Tuesday, 23 February 2016

getting a fly-on-the-wall blog review

getting a peek into what my blog looks like

Last week I saw a write up by another blogger on the good and bad review they received from using "peek" . peek is a FREE (my favourite word) user testing tool where you can enter the URL of your blog and have a random person view it and give you feedback - the feedback is actually a five minute video of them browsing around your posts and pages and commenting as they go. It's a scary thought putting your blog out there for an honest appraisal and seeing how it looks to someone else.

I took a deep breath and sent mine off - a few hours later (they guarantee a response within 24 hours) I had an email with a link to somebody appraising my blog. Clicking on that link was a little daunting - all the usual self doubt rises to the surface and the questions start.....What if they hate me? What if they don't get it? What if they think my layout and content are rubbish? etc etc

The first thing that hit me when I opened it was that the reviewer was a young man (possibly in his 20's??) and I immediately thought "well there goes any chance of someone getting what my blog is about!" and braced myself for the disparaging comments the younger generation are so good at. Much to my absolute amazement, he actually liked it - it took him a moment to figure out what sort of site he'd opened, but once he got the idea he was really positive and it made my day.

There were three points the commenting person works from:


1. What is this page all about: 
It took a moment (he obviously sees lots of different types of websites submitted) but he figured it out fairly easily and completely understood what my blog was based on. 


2. What do you want to do - go ahead and try it:
He looked at my "About" information and was strongly in favour of my categories across the top of the home page that made navigation easy. He liked those better than straight archives because you can choose what interests you more easily.


3. What stood out and what was frustrating:
This is where they have the opportunity to make constructive (I hope) criticisms, and I waited to hear his suggestions. Once again I was happily surprised, he just reiterated how clear and clean and readable it was and he enjoyed browsing through it.

So, there you have it - a tool to give you an insight into how others see your site. You can have up to three reviews a month for free - I think I'll leave doing it again for a while and just rest on my laurels (and allow my self esteem to build up again before throwing myself back out there).

One thing I took away from his general browsing and his commentary was that it's important for new viewers to know what you setting out to do. I assumed that everyone who lands on my page knows they're coming to a midlife blog, but that may not be the case. So, I have tweaked my little "about me" blurb under my photo to summarize my blog a little more clearly, and for now, I'll keep doing what I'm doing and will come back for another assessment a bit further down the track! I hope you get brave and have a turn too - it's quite an eye opener.
using peek.usertesting.com for an honest review of my blog

32 comments:

  1. This is a great idea! I'm bookmarking it for future reference. I totally agree with his assessment - your blog is great!

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    1. thanks so much Lana - I was a bit surprised to have such positive feedback from someone totally outside of who would normally read my blog so it was a big bonus!

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    2. Love this I had no idea !!! Can't wait to check this out

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    3. It's an interesting experience Laci - easy to do and free - I think it was honest + positive (phew!)

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  2. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.
    Not sure I'm brave enough to try it but the only way it'll improve is if it's critiqued...
    X

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    1. It was a pretty scary thing for me too but I figured I'd just cry quietly into my tea if I was awful, and it might give me some ideas for improvement.

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  3. Wow, thus sounds like a great resource, but a bit scary too! I think I might submit my blog, just to see what they. If they have lots of bad comments atleast I will know what I need to work.x p.s your blog is fab #abitofeverything

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    1. Thanks so much Wendy - your words are more valuable to me than the reviewer's, but it was nice to hear what someone who was completely random thought - and it did make my heart beat faster before I opened the email!

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  4. I used to work in digital content development, so this kind of thing is right up my alley. It's really important that sites be easy to navigate and intuitive for users. #abitofeverything

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    1. That's good to know too - when you are a complete novice in the blogging world you want to do your best to encourage people to connect - I found his advice really interesting too.

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  5. I've used peek before, and get differing reviews of my site so it's great that you can use it every month to get a good idea of how it is viewed in general by lots of different people. So far women tend to like my site more than men, but I consider that a good thing! Good post, thanks. #abitofeverything

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    1. I'm hoping to be brave enough to give it a go regularly because honest feedback is really useful - nice to know that it works for you too Claire :)

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  6. I had a peek done and found it very helpful too!

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    1. that's great Liv - I'm glad it's such a useful tool - I'm surprised I hadn't encountered it earlier - maybe that's a good thing!

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  7. Hi Leanne! Good for you for being brave enough for a "peek." I've done it a couple of times through the years and it does offer some fresh eye perspective on what you create. But the last time I did it I got some young woman who was pretty clueless about anything that I could relate to so I stopped. I think it's time for another try. Thanks!

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    1. I think it gave me a different perspective and that was helpful - it was also nice that they didn't say anything awful - the post that I originally read had been given a few criticisms/suggestions, so they are at least honest!

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  8. Thanks for letting us know about this service. Brave! I'd like to try at some point just to get an unbiased opinion!

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    1. It's supposed to be good for you to do something scary every now and then - this was my moment :)

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  9. You and I must have read the same post. I gave it a try today for my desktop and mobile sites. It was fine. I was disappointed that both reviewers sounded like the same person (also a young male in his 20's) and that both reviewers and the reviewer in the blog post (and yours) all wanted to go to the About page (too coincidental to me). The person(s) didn't understand that the site was a blog...and the one reviewing my mobile site said he prefers when websites aren't in a blog format. Uhhhhh...okay. I think that it is more of a sales tool to get you to purchase their paid services.

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    1. you might have a point there Regina - at least it was positive feedback, and I have no intention of using their paid services (although I might have another go at their free one sometime and see what happens). Someone else who commented had a woman review theirs so there must be a few reviewers out there??

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    2. Leanne I also did this, twice and have made several changes. It is actually funny when it is someone who is not familiar with your niche. The first person in my review was bombarded with Victoria's Secrets ads and she tho ught it was a blog for that... can you imagine? The second was much better and she said it was easy to navigate which is my main concern. I saw yours in there too. You got a great review. I think the most important thing is easy of use and navigation. Plus it looks great and uncluttered.

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    3. thanks so much Mary - I didn't know you could see what others reviews were. I found it quite reassuring and I might get brave enough to do it again some time soon - glad they got over the confusion with Victoria Secrets for you! :)

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  10. This is awesome! I am definitely going to try it. It would be great to have some perspective on what I am writing and whether or not I am communicating "my" message or any message. Of course, I think I'm hysterical and full of bits of life-changing information but I would love to know what someone else thinks. Hopefully, they will agree. Ha! Ha! Thanks so much.

    Cathy Colangelo

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    1. let me know how it goes Cathy - and if you get a dodgy one you could always give it another go :)

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  11. I did this a year or so ago, before I rebranded. Thanks for the reminder to do it again. And thanks for sharing this information at the Blogger's Pit Stop.

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    1. It was an interesting exercise Debbie and I think it gives you an added insight that you comes with fresh eyes.

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  12. What a great tool Leanne. I think I'll have to have a little check out of this myself. I'm really pleased you got good feedback, your blog is easy to navigate around.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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    1. I hope you put yourself out there for a try Sally - it's kind of nice when someone affirms the direction you've headed in.

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  13. Leanne, I do and enjoy Peek user testing, although it is anxiety inducing to wait for the results it can really help you see your blog as other people do. The first time I did it the young lady was a little confused and didn't quite understand that this was a blog, but I always get good insight from the review. Our group did this and got varied results, but I think everyone was appreciative to have a new eye on their site. It's free to use and a can be the catalyst for some big changes. Or it can reinforce that you are where you should be. Pretty cool.

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    1. I loved that it was free Nikki and that I'd seen someone who had a few things that were suggested as needing to be changed. It was scary to put my blog out into the great unknown, and such a relief to find it was doing okay!

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  14. I have done this several times, and gotten some good feedback this way. The reviews do need to be taken with a grain of salt - one of mine was done by someone who had no idea of how to navigate a website - and she never figured out how to scroll down, so missed all of my content! That being said, it showed me that I needed to shorten the height of my header, to make it more obvious how to navigate my site. I think Peek Testing is a opportunity well worth taking advantage of - especially since it is free.

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    1. I think I'll do it again a few weeks Susan because it was really helpful and a much more positive experience than I expected - and being free was a real bonus!

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