The Blog Critique #06: Properly Utilizing Your Sidebar

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the blog critique | 06 | The Native New Yawker

this week i’m all off. although i love not having to go to work on monday’s.. it really throws me off track for the rest of the week. it kinda feels like wednesday, but not really. well, today is thursdays and if you’ve been stopping by the blog you know every thursday is a blog critique! if you have any blogger friends that may be interested in getting their blog’s aesthetics critiqued then shawty, send them my way.

naturallynaija.com
lifestyle blog

today we’re going to look at nneji‘s lifestyle blog, naturallynaija.com in which she’s been blogging on for a little over a year now. at this point, nneji’s main concerns when it comes to her tumblr blog is if she’s utilizing her space properly, including her sidebar space. well, nneji.. you’ve come to the right place.

the good

when i first enter on your space it makes me smile. why you ask? i’m unsure if you know this or not but you’re definitely utilizing the white space on your site. the header makes a bold impression on your page, especially the use of that lovely mustard color for naija. the navigation isn’t clutter and gives the readers a chance to reach you if needed. the first thing we see when looking over on the sidebar is a picture of you and all your social links. not to mention everything in your sidebar is all the same width making for a cleaner looking sidebar. so within a few seconds of being on your page i have a face to link the blog to, as well as several ways to get in touch with you via social networks. so kudos for all dat.

the concerns

I’m not sure if I’m utilizing my space correctly or if I should add a ‘categories’ section to my sidebar.

first off let me say, you’re definitely utilizing your space properly. by using the white space on your page, you’ve allowed everything to ‘breathe’. nothing feels congested. you don’t have areas where the eye can’t focus because you have a lot going on. so congrats, you’ve definitely used the space how it should be used. now as far as adding a ‘categories’ section to your sidebar, i say hell yea.. why not? currently your navigation gives all your contact links, as well as your about. the sidebar for the most part has almost the same information but with an ‘expanded’ few. we aren’t just getting the links, we can now view your tweets and your instagrams pics. that’s all fine and dandy, too. but if you have specific columns or categories you cover all the time on the blog you should definitely throw those on the sidebar to help your reader navigate to specific things when coming on your blog.

the solutions

+ develop a color scheme. i really like the mustard color used in your header. i would start with that color and added one or two secondary colors to use around the blog as accent colors. right now the three main colors on your page (not including the white background) are black, mustard and beige. and that in itself can be a color scheme, but you should definitely utilize more of the colors by doing things such as making all your link colors that mustard color.

+ create fun category boxes for sidebar. i like your little social media title buttons you’ve got on the sidebar. i would go ahead and add your categories to your sidebar maybe placing them directly under your bio picture. get creative with them. you can use images as buttons or stick with solid colors as buttons for your categories. completely up to you but since you’ve given yourself ample white space on the blog you got some room to make a few things pop. if you do go with solid colors, maybe think about doing something with that mustard color. i’m just sayin..

+ spice up your blog titles with webfonts. just because you’re using tumblr doesn’t mean you have to be limited to what’s there. you can experiment with sites like typewonder to help you see what google webfonts will look awesome on your blog. when you’ve found one you like you can always follow these instructions on how to add custom fonts to your theme. for your blog, i’d recommend using some type of san serif such as josefin sans, abel or nunito.

the overall critique

overall, you have a lot of wonderful things happening on your blog, nneji. your biggest concern about if you’re utilizing your blog space properly should no longer be an issue for you. everything has room to breathe and isn’t clustered. since you were unsure of if you should add categories to the sidebar, i’d recommend it as it will make it easier for readers to further navigate along your blog. anything you do at this point will be considered minor tweaks such as changing your webfonts or developing a color scheme. none of these things will make or break your blog, it will just help turn the aesthetics up even more. i hope i was able to help today! i can’t wait to see what you to do your blog in the future.

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

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  • Laura!

    Thanks for critiquing my blog! I was a little worried at what you had to say but, I loved all of your comments! I’ll definitely be taking your typeface & color scheme tips into consideration.

    -Nneji

    • L.

      Hey Nneji,
      Aww I would never say anything harsh or rude with these critiques. I’m not about bashing, just about motivating. Glad you loved all the comments! Can’t wait to see what you’ll do to your blog in the future! 🙂

  • Cocoa Nina

    love this! I wonder the same thing sometimes about the white space…