first let me say, thank you to all who’ve submitted blogs to be critiqued thus far. at this point, this series should be going well off into the winter. holla! so without further adieu, let’s get started with this week’s first blog critique!
natural hair, beauty + lifestyle blog
having just switched from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, monet submitted her blog for critique because she has “no idea what to do as far as design.” she wants to move away from the traditional blog look to more of an editorial website layout. she also doesn’t feel as though she’s using her space efficiently and not only does she not have a color scheme, but she has no idea how to pick one. well mo, you came to the right place.
i always like to start of critiques highlighting some of the good things that a blogger has going on with their page. just because your blog may not be where you want it to be aesthetically just yet, doesn’t mean you don’t have some good things brewing. so let’s take some time to reflect on all the good that’s going on with curlsandmo.com:
two years ago, i self taught myself wordpress.
i still remembering putting together my first website with a purchased theme, signing into the backend and being all.. ‘what.. the..’ but after spending so much time on wordpress, little by little i started to get the hang of it. that’s when i realized having the proper plugins from the start can help make things run more smoothly in the backend.
i figured each wednesday i can share some tips and tricks for handling wordpress, as well as some plugins you all should not only know about, but use. i wanted to kick off this week with five plugins i think every blogger should have when using wordpress.
perfect for the beginner blogger looking to schedule posts and set up an editorial calendar. personally, this is my favorite plugin as it allows you to quickly add new post to a calendar, type some notes, and save as a draft or schedule a post. i’m a visual person so i like seeing post laid out on a calendar as it makes it easier for me to see what needs to be done and by when.
evernote is probably the best note-taking app out right now. it’s available for iphone, ipad, desktops + even android users can get in on this. it’s an easy-to-use app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. it allows you to take notes, capture pictures, create to-do list, clip articles from the web, record voice reminders, etc. you can find things fast since you’re able to search for things via keyword, tag or even printed + handwritten text inside images. to top it all off, the app is free. yes, you heard me. free. you have the option of signing up for a free account or premium.
with a premium account, you’re given a few more features such as your month uploads boosting to 1GB each month, or being able to collaborate on notes with other people. most will be just fine with the free version, but those interested in upgrading to premium it’s $45 per year or $5 a month.
how i use evernote:
i literally use evernote for everythang.
with evernote, you’re able to make notebooks upon notebooks upon notebooks. i have individual notebooks for both my blogs, PartyOverHair.com + this one, a notebook for my For The Naturals event series, a ‘digital moleksine’ in which i’ll have random notes, ideas, sites that inspire + web clippings and of course, a recipe notebook. being both a moleskine + evernote feen, i also have the evernote moleskine in which i’ll write notes, take a picture + store them in my ‘digital moleskine’ notebook.
as you know by now, im a designer.
i live + breathe design.. well, no.. i live + breathe good design, exceptional design even.
art school has trained my eyes to look at something + instantly see the good in the design, or more times than most, the bad. my eyes can pick up when something isn’t kerned (kerning: (v.) adjusting the spacing between letters or characters.) properly, or when something is off by a pixel or two. being this nit picky about design would of course cross over into me being ridiculously nit picky about blog design.
usually when i find a new blog, the first five seconds of landing on the page will determine if your blog makes my subscription reader or gets lost amongst the interwebs. i guess in this instance.. we can say i judge a book by it’s cover. *hangs head in shame.. kinda.*
if it’s not aesthetically in pleasing for my taste, i probably will leave if the content isn’t that interesting.. if it’s well designed, it gets added to the reader regardless the content. so here are my top five reasons i’d leave your site in a hurry:
you have music on autoplay.
not to mention, you don’t have the control options above the fold.
no matter what music is playing, i came on your site to read.. not be distracted by what you currently like to listen to. if you really want me to listen, make a music playlist post. you’ve then got my ear.
aside from the blatant disrespect of taking google reader completely off the google navigation, i seem to be reminded daily that come july 1st, google reader will no longer be there.
alright, i get it.
these last few months ive been experimenting with other readers looking to find my new replacement. even though ive found several i like at the current moment i find myself still using google reader at the end of the day.
when designing user interfaces is part of your job, you tend to get a little nit picky over small things. I absolutely love the simplicity of the google reader, so when searching for a replacement that’s one thing i look for in my replacement. simple and functional. so ive found two that i will be sticking to:
feedly | for the iphone + ipad
perfect for: someone looking for a more hip reader that gives you different layout options for each of your feeds.
why i use it?
+ although i prefer using the browser to read my subscriptions i love the interface of feedly on the ipad + iphone. love the magazine layout as it generally makes the reader more appealing as you have options what you can read instead of having to keep scrolling.