The Playground Was Reviewed

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Theme Playground is reviewed by Michael Martine

Michael Martine was kind enough to offer Theme Playground a free blog review last week, as part of his week–long free blog review series. He had a lot of kind things to say, which I’m very grateful for. Thank you Michael!

The Best of the Good

First of all, he loved our name, which I have to give credit to Cory Miller for. He’s the one who suggested that I start this up, and he provided the title too. Michael also likes our content and thinks it stands out in the crowd — which is something I really appreciate, especially in the WordPress blogging field.

The Suggestions

Michael had a couple of good suggestions. There were two main parts, as well as a couple of minor site errors which I took care of already.

Design and Logo

It’s true that I’m using The Morning After theme here, and it is also true that I haven’t spent too much time customizing it. In fact I’ve made an effort to limit how much time I spend on it. Part of the reason I finally decided to give in and use another’s theme was to focus on developing content. I find that (as many bloggers do, surely) I can spend so much time improving my blog’s design I don’t spend much time actually blogging. Not good.

I do plan on customizing this theme, over time. In fact I have a few improvements in mind, which I hope to provide to the theme author for consideration in a future release. More on that later. It is worth saying that having a unique site is important, and I would be the first to admit it. I have been thinking I need to make it more of a priority to step up the appearance around here, and Michael verified that for me.

Michael also pointed toward the logo as lacking of originality. Since I received the logo from Logo Design Works as a part of their program of designing logos for free for bloggers, it puts me in an interesting position. I have a tough time disagreeing that it is a little lacking in originality, but for now it will do.

Taking the Content Up a Notch

I particularly appreciated Michael’s thoughts on my content. He believes I should showcase my consulting and design work by writing up some case studies of projects I’ve worked on. I think this is a great idea, and it’s good to hear it from someone else. I’ll be adding this as a category later on this week.

It was also suggested that I try some videoblogging/screen casting. This one is really intriguing to me, especially since Small Potato started doing it recently. I’ll think about this one, and look into starting it up soon.

Thanks again Michael. If you’re looking for some blogging advice in any particular area, head over to his site and look into the services he offers.

0 thoughts on “The Playground Was Reviewed

  1. Ryan, you’re quite welcome. Every blogger already has some ideas about where they think they should go with their blog plans, and it’s great confirmation you’re on the mark when a second opinion suggests ideas in line with your own.

    About the logo: I don’t really accept that something gotten for free should be accepted as lesser quality. If I had paid LGW for a logo and they came up with mere stylized initials, I certainly would have rejected it and asked for a revision (but I also would have said from the beginning I didn’t want a logo like that).

    If you’re blogging to support a WordPress theme design consultancy and other design services, Theme Playground should lead by example. It deserves to have the best logo you can get for it.

    Logo Design Works must have offered free logos as a way to promote themselves. Perhaps you could contact them and suggest a redesign would do a better job of promotion.

    I’m glad you like the idea showcasing your consulting & design work a little more. I feel strongly that if you’re running a business — especially a freelance business of one — that it’s important for the blog to support the business goals of acquiring and retaining clients.

    Small Potato’s video is great, isn’t it? Darren Rowse and Yaro Starak have both done quite well with video, as has Mark from 45n5.com. Video is often the best way to go for tutorials because writing tutorials step by step and doing a million screenshots is such a big pain in the ass. Video is easier and often a more effective teacher.

    Thank you for the referral, as well! :)

  2. If you’re going to go for a free theme, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one than this. Nice choice!

    However, I’d have to agree with Michael concerning the logo. It’s actually a little nasty looking, but then I’m subscribed, so I don’t see it often :)

    Keep up the good work!

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