Let me review your blog!

Jon

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alexisharrow.com
Alexis Harrow



Design

First thoughts when landing on the homepage is that it looks welcoming and fitting with the brand. It gives the visitor a sense of what your site is about, without having to read anything. The overall layout is nice and doesn’t feel too busy. As you scroll down the page, it’s easy to keep track of what you’re looking at.

The ads and links to other things at the side (Instagram, Pinterest etc.) are easy to see and understand. There isn’t too much going on each page. Each page feels cohesive and makes the whole site feel professional and interesting. I also like that you have categories for your blogs. This makes it far easier for people to find what they’re looking for.

Content

Although running a beauty and lifestyle blog gives you a lots of scope for things to write about, you have stayed on-brand very well. Obviously a lot of your blog posts are about beauty products, trends and reviews. This is excellent, as obviously a large part of your audience will be interested in this, as this is why they’ve come to your site.

However, the other blogs that you have written about different topics still feel relevant to the overall brand. Your target market is people who are interested in beauty – probably a younger female audience mainly. So your other content is still targeted to that market which is great – it will keep people coming back even if you’re not writing specifically about beauty/make up.

There is some content which is obviously incredibly personal for you, and must have been hard to write. It is good that you have written this for many reasons. For you (I imagine that it must have been fairly therapeutic to get this out on paper), for your audience who can relate and get to know that person behind the blog. In today’s world with so many giant corporations which are faceless, people like to know who they’re reading/buying from/interacting with. Having some personal stories in there allows your audience to know you a little bit. It also gives people the chance to relate to you, and build a community through common situations.

There are other blog posts which also show off your personality and creativity which is refreshing in a world of huge brands. However, when you write a blog post, you may want to think about using more images.

Although you already use an image for the head of the blog, but it’s also worth considering using more. For SEO, images are a great way of getting noticed. Make sure the images are relevant and interesting. They can be personal images (pictures of you, or pictures that you’ve taken) or they can be more generic images. Search engines love images and will choose to show blogs with more image.

Thoughts for the Future

I’ve already mentioned about using images in your posts, which will help you with SEO. But other than that your content is great and feels relevant to your audience. Another thing you could consider doing would be incorporating videos on your blog. Videos are becoming more popular with SEO and audiences, but only do so if it’s relevant. Don’t add things just for the sake of adding things.

But overall, your site is great – it’s cohesive and easy to read and understand. It’s easy to find your way around which will likely keep people coming back. The content is good and easy to read. You also use several external links within each post which is good for SEO. Keep that up!
 

Alexis_Harrow

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Thank you very much.
I often think I'm not hitting the right marks, content and design wise. As an SEO writer, I should have known more about image SEO, haha.

Alexis.
 
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Jon

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Hi Jon, I finally started on the blog, so will you give me your honest opinion, please?

www.countrymadegirl.com
Hey Ashlie

I think to be fair to you I'll wait until you get a handful more posts up on your site before doing a review as currently there are only 3 pages for me to review ;)
 

Jon

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Hello!
I would love some feedback on my blog if that's possible: https://curiousandgeeks.com/

Thank you
Design
Straight off the back the page is interesting. The logo at the top and the funky colours mean it draws you in instantly. The picture is also a nice touch – adds a personal aspect to the website which you don’t always get.
I like the layout on the homepage of recent blog posts – it makes it easy to find new content. And the way that you can find different blog posts by month is a good idea – a lot of websites will make you go through manually to find one. The menu across the top is nice and easy to navigate, it’s good to have such clear headings that will take you where you want to go. It’s also nice that the navigation bar follows you down the page – meaning you don’t have to scroll all the way back up. It’s little things like that which really make a website.
The colour scheme is really simple, which usually means boring but because you’re using a lot of pictures in your content is doesn’t feel that way at all. It feels bright and airy and easy to find your way around. I think because the pictures contrast nicely with the white and black colour scheme it feels very on brand and unique.

Content
Overall I think the content is really good. Each post seems relevant to your site and what you’re trying to accomplish. Each piece is interesting and fun. It also seems to come from a personal place which is lovely to read. The content itself is easy to read and the subheadings and bullet points make it very online-friendly. It is also easy for kids and adults alike to read – perfect for your audience.
One thing I would say is that there isn’t very many links to outside sources. A good practice whenever writing blog posts is to link to outside sources as this draws in extra traffic. There are a few sources linked which is good but a good number of sources to link is at least three. This also makes the blog post much more SEO friendly.
The number of pictures are great – it allows people to see exactly what you’re describing. It works really well for the kind of audience you’re attracting which I’d imagine are families of all ages. Overall, each blog post works well with your brand and is very relevant, fun and interesting.
I like that the blog posts are separated into different categories as this makes it so easy to navigate – and even if it were a child looking for something, I’m sure they’d be able to find it.

Thoughts for the future
Honestly, I wouldn’t change too much about your site. It’s a very fun and appealing website and one that I would definitely visit or recommend to those with kids looking for things to do – or just to find out information about a place. Keep doing what you’re doing and make sure to keep everything relevant to your audience – especially as it grows.
Another thing to do would be to link to outside sources and make sure that these links are secure. The few links you do use are secure which is great – just keep on top of it when using more links. Overall the design and look of the page are great – keep it up.
 

curiousandgeeks

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Thank you Jon for taking the time and doing this review. I have been blogging for a couple of months but because I have never really received any feedback, was worried about doing stuff wrong.

I didn't know about the three external links, I will go back and add some for the posts I can.

Thanks again, it means a lot!!
 
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Jon

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Thank you Jon for taking the time and doing this review. I have been blogging for a couple of months but because I have never really received any feedback, was worried about doing stuff wrong.

I didn't know about the three external links, I will go back and add some for the posts I can.

Thanks again, it means a lot!!
I always think with blogging you can’t really “do stuff wrong” as such. I mean SEO stuff obviously has a sort of “best practice” if you want to get the most from it but apart from that blogging is very much a personal taste in terms of the content you produce :)
 

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Design
The colour scheme is a great match I think and it's good that it follows through the entire site. Everything is very spacious but I would perhaps put some kind of slogan on the right hand side of your header image just because you are leaving a lot of white space there which could be filled with something. Good use of fonts, extremely easy to read.

Content
Your content is a good mixed bag at the moment but when I come to your home page NOTHING tells me what it is apart from the fact it has content to do with money.
The order of your content as well on the home page is a little bit confusing. It starts at the top with stuff from early December, then jumps to January and then goes back to December again. I would either remove the dates entirely or get things in chronical order.
I think some of your content could be a bit longer and maybe more in dept. Your 'Intro to Current Accounts' for example is extremely short and I'm not sure offers much value as it doesn't provide one external link to 'said' accounts but I'll get more into that later. You need to guide the reader more. Everything you write should be based on convincing the reader that what you are saying is CORRECT and that they should follow your advice and sign up to xyz.

Thoughts for the future
I don't know who you are hosting your website with (possibly 123reg) but I kept hitting a heck of a lot of slowdown on it. Pages would either not load or would take forever and a day to actually appear. You can't be having a slow site, it's the number 1 reason beyond ads as to why people won't come back to your site and Google will generally hate you and rank you accordingly based on user experience.

Your homepage has no title btw. It just seems to appear as your URL in a browser tab so you need to change that.

You have menu categories that link to nothing such as https://mindovermoneymatters.co.uk/category/mystery-shopping/ so get those removed from your menu as they serve no purpose and make your site look like something that isn't ready to be live.

I couldn't seem to find ONE external link on any of the blog pages you have. Well external OR internal. Content should always interlink so that when Google index your page they see it links to another page on your site and it goes off and checks that one out. At the moment all your pages are just stand alone.

In terms of external links you are missing a trick, you are recommending items or products and then providing no links to them. You should be signing up to affiliate networks (Start with Awin - https://www.totallyblogging.com/how-to-earn-money-with-awin/ ) and cramming them into your site since I assume the point of your blog is for you to make money ;)
 

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Hi Jon,
we started our blog this January, so quite new to blogging. It took us lots of headache to decide between blogger and wordpress, finally settling on blogger. I know it's not brilliant yet, but would very much appreciate feedback regarding content (as design will be changing). Also, we are starting soon weekly jewellery competitions/giveaways and wonder if I could post a link to them in 'Competitions' section of the forum.
Here's the blog: https://www.jewellerysecrets.co.uk
 

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You asked for blogs on Twitter, so I've just signed up and am pointing you to my blog.
It's chaotic, and messy, and all over the bloomin place!
Good luck!!

 

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Hi Jon,
we started our blog this January, so quite new to blogging. It took us lots of headache to decide between blogger and wordpress, finally settling on blogger. I know it's not brilliant yet, but would very much appreciate feedback regarding content (as design will be changing). Also, we are starting soon weekly jewellery competitions/giveaways and wonder if I could post a link to them in 'Competitions' section of the forum.
Here's the blog: https://www.jewellerysecrets.co.uk
Design
Your layout is very crisp and clear with a nice colour scheme being used in both your header and typography. You do have FAR to much white space on the right though but this is a result of the fact your main content seems to be sat on the left-hand side of the page instead of filling up space all the way across. I'm also not sure that having your content in full on one page works as you are reducing the number of clicks you get on your site since everything is available in full on the front page which results in the user having to do a lot of scrolling. You also don't seem to have any menu active so break up the content into different categories. I 'think' you may be using Blogger which perhaps has some limitations in terms of what you can do design wise with your blog, if that's the case you may want to think about going self-hosted and porting the content over to a self installed WordPress solution so you have a lot more control.

Content
You have a fantastic use of images in your content, it really helps the blog posts out and spaces out the length content (in a good way!). All your links, however, seem to point to the same site, so I would look at adding more outbound links to external sites and also more internal links so that Google bounces from site to site when it indexes it. The content itself is very well written, you clearly know your stuff!

Thoughts for the future
You need to break the content up a lot more. Like I mentioned above having all the content open on the front page I think works against the user experience. You could think about just having maybe the first few links of the blog post as a preview on the front page like you see on TMS blog which will increase your clickthrough numbers. You need a menu system in some way as well for things like a contact us page, disclosure etc and finally, you need to decide what you want to do about all that white space on the right-hand side.
 

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You asked for blogs on Twitter, so I've just signed up and am pointing you to my blog.
It's chaotic, and messy, and all over the bloomin place!
Good luck!!

Design
I get that the retro design is intentional and maybe the demographic you are going after perhaps doesn't care about design / UI but I would look at modernising the layout a bit (something like https://www.retrogames.co.uk is clever and fits the bill). You colour scheme works well and I like your header image. Search is KEY to a site like this and I like how prominent it is on the front page and throughout. I would also push you 'Over 400 Games Available' mantra a LOT more, perhaps include it is a slogan in the header!

Content
Each page no matter, if it's a game or a pixelart page, is very well laid out and the detail is excellent. It gives the user everything they need to start playing the game. Perhaps the only thing missing is YouTube videos for each game showing how they play off.

Thoughts for the future
This is quite a tricky one as you are going after a demographic is computer users who are interested in retro looking games and to a certain degree they don't massively care about how things look and instead care more about their ease of function. So I would say you could make the changes above as they won't impact on the user experience too much and it will give you site a 'new look'. I get that you worry about it feeling like 'everything is everywhere' but a good search functionality (which you have) makes all that OK.
 
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It's certainly been hard to wrangle the site into one entity. Up until about a year ago, it was a blog site and a game site and a music site and a Pixelart site and .. a mess of intermingled links all over the place.
Last year I took the time to combine all the databases into one giant one. Taking the Wordpress Blog database, a series of xml files holding the music databases, and a bunch of varying other MySQL databases, and combining them all was NOT an easy task. But I persevered and it all got dumped into a great big giant mess :)

I'm currently going page by page through every single page of the database, fixing up old blog posts with better links and the like.. a decade of blog posts means some really broken links!! Once I reach the games part of the database, I fully intend to add more videos and things, but that's a long way off, yet.
Finding time is the biggest issue, but given the time constraints that I have, alongside my abysmal design skills, I'm fairly happy that the result isn't an absolute horror show.

Thanks for your thoughts. Very much appreciated. :)
 

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Design
Your layout is very crisp and clear with a nice colour scheme being used in both your header and typography. You do have FAR to much white space on the right though but this is a result of the fact your main content seems to be sat on the left-hand side of the page instead of filling up space all the way across. I'm also not sure that having your content in full on one page works as you are reducing the number of clicks you get on your site since everything is available in full on the front page which results in the user having to do a lot of scrolling. You also don't seem to have any menu active so break up the content into different categories. I 'think' you may be using Blogger which perhaps has some limitations in terms of what you can do design wise with your blog, if that's the case you may want to think about going self-hosted and porting the content over to a self installed WordPress solution so you have a lot more control.

Content
You have a fantastic use of images in your content, it really helps the blog posts out and spaces out the length content (in a good way!). All your links, however, seem to point to the same site, so I would look at adding more outbound links to external sites and also more internal links so that Google bounces from site to site when it indexes it. The content itself is very well written, you clearly know your stuff!

Thoughts for the future
You need to break the content up a lot more. Like I mentioned above having all the content open on the front page I think works against the user experience. You could think about just having maybe the first few links of the blog post as a preview on the front page like you see on TMS blog which will increase your clickthrough numbers. You need a menu system in some way as well for things like a contact us page, disclosure etc and finally, you need to decide what you want to do about all that white space on the right-hand side.
Thank you Jon, i somehow managed to miss your post. That's correct, I use blogger, as it seemed simpler and easier. White space on the right - it takes half of my screen, however my partner told me that it looks ok on laptop and it's that my screen is too wide. Will have to look into it. New banner and menu are coming once the competition is over, and linking to other sites and internally is very good idea, I believe from SEO point as well, so I will do that.
 

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It's in the early stages but any feedback would be appreciated. :)

Design
Your colour scheme is certainly eye catching. With using the pastel colours that you are each section stands out clearly. You've made good use of your menu bar and having the sidebar on the left instead of the right is certainly different. I LOVE the header logo btw, looks great!

That side, the 'welcome mat' that runs would be enough to make me click off your site. This was my screen after just a few seconds



So I've got the sidebar advert on the left telling me about the FREE budget binder and then up comes a pretty large popup about the exact same thing. At one point I was actually able to close the popup and it then reappeared when I scrolled around the site. It's far too much and I worry may put people off using the site if the first thing they get is this.

I'm also not overly sure the layout of the blog post previews on the front page(s) work in these long-form rectangle boxes.

Content
Your posts are very well written and easy to understanding which is very important when you are posting about money as no one likes content that is either too dry or too technical. You could maybe do with an image or two extra on some of your longer posts and you aren't posting as many affiliate links as you could (if any!) when you are covering the sort of content you are. Good use of internal linking though, lots of it!


Thoughts for the Future

You don't seem to have a comments system in place so I would recommend using Disqus. You also lose your SSL cert on a few pages so I would run your website through https://www.whynopadlock.com to find out what unsecure content your website is linking through to.
 
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Helen Jayne

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Hi Jon

Thank you for the in-depth review

I have just turned off the slide-in completely. I am not a fan of them and bought into the hype of "you are giving your reader something they want". I would rather offer a better reader experience and not put people off.

I am planning on making the front page static over the next few weeks. Now I am starting to get posts written for each section I am hoping this will look better. I shall overhaul the "about" section at the same time.

I am yet to touch advertising or affiliate links. I am not sure anyone would want to work with me at the moment, so my focus is building content and hopefully increasing traffic.

Whilst it would be great to make some money, I cringe at the sites that rave about and link to a certain electricity supplier one month then a matter of weeks later rave about another. Hopefully in time I will find a small number of affiliates that are the right fit for me and the site. (Maybe that's newbie ideology?!)

I will certainly look at adding some more images to my existing posts and continue moving forward.

I have jumped straight over to whynopadlock - thank you I had never heard of it......but the results all came back fine (see below) so I am a little unsure why I am losing the padlock? I will manually check each page/post and see if I can work out where my links are insecure.

I shall take a look at the comments plugin you recommend.

Thanks again, it's really useful to get the feedback and understand the areas I need to prioritise working on.

537
 

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