Madyson Designs

Design solutions for web, print, and multimedia

Successful Blog Review

I’m far behind in this 31 Days chal­lenge, but I fig­ure it’s bet­ter late than never! The task this time is to ana­lyze another suc­cess­ful blog. I’ve picked Gra­ham Smith’s to review, as it seems to be a sim­i­lar setup to my own com­bi­na­tion of port­fo­lio and blog. Here are some of my thoughts.

Graham’s phi­los­o­phy of design seems to be sim­i­lar to mine– clean and fresh. There is noth­ing com­pli­cated, dis­tract­ing, or unnec­es­sary in the design. The home page promi­nently fea­tures the port­fo­lio, rather than the design, and I think it works well. He uses fea­tured and recent logos to give vis­i­tors an idea of what he does, and uses a short biog­ra­phy with a photo to give them more infor­ma­tion about him per­son­ally. He very promi­nently fea­tures his Twit­ter page (he has a rather large fol­low­ing), and the abil­ity to search, request a price quote, and sub­scribe to his RSS feed, all within the first 100 pix­els of the site. It allows vis­i­tors to either find what they are look­ing for or con­tact him instantly, as well as stay in touch through RSS. This is a great technique.

Once you click through to the blog, you get to the bulk of the arti­cles and infor­ma­tion on the site. The site’s main sub­ject is design, and more specif­i­cally, logo design. The major­ity of the arti­cles cover logos, brand­ing, type, Twit­ter, found design, illus­tra­tion, and tons of other design-related top­ics. He really has a lot of great con­tent to keep peo­ple read­ing. The posts are usu­ally every cou­ple of days, so there is con­tin­u­ally some­thing new to bring in read­ers. Many of the posts are quick­ies, shar­ing images, fonts, and web­sites, while inter­spersed there are longer, more devel­oped arti­cles. This seems to be a good bal­ance between pro­vid­ing new con­tent often, and putting all your effort into your writ­ing instead of your work.

Reader Engage­ment
Per­haps my favorite rea­son to read is that Gra­ham cov­ers every­thing with a good dose of humor. It’s refresh­ing to read arti­cles writ­ten by some­one who is suc­cess­ful and influ­en­tial but can still laugh about things, includ­ing him­self.  While this is a seri­ous busi­ness, it never hurts to see the humor in things, and it makes things more per­sonal. This also ties in to another plus on the site– the inter­ac­tion. This is prob­a­bly the best exam­ple of a blog in con­junc­tion with a Twit­ter account that allow him to inter­act with read­ers instantly, and fol­low what is said about him. The com­ments for the arti­cles are a mix of actual vis­i­tors and auto­mat­i­cally gen­er­ated Twit­ter men­tions. This is help­ful, but for those posts that are retweeted a lot, the tweets can over­whelm the reader comments.

All in all, this is a great site to take inspi­ra­tion from when just start­ing out. It’s great that there are so many inno­va­tors in the field, and it’s a great time to be a part of it.

(This post is Day 4 of the 31 Days to Build a Bet­ter Blog chal­lenge. Day 3 was a non-posting project. To find out more about the chal­lenge, visit ProBlog­ger. To see all my arti­cles dur­ing the chal­lenge, click here.)

2 Responses to “Successful Blog Review”

  1. Graham Smith says:

    Ohhh. :)

    Read this late last night and was really intrigued to hear some­one else’s view on my site. I’ll be hon­est, Im not a web designer or devel­oper, so I am pretty lim­ited to what I can do com­pared to the usual web design port­fo­lios you see out there.

    So the focus was on pre­sent­ing a clean and styl­ish site. I know enough CSS and HTML to tweak and change lay­out, but thats as far as it goes. So never expected my site to rank up their for looks or features.

    But was heart­en­ing to hear your views on the site, which made me feel really happy. I mean, Im happy with it. It’s been through count­less changes and tweaks, try­ing to find right bal­ance between form and function.

    The Back­Space Twit­ter remarks I agree with, this was a pretty new plu­gin, so I have now dis­abled the numer­ous com­ments that get left when some­one tweets the post, so this cuts down on the com­ment clutter.

    At the end, you’re sum­ming up is what’s impor­tant to me as this is and was my main goal, clean, fresh and easy access minus clut­ter to the infor­ma­tion that mat­ters, so very happy to see that Im so far doing the ‘right’ thing.

    Thank you very much for fea­tur­ing the site, really made me smile to see it ‘reviewed’ rather than a site from a pro­fes­sional web designer/developer.


  2. NopsLausa says:

    Sweet blog. I never know what I am going to come across next. I think you should do more post­ing as you have some pretty intel­li­gent stuff to say.

    I’ll be watch­ing you . :)