Welcome to the WordPress blogosphere, Smash Trip!
Smash Trip‘s clean and uncluttered design offers the visitor a selection of marvellous images; photographs of landscapes, buildings and other interesting scenes from all over the world. The site’s first post appeared on 18Nov2020; post frequency was slow to begin with, but it seems to be accelerating :)
To some, the word ‘critique’ has a negative connotation. My comments here are meant to provide constructive comment — not criticism.
Especially as Smash Trip’s content is centred around photographs, proper attribution for these should be given. This is easily achieved with a short text citation under each image, perhaps with a link to the original, or the originator, where this is available (as it is on sites that offer popular freely-usable images, such as Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash… and so on). It is of course entirely possible that the site’s creator owns the copyright on all of the images featured in the site — but if so, this ought to be stated somewhere (an ‘about’ page would be the obvious choice).
I think each post would benefit from having a description of the (quite wonderful) images portrayed. Such text needn’t be extensive. The additional effort would be rewarded in the form of greater audience reach, as search engine crawlers would find more hooks into the content. Going this extra mile would also have the benefit of providing enhanced accessibility for some of the site’s audience, especially those with sight problems (I’m personally thinking here of Lorraine at Blind Wilderness — coincidentally, her post there today is a very short poem entitled ‘The Blind‘ — Hi, Lorraine!).
All of the posts are ‘Uncategorized’. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought that a blog post with this word on it suggests a lack of… something; the word has a negative connotation. It wouldn’t be too much additional work to turn this around: for instance, each post could be categorized by continent — that would only require seven categories. Doing so would also provide the option of directing the audience to groups of related posts (as I do with the menu option on ‘Wibble’ to ‘My Poetry‘, for example). WordPress Customer Support offers good advice on categories.
The feature image in each post has a link to the image itself, allowing the image to be viewed and appreciated in a separate window (the site’s designer has clearly learned over time: early posts feature extra baggage on these views; later ones do not). This feature is largely redundant, however, as the linked image on each page I examined is the same size as the original. In my opinion, it would be better, going forward, to either remove this feature entirely from each post, or maintain two different sizes of each image in the Media Library (see my post ‘Turbo-boost your site by optimising images‘), giving the user the option to ‘zoom out’.
Engaging with the WordPress community
Perhaps the most glaring omission from Smash Trip is the lack of provision for community interaction. The site’s first post is the only one that currently features the ability to comment. I think this is a big mistake, as it’s the folk we meet along the who make the journey worthwhile.
Postscript: The inception of ‘Pendantry’s Blog Critiques’
For some months now, I’ve been a bit down in the dumps. I blame this in part to the lunatic antics of a former POTUS whose family name rhymes with the last word of the previous sentence. But that influence has departed (fingers crossed, never to return). It’s the dawn of a new era!
This morning, I awoke to discover that Wibble had another new follower (‘Smash Trip’), and — feeling somewhat guilty about my lack of interaction on WordPress of late — I thought I’d pay the site a visit in return, ‘like’ a few pages, and maybe follow it back (I did). The page I landed on featured a terrific photograph of Angel Falls in Venezuela, and it encouraged me to explore further.
My clicking led me to come to believe that the site’s creator(s) was new to WordPress, and, wanting to welcome them to our little community here, I looked for a way to find out more about them. Hindered by the lack of an ‘about’ page and the dearth of any ‘comments’ facility (with the exception of the very first post), I followed the ‘contact’ link in the menu to say ‘Hi!’…
… but my composition grew, and it grew… and as I was writing that tome it occurred to me that there was a way I could serve this newcomer better. Rather than making it a private missive, I could perhaps encourage more visitors to the site by posting my thoughts about Smash Trip on a blog post here on Wibble.
And so: ‘Pendantry’s Blog Critiques‘ was born (I blatantly plagiarised the header image from Smash Trip’s own site to use here… so sue me :P). This is the first entry. There may be more: time will tell. (As ever, I’d love to hear your comments on my efforts!)