A review of the blog: http://slayerwillow.com/
This week we’ll be taking a look at the blog Slayer Willow, which is about all things bookish and queer. I think this is a great concept, especially since I’ll admit, I haven’t sat down to read a good book in a while. I’m always looking for good suggestions, particularly ones that are not as mainstream, and there’s a lot of potential with this format.
Overall, my first impressions of the design are very good. The colours and the tones are consistent throughout the blog, and there isn’t too much excess white space, which are all points that we discussed during our lecture about web design. I particularly like the prominence of images throughout the site – it makes it very appealing to look at and attracts the attention of readers. It also strikes a good balance between the visual aspects and maintaining readability for users.
I also like the additional widgets that were added at the bottom of the homepage that featured books from Goodreads. If I wanted to follow up and investigate further one of the titles that were reviewed, it gives me an easy way to do so without having to navigate elsewhere (which is useful for audience retention).
I didn’t have much difficulty navigating the website either, since the layout was consistent, and the menus were clear. In terms of the user experience that we discussed a couple of weeks ago, it flows well and is inviting to readers.
Based on all these factors, I feel the site’s design choices have been very good so far, although of course, there are many different formats and tools that can still be added to the site.
Reading through some of the blog posts, I found them to be engaging, and it’s clear that a lot of time and thought was put into them. I found that they offered the right amount of detail, for example providing a little background into the book and a bit of a link to her personal life, like in this post. I find that makes the narrator more genuine to the reader, and more relatable as well.
The book reviews are also relatively consistent with the theme of the blog, which is helpful in establishing the tone and direction, as well as messaging.
Along with good social media integration, this is particularly the type of ‘new public’ creation that has the potential to grow. It’s fairly clear the specific type of ‘public’ that the blog is aimed at, and the value that this blog can add to that dialogue.
I think that is particularly important given the discussion about monetization last week. The first key step is the build out a following through social media (which I also discussed in this week’s process post). Monetization will only truly be effective at those top levels of the ladder, after the difficult task of growing a base of users. They need to be consistently engaged in order to respond to the call for action, as Trevor mentioned.
However, I think that with a clear sense of a public, this blog does have the potential for monetization. The only deciding factor will be whether the author will choose to continue working on the site after the end of the semester.
Overall, I would say that this site is in good shape, and monetization will largely depend on whether the author wants to continue putting out content for the long term. As a reader, the advice that I would give is to add more content to the site to encourage readers to stay as long as possible. As we read in last week’s readings, even well-established sites often find it difficult to raise funds, through things like ad revenue.
Nonetheless, I look forward to seeing how this site continues to grow in the future, as well as what direction they want to go in!