category description and an “About Me” post that were the exact same. Luckily, Kim was right in saying it was an easy fix, and all I had to do was remove the category description.
Kim’s peer review was super useful! She really helped me to eliminate the redundancy and repetition on my blog, giving it a cleaner overall look.
This week’s question prompt: What audience have you been imagining thus far? How has that imagined audience informed your design and editorial decisions?
Well… I think it goes without saying that my audience is likely to be the people peer reviewing my site or marking it (hi, Roshane!), but I think the intended target audience is foodies in the Vancouver area! I don’t necessarily imagine there to be a specific age demographic, but likely people out of high school, perhaps young adults in general. This is mainly because high school students may not be interested in food blogs, cooking etc, and may not have the means to go to far-out restaurants (unless they maybe live in the area? Which then would mean that only a select few posts would appeal to them).
I think I address my target audience well. I essentially operate a food review blog, so if people are looking for restaurant and café reviews, they’ve come to the right place!
This influences my design element decisions in the way that I want my blog to say ‘food blog’. From title to background to logo, I want someone who visits my blog for the first time to not be confused about what its about. I think that as soon as you enter my blog, you know it’s about food. The name, “Goode Eats”, combined with the logo, the page titles, and the background all speak to my target audience.
In this week’s readings, we learned about audiences and ‘publics.’ The word ‘public’ has a variety of different meanings, as Michael Warner describes in “Publics and Counterpublics” (2002). Warner says that if you are reading his essay, “you are part of its public.” Further, there is the general public, which may change situationally, or ‘a public’ (2002). There is a difference between the public and a public (Warner, 2002). Warner describes the public as a ‘totality’: an all inclusive desrciption of the general amount of people.
A public, however, is what is perhaps of more interest to us; a public is the specific audience (by my extremely simplified understanding). My public, then, are the people reading this blog right now! My audience, whether it is my ‘target audience’ (as described above) or not.
I think it’s always important to keep in mind who your public is, and how it may always be changing, thus your blog and your online self may need to change with it to keep traction and interest; to keep popularity.
Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics. Knowledge and Public Works, 88(4), p. 413-425.
This week we were asked to think of a website that we frequently visit and analyze it, looking at the design elements. From this week’s readings and hearing the ‘best practices’ by our guest speaker, Mauve Pagé, we are to see ‘what works’ and what… doesn’t.
Well, YouTube seems to be the easy choice. BUT, nothing good in life comes easy, so let’s say… Pinterest.
Pinterest is an interesting one: it gives the feel of a personal blog, but still operates as its own site. Users are able to, within reason, customize what they see by creating their own ‘boards,’ and ‘pinning’ the posts. It is meant to be modelled after a bulletin board – you pin ‘notes’ or posts that you want to see, as inspiration of thinks you like. Essentially.
Mauve Pagé went over basic design elements, like fluidity, of the overall design of sites with particular respect to blogs. One of the concepts she outlined was usability – how easy is it to use? To find what you’re looking for? And how long are you likely to spend on each page (potentially generating popularity and.or ad revenue)?
Well, upon signing on you are blessed with your own personal ‘feed’. This feed is a combination of posts you have already ‘pinned’ to your board as well as ‘suggested’ posts based on your searches, and the occasional sponsored post. As you an see from the image above, I have been looking at re-doing my room… Pinterest knows this. I have a white and blue theme I’m going with, Pinterest knows this too. Usually I don’t love the idea of information mining, but considering it’s helping me find posts that I was already looking for on their site, I’ll let it slide. The usability of this site is pretty basic – it displays posts and photos, you pin them if you like them which ‘saves them for later’, and you can access the websites that will lead you to other blogs, links, or websites to shop. Pretty sweet!
Often I find that users have the ability to import static images… which is great if I want to just stare at the picture, but I don’t. I want to be redirected to where to buy! This is a major downfall, and I can imagine it may cause some users to switch to Wanelo, a similar site, but it strictly links to websites for ‘where to buy.’
So, this is a downfall.
While on the topic of Pinterest usability, I would appreciate a sidebar. Pinterest allows for a link to your profile which includes all of your ‘boards’, ad a search bar. I think a sidebar perhaps displaying categories of different posts would be awesome and get the creative juices flowing!
One of the elements that Mauve mentioned that intrigued me were colour schemes. Pinterest just has a white background, and the posts and feed that you search kind of make up the colour scheme (if there is one at all). Considering I was looking at white and blue furniture and paint, my feed actually looks quite nice and fluid. However, all it takes is one pesky sponsored post to mess that up. As far as what other users see of my page, they see what I chose to pin. So, to make it ‘pretty’, I could make my boards colour schemed.. which may diminish the whole point of Pinterest, being that it gives you a variety of inspirations – if I were to only post certain colours, I might miss out on posts and links I love!
The background of the Pinterest site is white – I feel like this is probably a good design choice, considering everyone’s feeds will likely be a variety of different colours. Maybe an option to customize it, like a desktop wallpaper, would make it a bit more ‘fun’.
Back to my site.
I decided to apply a few of the elements of Mauve’s talk to my site, namely colour scheme!
Initially, I took the greenery that was in my About Me photo that appears in the side bar and apply it throughout. I took a green and white plant photo from google image and applied it to the background. It tiled awkwardly and wasn’t perfect, but I kept it for a bit. It wasn’t until Peer Review #2 that I finally decided to ditch it for something that I felt looked less “piece-y.”
I also have change the hyperlinks throughout my site to a green colour that subtle-y matches.
I created a logo for my site with gold lettering that I don’t want to make green, so I have now changed the background to gold forks, similar to the logo. Hopefully bettering the colour scheme!