For my final peer review, I will be reviewing Erika Cocco’s blog, The World of Irish Dance.
Erika’s blog documents her journey to become the Western Canadian Regional Champion in Irish Dance, while also educating readers on the training and work involved in being an Irish Dancer. Her homepage is simple yet appealing; it shows her blog title, main menu, a white background, and a massive picture of her dancing. This picture adds some needed colour and visuals to her homepage, and as one of the first things viewers see when they go to her website, it creates interest and its tagline makes the focus of the blog clear. The typefaces she uses on her homepage work well together and complement her blog’s simple aesthetic.
I did notice a few things on her homepage that could use some improvement. Her Instagram widget does not work, as I tried to click on it and could not reach the site. I would suggest that she fix this so users can check out her Instagram and see some dance-related pictures in addition to learning more about her life outside of Irish Dance. Erika also has a Recent Posts widget, which is helpful for users, but it mostly shows Pub 101 posts, which are not the reason why people would visit her blog. She should update it to show only her dance-related posts, as that would make it easier for viewers to find what they are looking for. Additionally, the blog posts on her homepage are underneath a Recent Posts section, which is confusing as she also has her Recent Posts widget that shows different posts. I would recommend that she remove the Recent Posts tag above her homepage blog posts. Lastly, she has a Category widget, which is very helpful, but it is underneath her other widgets, and would work better underneath the search bar so her viewers could easily choose what they want to read.
Erika’s About page is very informative and helps me get to know her and understand the purpose of her blog. It is very effective at drawing readers in and piquing their interest in her blog. Beside the About page is an Achievements section, where you can select different competitions and see where she placed in them throughout the years. I like the idea of it, but I wish these posts talked about her experience in each competition instead of just listing her placing, as it would make the reader more interested in the results.
Her blog posts are very interesting, and I really enjoyed learning about her experience as a dancer; however, a few changes would make these posts even better. The typeface she uses is very small and hard to read, so I would suggest making it bigger, especially since her pictures currently take up more space than her text. I noticed some grammatical errors in her posts as well, so it may help if she proofread them before posting to make them look more professional. Her posts also contain long paragraphs that would benefit from being broken up into smaller sections. I additionally noticed that it says the author of her posts is “admin”, which appears impersonal, so I would recommend that she either remove this or change it to her name. Erika’s posts are also quite short, with some of them only consisting of one paragraph, so I would encourage her to write longer posts to tell her audience more about her experiences, as I am sure they will be eager to learn more about Irish Dance.
Lastly, I noticed that Erika has not posted on her blog in over a month, which makes it difficult to attract and maintain an audience. Michael Warner discusses this in “Publics and Counterpublics”, stating that publics “commence with the moment of attention, must continually predicate renewed attention, and cease to exist when attention is no longer predicated”. Erika’s blog would benefit from her keeping up to date on her posts, as it would maintain her audience’s interest and keep them coming back.
Overall, Erika’s blog is very interesting both to Irish Dancers and those who would like to learn about Irish Dance. I would recommend that she make a few design changes to make her blog more visually appealing and user-friendly for her audience, and that she keep up to date with her posts to keep viewers engaged and encourage them to revisit her blog.