As part of the blogging workshop (Blogging 201) I’m doing, we’ve been asked to audit our blogs. So I thought I’d you for some feedback. While in this audit we are particularly looking at our “branding” I’d welcome any feedback. In particular I’m interested in what you think about the layout and visual feel of the blog. Is it too cluttered? Would more photos be good? Can you find your way around it?
For the audit, we are to think about the reasons we blog and then examine our blog from “header to footer”.
Consider your theme. Look at every widget, page, and image and ask: does this clarify and reinforce my focus? How will this help me meet my goal? Here’s a checklist to get you going:
- Does my theme match my blog’s intent? What about my font and color choices?
- What are my title and tagline saying? What about my post titles? My About page?
- Do the titles of my widgets and my calls to action contribute to my brand?
- Do I have a consistent visual identity? Am I choosing images that support my brand, both in posts/pages and widgets?
- Are there elements that are counter to my brand? Why have I included them? What role do they play?
- Does all this carry through in the other places my blog has a presence — Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or forums/sites where I’m active?
What do you think? Any comments or suggestions would be welcome.
I have a bit of an uneasy relationship with the idea of a brand. In the notes for this task it says
Today’s assignment: audit your brand — look at all the ways you communicate information about your blog, and make sure they’re consistent, focused, and say what you want them to say.
That sits comfortably with me. I realise that how we present ourselves etc can be considered a brand. In Transition Newcastle we have been talking a bit about our brand and how we want to position ourselves.
At the same time I don’t want to become too brand focused. I don’t want to get into marketing myself and selling how “wonderful” the blog is. When I look at how some companies promote their brand and market themselves, it feels so hollow. For example some companies create a brand that makes them look environmentally friendly when really they are a major contributor to environmental problems. (A bit like the video about the “natural effect”.) But of course it doesn’t need to be that way and so I can see the value in thinking about the blog as a brand – just don’t expect too much from me!
Some of the things that I wonder about in relation to my blog:
- Is the photo in the header the best I can do? I quite like it, but suspect that if I keep looking I could find a better one. [I’ve updated the header since writing this. I think it is an improvement, but am still looking for some better pictures.]
- Is there too much happening in the sidebar? In particular I wonder if the Tag Cloud serves any real purpose? [I’ve updated the sidebar and got rid of the Tag Cloud.]
- How could I make better use of my categories? I think it is time to update them and make them more consistent.
- How much of the post should be on the front page? Some bloggers seem to only have a few lines and then a link to the rest of the post. I tend to put quite a lot of the post and only use a link to read more if it is a particularly long post. I wonder what the advantages and disadvantages of the various options are?
- How important are photos? Do they enhance the posts? (I didn’t add a photo to this post as I don’t think it would have added anything.)
Please tell me what you think about any aspect of the blog. I really am open to it. Of course, I mightn’t act on all the suggestions, but I WILL consider them and appreciate them.
If you liked this post you might want to subscribe to the blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:
- Why I blog and some blogging goals for 2014
- Online community engagement – from tools to strategy
- 10 things I’ve learnt about strengths-based community engagement
- What is…? (posts about concepts/practices relevant to working with communities)