Welcome to another page critique! About pages, PR pages, product pages and so on are critical in helping you meet your bloggy goals. Each week I dissect a page on someone’s blog as a way to refine it into being more awesome. Read, learn and apply these tips to the important pages on your own blog. Here we go!
Blog: Home Life Simplified
Page: New Here page
Deb writes about authentic and intentional living and about tossing out the “shoulds” in life to find the right path for you. She’s a recovering perfectionist who struggles on and off with depression and anxiety. She writes about her ongoing journey to letting go, simplifying her life, practicing self care and self love, and accepting herself fully. There is no such thing as perfect, or normal, or a right way, Deb says. She wants people to get in touch with who they are, what they want and what is the right path for them. Since Deb’s blog covers a wide range of topics, she doesn’t want new readers to miss out on what she considers key posts so she introduces them on the New Here page. She said that she struggled to limit what she included, but wonders “how much is too much? What is the best way to present past work without overwhelming new visitors?” Deb also wonders if she should add images, even though it will make her page even longer, and if she should remove old posts as new ones become favorites.
- I love all the color in your header. And that the orange is echoed in your sidebar with your Welcome box. Really makes it stand out.
- While I love orange, I think having the navigation tab links, headings and anchor text within your posts all being orange is a tad much. One way to add contrast to a design is through color. Just changing the color of your headers to another color (blue maybe?) subtly tells the reader it’s something to pay attention to. You might even try a different font for some more contrast.
- You mentioned whether or not you should add images. I think you know what I’m going to say, right? Definitely! If you quickly scan through this page, it’s easy to lose your place in a sea of links. Images help break up text, giving readers a mind break and they serve to reinforce your content. Since you have a lot of topics, you might not want an image for each section, but it actually might look great like that too. I’d try an image for every other section then decide if you want to add more.
- Looking at your content from a visual perspective, you did a great job keeping bullet points and paragraphs short. Perfect for those skimming the page or looking for a specific topic.
- You have a link to this page in your nav menu, which is great of course.
- I also noticed you link to it from your About page, which is a perfect way to get readers here since they’ve shown they’re interested in knowing more about you and your blog.
- I do think it would be great to include a button in your sidebar that links to this page. Say that someone clicks on one of your blog posts from Twitter. They read the post but now they’re near the bottom of your page and don’t see the New Here link in your nav menu. Having it in the sidebar below the fold (the part of your page where you can’t see until you scroll down) will present another opportunity to get a new visitor there.
- As for your links on this page, you do a great job of providing descriptive anchor text instead of just saying “here” or “this post.” This is not only good for SEO, it helps your readers know exactly what they’re clicking on.
- Like I mentioned in the Design section, you’ve done a great job keeping sentences and bullets short. Most people are skimmers so this helps them not to get lost in a long paragraph.
- I feel like your intro paragraphs need some more punch to really get readers interested in learning more about your blog. In the description you gave me about your blog, you were very clear and specific as to what your blog is about. However, in this intro, there’s a lot of generic language in there. When writing an intro like this, think about it this way: could the words you wrote be used on a completely different blog and still make sense? If so, it’s time to rewrite it! Other than “Be intentional!,” most of it isn’t specific to your blog. To give you a nudge in the right direction, I really love what you said in describing your blog to me: “There is no such thing as perfect, or normal, or a right way.” Now that’s a powerful statement specific to the type of content you write! So is “tossing out the ‘shoulds’ in life to find the right path for you.” Infuse that kind of language into your intro for a message with more impact.
- Also in this intro section, be careful about sending readers to your About page so early. Currently you have the link to your About page before they even get started on this page. If a reader does happen to click over to your About page to read more about you, they may never come back! Especially because you link to a lot of articles on that page too. Instead of sending them away, give readers a short taste of who you are. And what you believe. You can always end this page with a call-t0-action to visit your About page, but only after they’ve devoured the content on this page first!
- Overall, I think the content on this page is pretty solid, full or variety and good descriptions. But there are quite a few links! You have two options here if you want to remove some links. Either get rid of some topics you don’t write about often (like Creativity and the Gratitude sections only have 1-2 posts) OR keep those and reduce some of the larger topics to about 3 posts each. For some of the ones you cut, don’t forget you can always link them within another post that you link to from this page. For example, in the post about teaching kids kindness and gratitude, you could edit the post to add links to your two gratitude posts that you currently link on this page. Depending on the content, you could either weave them into the body of the kids post or simply add links to the bottom of that post.
- Even with those suggestions, you’re still left with a good number of links, which is fine! However, remember that people are time-starved… so how can you give them and down and dirty look at your best of the best? One option is to do a section at the top called something like “If you only have a few minutes” and showcase your best 3-5 posts there. That way, you’re helping make the choice of what to read for them, instead of them sifting through so many links and deciding it’s taking too much time and just leaving.
- You asked if you should remove old posts as new ones become favorites. Absolutely! Sometimes our content is still relevant after many years but sometimes posts get dated. Keeping it fresh is a great idea but you don’t have to go crazy. Just set a reminder to review this page every quarter or even every six months.
Let me know your thoughts on the critique in the comments below. If you have an extra moment, head over to Home Life Simplified and give Deb some comment love.