Blog Critique: Ma Nouvelle Mode

We’re back with another Blog Critique from Momcomm and The SITS Girls, dissecting a blog from top to bottom in three areas: blog design, navigation/functionality and blog content.

The reason? To help the featured blogger meet her blog goals and to help all of us learn and grow. One suggestion for a particular blog may very well apply to multiple members of our community and get us all thinking about how we can improve what we do.

Blog Critique: Ma Nouvelle Mode

At Ma Nouvelle Mode, Natalia and Christie “encourage, motivate and inspire women of all walks of life to discover {or rediscover} their own fabulous panache.”  They want to see women build the confidence to embrace who they are through the modes of fashion, beauty, home décor, travel and other creative passions. They said they’re trying to build a community of supportive women who cheer each other on throughout it all. Their ultimate goal is to make a business out of it, connect and work with brands, and make enough money so “we can validate all our hard work to our husbands!”

Natalia and Christie say their biggest worry is reach. They want to connect with readers and have them feel both involved and connected to the content. They want a blog where people want to come everyday, truly enjoy the content and feel like they were inspired in some way.

Blog Design & Navigation {Mel}

Header & Menu

  • First off, I really like the colors you’re using. They are soft and feminine without having to be the typical “feminine” pink. Combined with the pearls and font choices, your header has a sophisticated and soft look.
  • While I love the font choice for “Nouvelle” I think that it’s a little hard to read because the lighter color in the pattern almost blends into the white. I think darkening that lighter color just a tad would do the trick.
  • I like your tagline and it does a good job of telling the readers what you hope they’ll get out of your blog.
  • I think the stripes in your background are a nice complement to the main part of the blog but the blank white space above your header seems a little odd. I’d either move everything in the center up, so there’s less white space or move it a little further down and then make the stripes continue through that area. Not sure how that would look until I saw it, but either way might work!
  • Hooray for social media buttons being easy to find! I’d love to see them have a little more character and color, though. Also, I don’t really think some people would know what the + is right off the bat, so you may be better off with a G+.
  • Your two-level menu looks nice and I like that there are arrows to denote which ones have drop-downs. For the Sponsor tab, I’d almost reword that to say Sponsor Us so there’s no confusion about that possibly being a page on what YOU sponsor. It’s great that your menu has extra space to grow into and hurrah for having an About Us and Contact page… those are the two most important!

Sidebars

  • I like that your sidebar is nice and organized with each section having its own box. And great job having the email field at the top! With the email, I’d liven up the call-to-action statement. Instead of “subscribe to blog,” try something sassier and more related to your blog like “Email with style” or “Get fabulous tips to embrace your fabulousness.”
  • While I know you want your giveaways to get noticed, I’d shrink that space just a tad so your About Us stuff is up a higher on the sidebar in order to stand out more.
  • You have quite a bit of ads on your sidebar but I know you’re making money from them which rocks! Given the stats you list on your Sponsor page though, I think you could be charging more (like at least $1 CPM for your larger ads, which would make it around $27). CPM is cost per mille impressions i.e. thousand impressions. I’d suggest bumping up your rates until you find a sweet spot. You’ll get fewer advertisers, but it’ll give your sidebar a cleaner look.
  • I’d consider having a section of your most popular posts so new readers get a sense of your best work! And if you have a post that gets LOTS of hits, consider even creating a special button for that post to get people hooked!

ma nouvelle

Main Column

  • I like that your main column has the same color scheme as your heading to continue the branding throughout your blog.
  • While there’s nothing wrong with the look of your blog post titles, it would be really cool if you could pull in the font from your tagline instead. Would give your main column some more oomph!
  • The line underneath your blog post title with Leave a comment, Date and Author all seem a little scrunched together. See if you can adjust the spacing there a bit.
  • I have a couple of suggestions regarding formatting your posts. Let’s use this great post about wearing leggings (seriously, it was helpful!). First suggestion is from an SEO standpoint. Instead of using just bolding, be sure to use your heading tags (heading 2, heading 3, etc.). It’s easy to do in WordPress. Search engines consider larger words more important, so having a subheading like “Leggings with a Dress” can help with SEO. The other suggestion is that by having the complete subheading and paragraph BELOW the picture, I found myself a little confused because I would read the paragraph about a particular look then I’d have to scroll back UP to see that look. Instead, either do subheading-picture-paragraph or subheading-paragraph-picture so readers aren’t scrolling or trying to figure out which image belongs to what.
  • On your homepage, it’s a good idea to have a comment link at the bottom of your posts as well as the top so people don’t have to scroll back to the top to post.
  • I think you guys do an amazing job of both picture-taking AND using those images in your posts. The pictures are large and really help solidify what you’re writing about. I also love that on some posts (like this Pink Smokey Eye tutorial) you put together a graphic that was eye-catching (no pun intended!) and Pinterest-friendly. I think a lot of your posts would do well on Pinterest, so it’s good to keep that platform in mind to keep your posts visual. Nice job!

Writing {Gigi}

  • Hi ladies! I’ve liked your blog since you first guest posted here on The SITS Girls.  I think you make what can be intimidating for many women (hair, makeup, fashion) very approachable. So kudos to you. I feel like I can actually do some of the tutorials and suggestions that you share. For example, I loved the post Shopping Your Man’s Closet. My husband has no fashion sense, but this post inspired me to think about ways to utilize one of his plaid shirts in a cute outfit.

  • You mentioned that one of your concerns was establishing better reach and building a warm community. My sense in reading through several weeks of your blog posts is that you haven’t quite decided what is the heart of this blog. It feels like Ma Nouvelle Mode should be a style blog. But you’ve added in personal posts about your life, plus crafts, and DIY, and travel, and you run a Day In The Life linkup as well – that doesn’t have anything to do with fashion or beauty for the most part.
  • I think that’s one of the reasons your last linky only got nine entries. You’re mainly drawing in people who want to learn about style and all that good girly stuff, so the other stuff feels a bit out of sorts.  It doesn’t mean that you can never talk about your kids – but put those things in the proper scale relative to the content that will make up the heart of the blog.
  • Another thing I want to talk about is the feeling behind your brand and writing. As I said,  you write in a very approachable way that feels familiar to the average woman or mom. But I’ve noticed that many of the leading style bloggers create more aspirational content. Let’s compare you to Honestly WTF, a prevalent style blogger, who recently treated the subject of braids:

style blogger

  • The big difference that I see? They don’t tell you how to actually do the braids. They inspire you to WANT to do the braids, but go no further than that. Think about whether you want to take your blog in this aspirational direction or whether you want to continue to be approachable. If the answer is approachable, then try to come up with ways that you could partner with a larger blogger that focuses on the aspirational piece to be their go-to linkup for the more hands-on stuff. As an example, maybe Honestly WTF would alter this braid post to say at the end, “want to learn how to do braids? Visit Ma Nouvelle Mode.” You get the idea.
  • I think refining this focus will really help you not only with growing your community, but with being positioned properly to work with brands and monetizing your blog. I love what you ladies do next, and with a little self-reflection, think that you can totally take Ma Nouvelle Mode to the next level – whatever that may be for you. Good luck!

Now it’s your turn. What do YOU think about Ma Nouvelle Mode? Do you agree or disagree with our recommendations? Let us know in the comments below.

And be sure to head over to visit Ma Nouvelle Mode and leave them some comment love.

how to blog

Want to Read More Blog Critiques?

Accept no substitutes! Blog critiques from Momcomm & The SITS Girls are the best you’ll find on the web. You can find all of our past blog critiques here.

The blog critique queue is currently closed but if you feel like critiquing your own blog, grab a copy of the DIY Blog Critique, where Mel from Momcomm walks you through 43 points to critique your blog in design, navigation and content.

Blog Critique: Sober Julie
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Comments

  1. I love the tips! They were very helpful. Thank you.

  2. Very helpful! One of my biggest problems is getting organized blog buttons. Mine are scattered on the right side of my blog. Is there an easy way to add buttons in blogger?

  3. I always get such great ideas from these reviews! Thanks for doing them!!

  4. I love blog critiques. Congrats to Ma Nouvelle Mode for having so many great choices about marketing their blog. And in their purpose statement, I hope they do make more money so their husbands understand how inspiring and helpful blogs can be.

  5. Lots of great tips that can be helpful for anyone!

  6. Wow! All of the input shared from both critics was so informative! Thank you! I enjoyed Ma Nouvelle Mode. Such a pretty blog, and I can use all the help I can get in the fashion/style dept. Overall, I think the blog offers a pleasant and approachable place for women to go for tips and ideas. I like that I’m not staring at ridiculously thin teenagers who have nothing in common with me. We need more sites that offer real women inspiration. Thanks again!

  7. Love the tips about using header tags and SEO. That’s a good one!

  8. Love your blog, Natalia! Keep up the great work!

  9. This was really great. Thank you! I am still pretty knew to the blogging world and Ma Nouvelle Mode and it really helped to hear about what other people see when they read our blog.

  10. I really hope that you keep the approachable way of doing your posts, Natalia! I think the regular aspirational type fashion stuff is a dime a dozen, not to mention that there are millions of other things bombarding us making us want to be better and do better. I like your voice of encouragement and tutorials. I do agree that it would be brilliant to connect with one of those other types of blogs, though! keep up the good work =)

    • Thank you so much!! I do want to stick to being approachable! Becuase I honestly want people to see that they can do these things. I am just a normal girl with two kids, so I like that people can relate. Anyway, thanks for the encouragement, made me smile! :)

  11. This is great and oh so helpful!! I really appreciate it and can’t wait to get started working on some of your suggestions!!

  12. What a g reat critique… I went to the site to take a look but the way my settings are, the stories would not appear.

    I did scroll down to the bottome and was amazed to see it was a custom design or the Genesis Framework… And because I was curious about how they got 2 items in the bottom widget.

    I really wanted to look around but from what I saw… It was beautiful.

    This critique helped me because I am “sort of” in the same niche.

    Really would like to borrow a story or two like a guest blogging thingy…

    Thanks for this on a Dreary Saturday Morning. We’re expecting srorms here in Hampton Roads. Time to batten down my hatches.

  13. Staying true to your brand topic is so important. I’ve found if I write anything off the topic of foster care or adoption. I would love to share other exciting stories of my life, but if I can’t tie it to these topics or trauma, the post only hears crickets. I’ve recently begun sharing about my traumatic past but had to tie it to what foster kids may experience.

    Great article!

  14. This is such a helpful column. I cannot wait to read your other blog critiques since I just got at least 2 solid ideas I am going to use on my own blog right away! Thank you!

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