Sunday, January 20, 2008

An Impromptu Blog Review- Theraputic Family Law

Recently B. James Stinson, author of Theraputic Family Law blog, sent a comment and some link love my way. As a small token of thanks, I offered a suggestion or two for improving his site, which has good content but a few design issues.

Here's what I had to say:

    Hey James, thanks for the terrific comment and the 'link love' to

    Last year we did a teleseminar on websites and blogs with Lisa Welles. If I were channeling her now, she might offer suggestions like:

    Ease readability by using a white background instead and increasing the font size. 60 million baby boomers get their info online, but only if they can read it!

    Boost readership by having a publication schedule- bi-weekly, weekly or daily. If your content is valuable (and it looks like it is), people will want to know when to expect the next gem.

    Make thing simple by adding categories or search function. An avid reader or a newbie will want to search quickly to find the post they need.

    Last, consider turning relevant website section, which is very robust and valuable, intoa resource guide that you can exchange for email addresses or sell to create a small revenue stream.

    Generally, I share this level of insights with my coaching clients on a Breakthrough Call. I had so much fun writiing this comment I think I'll turn it into a full post.

Have a look
and share your feedback here with James. The more, the merrier. (Special thanks to Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger who runs a community blog critique that inspired this post. Darren is a real pro.)

Want your blog critiqued?

Let's try an experiment. I'll review and offer insights and resources for three mediation blogs for free. I'll select the winners based on the useful, insightful, encouaging comments you leave for James. Specifically, please help James think about:

  1. How to make the blog more user-friendly?

  2. What should be added or removed from the site?

  3. What niche should he target?

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

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At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Rachel, Mediator In The Making said...

Here are my comments for James, from one new blogger to another!

I would put the most important items – the subscribe button and the about me blurb -- on the top of your sidebar.

You might consider carefully the look of your blog and how it helps you accomplish what you're going for. For instance, colors are known to have certain effects on people. Black can seem mysterious, or even foreboding or unapproachable. Green is known to have a calming effect on people (hence "green rooms"). Yellow is said to even make some people angry.

There are so many related links, that together they make a whole resource on their own. Does Blogger allow you to create a separate page for them? That might be more reader friendly.

Another thing on links ... your content is great. To give it another layer of usability, I would embed links to related articles in your text. (I actually found it easier to google the article you referenced in your Jan. 1 post and would have been happy to have been able to just click a link to it in your text.)

I really like when bloggers include, in addition to a few words about themselves, a sentence or two about their blogging mission and purpose. It helps me put their posts into a context, and maybe it can help define your niche.

Speaking of niche, it seems like yours would be a combination of divorce professionals and law students.

So those are my ideas, for what they're worth! I'd love to hear feedback on my site as well,

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Mary Wollard said...

I agree with everything Rachel said, and would add a few more thoughts from another new blogger:

I, too, think the blog would be much easier to read with a light background and dark text. It actually is readable the way it is, but my brain was telling me I was missing things. If you really like the dark background with light text, then I would increase the text size and make each post much shorter, enhancing the readability.

All of the content was especially interesting and useful, not only to legal professionals, but to lay people interested in more of the legal background of divorce. I would consider, however, making each post shorter and broken into smaller “paragraphs.” I kept looking for the salient points so I could skim the posts, but found that I really had to read every word. Unfortunately, I don’t often have that much time to devote to one blog.

As for related links, is there any way to group them so that like links are together? I would find that useful.

As for niche, your content is very well suited to the family law legal professional. I’ve actually found a bit of a void in this area so I think it would be a good niche. The other blogs I’ve read by family law lawyers seem to be more geared toward potential clients. I will definitely come back to your blog and will link it to mine.

Thanks for the good work!

Mary Wollard, J.D., Family Solutions Center, LLC

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Dina Lynch, said...

Many thanks to both Rachel and Mary for your thoughts and comments.

You're both winners! I'll be in touch with you shortly to plan your gift of a blog review!



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