BlakeBackpacks – Peer review #3

Overview is a website that provides insights from Blake about the field, with content ranging from gear reviews to general backpacking advice.


While overall a well-defined website with a clear ethos, where I think Blake’s website is strongest is the clear connection of his content to his intended audience. It starts with the URL: blakebackpacks – there is no clearer way to state the purpose of his site and who Blake is as a content creator. The titles of his blog posts are also contributors in its usage of keywords, making it clear what to expect from each post, and making the overall website well-optimized for SEO.

Further in terms of content, I think that Blake’s blog posts are written out in a manner that is focused, and straight to the point – this makes his text scannable and easy to extract value from, which is helpful in potentially reducing bounce rate. Besides his writing style, a contributor to scan-ability is also in the way he titles his sections so that it is less decorative and more functional. They are short, succinct, and include enough keywords that act as contextual clues that readers can fall back on for clarification on what they are reading.

This is why I think that in terms of his posts, Blake is at a place where his website could be highly marketable – however, I see opportunity for him to better surface his content through refreshing the formatting of his landing page, and other ‘fringe’ pages (about, contact, etc.).

Landing page

The Neilson Norman Group, a well-known UX research consulting firm, suggested in 2011 that a user will leave a website if they do not find clear value in it within 10 to 20 seconds after visiting a website. I don’t think Blake’s current website is so confusing that one cannot find content of value within that time frame, but he can certainly increase potential for larger audiences by reducing the time it takes for people to get to his posts. I think a few opportunities would be as follows:

  1. Removing content from the home page that does not help speak about the purpose of his site. For example, Blake currently has an ‘About this Site’ blurb and a ‘Contact me’ blurb that both contain what I imagine to be the default text (maybe he does live on 123 Main Street in New York, but I am skeptical). If Blake can imagine a scenario where keeping this content would help readers get to his posts faster, then he may choose to keep these blurbs, but otherwise, it may be helpful to remove them overall.
  2. Titles-first formatting on his posts gallery. This does not mean that he should change the order that the title and categories appear in, but I mean ‘title-first’ as in the first thing that my eye lands on should be the title of each post. I don’t think this is particularly an issue for posts with images, but on posts without images, the category names (ie. ‘blog’ ‘assignments’) have background colours, making it visually different from everything else on the page. This gives it the risk of category tags coming off as more important than everything else, making it fight for attention against what the most valuable aspect of Blake’s website is to potential readers – the titles of each post.
About page

I don’t want to speak too much on this since ‘about’ pages have already been spoken on in class, but I do think that adding content on why Blake is a credible source for backpacking advice would help communicate the value of To further communicate the value of his website to potential audiences, it may also even help for Blake to speak upon why he decided to make his blog about backpacking, which I see he has spoken about in a process post. To me, there is opportunity in the currently empty ‘about’ page for audience to judge why they should listen to Blake’s backpacking posts.


Generally speaking, is easy to understand, has a clear purpose, and speaks to a specific-enough niche for his website for it to be marketable. The content of his blog posts are well-curated and valuable, so I think his next steps are simply removing default content and tweaking his overall information hierarchy so that audience remember him for his backpacking tips and not as the ‘guy who had default text in his About page’.