Blog Page Critique: Growing Slower

Welcome to another page critique! About pages, PR pages, product pages and so on are critical in helping you meet your bloggy goals. Each week I dissect a page on someone’s blog as a way to refine it into being more awesome. Read, learn and apply these tips to the important pages on your own blog. Here we go!

Blog: GrowingSlower

Blogger: Shannon

Page: Book sales page Blog Page Critique: GrowingSlower Shannon was inspired by her personal journey towards simple living to start GrowingSlower in 2011. Since then, GrowingSlower has grown into a resource for other families who are walking the same road. Topics include natural pregnancy, birth and parenting; simple tips for saving money and going green; and DIY Tutorials for crafting and home keeping. Simply put, GrowingSlower readers are a community learning to live simply as we grow our families.

The landing page is for her book Natural Birth Stories: The Real Mom’s Guide to an Empowering Natural Birth. Shannon wants women to become familiar with the choices they have for their birth so she spent two years creating a resource for pregnant women and mothers. The book includes answers to many of the questions about pregnancy and birth that she get asked by her readers as well as 32 empowering birth stories. Through this landing page, she hopes this resource will fall into the hands of those expectant moms at just the time when they’re starting to plan their birth. She also hopes the page will quickly inform visitors what they can expect to find in the book and how they can purchase it. A secondary goal would be to have bloggers join the affiliate program or sign up to host a review and giveaway of the book on their blog. With this page Shannon wants to share important resources and inspiration that will make expectant moms empowered choices about their birth. She wants this book to help them have a positive experience. However she doesn’t want her passion to come across too salesy on the page.

Visual:

  • First of all, I love the simplicity of your book cover design. It looks super professional and the image fits perfectly with the topic of natural birth stories. Well done!
  • I think it’s important that the image of your book is prominently show at the top of your page. Definitely where it belongs! However, I do think having another image or two on this page could help pull your readers deeper into the page. The page feels a little stark so pictures can really add warmth to the page, which I think suits the tone you’re trying to achieve here. Perhaps there’s an image you could use from the book, maybe of a mom and baby. You could also add a caption underneath it to pique more interest in her story, like a quote about childbirth from that mom.
  • Overall, I think the page’s design would have more visual oomph if your subheadings were a different font and/or color. Just a small change like font or color can really do a lot to improve the look of the page.
  • The email button stands out being within a box but you could also add some color to the box or change the color of the subscribe buttons. If you copy the CSS code for the Mailchimp form and add it to your CSS, you can make changes to the colors, border, etc. I use Firebug (used on the Firefox browser) to see exactly what bits of code change which pieces of this email box, then change them on your CSS. This isn’t critical so don’t get overwhelmed if you can’t do it (but my book does cover where to add CSS on Blogger and how to use Firebug).
  • Visually I feel that the Table of Contents is a little long and hard to read since they are all in one straight line. That doesn’t mean you need to shorten the TOC though (Have you seen the one for my book? It’s REALLY long.). It DOES mean that it could be organized more effectively. For example, perhaps the general topics like Your Birth Plan and What Do Contractions Feel Like? are bolded. Or maybe certain topics are indented. For the sake of this page, you might want to shorten it by just saying “Birth Stories” when you have a few of them in a row.

Navigation:

  • You have this page as a part of your navigation menu which is great.
  • Bonus that you have an image of the book in your sidebar! I would create a stronger message underneath the book though. Instead of “Learn more about my book Natural Birth Stories” try to rephrase it to generate excitement. Something like “Considering a natural childbirth? Get 3 free chapters from my upcoming book that will both empower you and warm your heart.” They can see the book title in the image so you don’t necessarily need to repeat it in the copy.
  • Under your About page, I see that you mention your book and link to this page. However, instead of just telling the reader about it, again give them a more compelling reason to click the link by adding a sentence there as well (doesn’t have to be the same as the one as your sidebar; in fact, it shouldn’t be the same).
  • On this page, you’ve done a good job of not linking to other pages except in the section where it’s appropriate (bloggers section and the Can’t Wait section). With a sales page like this, you definitely want to keep people focused so that’s what you’re doing!

Content:

  • I don’t think the page comes across as too salesy at all! In fact, I think you provide great information for the reader to understand what your book is about.
  • One thing I’d love to see on this page is a little more of you! While the page should definitely be reader-focused, I think it would be nice to add a sentence or two about why you wrote the book/what you hope to accomplish with this book. You could either weave it into the rest of the page or create a small About the Author section.
  • You do a nice job of breaking the content into manageable bits of information. The bullets work nicely here and make the page very readable.
  • In addition to an extra image or two, also consider adding a quote or two from the book. It could be something a mother in the book said or your own words.
  • For the section under the first subheading, consider leading with the fact you get three free chapters for subscribing rather than getting something more generic like “special offers.” Then say something like “you’ll also be the first to know when the book comes out later this month.” Consider NOT giving them a specific date because it might make someone less likely to subscribe (they can just mark the date on their calendar instead of opting into an email list).
  • Overall, I think you could weave in some messaging that shows how your book can help them overcome their worries about natural childbirth. Think about the worries and concerns a woman considering natural childbirth has. Then make sure the content on this page convinces them that your book can help alleviate some of those worries. For example, an obvious thing women would be concerned about is pain. You mention “Natural birth pain relief techniques” but a simple adjustment can reinforce that your book can help them and encourage them. It can be something as simple as “The five most effective pain relief techniques for natural childbirth. (Yes, you CAN do this!)”
  • Regarding the Blogger section, consider adding more to the title instead of just Bloggers. Perhaps something like “Exclusively for Bloggers.”
  • I agree that this is a good spot to entice bloggers to review your book or become an affiliate. However, some bloggers might not know exactly what an affiliate is. Reframe that to say something like “Earn $xx each time someone you refer purchases a PDF of Natural Birth Stories. Find out more details and sign up here.”
  • At the end of your page, you have a bunch of social media sharing buttons. I would add a call-to-action at the bottom that asks readers to share the page. Often times people won’t share without a little nudge!

Let me know your thoughts on the critique in the comments below. If you have an extra moment, head over to GrowingSlower and give Shannon some comment love.

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