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Peer review for blogs

(26 Posts)
SALTformysquid Sat 27-Jan-18 15:14:12

Who wants to join together to critique each other's blogs?

If you want to take part, please post a link to your blog, a paragraph about your reasons for blogging and a paragraph over what you feel is holding you back.

Then please review some of the other blogs on the thread, in particular giving the author feedback on whether they're achieving their aims and how they could resolve their blocks.

If possible, start each review in a separate post, with the blog name/username in bold.

SALTformysquid Sat 27-Jan-18 15:21:38

I'm Squid Mother at www.saltformysquid.com

I started blogging because I wanted to put stuff 'out there' to help families with speech delayed kids. Also I am working on iPad speech therapy apps, and I wanted to develop a support network among people with speech delayed kids.

I'm floundering because:
I don't know whether it's OK to broaden out my topics to autism/ life stresses / the challenges of freelance software development - or whether it's essential I strictly stick to my 'theme' (even whether I should write separate blogs about the other things that interest me).

SALTformysquid Sat 27-Jan-18 15:24:57

( that reads unclearly! I wanted to develop a network of folk I can bounce ideas off who 'understand' .)

tryingtobethebestican Sun 28-Jan-18 17:57:24

Hi great idea! My blog is here https://igniteyoursparkle.wordpress.com/ I created it because I have realised I have a problem with alcohol - as do many other people. I have decided to do dry January to start with and then try and be alcohol free if I can. I wanted to write a blog about my experiences and observations. I hope other people in the same boat will be able to relate to what I write.
Re your blog, I will have a look in a minute but I absolutely think you can digress if you wish to, people will have the choice of which posts to read.

SALTformysquid Fri 02-Feb-18 10:18:20

I love your images.

The second post - the font came up very large on my screen which was distracting. In general, I think you could do with a more coherent visual style to the posts.

Are you drinking again now? Where are you going with the blog if you're drinking?

thewanderlustingmuslimah Sun 04-Feb-18 09:22:37

Great idea squid thanks for starting this. I am Umm Salam from www.thewanderlustingmuslimah.com It is fairly niche and won't be applicable to many of you as it is recommendations for Muslim friendly holidays, with availability of halal food, specifically for those on a budget. There are loads of travelling halal blogs but they seem to be focused on single travellers and also seem to be fairly high end. I also have a child with ASD so that raises some travel issues that i will touch on.

Anyway, my issues are:

Engagement: Pretty 'ahem' low hits. I don't know if my site is just crap or if there are not enough families who are interested. Most of my IG followers are single people or married without kids, or have kids but want luxury travel so I don't know if there is even a market? I think there is but I need to promote myself a bit better to reach those who are not on IG.

Website skills: I am not very IT savvy, I paid for domain and for some reason I have used Wix which doesn't seem great for SEO. It is sooooo slow to load for me, don't know if that is for everyone or my laptop is just slow?

Anonymity: I have no desire to become 'big' or 'out there' and really value my families privacy so I know that really holds my SM engagement back. If you look at the bigger travel families they all feature lots of personal pics with a lot of info on the children etc. That really isn't a line I want to cross (anyway my dc would rather die than be featured in full view on my IG grin)

tryingtobethebestican Sun 04-Feb-18 21:19:00

Thanks @SALTformysquid love the name by the way! I've fixed the font problem, I had each line as a heading rather than paragraph. I've also changed the theme. Well I am fully intending not to drink again, but if I do "fall of the wagon" I think I will probably write about it and start again. I actually did start thinking about whether it was a good idea to just talk about not drinking so started another blog
sunraintea.com/ which I intend to write about other things, thoughts and observations etc. I am really a complete novice when it comes to blogging. I still haven't worked out how to connect my twitter account yet or the many other things possible. Hopeful I'll learn eventually.

thewanderlustingmuslimah Tue 06-Feb-18 09:48:43

@SALTformysquid (love the name, just getting it now blush) I don't find your blog easy to read, I think perhaps due to the blue background with white writing? As a parent with a child with ASD and 2 with speech delay i really like the content though. I'm not sure about the software development as I have no clue about that sort of thing. I would read your blog but if it started getting too technical it might put me off tbh.

thewanderlustingmuslimah Tue 06-Feb-18 09:51:08

@tryingtobethebestican I really like the layout and design of your blog. The posts are clearly set out and discrete from each other which is good for someone like me who doesn't always find it easy to navigate around a site. I looooove your 'portrait' thing, did you do that yourself? All the best for the alcohol free journey too x

tryingtobethebestican Tue 06-Feb-18 19:08:02

Thanks so much for your comments and wishes @thewanderlustingmuslimah I am actually concentrating more now on this one.
sunraintea.com ( I decided sunshine..... etc was too long.)

I would love to view your site and give you my opinion but I can't get the page to load, even following your link. I tried a few times but it doesn't seem to work for me. It does sound a good idea though - and very original so if you can get people to know about it I'm sure it will do well. Good luck with it. I will keep trying to look.

tryingtobethebestican Tue 06-Feb-18 19:11:27

Also @thewanderlustingmuslimah the portrait thing is from an app called moment cam. Download it from the App Store. Then you get a photo of yourself and can adjust the hair etc and choose what background/clothes/body etc you have! I thought it was good too. 😀

tryingtobethebestican Tue 06-Feb-18 19:15:41

https://sunraintea.com/

thewanderlustingmuslimah Wed 07-Feb-18 18:20:47

@tryingtobethebestican thanks for that, it hasn't been loading well for me and I thought my laptop was slow, so good to know that others are having difficulty too. Will get onto wix ASAP.

Will check out your new blog, I am a big tea/coffee fan (which you will see if you can ever access my site!) so hope yours features some beverages posts :-)

tryingtobethebestican Wed 07-Feb-18 19:00:19

Thanks @thewanderlustingmuslimah Oops no posts about beverages at the moment but - thank you brew- an idea for the future. If you read what's in a name? You'll see why I named my blog what I have.
Meanwhile I'll keep trying to look at your blog.

SacredHour Wed 07-Feb-18 22:49:25

What a great idea *@SALTformysquid*!

I started my own blog Sacred Hour (www.sacredhour.co.uk) last month. I am a stay at home Mum and I want to do something for me in that sacred hour I get when the kids are asleep before I go to bed. I started by writing about some things I did last year as I thought I'd do a family holidays review type blog, but then my posts have gone a bit all over the place with long car journeys, toilet training and whether yogurt is actually healthy. I think I'm finding my feet and not quite sure what direction I'll go in.

I have done loads of blogs for work, but they have always been commercial and this one is just for me. I have included photos of the family and just started to wonder whether I should cut back a bit on this. I haven't told anyone about this blog and just thought I'd give it a go.

Here are some of my observations for other blogs...

@SALTformysquid

It is a little difficult to critique your blog as I am not familiar with your situation, however I think the posts are a nice length and generally easy to read. In your About page you say that you wish to share experiences in helping your kids to talk, however I suspect this has changed slightly and is now your blog is a lot more about sharing experiences generally from your family. I would have liked a few images, but that's personal taste. I liked the cousin article as I could relate to that one and the car journey with name calling is familiar to any parent with kids.

@tryingtobethebestican
IgniteYourSparkle

I really like your writing style and I could enjoy following your story. I wish you all the best with your goals. I found it a bit difficult to navigate on your blog as there was no list of posts to consider so I would read one then click on Home then click on another one. Maybe it's just me. I know there is previous and next, but I think the posts can be read in isolation and don't need to read in order. I really liked the Short Story and could have happily read more. It was a very emotive piece of writing.

@thewanderlustingmuslimah

I think you have an interesting angle and your post about Granada has various interesting insights for fellow Muslims wishing to travel - where to buy halal food and where the nearest Mosque is etc. The other posts I read didn't seem to relate as much to your Halal Budget Families theme. I would think a lot of people could benefit from this kind of insider knowledge.

The post about Morroco was very interesting, but did not mention much specific to Muslim travellers, maybe because it is a Muslim country and the issues are not the same, but I would think details of Mosques and things could still be useful. You have confirmed my fears about Morrocco so I won't be taking my family any time soon!

I had problems loading each page and a tiny slice would appear at the top. As I clicked on this, the content came up. Maybe you have a lot of images on the page, but that is a shame.

Apologies as I didn't see the note about the new page. I'll try and check that out another time.

Good luck to all with your blogs and thanks in advance for anyone that takes a look at mine.

tryingtobethebestican Thu 08-Feb-18 08:11:34

Hi thank you for your comments @SacredHour I am so happy to hear you like my short story, it's the first one I've ever written. I need to write and update igniteyoursparkle as I have been concentrating on sunraintea.com. I'm not sure what to do as it seems silly to have two sites but I'm not sure how to amalgamate the two. Like you I'm finding my feet , I've only been doing this for a month.i love your site! Your theme is great and easy to navigate. Your content will definitely appeal to families with young children. Personally I think it's good you are digressing and not just reviewing holidays, as it makes it more interesting. Your photos show you have a lovely family but I would be a little wary about having so many photos of your children online - you know? You need to be a bit careful as you don't know whose out there. You could always try an app that changes your photos into caricatures or sketches to protect their identify (sorry that's just my opinion.) great name and reason for it too!

tryingtobethebestican Thu 08-Feb-18 08:13:45

who's

thewanderlustingmuslimah Thu 08-Feb-18 12:42:40

@SacredHour thanks for the feedback, I too have that issue of a small splice of post coming up, didn't know if you click it that that resolves it, but of course it is very off putting. I am thinking to move over to Wordpress but don't know how as it seems to be able to cope a bit better!

Regarding your blog, the design and layout is very professional and visually appealing to me as well as easy to navigate. I love the travel posts as I'm always on the lookout for suggestions of places in the UK and thinking of doing a toadtrip this summer so will bear in mind some of your games too.

SacredHour Thu 08-Feb-18 16:09:47

@tryingtobethebestican thank you for taking the time to look at my blog and thank you for your positive comments. I am thinking over the photos issue and I have cut back on photos in the last couple of posts. I read an interesting discussion on MumsNet about using images of your kids in social media and there was some major criticism, which was difficult to read. I don't really use Facebook so it is strange to start posting family photos now. I like the idea of making photos into caricatures. Is that how you got the image on your About Me page? Love that! Like the new site by the way and it does have a more positive feel. I think the navigation is better too with posts to click on at the bottom. A short stories section could be good.

@thewanderlustingmuslimah thank you also for taking time to look at my blog and thank you for your positive comments. Hmm, Wordpress. I am using WordPress. I have worked on websites and blogs for years in my jobs and the way WordPress works is quite different to other forms of website I was more used to (if that makes sense). I have found WordPress a painful learning curve at times and some of it is far from intuitive. However there is a big community to help if you have issues, but a lot of techie discussions and answers go way over my head I'm afraid. There are some nice looking designs and features. It's a tricky one to weigh up. I personally rate Weebly and I intended to use that for my blog. I have set up a website for my partner's tennis club on weebly (www.grovetennisclub.weebly.com/) and it is so so straightforward. It is a simple looking site, but they have blog templates too. I used blogger at work too (first blog 2007-2010) and that was nice and simple. You can really quickly and easily set up a blog/website using these and updating them is so easy. However they charge you if you wish to use your own domain. I had purchased SacredHour.co.uk on a bit of a whim and wanted to use it. If you're happy to have ".weebly.com" at the end of your URL then you may consider it.

tryingtobethebestican Thu 08-Feb-18 21:34:26

Thanks @SacredHour I hoped my new blog had a more positive feel 😊 I made the picture for my about me page on an app called Moment Cam, I've discovered different hairstyles today so I've changed the image! I think it's a really good app.
That's interesting what you said about Wordpress, I'm using it as when I decided to do a blog that was the most recommended site. It can be tricky to get things exactly how you want though, however there is a good community on there.

tryingtobethebestican Thu 08-Feb-18 21:35:17

Looks like I have no head!! When you click on the pic you can see it all.

thewanderlustingmuslimah Fri 09-Feb-18 09:59:18

@SacredHour I blogged years ago about our home education on blogger when everyone was using Wordpress and I couldn't get to grips with it at all, hence I went for Wix.

I have purchased my domain, can I still move it to somewhere else? Would I have to pay to move it? I don't know anything about this side of blogging at all.

SacredHour Mon 12-Feb-18 22:57:54

@tryingtobethebestican - thanks for the app. Took me a while, but I finally got to download it and play around. I quite like it, but I struggle to get anything that looks like me. I don't think I could use these images in addition to real ones. I spent a while playing about so I can see this would be a timely thing to do for all pictures. Good for fun though.

@thewanderlustingmuslimah - choosing a platform is so tricky and everyone has different issues.

You can move your domain, but I think you have to pay on some of the platforms to do so, including Weebly. I did manage to use my bought domain and set up my Wordpress blog, but it took a while to get this up and running. My host company Vidahost had an online help function and the guy on there was amazing. Somehow he managed to sort everything out for me after days of frustration and banging my head against the screen.

thewanderlustingmuslimah Fri 16-Feb-18 12:40:19

Just a heads up that I contacted Wix who have now resolved the issue :-)

TheImperfectParent Sun 06-May-18 01:59:48

Hello all.

I recently started a blog because I needed to do something besides the feed/change/sleep routine. I know it needs more work in terms of how it looks (especially the posts) but I’ve been focusing on getting writing first.

Anonymity is my issue also. I’ve seen and read lots of blogs with wonderful pictures of their children but unfortunately I’m too much of a pessimist to put her face out there! So, what do I do to make it seem less faceless?

Thanks in advance.

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