There are a lot of travel blogs out there but you will choose to subscribe to only a handful of them because they both strike a chord in you while at the same time providing real value. I think that Schadow1 Expeditions is one of those travel blogs. I know Ervin personally and I think it is his dedication and passion for travel and adventure that help him in coming up with blog posts that are of real value. Since the content is all curated and laid out really well (he has tons of information and he shares photos of the places he visits, even in the middle of a rainy early morning or afternoon), his blog is needing only a couple of tweaks to improve user experience. My previous post was the first installment of my review for Schadow1 Expeditions. I briefly talked about what could be done in terms of design and structure so his blog could be better. Today, I will delve deeper into those items so that you will have a clearer picture of what I am talking about.
For the S1 Expeditions blog (as a whole), I wanted it to be simple / minimal without giving up its bold and adventurous feel. Here’s what I came up with as I envisioned the blog’s re-branding:
The blog already has an existing logo and it’s great that he used an image of a compass and the bold font makes it striking. It was a fun thing to play around with what his current logo’s message is sending to his readers, though. The keywords with the mock-up logos were travel, simple and light. This is why I used images such as the marker. I also went for something that would give it a more modern taste, since it would go better with the clean and minimal design that I was aiming for.
The header in the blog needs to be trimmed down in order to give more space to the content, especially the first post. This is one of the reasons that I decided the make the mock-up logos the way they are. I wanted to showcase the blog’s content more, giving first time readers a better impression / understanding of the blog at first glance.
Seeing that the blog owner, Ervin, favored the dark theme I looked around for alternative colors that are dark but not too overwhelming. To help you in understanding the use of colors in your blog / website, this article is a good read.
While my reason for going with Basic Title and Verdana is based on the template I had in mind, it’s always a good thing to remember that your visitors should have an easy and comfortable experience when reading a post. Also? Be careful in mixing and matching fonts. Bonus: Here are two great articles about mixing and matching fonts. Or simply deciding what to use for your website. 1 | 2
Remember what I said about the header? If that was resized, there will be more room for content. Looking at Schadow1 Expeditions website, I think that it would be great if Ervin will make use of a gallery for his featured / popular posts. This would showcase his best blog posts effectively.
A subscription form is a great option for Ervin’s readers to get updated on what’s new with his website. This should go above the fold on the sidebar. In line with this, it would be great if Ervin created a monthly newsletter. This would not just help him connect with his loyal readers but also remind them that his blog is always fresh and delivers new content regularly.
The buttons for his social networks stay on top even while scrolling and this is a handy feature. Making sure that these buttons are visible will help in staying connected to his readers, whether frequent or new.
A contact page must never, ever be missing from the blog, since it is what the reader will look for if they want to reach out to you. If it’s in the menu, it must clearly say “Contact” or “Contact us” so that readers don’t get lost trying to look for a way to contact you. Displaying a contact form in the sidebar is okay too but in Schadow1 Expeditions’ case, there are already tons of content in his sidebar so it’s best if it’s placed there in the menu on top.
Having explained the moodboard presented above, I will tackle the way the blog posts and sidebar are displayed next time. Stay tuned for the third installed of this blog review! I hope this post helped you or inspired you in creating or re-branding your own website. Feel free to leave your comments if you want to reach out to me. Thanks!