For my second peer review, I will be looking at Emily’s blog, How to Get Away with Cooking.
I enjoy her theme, as it is very simple yet visually appealing and easy to navigate. She makes good use of her white space and the picture on her homepage adds a splash of colour. Travis Gertz claims in Design Machines: How to Survive the Digital Apocalypse that the problem with digital design nowadays is that “everything looks the same”, and I like Emily’s design because it is different, as her homepage picture is underneath the title and not in the header. The title itself is clever and tells me exactly what the blog is about, and the fonts she chose go together well. As she stated in Process Post 3, her theme is simple and minimalistic with dynamic graphics to bring attention to her recipes, and she has done a great job with this.
I do have some recommendations for her homepage. She would benefit from having “Home” on her main menu so her readers can go back to the main page. She also has a search tab on her main menu and a search bar underneath it, which is redundant, so I would suggest getting rid of one of them. There is also a random white box on the right side of her homepage, which she should get rid of as it takes up space. She should also use more tags in her posts to draw people to her blog, and perhaps add a tag cloud so people can narrow down what they are looking for.
I like that her social media icons are on the side as it is different, and they are not in the way but are still visible. When you click on them, only the Instagram one goes to Emily’s actual social media, while the Facebook and Twitter icons are there to share her blog on those websites. I like the idea of getting her followers to promote her blog this way, but having those icons there is a bit misleading, as most people would expect to see her social media. If she can separate these icons or write, “Share my blog on Facebook and Twitter”, that would help.
Her Instagram icon does go to her personal account but it is private, which beats the purpose of linking to it. People will click on it to see her photos and learn more about her, so having a private Instagram does not give them this satisfaction and makes them less likely to follow her. I would suggest that she either make her Instagram public so people can get a sense of who she is outside of her blog or create a separate Instagram for her blog, which she could use to promote it and attract more viewers. She could post pictures of food to relate to her blog and by doing so she can maintain her audience across multiple platforms and attract viewers through Instagram.
I really like the way she has set up her posts. The recipe layout is very well organized and looks like a recipe you would find in a cookbook, and it is great that people can print off her recipes to use them later. People can rate her recipes in the comments, which makes her blog interactive. I like that she includes facts about the food she makes and adds hyperlinks for more info. One small problem with the posts is that it says the author of them is “admin”, so she should change it to her name to make it more personal or remove it altogether.
Emily has a well-articulated, consistent persona in her posts. In Michael Warner’s Publics and Counterpublics, he claims, “The address of public speech is both personal and impersonal”, which really applies to Emily’s blog. It is clear that she is addressing a general audience, but she constantly uses “you” in her posts, which singles out the individual reading the post and makes it more personal. Emily knows exactly who she wants her audience to be, which gives her blog its own public according to Warner.
Overall, Emily is doing a great job with her blog and just needs to make a few changes to make it even better.