Demonstrative blog review: alternative education with Centrul de Educatie non-Formala CEnF

Hello, in this blog post I’ll do a review of Centrul de Educatie non-Formala CEnF. Below are my suggestion for improving the blog and the things I like about it.

Design


+The logo resembles the building of CCSB, which is a nice idea in itself;

1. The font with small print is really written with a small font;
2. Regarding the header area, with the title and motto:

a. I fail to understand why you need to have an English motto;
b. The CEnF is an acronym which is a bit hard to understand due to the “n” written with a small letter:
Centrul de Educatie non-Formala CEnF;
c. You put “share” prior to “learn”, which is a bit strange; I think people should first learn something, and only then share the information;
3. Regarding the text in the sidebar (“Bine ai venit!”):

a. I would avoid writing a long text in bold text, this makes it hard to read;
b. After “…”, it’s best to leave a space;
c. After this text:
“Daca esti adeptul dezvoltarii profesionale si personale permanente”,
a comma is required;
d. I would avoid writing long blocks of text with CAPITALS;
e. If you leave the address, I would also leave the city, it’s not very clear in which city Calea Plevnei is;
f. For a blog that can be read internationally, and considering the fact that you may have international partnership for your projects, the phone number should better contain the country prefix;
4. The logo:

a. Unfortunately, I see no other idea coming from the logo, other than “it’s a nice thing to see”; I would love to get the idea of culture, of students, of universities, yet I get no such ideas;
b. It’s very good that you use only one color for the logo, yet, the web site and the year are hard to read;
5. The list of partners:

a. In my opinion, they take way too much vertical space, I would put smaller logos;
b. Some partners seem to be favored due to different logo sizes; I’d search for a solution to make all the logos about even size;
6. I think it’s best that the photos don’t have the time and date on them;
7. The CEnF logo:

a. Has a nice idea, with the laurels which symbolize success; well done;
b. Also nice is the fact that you use only two colors for the logo, which makes it easy to reproduce on various marketing materials;
c. I would explain in the logo what CEnF stands for;

Usability

+I like the fact that you use a lot of pictures to make it clear what messages you convey; good job;
1. There are two links to your blog:
a. www.educatie-alternativa.blogspot.com
b. educatie-alternativa.blogspot.com
For some reason or another, you seem to prefer linking to your own web site with the first link; there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s a normal and typical behavior for BlogSpot users; yet, a lot of people tend to have problems with such a link; you see, a web site is either:
www.site.com or
subdomain.site.com
It’s very atypical to see and understand this kind of link:
www.subdomain.site.com
It’s a mix of the two links above which doesn’t fit well;
2. The homepage has too many blog posts; my personal preference goes for sites such as HotNews.ro, which are long, very, very long; yet the HotNews style is a bit different than yours: instead of putting whole news on the web site, HotNews only present a snippet of each news and lets the viewers click to read more; on your web site I have to read the whole news, there’s nothing to click on to read even more;
My suggestion is either to implement a “Read more” format for the blog posts on the homepage, or to have a lesser number of news;
3. The sidebar is, also, too long for my taste; if you have a blog post which has a shorter length, the sidebar would only make things worse – a lot of scrolling to do just to get to the bottom of the page;
4. The list of useful links

a. I would put ccs.ro the very first link;
b. Much rather than having a link that looks like this:
www.site.com,
I would put a link that looks like this:
Name of the web site;
5. Concerning the box of “I recommend you” links:

a. This is a bit out of the style of the blog; since you represent an institution, I would expect a formulation similar to “We recommend you”;
b. I don’t understand the need to write:
“Calatorii si Fotografii”
with Initial Capitals;
6. The two docs.google.com links:

a. They are, in my humble opinion, taking too much space; you can either make the links only have the title (so a link should look like this: Link), or make smaller links with URL shorteners, such as tinyurl.com;
7. The two boxes for useful tools on your web site:

a. In my opinion, they are pretty useless; I already know how to find my IP address and it’s really not a reason to enter your web site – to find my IP address; sure, you can also list the program on TV, but it’s not why I visit you; regarding the map, harsh at it may seem, I am not really that interested in what is your audience, since I already expect a Romanian web site to have Romanian visitors;
b. Having useful widgets on the sidebar, useful as they may be, takes up valuable screen estate; if I were you, I’d look for solutions to remove those things, they are not useful;
8. I would put a search option somewhere on the website;
9. I would love the option to subscribe via email to the blog posts; you can use Google’s FeedBurner to have such a facility;

Copywriting

+You write with correct grammar, which is an inspiring thing to spot;
1. I am disappointed that you don’t have diacritics for the blog posts on your blog; that’s too bad, I’d much rather prefer and opt for a blog with diacritics;
2. You use a lot ALL CAPS texts, which make the blog hard to read; also disturbing Are Texts With Initial Capital;

Final ideas

+Keep up the good work, you’re doing a great job;
1. In the footer area, give me something to do; I’ve reached the bottom of the page, give me something to do, don’t let me leave your web site in search for something more;
2. Have you considered having the links in your blogroll in a separate page? I would much rather prefer reading this list in a separate page, than having to see the links in all of the pages;
3. Have you also considered having the list of the partners on a separate page, rather than listing them on all of the blog’s pages?
4. If I were to pick between WordPress on my own domain, WordPress.com and Blogger.com, my first choice would be WordPress on my own domain; consider this for a future change of the blog;

_________
Bottom line: The blog of Centrul de Educatie non-Formala CEnF is one of the best resources for non-formal education in Bucharest. Way to go!

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of lumeaseoppc.ro (series of events on SEO & PPC) and cetd.ro (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.

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