An enchanting melody drifted by your ear, ringing it with notes in perfect harmony. The piper knows his flute well, and his piece is an enrapturing composition that captures your heart. Only the pleasant sounds fill your head, until you are nearly dizzy with the song…

Welcome to Euphonious, a review site that opened on August 15th 2011. My goal is to assist your page-composing pursuits until the only thing you can hear is praise for your hard work! My name is Alex, and if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please send me a letter! Likewise, if you'd like a review yourself, head over to our request section and see if you are ready to play! Guild information pages and pet applications are fit to apply, so don't be shy!

Updates

November 2nd 2011
What have I done? The reviews aren't finished yet and I don't really even check site news anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if I pull a hiatus until winter, but I'm ranked fourth at Soroptimist...
-1 lister

Criteria

Sites: Guitar || Violin || Flute || Bells || Trumpet || Euphonium
Guilds & Applications: Violin || Flute || Bells || Oboe || Euphonium

Criteria

Sites: Guitar || Violin || Flute || Bells || Trumpet || Euphonium
Guilds & Applications: Violin || Flute || Bells || Oboe || Euphonium

Guitar

This is the basic review called the Guitar because it is universal and hits all the right chords. This first paragraph contains an intro and some general comments, so you don't feel intimidated! It contains your name and the day your site was reviewed. Please keep in mind that this review has different criteria to others you may have read, so read carefully! Also, if you disagree with anything in this type of review (whether it is point distribution or a specific criterion) please Neomail me!

Impressions {#/15}: What are my first impressions of your site? Upon entering, do I want to stay and investigate, or find a different site? Is your layout initially appealing or eye-catching? I will explain my thoughts. Is your introduction clear and professional, or illegible, poorly written and containing unnecessary information? Did it contain all the necessary information (e.g. who you are, what the site offers)? After investigating your site further, what is my impression of the site and its owner(s)? Is the site professional and organized, or disorderly and sloppy? (Note that impressions on the content, specific layout impressions, and general language errors will be addressed in their respective sections.)

Layout {#/15}: Does the appearance of your layout hinder the use or observation of the content, or enhance it? Is there a color scheme, and does it match or is it suitable for your site? What is the aesthetic value of the layout (like imagery and font styles)? Have you used the layout type to your site's advantage? Can I navigate with your layout to find what I need?

Content {#/30}: When I am looking through your site, am I impressed with the content? Is there anything you can do to improve it? I will comment here on the best selection of your content, and something that could be improved. For the amount of time your site has been open, is there enough content to be sufficient?

Language {#/20}: This is an evaluation of the language (grammar, spelling and register) on your site, which has a large impact on the visitor. Do you spell and capitalize words correctly? Is the grammar clear and fluid, or are there rough and choppy sentences? Is your site's register (the formality of your text) appropriate for the area of your site it is at, or for your site at all?

Sitewise {#/20}: This is the role of your site in the site-making community. Do you update frequently? Are you listed at many established directories? Do you have many affiliates, and are there any that are 'high quality' or active sites? (I will sweep any closed or inactive affiliates or listers here.) Do you have any link buttons, and are they high quality? (Here I will critique individual link back buttons.) I will also skim through your credits section.

Final Comments: This is a brief summary of improvement areas and the review in general. If you are going to read something besides the score (which you should do anyway), it should be this paragraph. Thank you for reading this review type, and please request soon!

Your score: #/100

Criteria

Sites: Guitar || Violin || Flute || Bells || Trumpet || Euphonium
Guilds & Applications: Violin || Flute || Bells || Oboe || Euphonium

Violin

This is my concise fine-tuning review for sites that have established content and layout, but need the smaller bits and pieces of the site examined. Like a violin, your site's minuscule details can be examined. In order to keep with the percentage score, the points have been largely exaggerated. This review type is open to pet applications and guild webbies. Also, if you disagree with anything in this type of review (whether it is point distribution or a specific criterion) please Neomail me!


Reviewee || Violin || Date reviewed

Introduction {#/30}: Is your introduction clear and professional, or illegible, poorly written and containing unnecessary information? Did it contain all the necessary information (e.g. who you are, what the site offers)? Do you have a narrative or straightforward introduction, and is it effective for your type of site? If it is a narrative, is it well written?

Language {#/45}: This is an evaluation of the language (grammar, spelling and register) on your site, which has a large impact on the visitor. Do you spell and capitalize words correctly? Is the grammar clear and fluid, or are there rough and choppy sentences? Is your site's register (the formality of your text) appropriate for the area of your site it is at, or for your site at all?

Sitewise {#/25}: This is the role of your site in the site-making community. Do you update frequently? Are you listed at many established directories? Do you have many affiliates, and are there any that are 'high quality' or active sites? (I will sweep any closed or inactive affiliates or listers here.) Do you have any link buttons, and are they high quality? (Here I will critique individual link back buttons.) I will also skim through your credits section.
For applications, this section will ensure that you have credit where credit is due.

Bonus: Haven't checked your links in a while? The Violin review includes a full link sweep of your site. This feature is automatic for directories, but if you have a lot of links (like rankings or portfolios) and would like it in your review, please say so on the form.

Final Comments: This is a brief summary of improvement areas and the review in general. If you are going to read something besides the score (which you should do anyway), it should be this paragraph. Thank you for reading this review type, and please request soon!

Your score: #/100

Criteria

Sites: Guitar || Violin || Flute || Bells || Trumpet || Euphonium
Guilds & Applications: Violin || Flute || Bells || Oboe || Euphonium

Flute

This is a quick, no-score site checklist, especially for newly opened sites (though try to be established before requesting), guild webbies and pet applications. There is no score. If you disagree with anything in this type of review please Neomail me!


Flute || Date reviewed

Reviewee, does your site have…

A good first impression on me? YES/NO/NOT YET – supporting evidence here. (This criterion includes the introduction.)
A decent layout? YES/NO/NOT YET – supporting evidence here.
Quality content? YES/NO/NOT YET – supporting evidence here. (It's great if you have quantity, too!)
A developed 'sitely' section? YES/NO/NOT YET – supporting evidence here. (This criterion includes link back buttons, your affiliates and directories your site may be listed at.)
Professionalism? YES/NO/YET – supporting evidence here. (This is your attitude towards your site and visitors, which can be seen as positive or negative, professional or immature.)
Originality? YES/NO/NOT YET – supporting evidence here. (A bonus!)

Thank you for reading this review type, and please request soon!

Criteria

Sites: Guitar || Violin || Flute || Bells || Trumpet || Euphonium
Guilds & Applications: Violin || Flute || Bells || Oboe || Euphonium

Bells

Bells are simple, light instruments, and this is a simple visual review, inspired by Cass of Soroptimist Directory. In this review, I take screenshots of pages on your site that have something that could be revised, and I will comment directly on the image. There is no score, so this is a useful review if you only want to improve, and you don't want to read long paragraphs of info! If you disagree with anything in this type of review please Neomail me! Thank you for reading this review type, and please request soon!


Reviewee || Bells || Date reviewed

(Screenshots)

Criteria

Sites: Guitar || Violin || Flute || Bells || Trumpet || Euphonium
Guilds & Applications: Violin || Flute || Bells || Oboe || Euphonium

Trumpet

As trumpets are basic, simple instruments, this type of review is a quick version of the Guitar review. It is an assessment of your site with a star-based ranking system. The final score is averaged from your performance in individual categories (in the event of a decimal number, it is rounded to the nearest half-star). If you disagree with anything in this type of review please Neomail me!


Reviewee || Trumpet || Date reviewed

Impressions
What are my first impressions of your site? Upon entering, do I want to stay and investigate, or find a different site? Is your layout initially appealing or eye-catching? I will explain my thoughts. Is your introduction clear and professional, or illegible, poorly written and containing unnecessary information? Did it contain all the necessary information (e.g. who you are, what the site offers)? After investigating your site further, what is my impression of the site and its owner(s)? Is the site professional and organized, or disorderly and sloppy? (Note that impressions on the content, specific layout impressions, and general language errors will be addressed in their respective sections.)

Layout
Does the appearance of your layout hinder the use or observation of the content, or enhance it? Is there a color scheme, and does it match or is it suitable for your site? What is the aesthetic value of the layout (like imagery and font styles)? Have you used the layout type to your site's advantage? Can I navigate with your layout to find what I need?

Content
When I am looking through your site, am I impressed with the content? Is there anything you can do to improve it? I will comment here on the best selection of your content, and something that could be improved. For the amount of time your site has been open, is there enough content to be sufficient?

Language
This is an evaluation of the language (grammar, spelling and register) on your site, which has a large impact on the visitor. Do you spell and capitalize words correctly? Is the grammar clear and fluid, or are there rough and choppy sentences? Is your site's register (the formality of your text) appropriate for the area of your site it is at, or for your site at all?

Sitewise
This is the role of your site in the site-making community. Do you update frequently? Are you listed at many established directories? Do you have many affiliates, and are there any that are 'high quality' or inactive sites? (I will sweep any closed or inactive affiliates or listers here.) Do you have any link buttons, and are they high quality? (Here I will critique individual link back buttons.) I will also skim through your credits section.

Final Comments:
This is a brief summary of improvement areas and the review in general. If you are going to read something besides the score (which you should do anyway), it should be this paragraph. Thank you for reading this review type, and please request soon!

Criteria

Sites: Guitar || Violin || Flute || Bells || Trumpet || Euphonium
Guilds & Applications: Violin || Flute || Bells || Oboe || Euphonium

Oboe

The oboe, a slightly unorthodox instrument, is perfect for the 'extra' type of site review – especially for pet applications and guild webbies that can't really review for anything else. If you disagree with anything in this type of review please Neomail me!

Reviewee || URL || Oboe || Date reviewed

Impressions {#/20}: If this is a pet application, do you say who you are? Are you clear what pet you are applying for? Do you state the petpage application disclaimer in the introduction? If this is a guild webbie, do I know what the guild is? Do I have an idea on what it is about? By the time I finish reading the page, do you have a good impression on me? Are you professional?

Layout {#/20}: Does the appearance of your layout hinder the use or observation of the content, or enhance it? Is there a color scheme, and does it match or is it suitable for your site? (If you are making an application, does the color scheme match the pet's color/species, or is it symbolic of their character?) Have you used the layout type to your site's advantage? Can I navigate with your layout to find what I need?

Content {#/45}: For your pet application, do you have the typical categories of why you want the pet, who you are, and your plans for what you'd do with the pet? Is there extra? For guild webbies, do I find out everything I want to know about the guild, or is there information missing?

Language {#/15}: This is an evaluation of the language (grammar, spelling and register) on your site, which has a large impact on the visitor. Do you spell and capitalize words correctly? Is the grammar clear and fluid, or are there rough and choppy sentences? Is your site's register (the formality of your text) appropriate for the area of your site it is at, or for your site at all?

Final Comments: This is a brief summary of improvement areas and the review in general. If you are going to read something besides the score (which you should do anyway), it should be this paragraph. If this was a pet application, I'll tell you how likely I think you'd get the pet, and why. If this was a guild webbie, I'll share why I would join the guild, if I would. Thank you for reading this review type, and please request soon!

Your score: #/100

Criteria

Sites: Guitar || Violin || Flute || Bells || Trumpet || Euphonium
Guilds & Applications: Violin || Flute || Bells || Oboe || Euphonium

Euphonium


Reviewee || Euphonium || Date reviewed

Euphonious' unique type of review! This review type is open to guild webbies and pet applications. Ask me a question (you'll need to specify it in the review form) and I will post it up for any user to comment on and answer, including myself. Here are some examples of the specific questions you could be asking:

What do you think of the color scheme? Could it be changed?
What is one way I could improve my banners?
Does my layout work well, even in different browsers?
Is the alignment of my content and div boxes okay?
My introduction is a bit off. Is there any way I can change it, but still convey the same message?
What is an event my guild could have to attract more members?

The open answer session will be open for one week, or until enough satisfactory answers are submitted. If you disagree with anything in this type of review please Neomail me! Thank you for reading this review type, and please request soon!


Rules

  1. I review on-Neo sites that are preferably active. I do review guild information pages and pet applications; however, they have been allocated certain review types to make things easier.
  2. Please ensure that your site is ready, and not revamping or preparing for a hiatus, when you request!
  3. I review with Safari or Firefox, but I can use Internet Explorer if necessary. (Also, keep in mind my screen resolution is 1280 x 800.)
  4. If your review request is not accepted, I will Neomail you the reason. Please don't request when reviews are closed or the waiting list is full, as I will be inclined to reject you. Feel free to request when they're open again, though!
  5. Please wait until you've read my review and improved before requesting follow-up reviews.
  6. By the way, where it says instrument on the form is where you write your review choice!

Need my qualifications? Check out my Credentials!

Request


The Queue
  1. Bunny playing a Violin // Games of the NC Mall
  2. Cheese playing a Guitar // Click
  3. User playing a Instrument // URL
  4. User playing a Instrument // URL
  5. Frosty playing a Guitar // Fiction (on hold)

Credentials

Strengths in reviewing:

Weaknesses in reviewing:

View your review

I apologize for you having to wait so long for your Guitar, but I've been so busy and I'm very sorry! I hope I didn't inconvenience you too much Madam! October 9th 2011, your review finally arrives. If there is something that you do not like, please do not hesitate to Neomail me! Enjoy!

Impressions {13.5/15}:
First stepping in, I see the name of your site - Neostars Magazine - right away. The white border against the purple background catches my eye immediately. Though it did a great job of making the name clear at first sight, it could have been slightly less opaque (I'd suggest you try 70-90%) so that it does not 'clash' with such a darker background. The rest of the layout is great, with a wonderful purple color scheme that is harmonious and soothing (due to its mainly dull shades). The placement of the title text, though, is slightly off-center, and a bit distanced from the Ona. This visual gap is a bit odd, and it 'pushes' the title text to the right side of the banner. You could have moved the text over just 50-100 pixels and it would be fine.

Your introduction is great because it offers all of the information there, but there are a couple grammar errors. One of them is the comma before your name, which is not needed because most magazines are run by an editor-in-chief (it's redundant to say you have an editor, but not who that editor is. You also misspelled 'in' as 'is'. The rest of the homepage is organized nicely in tables, which keep text evenly distributed and the page looking organized. Though having the subscription form on your homepage is a good idea, the text accompanying it is a bit off grammar-wise. It should read: To receive a notification for the newest issue, send the subscription form to Madame.

-0.5 for minor banner issues that affected my first impression.
-1 for minor grammar errors.

Layout {8/15}:
As mentioned, you have a swell purple color scheme. However, there are places it could be used more effectively. As an example, all of your text effects (like 'bolds' and headers) are all purple; to make individual effects stand out more, you could change one or two to be less purple (and therefore have a more interesting variety in your color scheme). #413183 is what you could use for your bold; it is indigo and better matches the clouds in your image. Another way to touch up the color scheme is to change your Neomail graphics: the greenish color of the resource isn't very suitable with your royal purple color scheme, so I suggest trying a different Shine resource (which you should link back to if you use). Here are two I found suitable; they already have your Neomail link, so just test them out and see if you like them:


On to the banner. I like the subtle textures that accentuate the background, but aren't too flashy. I've already mentioned most other problems. I feel that the Ona, though, looks a bit out-of-place because of how the light blue and yellow stand out against the purple. To change the colors a bit, select a color from the background of your banner (ideally a deep purple like in the top right corner). Go to the Ona layer of your banner (if it still exists), and go to Layer-Transparency-Alpha to Selection. Duplicate that Ona layer (so you can edit it later), then use the gradient tool (set it to Foreground to Transparency) over it. First set the Gradient to Screen, then Overlay, and alternate for a bit until you are happy with the purpleness of the Ona (I did it a couple times before I was happy). The slight change made the Ona fit in a bit better with all the purple.

I notice that on your banner also is placed directly underneath the Neopets banner. The fact that they appear connected is a bit distracting (in addition to the fact that the page scrolls). In the future, move the layout down a few pixels (add a few 'br' tags in your coding) and it will be fine. On the topic of organization, the news section on the homepage uses image bullets. Keep in mind this means that you should have one space between them and the text so that the text is easy to read! One of the bullets is currently misaligned like this. One last point on misalignment is on the Editorial page; the Have a question? text through to the Neomail graphic should be centered as it is easier to read.

Overall, you have a great color scheme and a unique, eye-popping layout design with effective uses of tables. That's all I want to say about the main site's layout. I'll briefly look at the layouts of Neostar Magazine's supplementary pages. The magazine page has a simple, effective layout with good focus on the content, but the page scrolls a lot: there is a lot of room above and below that could be shortened so it doesn't need to scroll. The cover image's color scheme could also be improved: the background has blue, pink and even a little green, so the red and orange look unsuitable and uncoordinated. Next issue, remember to use variations of colors from the background when doing the text. Both of these problems are shown in a screenshot below. In the article What Slushie Are You?, the answers are directly below the final question, which could be fixed by a simple 'br' tag between the '/li' and 'li' tags. The extras page has a nice layout, but an all-over-the-place color scheme (orange, blue, green) compared to the metallic of the layout. I'd suggest you try #cfbd59, #aba596 and #cfc37e (#b9b07c for hover) for the bolds, italics and links, respectively. Also, the link back to the extras homepage doesn't work; on the navigation, you need to change the 'H' from a capital to a lowercase (home).
Edit: I just checked back and your extras page has broken images! Time to get a new layout, I suppose?

On the whole of Neostars Magazine, I have two last visual problems. I've noticed you like to download a lot of the submitted images (such as art) for safekeeping, but these are affecting the viewing of your content - a lot of the comics and art can't be seen. In case you yourself can't see this, I've provided a screenshot to show you what these images look like to the visitor. I have no idea what they say (have you used up your bandwidth?), but it would probably be better if you found a more reliable image host, like Photobucket if you're 14 years old or older. I have no experience myself, but I also heard tinypic is great.

Finally, I notice a lot of your rows of buttons are 'sticking' together. This is because the buttons codes are right next to each other, instead of on their own separate line. Putting buttons directly next to each other isn't good because it loses the visual impact of each button (and is especially annoying if there is a unique border). Here's what I mean, and how to fix it:


(buttoncode)(buttoncode)(buttoncode)


(buttoncode)
(buttoncode)
(buttoncode)

-1 for some alignment problems (whole layout, bullets and some text).
-4 for broken images, which affect viewing the site's content.
-2 for 'sticking' buttons.

Content {17.5/30}:
I like how the news section contains not just the site news, but news from all over Neopia. As a magazine, I think this is an accurate way of providing to the public. The Featured Site section is great, but it looks like you only update it once a month when the new magazine issue is published. Since your readers have to wait a full month for new content, why not update the featured site every two weeks? This gives readers something to look at while they're waiting for the next issue. I like how you have a lot of the technical information on the main magazine page too. On the 'Submit Work' page, though, there's no link to the Neopets rules, but there's one on the jobs page. It's helpful if you include that so users are aware of that rule. The resume for the jobs is a good idea, but for a couple you tell the user to write 'a paragraph or two'. That sounds quite long for a little job on Neopets! A lot of people also might not be able to write that much for the job they want. I think you might have meant 'a sentence or two', which is a bit more merciful. If you want it to be on the longer side, maybe 'a couple sentences' is what you could ask for, but whole paragraphs are a bit much. My last comment on the main site page is that I like your work graphics, because they give a bit of pride to the workers - but get some that aren't broken images!

The magazine itself looks like it has a great variety for the reader. The first story is interesting and of good length, but the ending doesn't make much sense: if there was already a distinction between Unconverted and Customizable pets at the time of the story, how did Elyonn turn into an Unconverted pet by the end of the article? Or is that situation (the unconversion morphing potion) just for fictional purposes? If you have a question like that yourself, ask the author about it. The Perfect Gifting Guide is okay, but for the Neopoint earning section it might be more helpful to include a link to a dailies page as an alternate way to earn Neopoints, as some people are unfamiliar with restocking. If you make changes like that in your magazine, you can inform the author to be sure they are okay with that. As long as it's for the good of the article, I'm sure they won't mind! The Nienke interview is fine, but Nienke or Turnip have been interviewed many times before. To offer something new to Neopians, why not interview the owner of an up-and-coming site? It would 1. Give them more exposure, and 2. Give your readers something refreshing and new to read about. The Guild of the Month is a good feature, but the name of the leader - Teresa - is probably preferred to using her username 'Weewoo Writer'. Also, the last sentence is so grammatically mixed up it is incomprehensible. Even if the person writing it is the editor-in-chief, your editors should definitely be helping you revise it so the reader can understand! Also, because you have been part of this guild before, you are a little biased to have this guild featured. If this will be a regular feature, ask other members of your staff about their guilds, maybe get them to tell you a little bit about them, and then you can choose a different guild to write about. If you aren't part of that guild, you can quote that staff member talking about what they like about that guild, for example,

Guild member Alex says: I love my guild because of all the wonderful members! Every week we have a customization competition, and it's great because the members are so friendly about it! We all have such a great time.

The mock article Is Jelly World True? is interesting and an easygoing piece of fiction for the reader. I like how you have a very random quiz, but try not to make the answers so obvious; results that you can see half a page up make the quiz no fun. The jokes are a good feature, but they are a bit difficult to get because there is no 'punchline' (they are styled like stand up comedy). In addition to that, there are only two! If you ever get joke submissions again, try to get more than three, and get a variety of jokes. Some readers like knock-knock jokes and some like simple wordplay, so try to please as many as possible! The bed time poem is creative and of a good length for a magazine, but the grammar was so off I couldn't understand it! Staying with the correct verb tense (like "I went to the store, I am going to the store, I want to go to the store") is essential in understanding a piece of writing. In addition, a lot of your sentences were so broken-up, it was hard to read. You use mainly commas in your poem, so try to create pauses by using periods instead. The line I went to Meridell for lunch,/ I drank a tasty fruit punch could have ended with a period instead of a comma, to make a sentence. To have more room for proper sentences in your poem, you could also use a different style of poetry, like a limerick, for example. To learn a little more about some alternate types of poems you could try in the future, you should visit this page. I notice you have hired two poets too, so why isn't there a poem from one of them? If you've hired poets, don't be afraid to ask them to write a poem instead of taking the time to write one yourself! If they're not willing to write one poem a month, well, maybe they're not the best staff.

On the whole of the magazine, I think you provided a good variety, and a lot of, content (though I couldn't see half of it because they were broken images). I notice that for the author, you only put the username, yet for the ones that give the user's nickname you link to their userlookup. It would be slightly more convenient to the visitor (and require little effort on your part) if you link each contributor to their userlookup, instead of just the staff.

For your extras page, I won't be covering the archives because they are outdated. However, if you still have the original images I highly suggest doing what you can to reupload them to the internet somehow. And speaking of the archives, where is the September issue? Once the new issue comes up, the previous issue should be moved to the archvies, so the reader can still find it if they want to come back to it (especially if they missed that month and just got on). The feedback page looks okay, but the quotation marks are cut off, so I suggest using italics instead, like this:

See how italics aren't cut off? Quotation marks are, though. Keep in mind if you want to use quotations inside the italics (in the middle of a paragraph), you have to have a space, like this:

For the feedback, I recommend not linking back to their userlookups, because I'm assuming you didn't have their permission for their names to be openly displayed and linked here. You could just bold their usernames. Your 'about me' section is okay, but you don't need to write so much! Unfortunately, people are scared away by long paragraphs like that (especially is it's irrelevant information like an autobiography), so you just tell them where you're from and where you live right now. I don't see any problems with the rest of the extras page.

I like the different types of things you offer each month, covering a broad range of topics, thereby reaching a broad range of Neopians. However, the fact that I can't see any of the comics or art is a big drawback that you need to get fixed right away! Unless a user tells you to specifically upload it to your account, just let them use their own image account for that issue. Or, better yet, get your own image storage account at a reliable site!

-0.5 for flaws in job resume.
-1 for quiz that is mildly uninteresting (due to predictable results).
-2 for few jokes that do not appeal to a wider audience.
-3 for poem that is difficult to read due to its grammar issues.
-2 for the inconvenience caused by the missing September issue.
-4 for the numerous broken images that affected my viewing of the content.

Language {6/20}:
Main, Rules & FAQ: Question on subscribing should be reordered to What is subscribing, and how long is it for?
Main, Rules & FAQ: Answer should be rephrased to The first day of every month a new issue will be published and be available for reading.
Main, Rules & FAQ: Answer should be rephrased to Depends on how much work you completed during the month. I will give you an assignment and a due date, if you finish the assignment on time you can have the rest of the month off. Don't worry, I will give you at least 1 week to complete it.
Main, Submit Work: The word 'would' in the first line should be 'can'.
Main, Submit Work: In the last lines, 'the magazine in' is unnecessary, the sentence would be find and not so long without it.
Main, Job Positions: Rule 1, it should be has been on Neopets instead of be on Neopets because 'be' implies the future (where 'has been' implies the past, that you joined Neopets a month ago).
Main, Job Positions: For the 'examples of your work' in the form, example on the page is graphic should be example on the page, if graphic because they are two separate ideas (and you misspellled 'is').
Main, Job Positions: For the Fashion Stylist job, images shouldn't be capitalized. And for the Editorial Worker job, send should be sent.
Main, Coming Soon: Candies should be candies' because the names and locations belong to the candies.
Magazine, UC and C Pets: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 8
Magazine, Perfect Gifting Guide: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 8
Magazine, Interview With Nienke: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 4
Magazine, Guild of the Month: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 4
Magazine, Is Jelly World True?: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 7. I'd also like to point out that the title itself is actually grammatically incorrect, because 'true' implies that it is a fact or idea (is Jelly World a fact?). The name should probably be Is Jelly World Real?
Magazine, What Slushie Are You: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 2
Magazine, Neopets Jokes: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 3
Magazine, Good Night Poem: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 5
Magazine, Special Thanks: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of overall spelling and grammar. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 2
Magazine, Advertisement: A winner should be the winner (Sophia was the sole winner in the SOTM), though should be through.
Extras, Home: The 'F' in 'Feel free to browse' shouldn't be capitalized, because the ellipsis (...) is a continuation of a sentence. It self in the next column should be one word, itself. Also, FAQ is a noun, so it should be "the site contains an FAQ, The Worker's Page, the editorial, sitely things and a link to the magazine." (I capitalized The Worker's Page because it is a proper noun, the name of that specific page).
Extras, Archives: Not only is the header on the archives page spelt wrong, the navigation on the right misspelled it, too!
Extras, Survey: The 'B' in question 1 shouldn't be capitalized. Same for the 'L' in question 4. The phrase 'all the' in all the last comments and suggestions should be any.
Extras, Meet the Editor: USA stands for 'United States of America', so you'd say 'the United States of America' in a sentence. In the following sentence, the word order is a bit off, as it should be phrased We lived there for a few years.
Extras, Meet the Editor: The word 'expirience' should be 'experience'.
Extras, Meet the Editor: The term '3d' should be '3rd'.
Extras, Meet the Editor: The word 'Spanish' is a proper noun (it comes from the name of a place, Spain) so it should be capitalized.
Extras, Meet the Editor: It didnt work out as good as we'd planned should be It didn't work out as well as we'd planned.
Extras, Meet the Editor: As a general English rule, you don't start sentences with 'and', because and is used to join two ideas together (but a period separates them, cancelling the connection out). So, it should be read Today, I am almost ready to go to high school.
Extras, Meet the Editor: Text inside brackets are technically still part of a sentence (as they can be in the middle of a sentence too, like this), so you only need a period after the brackets. (An exception is if you have this, which is like an almost-side note, but it uses sentence parts - like capitalization and punctuation - inside.)
Extras, Old Layouts: There need not be a comma in Old Extras Page Layouts.
Extras, Old Buttons: You should be using commas because you have some fairly long sentences, for example, If the button you made us is placed under the "previously used" section, it means that I loved the button and used it for at least 3 weeks, but removed either because of the revamp or I just received new and improved buttons. (Note some of the other grammar changes I made there.)
Extras, Old Buttons: The word dont should be don't, and sitely should be either site or sitely section.
All: Note that proper nouns (names of specific people, places or things) should be capitalized, like the word Neopets (which is uncapitalized almost everywhere on your site).

For a site with a lot of written content, you have a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes. I understand that English isn't your only language, so you might not have the best spelling or grammar, but your site has hired two editors. They should at least read each article before it is published, maybe even help proofread the main page of your site. I don't know how the editing process goes, but I imagine the writer puts the article on a petpage and you read through it before accepting it. The editor's job is to come in immediately after you accept and read through the article looking for mistakes, correct? If not, maybe you should work like that, ensuring that the writer leaves their work on a petpage long enough for it to be edited. Remember to always proofread your work!

-14 for numerous mistakes in a magazine (with hired editors taken into account).

Sitewise {13.5/20}:
Because of the way your updates work, they focus more on Neopets rather than the site in particular. However, it would be helpful to the visitor if you had some sort of sitely update. Since your site is a less orthodox type, I'm not saying to do a full on blog or the like, but at least have one bullet detail the site's newest changes (2 new link back buttons or lost an affiliate, as examples). You have a good number of affiliates, but some are incorrectly linked. Glow, for example, is here (you accidentally linked to the button's maker). And even though you have a good number of listers, many of them still link you to your old location! You should probably Neomail them with the current link, otherwise, it's a bit pointless to be listed there.

Typewriter, in addition to being inactive, mislinked you.
Glow has moved.
Pennwick has moved.
Kraken Reviews doesn't list you as their affiliate.
Royal Java Cafe, in addition to being inactive, mislinked you.
Imprinted CSS mislinked you.
Unusual Magic, in addition to being inactive, mislinked you.
The Weewoo Journal links to a private guild. This isn't very helpful for someone who would like to see who you are affiliated with, so it would probably be better if you gave the link to the guild's information page instead.
HOTL Directory mislinked you.
Lorna's Petpage Directory mislinked you.
Brave Directory mislinked you.
Dragonflies & Dust mislinked you.
Enchanted mislinked you.
Lemon vs. Lime Directory mislinked you.

If you decide to keep Typewriter as your sister site (even though she's been inactive for a while), the grammar in the blurb needs to be fixed for grammar issues. Here's how it should look: This newspaper and our magazine are very similar; while we are concentrating on everything Neo-related, they specialize in site making and site community. They have polls, ads, articles, interviews and more. If you enjoy reading our magazine, Typewriter is even better! (The last sentence was edited to sound more positive about your sister site.) Something really distracting about this section is that there is an extra 'br' tag under the header, yet the text is right below the button. This looks visually awkward, so it's better if the 'br' is under the button instead (so the button's animation has 'room to breathe').

Your achievements section is nice to have (and appropriately placed at the bottom of the sitely section), but the huge gap beneath the header is unnecessary; I don't think a gap is even needed at all. In additions to all the places you have mentioned, you are also recommended by Affinity and ranked #2 in Creative Arts at Elle's Help Guide! Congratulations!

Now, without further ado, time to assess your link back buttons (starting with the two in the sidebar)!

The muted yellow and pink look fabulous together, and a feather is subtly noticeable. The simple white text requires no border, but has a simple animation instead. This button is definitely Brian's, and the quality shows for it! Keep in mind, however, that Brian likes his buttons to be credited to his lookup now that Writhe is closed.

This is definitely one of my favorite buttons. The glowing blue Shoyru attracts the eye, and the white text (complete with a slight gradient) pops. The tiny animation does not overwhelm you, creating a great button. I notice that this also has a common feature of your buttons: the first two letters ('N' and 'M') are uppercase and bold, giving your buttons a signature look and overall consistency. Brilliant! However, in the sidebar, the button is linked incorrectly to its owner. And speaking of the sidebar, you don't need to repeat those buttons in your sitely section! That's why you write 'more buttons'.

This classy button is a great simple one, with a quill and book image that reflects your site's writing theme. No bad comments here!

This is definitely one of your buttons with a more unique animation. The image was cropped nicely to only capture the tip of the pencil, which is great to see.

I like this button's very uncommon border style and clever animation. The problem is that in the code, you don't have border="0" which makes the blue link border go away when and image is linked. It is convenient for the visitor if you have the code in all of your button codes.

The glowing image and animation are great, but again, a link border in the code! Just add border="0" !

This delightful button by Nienke is definitely one of my favorites. The pale purples and blues complement each other beautifully, and the animation glows, reflecting the white Faellie.

This button gets points for a border that really stands out, but the animation is a bit choppy, and hard to read because you only see half of the site name at a time.

Button 9 wows me with a bright image, interesting border, complementary colors and a pale but effective animation. The only thing that makes it better is a nicely cropped Weewoo image (which is the Petpet species known for hosting The Neopian Times, another Neopian publication). Fantastic!

This glow effect looks okay on some buttons, but here (where it blends from an odd green to a blindingly-bright yellow) it doesn't work as well. The border doesn't help the button much either, and the image is cropped not very well, as I can't quite see what it is.

Your final button earns points for simplicity relativity to the site (Weewoo=Neopian Times=publication). It works fine without an animation.

What really disappoints me is that you have so many great buttons on your extras page too, but instead you have some not-so-good buttons on your site and one with a broken image! I seem to recall you being on a button site's waiting list, but even after that you should replace some of your buttons. Why not just use a button from your past? Here are a couple I think you could 'rerelease' (and one that you haven't even used yet!):


Finally, I'll be looking at how you credit things! Your main credits section is good, but you don't link to Shine, the site where you got your Neomail envelopes from. Yes, you did provide the username of the person who made it, but sometimes linking the resource to its site is more beneficial to the visitor than the resource's maker. Some people might want to use the resource themselves, so they go to the credits section to find out who made it.

When I look at the credits on your actual magazine's page, though, I am fairly confused. First, you say the layout and coding is by Valerie, but then continue to say that is was based off a gift layout! You fail to link to this 'Zach' person, too (is it the Zach who ran Critique?), which isn't very reasonable because that fails to say who exactly made the layout. Crediting we♥it brings up a similar problem, because I have no idea if this is a closed site or offsite. And the fact that you mention The Stamp Co. is completely perplexing because I can't see any brushes at all! If you change your layout and the thing you credited isn't used, you can remove the credit.

-3 for mislinked affiliates and listers (and many who mislinked you).
-0.5 for grammar issues throughout the sister site blurb.
-1 for large 'gaps' for sister site and achievements.
-2 for confusion with credits.

Final Comments: Don't be scared by your score; a lot of points were taken down because a) you have a ton of broken images (which affected me seeing the content), and b) you have a lot of grammar errors on the site. Use your editors to your advantage and get them to really edit! Other than that, there are just a few minor things here and there that could be tweaked, as the rest of the site is great. Your main layout is superb, and the magazine itself has a great variety with some truly interesting articles. Thank you for waiting so patiently for your review, and best of luck for your next issue!

Your score: 58.5/100

Here's a button you can use on your site. It has your score and the date attached, you just need to copy and paste! Feel free to choose a different button!




Cookies || Trumpet || October 1st 2011

Impressions
When I first enter your site, the light blue and pink catch my attention, with the white Uni drawing focus. The title of your site, "Sample Reviews", is nicely visible, so good job. However, your introduction is a bit poorly phrased. A mall is usually a building, so how would you be 'walking down' it? There are some problems with commas too, so here's how I suggest you rephrase it: You are casually walking through the mall when you see a new store. That's strange, you've never seen this shop before. You walk in the shop by the name of Sample, and by the door is a young Uni, ready to greet you. You should probably also italicize it (like I did), as for a paragraph of that long bold is a bit difficult to read, in addition to blending with the background a bit. The rest of the introduction is fine, but you could always bold the site name so it is clearer to the visitor - which brings up a question. The layout says Sample Reviews but in your introduction you call yourself Sample. Which is it? When it comes to your site name, you should pick one name that is a definite name for your site. This will make buttons more uniform and less confusion among people you request from, among other scenarios. Next, the counter takes up a lot of space on the homepage and makes one scroll down to read the updates, so it would be just as fine at the bottom of the Sitely section, where most sites put theirs. You could also match the counter with the color scheme, for example light pink outline and dark blue text.

Layout
Your layout is very clearly the style of expert layout maker Nienke, and she has done you well. As mentioned, you has a fantastic color scheme, and great visual focus. Your navigation instantly confuses me, though. If I go to Request and click on the Neomail link, how will I know what review type I want? I then must go see the review selection, then backtrack. All you need to do is switch the two on your navigation bar. Next, some parts you use the provided effects inappropriately. For example, bottom of the Request section, you write the entire paragraph in bold. This makes it hard to read, so the reader will most likely give up. In the Rules section, though, you use almost no text effects! There, you could have used bold for Rule 1, Rule 2 etc. Also, be careful with spacing. In the sitely section, this means checking that headers are not directly attached to the above content like the Gifts/Awards one is. In the Rules section, this means that the links at the bottom are not directly next to the following text, like 'proceed to the perfume cabinet' is. Lastly, be consistent with fonts: the Rules section narrative and the Request section narrative both use different italics, so make it all the same for consistency.

Content
You rules look okay, but Rule 3 could probably be put under Rule 2, especially as it's not really a 'rule' as much as a piece of information. Note that the 'request' link at the bottom of that page also links incorrectly. Your request page looks okay. But, on the criteria page I can see quite a few things that could be changed. You use the phrase "what I liked" or "I liked this" quite a lot. Implying whether or not you like something sounds a little biased, which means your reviews are based on your opinion rather than whether the site is actually 'high quality' or not. Bias also includes premade expectations to what a site will be: for Layout criteria, you say "Is it anchored properly", but what if a site doesn't use an anchored layout? Are they bad? Also, be careful of hypocrisy: your Grammar/Spelling criterion in the Rose Perfume misspelled 'here'!
Your actual reviews could use some improvement. You seem to be forgetting to use the key ingredients: say what is not the best (note I don't say bad), why it is not the best (why is my banner bad? Did the color scheme not match? Did the text not complement the banner's theme? Is the image blurry or poorly cropped?), and how the thing can be improved (link to a guide, offer advice based on your experiences, etc.). You seem to be okay with the 'what' and maybe 'how' parts, but explaining the 'why' is crucial to have bias-free objective reviews. Keep visitor convenience in mind, too: you suggested someone go to Glow for a banner, but Glow only offers name banners from a small selection of premades: would that premade base be suitable for the site's layout? Wouldn't it be more convenient to the reviewee to be directed straight to Caro's Banners where you can request a completely custom banner? On top of that, some of your comments on the content themselves were, as unbiased as you tried to be, a bit too biased and perhaps a bit ignorant. The third banner in Deth Design's review was actually very 'crowded' as there were too many bright colors competing for attention. Read up guides like this, this or this to see how each type of site content is made correctly, and therefore gain some knowledge on the sites you assess. It has been said that you can only review well if you've owned some type of site before, so having sitely knowledge of other types of sites is useful.

Language
I constantly found myself looking at spelling, grammar and even register errors. You often had issues with spacing, where you didn't have a space after the punctuation. You also included a period after each quotation (Like this!.) which is unnecessary because the punctuation inside the quote is already there. Smiley faces are considered unprofessional because they are typically used for casual chat or the Boards, so seeing them on a site loses your credibility. Commas are also another problem: you have 'run-on sentences' that could be broken up by a comma, or even a period or semicolon. I gave you an example in your introduction. Finally, I found you frequently mistook certain words for others - like 'to' for 'too' and 'where' for 'were'. These can all be fixed with very simple proofreading! As a site that reviews others, don't forget to review yourself!

Sitewise
Your variety of good buttons is great, but you have so many you could get rid of the lower quality ones. The second one's black borders against the beige background give a bad contrast, the eighth is difficult to read because the text colors match the image too closely, the ninth has a choppy animation that makes it difficult to read, and the tenth has conflicting colors and white parts in the border. What surprises me is that you don't use the gift button from Impulse, which is actually a pretty good button. It's great to see you have affiliates, but try not to have too many in the future; also, make sure the buttons don't 'stick' by having each code on a separate line. That would look a lot tidier. I notice that you say you have a sister site, but I can't even see a link to her! Sister sites are meant to be great bonds of friendship between sites - and even a tiny dedication to the other site - so why not have a few link back buttons or something in that area? A lot of sites add a blurb about why you should visit that site, and that would be a great way to show appreciation. Think about that!
The rest seems fine.

Final Comments:
Sample Reviews (or Sample, or what your site is named) appears to be set up well, with a lovely layout, variety of review styles and a theme that attempts to match the site's name with the actual content, but you could work on being a more objective, knowledgeable reviewer that siteowners would go to for advice on how they can improve. Don't give up, but remember to read the words of others - a little wisdom can go a long way!

Here's a button you can use on your site. It has your score and the date attached, you just need to copy and paste! Feel free to choose a different button!




Imogen || Trumpet || September 30th 2011

Impressions
My impression is actually rather dull, because this particular premade is very common. In addition, the extremely simple banner image and the plain title of your site don't leave much of an impact on me, nor give me the will to further explore. Your introduction is okay, because it explains what the site is for, but I don't find out who you are (though you do provide a Neomail link). You also need a comma, so I suggest instead structuring it like this: Welcome to Crystal Clear, # visitor. Crystal Clear is a pixel site for everyone to use created by me, Imogen. There are non-Neopets-related and Neopets-related pixels. You can also request a pixel for your site or anywhere you like. Lastly, the bright blue Neomail pixel clashes with the delicate pink of the layout, being visually disruptive. I suggest creating a pink version of the envelope, or using your purple one instead.

Layout
As I mentioned, your layout is a common premade, affecting the overall impact and originality of the layout. To make your layout more unique, you could use a different background, like a Decorative Background (like the pink Vines or red Light Vintage ones) from The Lunch Box, or the pink Simple background in the fifth row at Teacake Backgrounds. Also, your site's name is 'Crystal Clear', and crystals usually come in colors such as blues, purples, even greens (like on your link back buttons). Since I can't see any other use of 'crystals' on your site, having a crystal-themed layout would make more sense. The image on your buttons happens to be a wearable background that represents ice crystals very well - http://images.neopets.com/cp/items/swf/000/000/006/6579_ee18ce5f58.swf - so I'd suggest that one if you request a layout (from sites such as Nienke's Premades when they open).
If you would like to keep your current layout, though, I suggest making a couple of changes. First, your color scheme is too monochrome - there is pink everywhere, which lessens the overall effect of each text effect. Instead, use some oranges or purples from the banner. For your text I recommend #bf8888 (the darker color is easier to read), #8e539d for links and #b279c3 for the link hover, and #db985b for the header one. Speaking of color, your updates box has a bright magenta (which is odd because it is not a common color in your layout/image), so I'd recommend changing it to #e5b586, a light orange like in your layout image.
My final comment is to be careful about keeping things uniformly aligned. For example, on the resources page the green envelope is farther to the left than the others. Uniformity is better visually, because it's organized, and can improve the look of your site.

Content
Your request area looks okay (fair form, decent waiting list) but it is difficult to tell when requests are open (again, your header blends). I suggest instead using a sign from a place like The Lunch Box so it's more clear to requesters. Your third rule is also a bit out of place: if the person's requesting the graphic, who's to say it's an original idea? What if the requester only wanted a cupcake pixel - would other pixel sites be in trouble if their requesters also asked for cupcakes? For the pixels themselves, the ideas are very original - I can honestly say I've never seen a toothpick pixel before - and the accuracy of the designs is excellent, but the quality is a bit poor. This is because of a couple of factors: your outlines and shading technique. I can understand if this is your 'style', but since you also list 'scribbles' (which you don't even have yet) I'm not sure if that's the case. 'Clean' lines that aren't more than two pixels wide are ideal, like at popular pixel sites like Flamboyance, Sugarrush and Pirouette. Note that all sites also use subtle shading methods that result in smoother, more realistic and generally more visually appealing pixels than yours. All of them also have pixel tutorials (with Sugarrush being the only one without a shading tutorial), so read those to learn how the professionals make pixels. I also highly recommend you open up the 'scribbles' section sometime soon; you only have five pixels and a couple of finished requests, and it'd be great to see more so the visitor has more of a variety to choose from! My favorite of your pixels, therefore, is the requested game control pixel, because of the simple color scheme (without any glaringly obvious shading) and smooth lines.

Language
Your site's language is okay, though the grammar of Rule 3 is a bit off; it should be phrased as Never copy my pixels' designs. You also tend to lack commas in areas that need them (such as the introduction), or even lowering your register, like in your Sitely section where you should have written Neomail review from The Punk Cafe. That would show your more professional side because words like 'well' were making the sentence unnecessarily long. The header below that should read Advertised at, because 'posted an ad at' (grammatically correct) is also a little unprofessional and unnecessarily specific.

Sitewise
As a request site, try to update a little more as that will ensure your requesters their requests are being worked on. As a goal, why not try to make a new pixel or scribble a week? This can motivate you to experiment more and generally produce more content. Your link back buttons are mostly fine - they are fairly readable, and two of them have purples that pair nicely with your site's pink - but the first one isn't that great. The black border and text stand out harshly against the pale pink, so I suggest replacing the button once requests open somewhere. Notice that your buttons are directly side-by-side; this ruins each button visually because the colors are directly compared with the adjacent button's, so put each button code on a separate line (instead of (code)(code)(code) it should be (code) (code)). Keep in mind that one of your buttons in the sitely section links to that button's maker instead of you, and the button I made is not linked to my userlookup, as it should.
Being listed at only one site is okay, but it'd be better to be listed at a few more places; try Affinity, Dragon's Lair, Enchanted or Smiley Central. Affiliates are great too, because they give you support and advice in your sitemaking journey: advertise at Soroptimist Directory or iSite asking for affiliates (or even just referencing your pixels!).

Final Comments:
Your site definitely has the essentials - functional layout, pretty link back buttons, a lister, a request station - but could use some more work on finer areas, like shading your pixels or getting listed. Try to create a new pixel or scribble once a week - you can experiment and it keeps your site active!

Here's a button you can use on your site. It has your score and the date attached, you just need to copy and paste! Feel free to choose a different button!



As you said, you're requesting the Guitar because you got a heavy review and you want to keep improving. Don't give up, Jes, I hope that September 14th 2011 will be a day you can reflect on and say, "I'm so glad I got my site to where it is now thanks to that review!" May this review be beneficial to your site's future!

Impressions {13/15}:
My first impression is on your site name, Distressed Premades. Typically, negative adjectives are avoided when naming sites, so I am a bit confused why the site is called distressed. Is it because you are distressed when you see these premades? Or because you don't need to be distressed when you find this site (as in, you're relieved when you see guild layout premades and requests)? You could probably explain a little in your introduction how the site name ties into what you offer, so visitors don't get a negative impression. Edit: The word 'distressed' fits your 'vintage' theme perfectly! No problems here!

Stepping in, I'm impressed by the harmonious red, blue, black and gray color scheme, and the simple yet sophisticated layout. A rather large distraction, though, is the greenish-yellow Neopets bar along the top. Even though it is against the rules to remove it entirely, you can at least get rid of the yellow part, or maybe change the color. You can put either of the following codes in your Style Sheet to improve your layout. The first code removes the yellow bar entirely, and the second changes the color to the light blue you used in your layout image (credit either code to CSS|Guide). Take note when applying it that it will not show up when you preview your layout, but only after you save it:


Your introduction was professional and helpful: you gave the site's name and purpose, your name and userlookup link, and even a brief backstory. Excellent!

-1 for site name's unexplained, slightly negative impression. Edit: No points docked for site name.
-2 for impression being affected by the yellow Neopets bar.

Layout {11.5/15}:
As I said, I found the layout to be stylishly simple due to the neutral black and gray aspects of the color scheme, and red and blue naturally go well together as a perfect combo. As a layout site, it is expected you have a decent layout in addition to good content, which I see. There is always room for improvement, though, so here are some things I found. The first is that, between the first header and your introduction, there is a gap. This is not just wasted space, but also requires the user to scroll more. Since you have already used the 'p' tag, you don't need the extra 'br' tag you have.
The table following the introduction is well-designed. Below it, though, the rules section is off to the left. It would draw focus better and be more visually appealing if it were centered. Here's the code to do so:

In addition to that part of the homepage table, the text in the rules section is 'sticking' to the bullet images - this looks a bit squished, so just add a space between the image url and the text.
Speaking of squished, the woman image at the right corner of your layout appears to be shoved there by the content box. There is a lot of space to the left of the current location of the box, so just move it to the left 50 pixels. I can see you were trying to center it in the main blue-bordered box, but you should be looking to center it between the side of the main box and the focal image so that there is visual balance.
The other slightly claustrophobic aspect I found was your small updates box. I can see that You were trying to match it with the navigation box, but the viewer has to scroll a lot just to see one update. If you have a week's worth of updates eventually, it would require a ton of scrolling just to see the oldest update. Widening the update box by about 50-100 pixels would make it look better, and you can do the same with the navigation so it doesn't look unbalanced.

I noticed a square on the right side of the woman's head that didn't blend in with the background. It was rather distracting and, as it was pixellated too, brought down the quality of the layout. It's very simple to fix, simply paint over it with black in whatever image editing program you use.
Below is an image to illustrate the various problems found in your layout:

Finally, I was in the FAQ section of the site when I saw you alternated between the red bullet, plain text and italic font, and the blue bullet, bold font and plain text. Consistency is important in sites because it looks more organized and professional, because things are all the same. To keep it all the same, I'd suggest using the red bullet, italic font and plain text, like this (making sure that, again, bullets aren't directly next to the text by adding a space inside the italics tag):

You'll ask the question here?
Yes, you will.

Wow, how did you do that?
Very simple. (imagecode)(i) Text here.(i) (br) et cetera...

Amazing! One last example?
Yes, just like this.

-0.5 for wasted space created by unnecessary 'br' tag.
-1 for uncentered waiting list, which is not visually appealing.
-0.5 for bullets sticking to text, which creates a squished feeling.
-1 for cramped updates box.
-0.5 for text effect inconsistencies.

Content {29/30}:
A great feature of your site is that you have the request section on the homepage, because visitors can instantly check the request status and waiting list. Your form and rules are fair, too.
The premades section seems nicely organized with the use of tables. I appreciate the full screen layout preview images. Now, I will show you my favorite selection of your premades, and my least favorite, for comparison.

This layout's bubbles at the bottom left catch the viewer's eye, then followings the line up to the two balloons, then finally to the text boxes. This is an effective use of line and movement in an image, and the images themselves are cropped well and aesthetically pleasing due to the textures and subdued watercolors. The fonts used, especially in the guild links, reflect the traditional, classic theme of the graphic. The color scheme has been well-executed in the text effects (bold, italics, links and headers). One of the key features of this layout is versatility - this layout can be put onto a guild for nearly anything and it would work fine. This is mainly due to the lack of text, with the exception of "Come with me to touch the sky". However, even that tagline is formatted so it appears to be more part of the image instead of a title for the guild. Outstanding work!

It was hard to find a layout I didn't like, but if I had to pick I'd say Wonderland was your lowest quality layout. The use of tables and the Neopets navigation are great, but I found a couple of design aspects that weren't quite suitable. First, the title of the layout - Wonderland - is far bigger and more noticeable than the actual guild's name would be. Unless the guild was named Wonderland, this would be a bit deceptive and not very useful. Second, the large title seems to use movie stills from Alice in Wonderland (clearly the inspiration for the layout) in each letter, but the result is a bunch of squished colors and scenes with a think black outline. The black especially disrupts any sense of color scheme in the layout because of the intensity compared with the purple background. Therefore, the text effects' color scheme was ineffective because it was visually taken over by the layout's title. You could have Wonderland in simple dark purple (#6b2149) font (I'd recommend Georgia Bold). I might even suggest you have all the movie stills within that Georgia Bold title, minus the black outline, for a simpler version of what you currently have. A couple last notes on the color scheme; first, the bold's pink is not a main color in the layout, I'd change it to #946cc4; second, the main text's white is a bit too bright, I would suggest changing it to #e8ced9, which is slightly pinker and blends into the background a bit more.

Other than those, your premade layouts look great. You have a decent command of color scheme and excellent use of tables. When making premades, keep in mind versatility - the layout should be able to fit as many guilds as possible. This means to make the title small enough so that the guild's name has focus, and to have a variety of layout types - you have some spooky and some sweet ones, but layouts like Vintage Park or Quirky Town are great for being used anywhere. I will not assess your custom layouts individually because I understand that aspects might be requester-controlled, but on a whole I'd like to say that your tables, image focal points and color schemes are superb. For your portfolio, it's a good idea to say how they're organized - alphabetically by guild, newest-to-oldest, by type of guild - so visitors and past requesters can see the layout they're looking for. I'd recommend chronologically, because then one can see your newest layout and your current level of quality.
The FAQ/Help section is wonderful because users can be extra-informed, and you have a handy Neomail link. Nice!

-1 for avoidable issues on a piece of content.

Language {20/20}:
Pick-Ups: Images should be image.
I am happy to say that I found no other spelling, grammar or register mistakes! You don't have a lot of text in the first place, but the text you do have is written well and clear with the exception of one tiny typo. Fantastic job!

Sitewise {15/20}:
I know that you just came off revamp, so I can only judge what I see of the updates, but it looks like you update frequently. This is awesome for a request site; make sure to update at least once a week, even if you get no requests, so requesters know that you're still online_ It's nice to see that the competition link is up here, too, instead of all over the rest of your site.
Now, I'll be sweeping your affiliates and listers.

Sweet's Circus doesn't list you as an affiliate, likely because they are a guild.
Dragon's Lair recommended you!
Affinity recommended you!

It's great to see that you're starting to get recommended! It's not a bad thing to keep track of on your site, and there are a couple ways to do this. One is to put it under an awards or achievements header (I'll mention that again in a minute). A more simple and less space-taking way is to write Hover to see recommendations under the listers header, then add a hover code to each site that recommended you. To hover, add title="texthere" into your image code, but replace 'texthere' with what you want to say (like Recommended!). As a suggestion for your affiliates and listers, why not sort them alphabetically if you have time? Listing some affiliates before others, though usually in a chronological setting, might seem biased, so alphabetical is more fair. It's just a way to keep your sitely section tidy.

Moving on to the reviews section, everything looks alright, except I'm a little confused: why is there an open/closed sign? Does it mean that you're open to sites reviewing you? If so, this is a bit pointless since most sites prefer you to look at their rules, choose a rubric and fill out a form, anyway; they don't come to you, you go to them. I suggest either clarifying by writing what is open (kind of like what you did for affiliates), or removing it entirely, because you have convenient contact links on other parts of the site anyway.
I admire your having a section for competitions in the sitely section, because that not only is the 'vote for me' link out of the way from the rest of the site's content, but the section could also hold SOTM awards or whatever else you might garner.

Speaking of awards, I see a header for awards but there are none. What is the purpose of an awards section if there are no awards? As sitemaker Cass once said, "like you're expecting to be handed awards left and right." Until you get an award (for example, Genericizing has a graphic for participating in the SOTM), get rid of the section. It's just a header, so you can add it back when you need it. As I mentioned earlier, you could put your recommendations there, but it's not quite necessary.
It looks like you have a great variety of link back buttons! I will now analyze each of your buttons individually.

The button looks fine by image, border and animation, but it is rather pale and difficult to see on white backgrounds, and this also makes it not very noticeable.

Button Two has an original bubble border and simple, textured background. I like the font used because the stylized 'D' is a classy variation of the standard capital, and the border has a 'shiny' effect (likely created by a gradient) . I think the site name, though, could stay a couple frames longer, because the current rate seems a bit rushed and it's difficult to read the site name.

This is a great image with lovely cropping that reflects your 'vintage' layout theme. I feel that the text, however, has two much contrast and pays little attention to the color scheme with its black-white animated alternations. The simple 'capital letter, rest in lowercase' font is also a bit too simple for the vintage button.

The pattern on this button seems to match your vintage theme, again, and the use of color alterations worked well on this button, as the text matches it well. Orange and pink are complimentary colors and look great here! The text (and its animation) and border are simple, yet funky, and do not distract from the overall look of the button. This is easily among my favorites!

This simple button would have done well if it didn't have the heavy drop shadow; black on a subdued, simple background is too strong of a contrast and stands out too much. The 'corners' of the button also look a bit pixellated; as a round border they should be smooth as possible.

This is a great button because it uses textures to create an interesting background for the text, times the glow well so that you can read the text before the animation re-loops, and the border is a creative, unique style that uses the pale inner border well. I would only suggest more image clarity (what is that dark line?) that might provide more interest or focus from the viewer.

Once again, the vintage look is represented with the use of textures and a faded, patterned image. The border and middle 'stripe' on the button give it some style, and the text is very clear, with a unique animation. This button could be improved by waiting longer before the animation begins again, though, because the animation makes it difficult to read the text.

This is my least favorite of your buttons. This is because the image is blurry and not very clear at all, losing visual impact. The animation looks okay on the text, but other parts of the button frame are affected. The creative border is superb, but the black is overpowering compared to the many colors in the image. The same is said for the text. I recommend replacing this button, perhaps from one of my favorite sites or from one that currently has open requests. As for ones with requests open right now, there's just Bijou, but I predict Impulse and Emblazoned will have open requests sometime soon.
I'd also like to point out that the textarea below the button gives the image code to the wrong button. Here's what your textarea should have:

Lastly, it appears that you credit everything you've used, which is fantastic! However, you have to scroll quite a bit to see the entire credits section, which is poor use of space, so I suggest either turning the buttons into text links (Resources from Foomanshu) or having the buttons right next to each other, and just hover credit.

-2 for confusing (and unnecessary) 'open/closed' reviews section sign.
-2 for awkwardly empty 'awards' section.
-1 for poor use of space in the 'credits' section.

Final Comments: Guild layout sites are something I don't see very often, so a premade and request site that offers vintage guild layouts is very special! You definitely have the coding knowledge to make great layouts, but some design aspects could be adjusted here and there. You have nothing to worry about, because you did great in this review, and even the best sites have room for improvement! Continue making excellent guild layouts!

Your score: 88.5/100

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A Guitar review is designed to really get into your site and help it improve, and Sarah, I hope that this really does make your site better. Based on the name, this looks like a really unique type of site, so today, September 12th 2011, will be a new reviewing experience for me! Let's get started!

Impressions {10/15}:
Your layout initially has an okay impression on me: the classy background suits the vintage style of the layout (vintage because of the typewriter element), and the typewriter images suit the writing theme that I'm getting from the term 'magazine' in your site's name. However, the circle texture in the middle is too obvious and bright, dulling by comparison the image behind it. Also, the pieces of text on the sides of the main image are distracting because of their odd coloring. Though dark shades of brown and light shades of yellow are evident in the image, the text pieces are composed of black, white and gray, which are too strong of a contrast. I would have suggested replacing the black background with a very dark shade of brown (like #371500), and the gray text with the metallic bronze of the typewriter (like #99866b in the part just over the keys).
Despite the issues with the the texture and coloring, the title of the site stood out well, especially with the soft pink glow taken from the flowers.

Your introduction seems positive and informative, and I understand who you are and what the site does. You seem to have a professional, welcoming attitude, which is great.

-2 for impression being affected by the texture.
-3 for impression being affected by oddly colored text blocks.

Layout {8.5/15}:
The issue with the text blocks in the main image has been solved, and will not be brought up again. I would first like to comment on page organization. To start, the text on the Magazine page 'sticks' to the bullets, so just add an extra space between the two like you did for the first bullet. Secondly, you appear to use tables well (like in the Customisation Spotlight section) but in the Adverts section there is a lot of scrolling. I would use tables to separate the content, like so:

If you would like individual boxes to scroll and/or look a little more isolated, here's an alternate code you could try:

I found that your color scheme had been further supported by the use of pink resources (e.g. Neomail button) but that is where it ends. Your text effects (e.g. headers), especially, are lacking in color. The lack of support for the brown, yellow and pink color scheme illustrated by the image, by using black, is rather disharmonious. Here are some colors I'd recommend, taken from the image: for bold, I'd suggest #c0716b (taken from the flowers), #decf9c for the italics (from the lighter parts of the typewriter), for the links I'd use #99866b (courtesy of the typewriter keys), #886424 for the headers (taken from the textures on the image), and #371500 for the navigation (taken from the dark background of the image). As a last note on formatting your text effects, my advice is that you underline your links so they stand out a bit more. Here's the code to change your links to suit my recommendations:

You also don't seem to use any italics effects. As a site with a lot of text (i.e. a magazine) your text should be somewhat varied, and text effects help to brighten up text visually. I can see that your Customisation Spotlight section is well organized, but italics in Contestant #(numberhere) would really brighten it up. As an example, let's take a look at your opening paragraph. You can emphasize things like adjectives, or words that you want visitors to remember (like what your site is about). Here's how it could look with text effects:

My name's Sarah and I'd like to welcome you to Blank Canvas Magazine, a site that offers you all the latest news. From Neopet reports and game guides to Altador Cup coverage and editorials, this is your site if you want to get caught up on what's happening around Neopia! Of course I don't run this place alone, I have the help of our amazing team and the magazine's co-owner Stella. Each month, we offer you a new issue filled with interesting and creative articles for you to browse through, written by Neopians just like yourself. Be sure to subscribe to the magazine to get instant updates on when a new issue has been published. So, with all that said and done, I hope you enjoy reading this month's issue!

Your color scheme could also be implemented in your textareas, which are a shade of gray that is not found in your layout image. Note that the coloring is the same as the code for the Adverts section, for a matching effect:

My final note on the layout is that the navigation is well placed and easy to use, but once I click on an article an finish reading it, I have to go back to the main navigation to pick another article. This hinders visitor convenience, something that should always be taken into consideration by a site owner. I recommend placing a 'back' link at the bottom of each anchor page, like Euphonious does with its extras pages. You can always use a text link, but buttons can look nice too, so some places you can get good 'back' buttons are The Lunch Box, Foomanshu and Dark Light. If you use these, make sure you read the rules and credit them. Here's the coding I put in my own Style Sheet (the bunch of #b and such codes at the top of the page), and also how you should use it (after the content but before the /div):


-2.5 for disharmonious color scheme, as seen in the layout image, navigation, text effects and textareas.
-2 for lack of text effects in text, which leaves the text less varied (which is important in a text-based site).
-2 for troublesome navigation through content.

Content {22/30}:
The concept of a magazine itself is a great, original idea that promotes a lot of user participation and revisits, due to its submission features and monthly content updates. It's great to see a variety of sections in the magazines, such as a customization spotlight, sitemaker interviews, graphics and articles. If you don't receive a particularly grand number of submissions each month, why not advertise at the Avatar Chat to get some premade font submissions too? Offering unique content like a premade font in an issue is sure to encourage user participation and garner you some subscribers.

Though your sitemaker interviews seem okay, I think it'd be better if you varied the questions a little more, or at least had a new question for each interview. Some examples of interesting and somewhat entertaining questions that you can interchange between new interviews are: If you were to make a button for your site, what would be the color scheme and image you'd use? (Maybe try to ask that one to someone who doesn't make buttons.) If you could rename your site, what would the new name be? What's your site's motto or mission statement? If you had to describe your site with a Neopian pet/species combination, what would that pet be? (e.g. Purple Shoyru.) The list goes on. Looking through your archives, I think the Weapon interview in Issue 2 was a fantastic example of using variety and creativity. You don't necessarily need a narrative back story for your interviews, but livening it up with small talk (like talk shows or live interviews) would make it more entertaining to the reader. As a suggestion, I noticed you've interviewed site owners of a lot of mainstream site types (button requests, reviews) but maybe you should interview owners of other types of sites, like daily page makers, untaken name site owners, adoptables site owners or miscellaneous-type site owners? Though not all are quite designated 'sites', they'd be a bit more unique in questions and responses. I found that the last question of the review was a bit tacky, too, because it's slightly predictable - of course they'd give Blank Canvas Magazine high ratings if they have their own interview there! Plus, I can see that it's mostly for your benefit, and not the reader's. As a magazine editor, you should think about your reader's enjoyment when writing content, not necessarily yours!

I understand that the other two interviews are likely one-time articles for the Interview Edition, but they are rather short for interviews. Each response or question is only one line long, and there are only about five questions. It took me about ten seconds to glance through each mini-interview, which doesn't make up much substance for the magazine. When accepting submissions, you should look at them and ask yourself, Does this have enough substance for its own section in the magazine? Will readers really enjoy this? If you honestly don't think it's long enough, tell the author to go more in-depth on questions and responses, maybe add a couple. It's not going to take more than ten minutes for the writer, and it will end up making your visitors generally more satisfied.

The adverts are great as an interactive feature of your site that is being used, but I notice that in the form you said that they can provide a description of 100 words minimum. Some advertisements are just quick things like "My site's requests are open!" so 100 words is a bit silly, but also, someone might feel inspired to write, say, 400 words on what their site has been up to in the last four months. I don't know if this is a typo or a conscious decision, but I suggest you fix it to 100 words maximum.

I have one final comment. I noticed some random characters around the site, such as the threesome on the Work For Us page and the girl on the Adverts page. You ought to be careful about what you use graphic-wise, because using graphics that aren't up for public use, or graphics that you don't credit is dangerous. The three humanoid graphics, for example, come from a pick-up section where the picture links to a different petpage - for example, the yellow Aisha creature that you used as the first chibi is the owner of the page. Did you ever feel that these were custom works of art? That they are designed for use of the character's creator only? As for the little girl on the other page, you don't even credit that. I have no idea where she comes from, and that is a big issue! Unless you made these characters, you don't have a right to be displaying them without credit. I suggest removing the ones on the hiring page altogether, as they serve no real purpose. If you really want graphic fillers, there are pixels like the ones I have listed. For the girl in the advertisements, if you ever have a page that doesn't have a button, you could use a button placeholder or a Neopian image (I have examples in the codes above). Above all, read the rules on an adoptable site and leave credit!

As a summary, your magazine looks great as an interactive fun page, but could use some tidying up here and there.

-3 for lack of variation and creativity in the sitemaking reviews.
-1 for unreasonably short, unsatisfying content (interviews).
-1 for odd advertisement word limit.
-3 for adoptables with ownership issues.

Language {8/20}:
(Past issues will not be counted.)
Intro, Be In Next Month's Issue: Simply explain to why is usually written as Simply explain why, and it would be more understandable that way.
Intro, Be In Next Month's Issue: Showcase users works should have a comma, like user's.
Intro, Be In Next Month's Issue: In the last paragraph, this sentence is an awkward combination of two statements that ought to be separate: We accept all submissions including stories, comics, articles, etc and the item will need to be on a petpage. Here's a way to split it up: We accept all submissions, including stories, comics, articles, et cetera; however, the item will need to be on a petpage.
Intro, Be In Next Month's Issue: In the last sentence, the second you should be your.
Magazine, Customisation Spotlight: The entire initial paragraph should read: 30 users' pets were selected due to their amazing customisations. Each time a new issue is released, the three pets with the lowest amount of readers votes will be eliminated.
Magazine, Customisation Spotlight: The number 24 should be changed to 21.
Magazine, Nienke Interview: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of how much you should proofread. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 8
Magazine, Alaia Interview: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of how much you should proofread. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 4
Magazine, Caro's Banners Interview: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of how much you should proofread. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 2
Magazine, Trapped Fairytales Interview: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of how much you should proofread. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 4
Magazine, The Workshop Interview: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of how much you should proofread. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 3
Magazine, Bonju Interview: Actual errors not shown to give you an idea of how much you should proofread. Number of spelling or grammar mistakes: 2
Adverts, first advertisement: Alot should be two words, a lot.
Adverts, last advertisement: The second sentence is confusing due to odd usage of 'make'. You could replace it with 'give'.

Though you seem to be fine with register (I would consider using fewer smilies if I were you), the number of spelling and grammar errors is appalling. As a site that primarily offers written content (a magazine), you should have only occasional typos, especially when the magazine has an editor (and a co-owner). Your interviews especially had many spelling and grammar flaws, with one of them having eight spelling/grammar mistakes! Please be careful in the future.

-12 for excessive spelling and grammar errors, especially considering the type of site.

Sitewise {11/20}:
I understand that as an 'abstract' site type, you are not quite a 'site', which requires updates. However, considering you have designated a 'sitely' section, I feel that it would be helpful to know when the site was last updated: to know if you need anymore staff at the time of writing, if you have any affiliates, if the latest issue will be coming within a few days, etc. Here's a code for an affiliates box that you can stick on your homepage below the Be in Next Month's Issue part:

Now, sweeping through inactive or closed affiliates and listers:
Sample Reviews has removed you as an affiliate.
Android Directory is closed.
Ellie's Directory is closed.
A Natural Harmony is not a directory, and doesn't list you.
Zioned Directory is closed.
Merry-Go-Round is closed.

You seem to have some good affiliates, and you're listed at many great places, but I encourage you to find a couple more affiliates - especially Typewriter, who already has you listed as one! Writing sites are good to pair up with, so if you'd like some extra site 'friends' you could go find some.

It is pleasant to see that you have voting buttons on your sitely page (the correct category) so they are out of the way but still relevant. The Featured Award, however, seems a bit too out-of-the-way. If you leave it there, I'd say to have a link to that page on the featured person's page (i.e. on the Site to Watch page, link to the Sitely section). Also, the coding has left out the border="0" code, be careful of that as that will leave a nasty link border around the button.
Your featured awards appear to be under the Featured Award header, so you should probably add another h1 that says Achievements so they look separate. And while you should be adding a header there, the To Be Reviewed At header can be removed if nothing is under it, as it looks awkward when that entire header takes up unused space.
I will now review each of your link back graphics in detail:


This first button takes simplicity to a new level. The border, text and background are all well-constructed yet not fancy or elaborate. The capitalized, stylized letters add some variety to the button, though the 'C' is a bit too close to the text below.


I admire this button because the image seems to be edited well and cropped nicely, but the animation is just a bit too quick and doesn't offer enough time to see the text by itself.


Button Three is my favorite because the border is a fun bubble design, but also the border and text are subtly changing to various colors all taken from the image.


I find this rather interesting because this banner is a different type of linking back that might be better suited to users who don't own petpages. The image, though cropped fairly, seems a bit too simple - the image could have been edited slightly in color or had another texture to add more variety to the image. The text blended in too much as well, which could have been changed if the text border were slightly darker. The main issues with the banner, though, was in the coding. You did not provide the border="0" code, which gives the banner a silly link border that can inconvenience the visitor.

Your link back buttons are 'sticking together', which creates an untidy look and takes away from the aesthetic impact of each button. Right now, your code looks like this:

(buttoncode)(buttoncode)(buttoncode)

What you need to do is put each button code on separate lines, like so:

(buttoncode)
(buttoncode)
(buttoncode)

For future link back buttons, I'd highly recommend one that reflects either your layout (perhaps a flower or typewriter?) or the written, magazine aspects of your site. You can see my favorite sites here or check here for open requests. Right now no sites have open requests, but have patience and one will open eventually.

Finally, I'd like to take note of your credits. I mentioned crediting adoptables earlier, that will not be further discussed. Though you give credit for the layout, the other credits are not clear. Who did what for you? One way to solve this is to write it so that the credit appears when you hover over the button, like this:

However, it is more common to simply link your buttons to the creator (with an additional hover text if you see fit). Here's how it would look (including the textarea) and the coding to format the button:


(How to do that:)

-2 for lack of updates box.
-1 for unnecessary header taking up space.
-3 for forgetting the border code in textareas multiple times.
-3 for confusing credit.

Final Comments: I am impressed by your friendly and professional attitude with the visitor, as well as quantity of and varied content you offer. Your site could have some more variety, though, whether it is the color of the text effects or types of questions in interviews. And for a change, stop by the Avatar Chat and see if someone will offer a premade font for an issue! Lastly, I want you to proofread, proofread, proofread because as a magazine the editor should edit the spelling and grammar so it is perfect on publishing day! It's a great site idea, so I can't wait for the next issue!

Your score: 59.5/100

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Past layouts



September 5th 2011: Debut of the Euphonium review criteria.

Back Door Buttons

Something scuffles on the scummy cement near your feet. The streetlights cast shadows on the ground, especially in the dark alleyways. You turn into one of them, stopping at a back door. You can hear faint music playing in the background as the door opens and the light floods into the narrow alley...

Welcome to Alex's graphic requests! My only real rule is that you credit the button to my userlookup, but other than that, just send me a Neomail telling me what you want! Enjoy!


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I simply ask that you keep the link on (or at least have the link somewhere on your page) and don't redistribute or claim as your own. Otherwise, enjoy these icons! I'm taking suggestions for pony icons, so just send me a Neomail if you want a character or scene!


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Is your site still not in tune? Maybe you should take a trip to Fine Tuning! This review site run by Emily and KT doesn't have silly, boring site and content reviews, but concise proofreading reviews! They offer Draiks (to fit in with their theme) that check your sitely section, language, and both, respectively. With two co-owners instead of one, your reviews are completed quickly, too! If you're off-key, check out Fine Tuning today!

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Ranked #1 at Silver Directory
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Credits


Layout & Coding By LovelylittleDreamer @ Cosmopolitan.
My buttons link back to their creators.
Reviews, 'Sitewise' term, Euphonium criterion and other content by Alex {?}
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