Since my topic is green living it was not surprising to see that word in the title of similar sites. I had a hard time finding sites that I loved 100%. Either their content was aligned with what I’d like to do—The Greenists—but not designed to my taste, or their design was exceptional—Gardenista—but only some of the content related to my vision. Green Divas was great on content, and it is obvious that they are very successful, but I found their site to be busy.
The Greenists gave me some great ideas, like including a “Tip of the Day.” Their paid advertising was not overwhelming, nor off-topic. Their header categories—Going Green, Beauty, Food, Home Care, Pets—were simple and informative. I knew exactly where to look to find what I wanted. This was not the case for Green Divas, which had “too clever” headings like “Sleeping Naked Is Green.” You had to click to see what they were really talking about. Maybe that’s a good thing? Gardenista had minimalist headings: Inspiration and DIY, Shop, Destinations, and Photo Gallery with drop-down subheads giving more detail. I like simplicity, so will strive for that.
All three sites curated articles from others; Gardenista is especially good at this. It is obvious that they select from only the best, with gorgeous photography. I can definitely see using a curated piece when I don’t have time to write one of my own, or see that someone else has already done it better.
They all had advertising on their sites—a necessary evil if one would like to make money blogging—but Gardenista did it best using their own design to direct readers to their sponsors rather than have a jumble of different ads. I think too many ads can detract from a site and have the potential to turn-off a reader.
This exercise definitely helped me get more focus on what I want my Green Queen site to be and how it should look and function.