The Blog Critique #03: Building A Credible Brand Within Your Niche

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the blog critique | 03

wow, it’s thursday already. i feel like this week started off slow but now it’s basically almost the weekend. plus, everyone knows thursday is the new friday. as you know it’s never too late to submit your blogs for the blog critique so keep them coming. let’s jump into today’s critique.

ampersands + erasers
advertising + copywriting blog

ampersands + erasers was started by alex in november of 2012 and focuses on advertising copywriting, the ad industry and professional creatives in general. alex shares her experiences breaking into the creative professional world as well offers resources to help make one a better advertiser. when it comes to her blog two main there are two main issues: she wants to make sure her design is helping her credibility as a reputable brand within her industry, as well as make sure the design doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a copywriting blog and not a graphic design blog. well alex, let’s see if i can help.

the good

when entering your page there’s nothing aesthetically unpleasing that would make me leave immediately. your logo is modern and clean.. a bit on the smaller side, but clean nonetheless. your blog is definitely more content based so design wise there’s not much to judge by. but i will say i’m definitely a fan of the slab serif you’ve chose for your blog’s typeface.

the concerns

let’s address the two major concerns that alex has with ampersands + erasers:

building a credible brand within my industry and having the blog reflect that. i want professionalism to always come first.

with advertising you have the best of both worlds. you’ve got your chance to be professional all while being creative. in the creative industry you’re in, even if your primary focus is copywriting.. we’re very visual people. it’s our job to be visual. we like to see images.. and we definitely love seeing images with copy or of copy.

but as far as building a credible brand, if copywriting is what you do.. your content will help build your brand no matter what the blog looks like. sure, it helps if the blog is well designed but if the words are good, then dammit you can’t deny good words. but as a copywriter, there’s a high chance that you will be working along side art directors and designers so it’s probably a good idea to get some practice in on your blog getting better with using copy and images so in the long run you can use your blog as another extension of your work. this brings us to your next concern..

how to incorporate graphics without taking over the main mission of the blog which is copywriting. don’t want to scare people away with two many words but don’t want to confuse them into thinking it’s a design blog.

first, take a look at yesterday’s design daily post featuring word., a copywriting firm. simple, clean, fun without taking away from the fact that yes.. they do words. i show you this to say there are quick simple ways you can go about incorporating graphics on your blog without making it feel like a graphic design blog. but, we’ll get into that shortly.

the bottom line is people nowadays have a shorter attention span then ever. we read news in 140 characters or less, browse post by reading headlines.. so of course we’re going to need something more to pull us in than just words. you want people to stay longer.. you’ll have to draw their eyes in. another thing to do, which you’re currently doing is using excerpts. people won’t really know how long a post is until they actually click into the post (like you’ve done with this post) and it just helps give the reader more posts to choose from as opposed to having to scroll through full post to get to the next. i’ll discuss a few ways you can even turn the excerpt up a notch.

the solutions

i know another minor concern of alex’s was migrating over from to as easily as possible. i think i will dedicate a wordpress wednesday on a tutorial of how to do such. until then.. let’s get into some things alex could do to turn her blog up a notch.

+ make the blog title a little bigger. the header currently gets drowned the navigation bar. i’d definitely pump up the size. maybe even center it allowing for some white space and breathing room before getting to your tag line and navigation bar. and with a name like ampersands + erasers i’d definitely think about playing around with some ampersands to incorporate into your branding. it’s a cool name, have fun with it.

the blog critique | 03

+ add featured images to your blog post. there are two ways you can approach adding graphics to your blog without making it feel like a design blog: first, add the title of your post and maybe your blog’s url to a solid background with a color of your choice (preferably a color from your blog’s color scheme) — like what i do with wordpress wednesday post. the other option would be to add copy to photos. when it doubt find interesting photos with enough negative space for your blog title and url. this is a simple way to draw the readers eye in without doing too.

the blog critique | 03

+ use the ‘more’ button to make your own excerpt. at the current time your blog seems to make it’s own except by cutting off your post once it reaches a certain amount of characters by using the […] symbol. make it easier for your readers by adding a ‘read more’ (or ‘continue reading’) link after a paragraph into your blog post.

the blog critique | 03

+ sexy up that sidebar. you know i’m always one to advocate adding your bio and social links at the top of your sidebar. if people like your content they’ll want a way to reach you asap.. having your information there makes it easier than having to search through pages to find a Twitter link or email.

the overall critique

as i’ve mentioned, there’s nothing aesthetically unpleasing about your blog, alex. our goal is to make sure that you’ve got some type of pop on your blog to grab your reader’s attention and have them hang around for a while. you’ll have to do this through the use of graphics. but since you’re not posting moodboards and collages, you don’t have to worry about your blog feeling too much like a design blog. the simple use of photographs or solid backgrounds will work just as fine.

so that people understand the blog is more about copywriting than anything you’ll want to draw them in with your cool title, so don’t be afraid to make that a little bigger. and readers nowadays like to at least have an idea of what the blogger looks like and how to reach them.. show that beautiful face and leave your social information at the top of your sidebar. you’ll never know when JWT needs to find you!

well, that wraps it up for this week’s blog critique. alex, i hope i was able to help with some of your concerns. i’ll love to see where you take your blog from here!

do you have anything you’d like to add to this critique?

if you would like to submit your blog for critique, please send an email to with your name, blog URL, type of blog and why you think you need a blog critique.

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