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Merch Gwyar

Can I Use You As A Marketing Feedback Group Pl0x?

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As some of you might know, I'm trying to make my living out of freelance writing. It's not going brilliantly well in terms of hard cash, but I'm doing great in hits and sheer amount of articles out there. One of my more neglected blogs has been one based on book reviews. Over past couple of days, I've been tinkering with the lay-out etc. But I'm a writer, not an artist. I'm frankly crap at the visual side of things. Therefore I was hoping you'd all have a look and tell me what you think.

 

The URL: Jo's Library.

 

After you've looked, I have some questions:

 

 

1, Did you look at it with an Adblocker on?

2, Did it load ok or with some delay?

3, Did you, at any point, end up on Amazon looking at stuff?

4, If so, when did it happen? (This will help me work out what links are attractive or not.)

5, If you're good at art/visual stuff, what do you think of the lay-out and colours? (I'm very poor at this, so any feedback is very gratefully received.)

6, Anything else to say about it?

 

 

 

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Merch Gwyar

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1. No, I disabled it for the blog

2. Fine for me.

3+4. No

5. Could do with maybe more colour?

6. I would have hosted a blog like this on Wordpress, simply out of preference.

 

I'm interested in non-fiction, reference books, stuff like that. I find the labels/tags helpful for sorting out which books I'm interested in.

 

It might be difficult for a lone blog writer to be covering every book genre, I'd possibly narrow down my focus.

 

Best of luck :(

Edited by Ambo100

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1, Did you look at it with an Adblocker on? Nope

2, Did it load ok or with some delay? No delay for me, but my internet speed blows most out of the water so I am not a fair comparison

3, Did you, at any point, end up on Amazon looking at stuff? Yes

4, If so, when did it happen? (This will help me work out what links are attractive or not.) The Cox and Forshaw book, but you know me and my love of Physics so it was to be expected.

 

I often use Wordpress, for similar reasons to Ambo, and I usually find it easier reading dark back, light character pages but these are purely personal aesthetics

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1, Did you look at it with an Adblocker on?

No. Was there any ads to be blocked anyway?

 

2, Did it load ok or with some delay?

It loaded with a delay but I am pretty sure that's my internet sped being sluggishly slow.

 

3, Did you, at any point, end up on Amazon looking at stuff?

I saw the Amazon widget but books are not for me. :(

 

4, If so, when did it happen? (This will help me work out what links are attractive or not.)

Though it did not happen to me but I'll say that the links should hook people. *Optimistic*

 

5, If you're good at art/visual stuff, what do you think of the lay-out and colours? (I'm very poor at this, so any feedback is very gratefully received.)

I like the simple and book themed design but a thumbs down for the HEADER (the part where it says Jo's Library ; Book and music reviews by a self-confessed, life-long bibliophile. )

 

6, Anything else to say about it?

Maybe I am a visual type of person but I would like more tiny pictures :D

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Thank you everyone for your feedback so far. I've been reading and tinkering, using the recommendations both from here and on another site. (Except for Minerex's, which I've only just seen! I'll look at that now.) It's really valuable, because I thought I was done when I posted that link. Since then, I've been doing nothing but changing things left, right and centre. It makes me appreciate that I have good friends to watch my back here.

 

This is the totally revamped again look! Am I getting closer to greatness?

 

Now to answer your questions:

 

Ambo - Could you suggest where the colour should be please? I'm really weak on things like this. Also does Wordpress > Blogger on general Google prinicples or for something aesthetic? Thank you for disabling Adblocker to look at it, that was particularly useful, though I know it would have been annoying too. <3 I'm glad that the labels were useful. I do tend to read anything and everything, so there will be a jumble of genres in there. I was trying to imagine what I'd find useful looking through, hence adding in the labels.

 

Doddsy - Thanks for this and I'm very jealous of your computer. :P Did you spot the subtle shout out to you in the last blog entry then? :( I'm with you on the dark background, light character thing. That's how I see Sal's too. But I was researching the best look and light backgrounds, dark writing appears the most popular. Same question to you as with Ambo. Wordpress > Blogger?

 

Minerex - So you had no Adblocker and saw no ads? Mmmm. Mind you, I've been tatting with it during the last hour, so you might have seen it at the exact moment I messed with all of the ads. There should be some there now. I've been experiencing the delay too. I think it was a cloud widget that I had on there, so I've removed that now. Is it still sluggish for you? Oh! The Amazon widget is an ad of sorts. If it's the carousel one, it's also doubly as my favourite books/authors of all time. Unfortunately they made me narrow it down to only ten. ;_; Highly inadequate for me! More pictures is good feedback that I can handle, thanks! The header is bad? D: Would I be as well asking an artist friend to create something for me?

 

Thanks again all. :D

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I think you might need to cut down on your widgets. Out of the three Amazon banners I'd keep the 'My Picks' one as it looks best.

 

I also think having just the one sidebar would be better for readability, you may also decide in the future to have more space to display larger images.

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1, Did you look at it with an Adblocker on? Nope

2, Did it load ok or with some delay? It all loaded okay, which is a rarity for me with my connection :D

3, Did you, at any point, end up on Amazon looking at stuff? Nope, mstly because it wasn't anything I would be buying on Amazon.

4, If so, when did it happen? (This will help me work out what links are attractive or not.) -

5, If you're good at art/visual stuff, what do you think of the lay-out and colours? (I'm very poor at this, so any feedback is very gratefully received.) This is more a personal thing, but I tend to dislike sites with the 'static' background images (The two books in your case), I'd prefer a slight gradient or something myself :P. Plus as mentioned above by someone, I'd probably have fewer widgets. And the last thing, more colour, it looks a little bland with just white with the black font.

6, Anything else to say about it? Best of luck with it all! :(

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1, Did you look at it with an Adblocker on?

Of course.

2, Did it load ok or with some delay?

Loaded perfectly fine.

3, Did you, at any point, end up on Amazon looking at stuff?

Nope.

4, If so, when did it happen? (This will help me work out what links are attractive or not.)

Nope.

5, If you're good at art/visual stuff, what do you think of the lay-out and colours? (I'm very poor at this, so any feedback is very gratefully received.)

I would expand the margins, the right side feels cramped with the meet the author part having only one word per line.

6, Anything else to say about it?

Looks good and I'm sure it would be interesting to people that like books :( But just extend the margins (most people are on widescreen computers) and it'll be good!

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1) Yes.

2) It took about half a minute to fully load because my internet is pathetic.

3) No.

4) No.

5) Higher-quality background images.

6) It made me sad because there were no comments. :(

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1, Nope

2, It loaded in less than three seconds.

3, No, but that's mainly because I have more than enough books in a pile on my desk that I have yet to read.

4, See 3

5, While I do find the sidebar somewhat distracting, the rest looks clean and easy to read.

6,

Well, it wouldn't necessarily be my top picks
Should that be
Well, they wouldn't necessarily be my top picks

? (Just nitpicking)

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Ambo - The trouble with losing the widgets is that they are the actual adverts. I'm supposed to have them to get revenue. *bites lip* Though I do agree that they look awful. :( Is the readability better now that the width of the blog is bigger?

 

Ej - Gradient like one strong colour fading into pastels? I'll have a look at the background, thanks!

 

Redmonke - I didn't realise that I could change the width of the whole thing, until you suggested that. I've widened it now to 1000px for the whole thing, divided between 250px - 500px - 250px. Does it look better?

 

Ootachi - Thank you for your feedback. And awwww re the lack of comments. <3

 

Reepicheep - Thank you! Nitpicking is good too. I've altered that. Which sidebar is too distracting?

 

Thanks everyone for this. It's all useful and I am trying to put into practice what you're suggesting, if I can.

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Ej - Gradient like one strong colour fading into pastels? I'll have a look at the background, thanks!

 

Doesn't necessarily have to be strong colour into a pastel, just have a look around to find a few that you like being used on existing sites, then use ideas from them. Even a quick Google found some good examples :(.

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Ej - Gradient like one strong colour fading into pastels? I'll have a look at the background, thanks!

 

Doesn't necessarily have to be strong colour into a pastel, just have a look around to find a few that you like being used on existing sites, then use ideas from them. Even a quick Google found some good examples :(.

 

Oh! I see what you mean! That would look cool.

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Assuming that's your bookcase at the top of the site, it could be in need of a tidy up :(

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Ambo - The trouble with losing the widgets is that they are the actual adverts. I'm supposed to have them to get revenue. *bites lip* Though I do agree that they look awful. :D Is the readability better now that the width of the blog is bigger?

 

Ej - Gradient like one strong colour fading into pastels? I'll have a look at the background, thanks!

 

Redmonke - I didn't realise that I could change the width of the whole thing, until you suggested that. I've widened it now to 1000px for the whole thing, divided between 250px - 500px - 250px. Does it look better?

 

Ootachi - Thank you for your feedback. And awwww re the lack of comments. <3

 

Reepicheep - Thank you! Nitpicking is good too. I've altered that. Which sidebar is too distracting?

 

Thanks everyone for this. It's all useful and I am trying to put into practice what you're suggesting, if I can.

The changes you made fixed any problems I had with the sidebar. It's very readable now :(

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1, Did you look at it with an Adblocker on?

Of course. Our adventures finding that hacker has made me forever vigilant!

 

2, Did it load ok or with some delay?

Perfectly acceptable for a blog page and my connection is honestly almost dial-up.

 

3, Did you, at any point, end up on Amazon looking at stuff?

You're lacking any images there that would make me want to click it. Also, your twitter bar, isn't very easy to read.

 

5, If you're good at art/visual stuff, what do you think of the lay-out and colours? (I'm very poor at this, so any feedback is very gratefully received.)

I think it looked great, I love that you kept a little colour theme going, my only advice to you is to add a little contrast on important information. For a blog, which i presume is blogger or something similar, it's good enough for something like that I believe anyway.

 

6, Anything else to say about it?

It's great, but you've missed an audience. It's perfect for blog readers and perhaps people who a little more savvy with tech and blog and links and things. But for the people who have never used a blog before, it's not intuitive for them.

Edited by Fatalysm

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Ambo - LOL Those are mostly the over-sized books. The rest are categorised and shelved properly on the rest of my bookcases. I have a lot of books. :D

 

Reepicheep - Thank you very much. Win!

 

Conspicuous - *dies* Fair enough and thanks. <3

 

Sleepy - Thank you for your feedback. How do you mean 'make distinctions between stories'? Sorry, I might be being a little dense here.

 

Fatalysm - Good to see that I've been a good influence upon you. <3 So if I changed the yellow colour scheme to something more striking, that would work better? Erk, can you suggest ways in which you can see it not being intuitive? Thanks for your feedback. :(

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I don't like your two column layout. Also, I think your Amazon ads would perform better if one was directly under the header (horizontal though) and you just placed a few inline ones. The Widgets or whatever on the side just slow things down, especially on a Smartphone or tablet by the way, and I think they probably aren't as effective. Making it tablet friendly could be important, since a lot of readers will soon be using tablet based e-readers such as the Kindle Fire, B&N Nook Color, and, of course, all the iPad/Android tablet users that are out there!!!

 

I just think the content should be on the left and the right side bar could contain everything else like your navigation and author bio.

 

Idk much about computer tho!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Edit:

Also, I don't think Sal's is representative of AdBlock users. The userbase here is generally more tech savvy and apt to use browser addons like that. I don't think your demographic would be as aware/adverse to advertisements.

Edited by man

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Basically I was quickly scrolling down a bit and skipped from one story to another without noticing. Just making the titles a little bigger or underlining them would help. It's nothing too major but little things like that make it easier for people to scan the pages.

 

Also, very nice V for Vendetta story.

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1, Did you look at it with an Adblocker on?

 

I tend not to use adblocker

 

2, Did it load ok or with some delay?

 

It loaded all the elements within 8 seconds (and slow ones at that) and my patience threshold tends to be fine upto 15 seconds :(

 

3, Did you, at any point, end up on Amazon looking at stuff?

 

I took a look at a few of the widgets on the screen but tend not to click on friends widgets unless I am ready to buy something as that messes with their statistics. Some of the Amazon widgets tend not to work for me such as the one under "Little Brother" but some do like the one under "V for Vendetta"

 

4, If so, when did it happen?

 

(This will help me work out what links are attractive or not.)

 

5, If you're good at art/visual stuff, what do you think of the lay-out and colours?

 

(I'm very poor at this, so any feedback is very gratefully received.) I think the overall layout is nice as I like crisp white and black text but I am not qualified to give a better answer lol :D

 

6, Anything else to say about it?

 

I personally think it tends to be better to try to limit posts to 3 per page and maybe this is my personal preference but then people do not get hit with a wall of endless text they have to scroll through.

 

Instead of the calendar of posts for one of my blogs in the future I might go hunting for a widget that allows me to type the actual reviews I have done, that way people can browse through the list instead of simply seeing a few dates that don't mean anything to anyone. If I find one in the future I will make sure to pass it to you if you wish to use it :P [stupid me, I didn't realise you already did that lol]

 

I would actually tone down the number of Amazon links you have as that tends to tell people you only want them to buy, much like a street hawker in Blackpool even if it is not true. I counted nine of them and even though that is certainly not a record seeing three in close proximity right at the top of the page would put me off if I happened to be a first time reader of yours...I might find myself wondering if you have really read this book or if you had mashed about 10 reviews and simply shoved them on a page to get me to buy. One at the top, bottom and down the side would be enough for me and maybe another under a particular book I was recommending for a extra special read. If I was you I would find out a way to examine which links actually get the click throughs and remove those that don't to clean it up :D

 

I like your writing style and really should pester you for some tips some day, even through my issues are consistency in actually sitting my ass down to write and finding inspiration lol What other blogs do you do?

 

(This is an excellent post on placement on links and I read his blog a lot)

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/08...s-on-your-blog/

Edited by Chef Ramsay

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