Make Over My Blog! I Love Pie

makeovermyblogYour blog is awesome, you’ve got lots of killer content and some regular readers. But what about those eyes that fall on your blog for the first time? Are you losing opportunity because your blog doesn’t create a strong enough first impression?

Do you have

  • an ugly blog that makes small children cry and your dog cover his eyes with his paws?
  • a boring blog with zero zing?
  • or a blog that fails to stand out in a sea of sameness?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The Collective Inkwell can help you.

This is the place for no-holds-barred opinions on how to take your blog from average to awesome! We might get a bit snarky from time to time. Nothing personal, we just want to make the posts entertaining for as many readers as possible.

Welcome to the second edition of Make Over My Blog! This week we visit I Love Pie, a uk-based music site.

The home page

Most music blogs I visit are on the cutting edge of web design trends or display the personality of the blogger(s) who run it. That is not the case with I Love Pie.

The page is VERY white (with a splash of pink and blue) with practically no graphic elements, save for those used in the posts. While it IS a clean look, it is also very plain. Especially given the obvious good taste of … wait, what’s his name? There is no name associated with the blog. Anywhere.

Fortunately, Michael (the blogger) commented here asking us to review his blog, so we have something to go on. The rest of his readers, well, not so much.

click to make bigger

click to make bigger

The logo

While I’m not sure what the name has to do with music, that’s okay. There are lots of blogs with names which don’t seem to relate at all to the content. I like the logo. It’s simple and clues you in what the site is about (which is a good thing since there is no About page). However, it looks naked up there with all that space to the right of it. I would suggest shrinking the logo down to a smaller height and moving the ad up next to it or putting a tag line to the right. Perhaps finding a way to blend the ad a bit more seamlessly into the site design would help things. Speaking of advertisements, if you’re not making money from them and they’re not required, I would remove them. They disrupt the flow of the design, particularly the banner one across the top.

The sidebar/ Navigation

The javascript menu is located on the sidebar. It’s rather plain, expanding when you click on an item to show links to other sites and archives by month. However, there are no links to an About page, a contact page or even recent posts. If you want to know what the site is about, well, you’d need to figure it out on your own or visit the site’s Facebook page (which is linked along with some other social networking sites), where you will find out that “I  lovepie is a music blog, focusing on electro and indie music.”

Further down the page is an RSS feed for music headlines an advertisement and a Twitter stream with a font so large it bleeds over the background line.

ci_makeover_i-love-pie-screenshot-2-woops

I would suggest a smaller Twitter font and adding an About page so people can get to know the author or at least what the site’s about. I would also consider a contact form or email address. It might help in getting some more exclusive content before other bloggers.

The site’s navigation leaves much to be desired in that it isn’t very user friendly.  Readers have no way of scrolling back to older posts at the bottom of the home page as you can with most blogs. This wouldn’t be so bad if a visitor could click on recent posts. I would suggest adding Previous Entries to the bottom of the page.

The Content

I Like Pie posts several times a week, sometimes several times a day. The posts usually contain short stream-of-thought blurbs about whatever music Michael is listening to. It’s sort of like having a “cool music” friend on the web who turns you on to good tunes, videos and music news. The only negative I see is that the posts don’t invite much reader discussion. Perhaps that’s not the point of the site, which is okay. If Michael wants to promote conversation, he might consider involving the reader more, perhaps asking questions which would create discussion.

The good

  • clean layout
  • content is good
  • pictures are eye pleasing

The bad

  • layout is a bit too clean
  • no About page or contact info
  • no Previous Entries navigation at the bottom of the page

In summary

I like I Love Pie and will be adding it to my RSS subscriptions. I think with a few tweaks, it could rise to the next level.

Thanks, Michael for letting us review your site. Best of luck!

Note to readers: We got a lot of responses to our free consultation offer, so we’ll be hitting those twice a month and are closing the free offer for now until we catch up.

However, if you’d like us to Make Over your blog immediately, we have a few slots open.

If you would like a private consultation, our services can be had for a small fee of $60 via PayPal. You can choose whether you want your review publicly posted on our site or private, sent to you via e-mail. And, if you pay us, you can choose how you want your advice: Straight up and a bit kinder (for those who don’t appreciate snarky criticism) or with full snarkiness intact. We definitely understand a lot of people don’t have the time or skills to devote to making their blog pretty and we would never want to make anyone feel bad.

If you decide to hire us for a consult, we will deduct $25 from your first custom design order.

Some of the things we can do to make over your blog

  • customize your WP Thesis theme
  • Install Thesis on your self hosted WP site
  • create unique custom illustrations (banners and other site graphics) from a professional cartoonist for any web site.
  • craft custom SEO and landing pages to help your blog be found by search engines and readers
  • devise a custom color theme for your WP blog
  • advise you on the best usability practices on the web
  • help you determine which items to keep on your blog and which to get rid of
  • ghost write copy for your site

Got more questions or want to hire us? Contact us at collectiveinkwell AT gmail.com.

Agree with our assessment of Michael’s site? Or think we’re nuts? Leave a comment below. If you like this post, please consider tweeting it.

2 responses to Make Over My Blog! I Love Pie

  1. Michael

    thanks for the review, good to receive some constructive feedback 🙂 slowly working on the points raised, having problems with a few things think i might transfer my blog over to wordpress, seem to give ya much more control of things over there.

    The ads’ are something i’m kinda stuck with, i’m part of the MOG network which syndicate my content on their website, think i’ll be getting rid in the next few months just giving it time to see what comes of the arrangement.

    but yeah thanks again for the feedback, and pleased you’re liking the content 🙂

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