Home Requests Reviews Extras Sitely

Welcome

The sky stretches out above you; endless, vacant. The sea in front of you is empty. You're alone in this world, adrift on the waves. You can't remember exactly how you got here, but you do know that the piece of driftwood you're holding on to is your last defense against the unyielding waves. Waves. You spin yourself around in the water, but it's too late. A large wave crashes over you, and you're thrown off the driftwood, sinking deeper into the black sea.

Hello there, and welcome to Siren's Isle, a review site by me, Kitty. I've been serving Neopia with extensive and in-depth reviews since 2008. My hope is that I will give you plenty of opinions and loads of advice in an effort to improve your site. Reviewing is something I love to do and I do my very best to give each of my visitors a fair review. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to neomail me. I'd be more than happy to help you.

Updates

Friday, September 20, 2013

+ Reviews are CLOSED!
+ Updates cleared
+ *flails about*

11:25 a.m. I didn't get much sleep last night, but I DID finish Seasonal's review (as I stated in my update from last night). I had a test in music this morning, and I've still got a coms class to go to this afternoon, then I'm going to go visit my friend.

I'll begin working on the other reviews as soon as I'm sitting safely in my house this afternoon!

Allonsy!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

+ Reviews are CLOSED!
+ 1 review finished (Seasonal)
+ Talk Like a Pirate Day!

11:11 p.m. Make a wish! (Haha!)

Anyways, I was able to finish Seasonal's review, despite being dragged in ten different directions all day! Tomorrow I'm going to work on Source's review, and then the two other reviews that I received yesterday.

And once I'm done with that, I'll wait for school to calm down until I can reopen reviews. See y'all later!

Rules

001: It takes a while to properly review petpages, so please be patient. I'll neomail you when I am done. It shouldn't take more than two days, but if it will take longer, I'll let you know.

002: Please don't steal or copy any content on the site.

003: Link back to /~Alkemmi after you've recieved your review. You can use a button or a simple text link.

004: If you'd like me to review your site a second time, you must wait a month before reapplying. Also, your site must have gone through some significant changes.

005: Please remember that you are asking for my opinion and advice. Please put Scylla somewhere in the form. It's up to you whether you want to listen to what I have to say or not.



Click here to proceed to requests!

Request

Request Form

Waiting List

Leviathan
001: Fangs @ Seasonal
002: Nina @ Cataclysm
003: Annaleise @ Clarity
004: name @ site
005: name @ site

Siren
None.

Josh
Yume @ Source



Rubrics

The Leviathan

The Leviathan is an in-depth, completely exhaustive review of your site. It may take anywhere from two hours to three days to complete, depending on the amount of time I have available to sit down and go through your site. It is also the only scored-review. Perfect for sites with lots of content. The score will be adjusted depending on whether or not a specific section applies to your site.

First Impression: This is my first impression of your site. Do you have an introductory paragraph? Do I know what type of site I am visiting? Is your layout functional, or are there parts going haywire? How does your color scheme look? --/10 Points

Organization: How organized are you? Can I find everything easily on your site, or am I slogging through a confused roadmap of links? What does your "Sitely" section look like? The main point of the organization category is to see how well visitors can navigate your site. If it's messy, then very few people will be inclined to stay and find what they're looking for; if it's neatly organized, then you'll find people wanting more. --/10 Points

Spelling and Grammar: I am a huge stickler for grammar. I'm going to be an English major, and I am very keen on editing. I have several grammar manuals lying about my room (my most recent acquisition is "Eats, Shoots and Leaves"), and I love going through sites with a fine-tooth comb. Nothing escapes me. The odd typo will not be penalized (typing "eror" instead of "error" or "ink" instead of "link," for example), but repeated errors and glaring grammatical mistakes will result in point deduction. --/10 Points

Content: This is the big-hitter of the rubric. The content is the meat-and-potatoes of your site; if it's shoddy, then nobody will come to your site. If it's astounding, you'll be beating back the gawkers with a stick. There is a fine line between "mediocre" and "amazing," and I would love to help you improve in any way that I can. While I won't be going around saying, Oh, well this is absolutely terrible; you need to get rid of this right away and shut down your site, I will be going through and pointing out a few things and offering suggestions on how to improve them. I will also point out the most amazing piece on your site. (Some of this will not apply to link directories.) Quantity will also be evaluated, and will be associated with the age of your site. --/25 Points

Other Problems: Does your site layout just not work in one browser? Are you aware of the problems that your site has? Do you update your visitors on what they can expect from day to day? This particular category is a non-scoring category, because it's just pointing out any other problems that I noticed that do not fall into the previous categories. No Points Deducted

Final Score and Comments: Here I'll tally up your final score, along with any other comments about your site. If you have thoroughly impressed me, then I'll say so. If your site needs a little work, I'll be absolutely honest with you. FINAL SCORE: --/55 Points

Recommended/Not Recommended: This section is pretty self-explanatory. I'll explain why I would recommend your site or why I would not recommend your site to others.

The Siren

The Siren is an elusive creature. You know that she saved you from your watery grave, but you've had the most difficult time finding her, even though it is her Isle. However, in this review style, you may ask the Siren anywhere from five to twenty questions about your site, and she will respond. This review style can take anywhere from two hours to a day to complete, depending on how many questions are asked.

This rubric is NOT scored. It will be here for you to reference for at least a month, and then it will be moved to my back-up petpage.

This is NOT an extremely in-depth review. I am only looking at the parts of your site that you specifically question me about, nothing more. If, at any time, you would like a more in-depth explanation of the answer I have given you, feel free to neomail me, or even request a Leviathan review!

No Points Awarded

The Josh

Josh is a character from my pre-revamp Siren's Isle. He's the younger Demon brother of the Siren, and enjoys tearing through sites to find their grammatical and spelling errors.

You must think I'm crazy, to voluntarily want to read through an entire site full of text and pick out the small details, but honestly, that's what I love to do. So send me your pet applications, your adoption agencies, your guild webbies...anything and everything with text on it, and I'll read through it! If I don't catch everything...well, I'd be astonished!

This could take anywhere from two hours to several days, depending on how much text you have and how much time I have to devote to your site. (Remember, college student!)

No Points Awarded

Review Main

This section is fairly simple.

There will be ten reviews put up at a time. Simply click on your site's name in the sidebar to visit your review. (Newest reviews are on top!)

Leviathan Review

Siren Review

Josh Review

All reviews will have the site name, a link to the owner's lookup, the site type, and the review style listed on their review.

If you have any questions about your review, or questions about how this section works, please don't hesitate to neomail me. I will happily answer any questions that you may have!

Enjoy!

Seasonal


Site Owner: Fangs | Site Type: Button & Layout Requests | Review Type: Leviathan
September 19, 2013 | Firefox

First Impression: It's very bright! You don't really see people doing the transparent-overlay boxes any more. They've all moved towards the solid-backgrounds-over-pictures thing.

I would suggest adding a bit more opacity to the transparent boxes, though. It may just be my screen (or it may just be my eyes), but I think having the boxes a little less transparent would make your text a bit easier to read.

I really like the navigation, as well as the dividers, but the name of the site just seems to get lost in its own layout. It's over to the side, instead of at the top or bottom, and it just seems to be in a weird position. I could see having the name on top of the navigation (like Buttoneer). The name to one side (in the middle of the page, no less) just looks a little...odd. If you like it, that's perfectly fine. This is just an opinion of mine (and I'm not counting off points for this).

Your layout is very nicely laid-out, however, and all of the links function beautifully. So there's no worries on that point.

Even the little link-back button that you chose to display on the main layout looks wonderful; it matches the layout very well.

I think the only thing I can really say about this layout would be to make everything less transparent. Again, not sure if it's me, the computer, or the layout, but the text is slightly hard to read.

9/10 Points

Organization: As I mentioned before, your site is very nicely laid out. I can find everything if I need it, and nothing's hidden.

All of your navigation links work beautifully (you'd be surprised at how often this doesn't happen).

You clearly explain the rules for each request type, which is just absolutely fantastic. I like the trick-not-trick word that you've got in there as well; I wonder how well that works?

You also clearly demonstrate each button border and animation style, so there's no confusion. That's wonderful; a few button request sites haven't caught on to this yet, and it's a pain to request from them because of that.

I would suggest that you give some examples of layouts that you've made on the main page, however. I know, I know; you have some examples in your portfolio. Alas, there are people who don't want to take the time to go hunting through portfolios; they want quick examples here and now. If you have multiple "styles" that you do, perhaps put up your best example of each style. (I know some people divide them into "one column," "two column," "blog-style," and "anchored" layouts, but I don't know what you call yours.) Just make sure that people know what they're requesting, and what they're going to get if they do decide to request. It may make your job a little easier, or it may just make everything more difficult to code. It's a suggestion, though, and something you might want to implement.

In your updates, I'd put the +1 layout finished, +x buttons requested, etc. stuff before the updates themselves, so that people can find what they're looking for before they read through the update. It's so you have more of an at-a-glance thing. I know you have short updates, but putting the important things at the top would help it look a little neater (and people could find things easier). Again, this may be just a personal preference, but something to look into.

9/10 Points

Spelling and Grammar: Here's how this will work. I'm going to tell you which page I found the grammatical or spelling error on, I will paste the exact sentence in, and then I will do a "recommendation" underneath it. Underneath that, I'm going to give an explanation as to why this needs to be fixed. Let's begin.

Home Page

My name is Fangs and I'd like to welcome you to Seasonal, a site offering high-quality button requests and layout requests since March 2012.

My name is Fangs, and I'd like to welcome you to Seasonal, a site offering high-quality button and layout requests since March 2012.

Explanation: Missing comma. I also took out one of the "requests," since you really don't need it twice.

***

Given the site's name, requests are seasonal here, meaning that they're offered only during specific seasons based on how much free time I have.

Per the site's name, requests are seasonal here, meaning that they're offered only during specific seasons based on how much free time I have.

OR, Requests are seasonal here, meaning that they're only offered during specific seasons, based on how much free time I have, hence the name.

Explanation: This whole sentence feels...awkward. Either change one word (which still makes it sound a bit awkward), or rework it. I've given you an example of what I mean by "rework;" hopefully it makes sense!

***

You wont be sorry!

You won't be sorry!

Explanation: Missing apostrophe.

I do not spell-check updates, nor do I check them for grammatical mistakes.

Button Requests

I make buttons for all sites except other button request sites, and off-neo sites.

I make buttons for all sites, except other button request sites and off-neo sites.

Explanation: Misplaced comma.

***

I have two separate forms, please use the appropriate one and fill it out completely.

I have two separate forms; please use the appropriate one and fill it out completely.

Explanation: Since these are two separate, independent sentences, they need to have a semi-colon instead of a coma in between them.

***

Sometimes the animation picked wont work with the font I use, so a back-up animation is always helpful!

Sometimes the animation picked won't work with the font I use, so a back-up animation is always helpful!

Explanation: Missing apostrophe.

Layout Requests

I only have 2-3 spots available on my waiting list - I apologize if you don't make it into those spots, feel free to request again next time when requests are open!

I only have 2-3 spots available on my waiting list - I apologize! If you don't make it into those spots, feel free to request when requests are open again!

Explanation: You need to separate the complete sentences with some sort of punctuation. I've also reworked the last half of the final sentence to make a bit more sense.

***

Please use the layout I make you, if you don't like it, tell me!

Please use the layout I make you; if you don't like it, tell me!

Explanation: Use a semi-colon instead of a comma to join these two sentences together.

***

Please do not edit the code and then claim it is yours, it's still mine, even if you change colors or names of things.

Please do not edit the code and then claim it as yours; it's still mine, even if you change colors or names of things.

Explanation: Use a semi-colon instead of a comma to join these two sentences together. Also, use the word "as" instead of is.

***

Please save the code once you get it, I usually don't save the codes since they make my computer slow.

Please save the code once you get it; I usually don't save the codes since they make my computer slow.

Explanation: Use a semi-colon instead of a comma to join these two sentences together.

Extras Page

Here is my mini-portfolio, it holds all my recent requests and the full count of how many buttons, banners and layouts I have made.

Here is my mini-portfolio; it holds all my recent requests and the full count of how many buttons, banners and layouts I have made.

OR, Here is my mini-portfolio. It holds all my recent requests and the full count of how many buttons, banners and layouts I have made.

Explanation: Either use a semi-colon instead of a comma to join these two sentences together, or use a full stop to separate them completely.

I'm not going to spell/grammar check your thank-yous, because those are personal.

Over the four pages I checked, you had eleven glaring grammatical errors, including multiple ones on the same page. This is why your score for this section is going to be 6/10 Points

Content: Your buttons are very crisp and clear. (I see you like the "shine" animation quite a lot! Not sure if that's what you call it, but that's what I learned how to call it!)

Your buttons have also improved a ton from the buttons you have in your "old buttons" section of your portfolio! As you've learned and grown, your buttons have grown with you. The new ones look absolutely fantastic.

Shall we take a looksie between two buttons?

Do you see the difference in animation between these two buttons? The first one goes way too fast, and it's also very difficult to read (with the animation being dark, and the words being light. While the animation on the second one is still a tad too fast, it's not nearly as difficult to read as the first one. You've come an incredibly long way. And of course, with practice and patience, you'll continue to grow and learn and get even better!

I really, really like this particular button:

The text (and animation) are simply beautiful, and the base itself is gorgeous. The colors are perfect as well.

I'm not particularly fond of the font on this button:

While the image itself is gorgeous, and the font is placed in just the right spot, it's very hard to read the words. The animation helps with the reading, but it might have been to your advantage to have outlined the words in something a few shades lighter than what you used.

These buttons seem rather squished:

Either finding a different image or cropping the one you had slightly differently would have made for a better button. I like the button, but the image looks whack.

I really, really like these buttons:

The cropping, animation, and coloring on all three of these buttons are spectacular!

I'm not going to really mention your old buttons, because I can see a tremendous difference between those marked "old" and those marked "new" on your portfolio. Your buttons are wonderful, and I know that with a little more practice, and perhaps a bit more experimenting (don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try some really wild stuff!), you'll be a truly great button maker one day! (I'm not saying that you're not great now; I'm saying that you have the potential to be even better than you already are! Always shoot for the stars!)

Your layouts are really awesome as well. Everything is crisp, clear, and well-coded.


This layout in particular was really well done. It's got the right combination of dark, not too dark but not too many light elements in it as well. It's tricky to do a dark element right, but I think you pulled it off with this one.


This layout on the other hand... It's certainly not one of your stronger ones. It almost looks like it was made in MS Paint (going by the borders), but the borders around the words are the clue telling me it was made in something else.


This layout is absolutely spectacular. I love the coloring that's been done on the Mockingjay symbol, and the title/subtitle (I believe that's what the little words beside the title are) fit perfectly. It's beautiful.

Again, all of your "new" layouts are enormously improved from your "old" layouts. You can still learn more, though, and you should never stop learning. (Once you stop learning, you start forgetting.)

I really love both your layouts and your buttons, but there's still room for growth. Remember to watch image stretching on buttons, so that things don't become pixelly and distorted. (That's very bad for a button, and very bad advertising for your site.) For your layouts, I'd say watch the borders, and think carefully about adding drop shadows or backgrounds to some things. (Sometimes you need a background, sometimes you don't.)

I really do enjoy your site.

20/25 Points

Other Problems: I cannot see any at the moment; just the ones that I've mentioned above!

No Points Deducted

Final Score and Comments: Your site is phenomenal. I've really been able to see how you've grown in the past eighteen months or so! It's truly amazing to be able to look at a site and then go to the portfolio and see how they started out: just like everybody else, at the very bottom.

Great job!

FINAL SCORE: 44/55 Points
That's an 80%! Congratulations!

Recommended/Not Recommended

I would Recommend Seasonal. While you're going to have to wait a while for the petpage layouts to return as requestable, you can't go wrong asking for a button at this site! Just fantastic!

Don't forget to link back!



Find more here!

Sugarpop


Site Owner: Kiwi | Site Type: Graphics | Review Type: Siren
September 8, 2013 | Chrome

Ah, my first Siren review! I think this is going to be fun, and I sincerely hope that you're able to use this to improve your site! Let's get started!

How well do you think my site is organized?

I'm going to go through each of your site's pages and talk a little about them, if that's all right.

First of all, it is clear what each page will have on it - Home, Requests, Graphics, and Resources. Very clear; no guessing here!

Home Page

On this page, you have all the basic stuff - your welcome section (which includes your updates and newly-added things, which is great for an at-a-glance review); your blog (which expands on your bullet updates; I think this is a fantastic idea. That way, people don't have to slog through all your updates to see what's new; those who want just the minimum can get theirs, and those looking for something more in-depth can just jump over here and see!); your "extras" section (which is well-organized in and of itself; you don't leave anything out here!); and your sitely section (where the only thing I have to comment on is that, if you're going to do button holders for your affiliates, why not do them for the empty spaces that you have for your listers as well? To make the whole thing symmetrical or similar or whatever word you wish to use there).

Requests Page

Again, this is very well-organized as well. Each of your sections clearly states what's going on.

Your "Rules & Requesting" section covers everything VERY clearly: there should be absolutely no confusion. You have the rules, request status, and speed of requests clearly visible.

You don't currently have anything in your "Request Pickup" section, but that's okay. You state what you do with requests after three days, and you provide your visitors with a handy link, in case they miss the sidebar nav to the portfolio. (Do you put things up under a name, or do you put them newest-oldest on your page?)

Your portfolio page is easy to navigate as well. Very nice.

Graphics Page

Perhaps, in the sidebar navigation, you could specify which graphics are on a separate page (because we both know that very few people are actually going to read the site map). This is not a requirement, of course; this is simply a suggestion. (Some people might be confused by the sudden page jump.) This is a completely personal preference. If you think it's working fine as it is, go for it!

The fact that you even have a site map is enormous. You tell your visitors exactly what you have, and there is no guessing involved, which is great.

The only other thing I would say is maybe consider reorganizing the way you do the content links on this page. Some of your navs overlap, like your Naruto one:

Maybe make the links stacked instead of grouped? Or possibly put them into tables, so that your page doesn't scroll quite as much.

The other icon sections don't have quite as many categories as your anime/manga section, so their navigations should be fine. It's just the anime/manga section that has overlapping.

Resources Page

I love how you tally up everything on your page (I forget to add to my affiliate count whenever I get a new one; you're ambitious!). It lets people know that you have what they're looking for, and they'll probably have a wide range of choices.

Everything here is also well-organized.

Overall:

I don't think you should be worried about the organization of your site. Just take another look at your anime/manga icon navigation, and you're good.

I can find everything that I'm looking for on your site with no trouble.

What are the best and worst aspects of my icons?

The Best Aspects:

Each of your icon sets (anime/manga, at least) all seem to have similar colorings and whatnot. DURARARA!!, for example, has light textures across them. (Or are those called spots? Whatever they're called; my brain's not working properly at the moment.)

I like the fact that you don't force yourself to put text on any of your icons - in fact, I think the balance of image-text would probably be about 90-10. (But don't quote me.) Sometimes text detracts from the image, but other times it adds. You seem to do a very good job with the judgement on that point.

The Worst Aspects:

This is very hard to answer.

I guess I could say that some of them have weird...pixel strengths? Is that the word I'm looking for? I'm trying to say that some of them have jagged lines, like the image wasn't resized properly.

I hope you can see what I'm saying, and that I'm not making a fool out of myself by attempting to explain myself! (I'm not very good at this.) Of course, this probably isn't your fault, either. It's the image's. (If you want to, you can ignore this piece of advice. I'm still not quite sure what I was trying to say, but I'm going to leave this here anyways, in case you can make sense out of it.)

It also looks like you reuse a lot of the same textures on your icons. Which is understandable, of course, because you have like 500 something icons. I'm not the best icon-maker out there (I haven't made any in over two years now), so I'm unsure of what the ratio of similar-looking icons should be on your page. (At least try to keep similar-colorings and stuff from being too close to each other...? I don't know what I'm saying. Ugh. This is hard.)

Be honest, what do you think of my signs?

(Um, are your signs supposed to have the word "backgrounds" above them? o.o)

If we're being honest, and if we're talking about *my* opinion on these signs... I think they're really great.


This one is a bit on the simple side, but that doesn't make it bad. It could have a few things done to it. It's not one of your stronger signs, but I still like it.


Again, simple. Kinda spooky. It doesn't seem like you've done much to it, though, aside from put some text on it. Maaaybe a texture.


I really like this one. It's got a shiny quality to it. It's very warm and inviting. Again, it's simple, but maybe that's your style; that's your way to go.


I'm noticing a theme: the name's always got some sort of highlight behind it. Simple once more.


I like the image that you've used for this one; it really evokes the closed aspect. (I really don't think that sentence made sense, but who cares? Meh.) The plain white square behind the word "Closed" makes the image look a little out of place, though; perhaps if it wasn't quite so startling white, or if you had some sort of drop shadow behind the word "Closed." Something along those lines.


I like the image on this one, and I like the font as well, but I don't think I like them so much together. (Is this the Zombie Holo----- font? I'm not sure if Neo will allow me to put the name here XD) I like the square blocks you have behind the font, though.


I think this one is my favorite. I love the colors, I love the text effects. It's just gorgeous. And the swooping stroke with the glowy brush (I'm assuming it's you that did that, and not part of the original picture) is just phenomenal. I love it!

Do you think the way I have my tutorials organized is efficient? (referring to the "sweetness" coloring)

I don't think I'm a fan of the way this is organized, to be honest. The images are too small to view on their own on the page, and having them in another browser window while you go back and forth between the tabs/windows just seems...like a wasted effort.

Have you ever thought of aligning these like you do your blog posts? You know, one icon to the left, step one. The next icon's on the right, and step two is next to it. (Is that even still possible on Neo? I know I used to do it for my blog posts in my SM Room.)

That way, not only can they see what you've done with each step, they can also follow along with no fear of getting lost or counting the icons over and over again to figure out "Well, so which one's number five again?" They can easily see which icon goes with the step they're currently on.

Did that make sense? Or have I complicated things again?

(I do think that you're going to need some images with your other icon tutorials as well. Is that why you're asking my opinion on this - so you know how to do the other ones?)

What can I do to improve my graphics?

This is the one question that I don't think I can answer. At least, not fully.

You see, your graphics are yours. You've been doing this for five years now (or possibly more). I remember when your graphics were just little things done with MS Paint. You have grown tremendously as a graphics maker, Tinakiwi. I do believe that you're one of the oldest graphic sites on Neo that's still active. Sure, some of the older ones are still around, but their pages are broken messes of coding and their graphics are sometimes ERROR! pictures.

I do think that you need to work on your signs a bit. As they stand, they're a bit plain and simple. They're nothing compared to what your icons are.

Maybe use textures a bit more (it seems like what you mostly do is colorize your icons; maybe you use some light textures). Do you often use brushes?

Maybe experiment with fonts on your icons.

You have a unique style, Kiwi, and it's been a pleasure watching you grow throughout these years. (I've probably given you about six or eight reviews in total, over the years.) You've managed to grow from a nobody to a Somebody, and that's something rare these days, when bad graphic sites usually stay bad, because people don't want to work hard for what they want.

And this brings us to your last question...

Would you say that my style of icon making is original? Or is it comparable to someone else's?

I would call it original. Let's compare. Your icons are in the first row.

I could go on, of course.

All of the second-row icons are from different sites. I went through several sites on Plethora, both recommended and non, and I never really found any icons that looked like yours. (Although the one from One of a Kind kinda reminded me of yours... But that site's been out of commission for a year, so... I dunno.)

I would say that your style of icon-making was unique. You don't really use phrases on your icons, you don't seem to use many textures or brushes, and you keep the happy ones bright and cheerful, while the sad ones are a little darker.

I love your graphics, and unless something goes horribly wrong in the future, I don't see that changing.

You make absolutely wonderful graphics, and you have no reason to doubt yourself on anything that you do.

Best of luck to you, Tina! (Oops...Kiwi!)

Don't forget to link back!



Find more here!

Wild Rose Graphics


Site Owner: Stefanie-Ann | Site Type: Graphics | Review Type: Leviathan
September 4, 2013 | Safari

First Impression: First of all, I would like to clarify that I'm using Safari to browse your site, like you requested. Having said that, I would like to point out that your site has some rather bad sidescrolling in this particular browser. (My default browser is Chrome, and there is no sidescrolling in this browser.)

See where I've circled in this image? That's where the layout is cut off because the whole screen scrolls to the right. It does not, however, scroll up or down, so that's very good.

Another thing I noticed is that you do not link to your userlookup anywhere in your introduction. A link to your userlookup is very important. It gives people a quick way to contact you if they need to! Instead of just making your name green, why not make it a link instead?

I also do not understand why you have empty content boxes in your "Premades" section. If you have nothing to put in this section (when I click on the Slorg or Chokato), then don't put the section up until you've got content to put in it!

Another confusing thing is why you have picture links for your premade glitters, but just text links for your premade icons. Keeping things the same around the site really helps tie your site together, and keeps it from looking disorganized.

To be honest, there's really nothing about your layout or presentation that make have me say, Oh, I think I'm going to stay and look around. And that's a very bad thing indeed.

- 2 points for sidescrolling (in "best" browser)

- 1 point for empty sections

7/10 Points

Organization: I don't particularly understand why you feel the need to have your updates on every single page of your layout. Usually, unless the updates box is in a separate scrolling box on the side (see The Lunchbox for an example of what I mean by this), you don't need to have them on every page. They just get in the way of your real content.

Another thing I would like to point out is that you have these weird spaces between your subheaders and your "Listers" and "Reviews" sections in your Sitely section. You may have a spare br or p tag hanging in there, so make sure you get rid of those!

In your "Requests" section, you have a ton of blank space between your last rule and your "I Agree | I Disagree" links. You might have one too many p tags in there, so check that out!

Why is your "Buttons" section not about requesting buttons? When I clicked on that particular link, I expected to be taken to a section with all of my button choices (including fonts and borders). Instead, I came to your portfolio. Instead of having the link as simply Buttons on the sidebar, either make it into "Button Portfolio" or just "Portfolio;" otherwise, people are going to get quite confused.

I would also suggest that you use tables for your graphic sections. You use tables for your link-back buttons (putting the textarea box underneath the button), so you should do the same for your graphics. It allows you to put a lot more graphics on the same line, saving you space and your visitors scrolling time. Most, if not all, graphic sites use this already (check out Sugarpop! if you're confused as to what I'm saying).

Also, work on making your textareas as wide as the icons/images themselves, so things don't look that out of place. You can find a tutorial for tweaking your textareas here. If your textareas aren't nice and neat beneath your images (or if they're off to the side, and not in tables), then your whole page looks unaligned and terribly messy.

- 2 points for strange blank spaces
- 1 point for mismatched textareas

7/10 Points

Spelling and Grammar: I'm sort of dreading this, but here's how this will work. I'm going to tell you which page I found the grammatical or spelling error on, I will paste the exact sentence in, and then I will do a "recommendation" underneath it. Underneath that, I'm going to give an explanation as to why this needs to be fixed. Let's begin.

Home Page

Welcome to Wild Rose Graphics, my name is Stefanie-Ann, and I will be your hostess for this site.

Welcome to Wild Rose Graphics. My name is Stefanie-Ann, and I will be your hostess for this site.

OR, Welcome to Wild Rose Graphics; my name is Stefanie-Ann, and I will be your hostess for this site.

Explanation: This is a run-on sentence. It can easily be fixed by placing either a full-stop or a semi-colon after the word "Graphics," and before the word "my." (Remember to make your name a link to your userlookup!)

***

Wild Rose Graphics has tons of graphics to choose from. We have premades, and requests!

Wild Rose Graphics has tons of graphics to choose from, from premades to requests!

Explanation: Never end a sentence with a preposition. You've also got an unneeded comma after the word "premades." Since your list consists of only two items (premades and requests), you don't need a comma to separate these two things. However, if you were going to say something along the lines of we have premade icons and glitters, and requests!, then you'd need the comma. Are you following?

***

The reason I started making graphics to begin with, is because When I was looking for customs graphics or just graphics for a "pick up and go" type thing, Requests were never open or I would never find anything I liked.

The reason I started making graphics was that when I was looking for custom graphics or just "pick up and go" things, either requests weren't open or I couldn't find anything that I liked.

Explanation: Rewritten for clarity. Your original sentence has various words capitalized that do not need to be capitalized. It's also all over the place with the comparisons; there's no unity within the sentence.

***

So I started to make my own! Now it is one of my favorite hobbies I have, I love making graphics, but most of all I love to help people out when in need.

So, so I started to make my own! Now graphic-making is one of my favorite hobbies. I love making graphics, but most of all, I love to help out people in need.

Explanation: Rewritten for clarity. You're missing several commas in this sentence. Also, if you're saying that graphic-making is one of your hobbies, then we're going to automatically assume that it's a hobby that you have, so you don't need those extra words in there.

Request Page

DO NOT CLAIM THESE AS YOUR OWN!!! I work hard on making my graphics.

Do not claim these as your own! I work hard on making my graphics.

Explanation: You don't need so many exclamation points, nor do you need to 'shout' at your visitors.

***

If you would like to link these Graphics to your Guild or site you may, but please have something linking back to my site.

If you would like to have these graphics link to your guild or site you may, but please have something linking back to my site.

Explanation: Reworded for clarity. Also, "guild" does not need to be capitalized, nor does "graphics," because neither of them are proper nouns.

***

If you would like to request a Graphic please neomail me.

If you would like to request a graphic, please neomail me.

Explanation: Again, "graphic" is not a proper noun, so you do not need to capitalize it. Also, you should probably have the word "neomail me" linking to either your userlookup or a neomail.

***

Please ensure all Requested Graphics are picked up within 10 days of finished Request.

Please make sure that you pick up all requested graphics within ten days of your request being finished.

Explanation: Rewritten for clarity.

***

Enjoy the Graphics.

Enjoy the graphics.

Explanation: Again, the word "graphics" is not a proper noun, so it does not need to be capitalized!

Fake Avatars Page

I'm making some new fake avatars for my portfolio, check back soon.

I'm making some new fake avatars for my portfolio. Check back soon.

OR, I'm making some new fake avatars for my portfolio; check back soon.

OR, I'm making some new fake avatars for my portfolio, so check back soon.

Explanation: You have a run-on sentence here. You can fix this either with a full-stop, a semi-colon, or a conjunction.

Sitely Page

Third link back boarder from Buttoneer

Third link back border from Buttoneer

Explanation: The word "border" is misspelled as "boarder." A border is an outline, either of a territory or an object. A boarder is somebody who stays at a boarding-house, a hotel, or somewhere similar.

4/10 Points

Content: I'm going to start off this section by saying that you've been open for three months now. You have unexplained, empty sections on your site (the most noticeable of these is your avatars section). Your "premade" content has only four things: two glitters and two icons. You have a total of four graphics on your site, even though you say you have fake avatars as well.

Since you have so little content, I'm going to go through these one by one.


First up, this Acara glitter. The glitter animation is very well done (there's none of the rainbow effect that sometimes happens when people attempt to glitter images) and you don't have anything "extraneous" glittered: you've stuck to glittering only the blue section. I'm even more surprised that it has no background (e.g., is transparent)! That's something you rarely see on glitter sites, because taking out the background is so time-consuming (even though you end up with a much better product).


The point of glitters is to glitter one thing (whether it be a color or an area) and just that one thing. It makes it stand out. Too much glittering, while sometimes pretty, will confuse the viewer. Now, Fyora's a bit complicated in her own right: everything about her is purple. Try choosing just one color of purple (whether the darker or the lighter) to glitter. (And try not to glitter the tiara; it's a shade of blue, while everything else you have glittered is purple. If you feel the need for a little bit of extra sparkle, glitter up that gemstone in her tiara.)


(By the way, this icon is not linked back to your site; it links back to Neo by default.) While the cropping on this icon is good, the coloration is not so good. It makes the icon look dingy, and with a water faerie, we want something bright and fresh-looking. Something watery. Try experimenting with filters and shades of blue; be a bit daring! (If you need icon tutorials, try here. It's a good place to start - Kiwi's tutorials are very simple and easy-to-follow! Source's tutorials are also fantastic!)


This one's a little jagged around the edges. I know it's incredibly hard to make circular icons. I went searching through all of the big-name graphic sites and I couldn't find a one! While it's fantastic that you're bringing a new style of icon to the table (although they have been around before), try experimenting on getting those edges smoother. It's a little jarring to see the smooth square icons next to the jagged circular icons.

***

And now we get into the buttons.

Rule #1 of button making: Find fonts that fit well with your button. Fonts that look odd when they're shrunken down won't make for pretty buttons. Cases in point:


You can't tell what this button says without squinting. Is it "Hova" or "Nova"? Maybe it's "llona"?


This font is also very hard to read.


This one is very blurry.


You can actually see the jagged edges of this font, meaning that you've shrunk it down way too far for it to be used on a button.

Basically, if your fonts look blurry, they aren't a very good choice for buttons. Try downloading some PIXEL FONTS, for example, 04b03, Bangalore, and Wendy. Silkscreen may also work. Go to a font site and look at all of their Pixel fonts - I'm sure you'll find one that you like! You can also check here for some other font ideas.

Here's a great tip about button fonts from Open Eyes:
While it's the fad to use large fonts to make your button look nicer, some fonts aren't really a great choice. With cursive fonts, be careful that it's not too "skinny". These typs of fonts won't stand out as much. For beginners, I would highly recommend using these fonts to experiment with: Impact, Hand of Sean, Bubblegum, and Casual.

Most of the fonts that you've chosen are too big and clunky to work well with animation or with the button itself.

Rule #2 of button making: Make sure the animation never detracts from the button. You don't HAVE to have animation on every single button that you make! In fact, sometimes animations take away from the button rather than adding to it. Also, sometimes subtle animation is the way to go. If you're going to add animation, make sure that the text on the button is still readable!


This particular button has so much going on with it that I don't even know where to start. I'm not sure what this animation style is, but it's flashy and almost epileptic. There also appears to be...a glitter border, and you can barely read the font because it's so light and the animation makes it blend into the background. The background itself is also very squished and stretched; not cropped very well at all.


This button also suffers from the strobe-light effect that I mentioned about the last one. You don't have to make this animation go quite so fast! I assume this is supposed to be a "shine" animation. (Or do some people call it "shimmer" now?) Whatever it's called, it's supposed to be slow. It highlights the button, draws a bit of attention to it and gives it a sheen, but doesn't cause the viewer to go into an epileptic seizure.

For example,

(Taken from Open Eyes.)
See how the shine is slow and highlights the button without overwhelming it?


Another example, this blurring animation. There is barely any time between the animation and the time the animation restarts to allow the viewer to actually read what's written on the button. Having resting frames of animation would really help this button, as well as not making it blur quite so violently. Also, the whole button "jolts" as it blurs; try just animating the words and not the entire thing.

Rule #3 of button making: SPELL THE SITE'S NAME CORRECTLY.

I'm assuming that all of these buttons are for the same site - something called Obscure. However, only two out of five of these buttons have the site's name spelled correctly! One is spelled Obsure, and two are spelled Obscrue. Don't rush through a button and leave the name misspelled! This is something that is very easily fixed if it's caught early; after you've added animation and whatnot, it's not that easy to fix. MAKE SURE YOU SPELL THE SITE'S NAME CORRECTLY.

You did the same thing with the site Aged Reflections:

You left out the "L" in the word "Reflections" on this button.

Don't forget "The Orphanage," which received an extra "A" in the name:

(It's extremely hard to tell with the animation, but there's an A in there.)

Spelling site names correctly is extremely important. If I was a potential customer, and I came to visit your site and see your portfolio, what would I think if I saw not one, not two, but at least five buttons with site names misspelled? I would conclude that you rush your jobs, you don't take second-looks, and you don't really care what the final product looks like, as long as you're done. It takes maybe two seconds.

Rule #4 of button making: Crop your buttons well!

These are just a few examples. You need to find a focal point for your buttons, and you need to figure out how to crop the button so that it focuses there without stretching, squishing, pixelating, or jagging the image that you're using on your button. Open Eyes explains this very well on their "Extras" page.

Basically, if you're forcing the image to fit within your border, then you're doing it wrong.

***


While the font on this button could use a little work, the image is cropped well and the focal point (the Bruce) is very clear; the text does not overlap it.

***

One more thing: You might want to do a few example button borders and things for your "Request" page instead of just telling us to fill out a form. Check out some of the bigger Button request sites, like Open Eyes and Buttoneer to see how they've done their request page. They have everything done up so that their visitors can see what they're getting before they request! It's very simple to do, and shouldn't take much time at all. (This is also how your visitors know whether you can do a certain animation, or so that they know what they're getting into!)

Try these sites for FANTASTIC button tutorials:
Details, Open Eyes, and Buttoneer. You can also check out Plethora for a list of other guides and tutorials! (That's a site directory.)

10/25 Points

Other Problems: Give credit for the button borders. Fill out your graphic sections (nobody wants to see blank sections when they're looking for content! This is exactly what you hated about other sites, according to your introduction, and yet you're doing it on your own site!). No Points Deducted

Final Score and Comments: I'm not going to lie or sugarcoat anything: your site needs a lot of work, especially with your animations and your font choices on your buttons. You need to get most of the content on your site before you open up, not months and months later. Read up on some icon tutorials, as well as some button tutorials. Try out different things.

FINAL SCORE: 28/55 Points
That's a 51%.

Recommended/Not Recommended

I would not recommend Wild Rose Graphics. There are very few premade graphics available (despite the site advertising that they have icons, glitters, and fake avatars), and the buttons are mediocre at best. The site is also full to bursting with grammatical errors. Some of the buttons look rushed (e.g., the ones with the misspelled site names) and they're not something that I would want to display on my site.

While the site owner has improved a slight bit since starting her site, she still has a ways to go. She needs to keep practicing and improve her skills. Stalk other button sites, read every tutorial out there, and try everything that she comes across, even if she's not sure she'll like it.

With a bit of cleaning up, as well as a lot of practice and patience, Wild Rose Graphics may become something some day.

Don't forget to link back!



Find more here!

Faraway Directory


Site Owner: Veronica | Site Type: Shop Directory | Review Type: Leviathan
August 23, 2013 | Chrome

I really would like to apologize for taking so long to get this review to you. Nearly three weeks is a completely unacceptable time frame for review turn-over. I guess everything bad just happened to me in two weeks - car wrecks, birthdays, and college-packing. I'm so sorry.

First Impression: I really didn't know what to expect when I opened up your site. I have never visited a shop directory before, but I thought to myself, How different can this be from a site directory? I've visited plenty of site directories (heck, I used to own one!), so hopefully that will help me with this review.

The first thing I thought when I saw your layout was, "What does this have to do with 'faraway'?" Having the layout match the theme (Frequent Flyer? The Teahouse?) has been the trend lately, but sometimes trends are made to be defied. Your layout really is gorgeous and appears to be well-organized. I only wish that the entire page was anchored so it didn't scroll down. I guess that's just a little pet peeve of mine. However, with the amount of content you have (or will have in the coming months), having a smaller content box would be a bad idea.

All of your links work (fantastic!), and everything seems to have its own little place.

I am wondering about the need for your shops to advertise that they are "CG-Free," as that should be a requirement for all shops you list, right...?

-0 points (I could find nothing wrong)

10/10 points

Organization: I like the way you've split your navigation into two distinct parts: your site navigation, and then the categorical navigation. (Is that sentence grammatically correct? Or does it make sense? Eh. It's late. I'll let that one slide.)

All of your links work correctly, which is a miracle in and of itself! (Well, your navigation links, at least. I'll be checking the content links below, in the Content section!) So many people will let a broken link sit for ages, because nobody ever tells them.

I would like to know why your categories aren't in alphabetical order. Your "Recommended" shops list is in alphabetical order, but your categories are not. I see "Malls" followed by "General," which is then followed by "Books." That's confusing, to me, because most directories have things in alphabetical order for their visitor's convenience. If I have to search for what I'm looking for, even if it's just about three to ten seconds longer, I'm not going to be very pleased. You can still keep your categories; I would just urge you to think about putting them in alphabetical order, starting with Books and ending with Wearables.

I would also like to point out that you seem to have no rhyme or reason as to how you list your shops within their category. Is it first come, first serve, where you list them in the order that you get them? If that's the case, then you might want to rethink that as well.

You say in your "Apply" section that you ask for the shop's size for listing purposes only. So far, I don't see you using the shop's size in any sort of "listing purpose," but maybe I'm overlooking things. (Nah...A size 7 shop next to a size 22, followed by a size 19? What?)

Since you have a shop directory, a good way to organize your categories would be by shop size: the biggest shop at the top of the list, and the smallest shop at the bottom of the list.

If that seems "unfair" or "discriminatory" to you, don't worry; there's another way you can organize all this: alphabetically. That way, all shop sizes will be mixed together! Everybody wins! (Unless, of course, someone has named their shop after a Zafara. Then they'll be dead last.)

Organization is the absolute BIGGEST part of owning a directory, whether it be a shop, site, or guide directory. If it's not easy to navigate, and the organization system seems a little confusing, then people aren't going to come back very often, if at all.

-2 points for organization

8/10 points

Spelling and Grammar: One of the things that I dislike about content-submission sites is that most people don't bother to check the spelling and grammar of the submitted content. If someone sends in a description, the site owner will place it on the page without proofreading it at all. I haven't really looked at your shop "descriptions" yet, but I'm hoping this isn't the case with you; otherwise, this section is going to get very long, very fast.

Anyways.

Here's how this will work. I'm going to tell you which page I found the grammatical or spelling error on, I will paste the exact sentence in, and then I will do a "recommendation" underneath it. Underneath that, I'm going to give an explanation as to why this needs to be fixed. Let's begin.

Shop of the Month

Once a month I will choose a shop that has caught my eye, and I think deserves special attention for all the hard work and effort put into it

Once a month, I will choose a shop that has caught my eye and that I think deserves special attention for all the hard work and effort the owner has put into it.

Explanation: Missing words and punctuation.

Apply

Try saying "listed" instead of "linked," because the word linked just sounds a bit clumsy and awkward.

***

Please link back to the directory before you send in your application, and please keep the button displayed whilst you are listed here. Preferably in your shop's description, but if you don't have much room left in your code, you may link on your lookup instead.

Please link back to the directory before you send in your application, and please keep the button displayed whilst you are listed here, preferably in your shop's description. If you don't have much room left in your code, you may put the button on your lookup instead.

Explanation: These two are really run-on sentences, so I've attempted to split them up where it makes the most sense. I've replaced "link" with "put the button" in the last sentence, as this makes it more clear to the listees as to what you want from them.

Malls

Come one, come all; join After Midnight Mall!

Come one, come all; join the After Midnight Mall!

Explanation: Missing word.

***

One of Neopia's newest malls, we're always looking for friendly and active users to help us expand!

As one of Neopia's newest malls, we're always looking for friendly and active users to help us expand!

Explanation: Missing word.

General & Packrat

Whether it's random knickknacks, codestones or pieces of lab maps, Vivance is always stocked with goodies at low prices!

Whether it's random knickknacks, codestones, or pieces of lab maps, Vivance is always stocked with goodies at low prices!

Explanation: Missing comma.

***

I look up the price of every individual item through the SW and due to the amount of items that I can hold it may take me a while to price it all.

I look up the price of every item through the SW, so due to the amount of items I have, it may take me a while to price it all.

Explanation: Rewritten for clarity.

***

Slushies, books, packrat and more at fair prices!

Slushies, books, packrat, and more at fair prices!

Explanation: Missing comma.

Books

My shop is one of the few with respectable prices (not 100x SW), and a broad variety for both serious readers and beginners. And is also constantly growing. :)

My shop is one of the few with respectable prices (not 100x's SW) and has a broad variety for both serious readers and beginners. It is also constantly growing!

Explanation: You don't need a comma after the parentheses. I've also taken away the emoticon at the end (makes it look unprofessional).

Battledome

Your one stop battle shop!

Your one-stop battle shop!

Explanation: Needs a hyphen.

Food

We guarantee to satisfy all your neopets' cravings!

We're guaranteed to satisfy all of your Neopet's cravings!

OR, We're guaranteed to satisfy all your Neopets cravings.

Explanation: Fragmented and unclear. Capitalize "Neopet," as it's a proper noun in this world.

Maps & Luck

The biggest baddest map shop in neopia, over 21,000 map sets sold.

The biggest, baddest map shop in Neopia, with over 21,000 map sets sold.

Explanation: Missing comma. Capitalize the proper noun. Missing word.

Wearables & Grooming

My dream is to make Neopia beautiful one pet at a time!

My dream is to make Neopia beautiful, one pet at a time!

Explanation: Missing comma.

***

Even though these aren't your grammatical mistakes, I still have to take points off because they're still on your site.

6/10 points

Content: Here's where this whole thing gets a little tricky. I've never judged anyone on their shop directory before (you're the first - yay!), so I'm figuring this out. Let's get started!

Link Sweep

All of your links are working properly, so nothing deducted here! There are a few shops that are out of inventory, but that's probably because that haven't yet been on today. (I checked their lookups - everything says "last seen: under one day ago," so we're good. They're probably restocking as we speak!)

Descriptions

You clearly state what each section is for, and your "Apply" and "FAQ" page are all neatly filled out. I can find everything that I'm looking for, and I don't have any questions when I come away. (The only thing I'd look into is, as I've stated above, the fact that some of your descriptions appear to have been split both before and after the content-tables.)

Maybe you can put a one- or two-sentence description on the shops that don't have descriptions? Just listing general information or something along those lines. Completely optional, of course, but that might make your sections look a little more complete.

Amount of Content

You've been open a fairly short time (just over a month, if I remember correctly), but you manage to have gotten fifty-seven listers in just that time. Fantastic! I know that shops are harder to list than, say, sites, but that shouldn't stop you from advertising on the Shop Boards or the Help Chat to see if you can find anyone else who's willing to have their shop listed. Sometimes you have to go and get the listees, instead of waiting for them to come to you!

Conclusion

You don't really see many shop directories around any more. (I've owned Siren's Isle for nearly five years now, and you're the first one to wash up on my shores.) Because they are few and far between, that means that the people who own them are going to have to work extra-hard to get their directories up to snuff. Just because you're one of the few in Neopia doesn't mean that you can get sloppy and lazy! (I'm not saying that you are, mind you; I'm just giving you a warning. So don't freak, all right?)

You do have a very nice site, with a nice amount of content considering how long you've been open, and I want to see where you go with this!

20/25 points

Other Problems: I see that, on several pages, your "description" is split between the top of your shop listings and the bottom of your shop listings. It's like you placed the tables right in the middle of the sentence, leaving the poor sentence to fend for itself, lost and separated from its better half!

No Points Deducted

Final Score and Comments: Hm. What to say, what to say. I really don't want to repeat myself, but at the same time, I feel as if repetition is necessary.

You don't really see shop directories around, and I don't think they were ever really popular to begin with. (What made you start one, if you don't mind me asking?) The upkeep is difficult, depending on how many shops you have listed, and getting people listed is also hard to do.

Your site has a few organization issues (everything seems to be thrown at the wall to see if it will stick), but the amount of content you have is fairly good for such a new site. I would like to see where this goes.

There may be bigger shop directories out there (I've never seen them, but I'm sure they exist! That's the one section on Soroptimist that I never browsed...if she had any listed at all!), but your site has the potential to become something amazing. You've got something started: now finish it! Or, rather, work on it: a directory owner never really finishes their site. It's a long, drawn-out work-in-progress.

FINAL SCORE: 44/55 Points
That's a 80%.

Recommended/Not Recommended

I would Recommend Faraway Directory. While there are still a few bugs to be worked out (mainly with the organization), the rest of the site is in good order. There are very few questions to be asked, and the site owner appears to be doing everything in her power to make her site great. (And that's just what we need - great shop directories.)

Best of luck to you!

Don't forget to link back!



Find more here!

Awakened Advertising


Site Owner: Anna | Site Type: Guide | Review Type: Leviathan
August 3, 2013 | Chrome

First Impression: It's a cute layout, but I don't see why it suddenly cuts off at the bottom, leaving this huge gap.

By leaving this giant space at the bottom of your page, you're essentially saying, "I don't much care about the way my layout looks." If you're unsure about how to get rid of this space, might I suggest consulting a few coding guides? There's sure to be one at Plethora or City Lights that can help you! (If you can't find the answer to your question, try neomailing one of the coding-help site owners! Most of them are very helpful, and are willing to lend a hand at things such as this!)

Another thing I would like to point out about your layout is that it just...cuts off. Everything else around your layout has these nice feathered edges, and then the bottom just gets chopped straight off. It makes the whole layout look disjointed.

The navigation also looks a odd; you have these giant titles for your navigation, but your navigation coding is set so that you have little, small blocks of navigation. This is how we end up with four lines in a navigation link! (Wow!!) Even two lines of text on a navigation link is too much; try rewording your navigation so that you can fit everything on one line (or, if that proves absolutely impossible, reword your navigation and reorganize your coding so that you have a bit more space with your navigation links).

Example:
Home
Font & Avatar
Guidless Boards
Advertisements
Pros & Cons (??)
Recruiting Boards
Extras
Sitely

You'll notice that I've moved the extras to its own page. If you feel as if you absolutely must have them on the same page, reorganize your navigation coding so that you can fit everything on one line.

I've placed question marks beside the "Pros & Cons" thing because, quite honestly, you don't need this page. I'll explain a bit more in the "Organization" section.

One last thing: Your "news & updates" box skews the whole layout. It's much wider than the navigation (if the navigation lined up with this box, this wouldn't be a problem!), and it throws the layout off-balance. There are two ways to solve this problem:

Move the updates to the main content box,
or,
Recode the navigation so that everything aligns properly.

Either way, you're in for a lot of coding.

- 1 point for layout cut-off/odd space
- 1 point for navigation
- 1 point for updates box

7/10 Points

Organization: Now, let's get into the Organization aspect of your site. Please try to stay with me; this might get a little messy. (Ha.)

First of all, let's talk about that Pros & Cons section that I mentioned earlier.

Why did I say you don't need this section? Because, well, you don't. This section would fit in perfectly with the "Guildless Boards" section! You're talking about the pros and cons of neomailing someone about a guild versus posting on their guildless board. Why would you devote an entire page to this simple explanation? (It's only two itty-bitty sections. Seriously.) You can put this entire section in the "Guildless Boards" section and move on. (This clears up your navigation, too!)

I think it would also help tremendously if you gave a short introduction to each page. (Some people need a bit more help than others.) For example, on the "Font & Avatar" page, you could say something about, "Does your font and avatar really matter when you advertise on the guild boards? I mean, who cares, right? Well, wrong! Everyone cares! Let me tell you a bit more about fonts and avatars, and how to use them effectively..." Then you continue on with your explanation!

The main thing I need to say about your site is that your navigation needs a DRASTIC overhaul! It's really, really confusing, to say the least!

What you need to do is recode your navigation. You need to have a "main page" navigation link, which would lead us to "Before You Begin," "Guildless Boards," "Recruiting Boards," "Extras," and "Sitely." Then you need to have a "sub page" navigation link, which would lead us to things like... You know what? Let me give you an example. The bold words would be the main links, and the Italicized words would be the sub-links.

Home
Before You Begin
--Fonts
--Avatars
Guildless Boards
--First Glance
--How to Advertise
--Posting vs. Neomailing
--Chatting
Recruiting Boards
--Before You Begin
--Your Message
--Now What?
Extras
Sitely

Do you see how I've laid out this navigation? I would like to direct you to this page, That Kills Me, and show you the petpage design underneath "Guides." It's the first one underneath that category, with blue "Simple. Clean. Practical." title on it? That's an example of stacked navigation. Of course, you could always do something like Decoded has done - navigation that changes as you click through it!

All in all, though, your page is so difficult to navigate around. I thought I was getting into another section, because I was clicking on another navigation link, but alas, I was simply moving to another part of the previous section! (And now my previously-rewritten navigation, that I gave to you in the First Impression section, makes absolutely no sense at all. Crud. But I'm leaving it, because I want you to see the way I made my way around your site.)

I would also recommend doing some reorganizing with some of your content-areas, like your textareas and whatnot. You have your link-back buttons centered, as well as your affiliates and listers, but not your reviews? (That throws the page off.)

The premade font textareas could also be centered (it would make it a lot neater!).

The recruiter of the month button and nomination form (along with the text above the form) could be centered as well.

The two images on write your own advertisements could be centered, too.

- 3 points for navigation
- 1 point for unclear sections
- 1 point for messy content

5/10 Points

Spelling and Grammar: Here's how this will work. I'm going to tell you which page I found the grammatical or spelling error on, I will paste the exact sentence in, and then I will do a "recommendation" underneath it. Underneath that, I'm going to give an explanation as to why this needs to be fixed. Let's begin.

Home Page

This guide was made because I noticed a lot of people not following some of (what I thought were) unspoken rules on the guild chat.

This guide was made because I noticed a lot of people not following some of (what I thought were) the unspoken rules on the guild chat.

OR, This guide was made because I noticed a lot of people not following some of the -unspoken rules- on the guild chat.
Note: I used hyphens instead of quotation marks in this sentence, because of the coding I have. Please replace them with quotation marks if you use this sentence.

Explanation: You're missing a word here. (Also, I got rid of the parentheses in the second variation.)

***

If you would like to add your two cents to this page, please click the neomail me now button below!

If you would like to add your two cents to this page, please click the Neomail button below!

Explanation: In no way, shape, or form does the Neomail button you have on your page say "Neomail Me Now" on it. No false advertising, please. (Also, capitalize "neomail" in this instance, because you're referring to this specific button.)

Font & Avatar Page

. I tend to use arial or verdana or something simple like that.

I tend to use Arial or Verdana or something simple like that.

Explanation: Floating punctuation mark at the beginning of the sentence. I've also italicized the font names, so that your visitors can see them easier.

***

Also, try not to use a bright color for your neo html color.

Also, try not to use a bright color for your neoHTML.

Explanation: Fixed the word "neoHTML" so it looks the way it's presented on the Neoboard page. I've also removed the repetitive word, color, from the second half of the sentence.

***

In my advertising fonts, I have the links in the signature, because it will be easy for the recruit to always access them, no matter what post they are looking at.

When I advertise, I have the guild link in my signature. That way, it's easy for the recruit to access them, no matter what post they're viewing.

Explanation: Rewritten for clarity. (Also, try not to end a sentence with a preposition.)

***

If you have a neo-pen either stick with one pen the entire time you're advertising, or let the recruit know.

If you have a Neoboard Pen, either stick with one font the entire time you're advertising, or let the recruit know that you may be switching fonts.

Explanation: Since "Neoboard Pen" be the name of an item, you need to capitalize it. Also, they're not called "pens" by people who use them - they're called "fonts," so I've fixed that. In the second half of the sentence, I've added a subject. What do we need to let the recruit know? What's he knowing? He needs to know that we're switching fonts. Easy-peasy.

***

Some people identify you and your guild by your font and avatar, so it could be very confusing to try to hold a conversation with you and keep track of all your fabulous neopens. I tend to only switch mine up if the recruit and I are the only ones posting on their board.

Some people identify you and your guild by your font and avatar, so it can be very confusing to try to hold a conversation with you and keep track of all your fabulous fonts. I tend to only switch mine up if the recruit and I are the only ones posting on the board.

Explanation: You've switched tenses by adding in the word "could" when it should be "can." You also refer to "fonts" as "neopens" again. (Neopens isn't even a word.) Also, I've changed "their" board to "the" board, as you can be anywhere while having this conversation, and this rule still applies.

When You First Open a Recruits Board Page

Can I just say that I've been cringing for the past hour, waiting until I got to the grammar section so I could fix this glaring error?

When You First Open a Recruits board

When You First Open a Recruit's Board

Explanation: RECRUIT'S IS A POSSESSIVE. Use an apostrophe. Also, since this is a title, any word that isn't the word "the," "a," "or," or such should be capitalized. In this case, "Board" needs to be capitalized.

***

DON'T ADVERTISE TO SOMEONE YOUR GUILD IF YOU HAVE REQUIREMENTS THEY OBVIOUSLY DON'T MAKE

Don't advertise your guild to someone if they don't meet the requirements you have set.

Explanation: *cringes again* Rewritten for clarity. (Also, I've not capitalized all the letters because I didn't want to play around with the capslock key. We have a love-hate relationship.)

***

Example: They state that they're fourteen in their first post& you advertise your sixteen+ guild

For example, they state that they're fourteen in their first post and you advertise your 16+ guild.

Explanation: Use "For example" instead of just "example;" the latter feels way too disconnected. Also, spell out the word "and" and don't forget the punctuation at the end of your sentences!

***

IF YOUR GUILD IS PRIVATE, TRY TO HAVE AT LEAST SOMEONE ONLINE AND CHATTING WHO HAS INVITE POWERS.

If your guild is private, try to have at least one person with invite powers online and chatting.

OR, If your guild is private, try to have at least one person with admin powers online and chatting.

Explanation: Rewritten for clarity. Saying that you should have "at least someone" online makes no sense.

***

If you advertise all the time, try to figure out what you need to do to get them yourself, but some guilds restrict them to council members, and that's fine.

If you advertise all the time, try to figure out what you need to do to get invite powers for yourself. Some guilds restrict invite powers to council members.

Explanation: Just saying "them" leaves us wondering what this pronoun could possibly refer to. Use "invite powers" instead. Also, you're missing some words. This sentence could also be split into two. (And the bit about restricting invite-powers to council members being "fine"? I'd leave that out. It almost sounds like you're looking down on people who do that. "Oh, it's fine, really; it's just not something that I would do." *sniffs snootily*)

***

The only reason I give this advice, is because you don't want an interested recruit to have to wait for hours before joining. That might sway their decision another way.

The only reason I give this advice is because you don't want an interested recruit to have to wait for hours before receiving an invite. That might give them time to pursue other guilds, leaving yours behind.

Explanation: You don't need the comma between the words "advice" and "is" in the first sentence. Also, just because you receive an invite to a guild, that doesn't mean you're going to join it. An invite simply allows someone to look around at a private guild. It makes the guild "public," but just for a while, and just to that particular user. I've also rewritten the second sentence to give a better understanding of the "swayed decision" that you bring up.

***

When a guildless person clicks on that guilds' board, they expect to learn about that guild, and they won't scroll through pages looking for another guilds' advertisement.

When a guildless person clicks on that guild's board, they expect to learn about that guild, and they won't scroll through pages looking for another guilds' advertisement.

Explanation: The apostrophe's in the wrong place.

***

When you advertise a guild that they wouldn't want to join, you're irritating them and showing everyone else who's lurking that board that you don't respect people enough to pay attention to what they're saying.

When you advertise a guild that they don't want to join, you're just irritating them and showing everyone else who's lurking that board that you don't respect people enough to pay attention to what they're saying.

Explanation: It's not that they "wouldn't" want to join that type of guild; it's that they don't want to join that type of guild! (Thus the whole "this is what I want, and I don't want anything else!" rant at the beginning of their post.)

Writing Your Advertisements Page

Also, if you meet most of their requirement, and you think they would really love your guild you can try asking them about the requirement they posted that your guild doesn't meet.

Also, if you meet most of their requirement, and you think they would really love your guild, you can try asking them about the posted requirements that your guild doesn't meet.

Explanation: You need a comma between "your guild" and "you can," and I've rewritten the second half of the sentence for clarity.

***

If the person you're advertising to asks for a guild with certain pages, it's always a good idea to provide them with the link to that page in your specific guild.

If the person you're advertising to asks for a guild with certain pages, it's always a good idea to provide them with the link to that page in your advertisement.

Explanation: What on earth is "your specific guild"? That makes no sense. I've replaced that phrase with "your advertisement," which makes much more sense, since that's where you're going to be putting the link to your pages.

***

It makes them feel like they're just a number to you, and not a person.

It makes them feel like they're just a number to you, rather than a person.

Explanation: Although this one may be a personal preference, the rule of thumb is that, if you're saying, "feel like x instead of x," you should use "feel like x, rather than x" or something along those lines.

***

If someone says they want a chatty guild with an adoption agency and 1np auctions I would give basic links then talk about how active my guild is, then post an adoption agency link and talk about it, then post a 1np auctions link and talk about that. Generally that works like a charm.

If someone says they want a chatty guild with an adoption agency and 1np auctions I would give basic links, then talk about how active my guild is. Then I would post an adoption agency link and talk about it. I would then post a 1np auctions link and talk about that. Generally, that works like a charm.

Explanation: Missing comma between "links" and "then." Also, this is basically just one long run-on sentence. I have attempted to divide it for you.

Chatting Page

Be graceful, and tell them good luck, and move on.

Be graceful, tell them good luck, and move on.

Explanation: You really don't need that second comma in there.

Making Your Own Board Page

. A good way to avoid this is to add a link to your guilds current board on the guild homepage, that way everyone in the guild can find it.

. A good way to avoid this is to add a link to your guild's current board on the guild homepage; that way everyone in the guild can find it.

Explanation: Missing apostrophe, and missing semi-colon.

***

People's attention spans sometimes don't last that long.

Peoples attention spans don't last that long.

Explanation: Apostrophe in the wrong spot as well as an unnecessary word.

***

Don't make 5 boards in 3 minutes.

Don't make five boards in three minutes.

Explanation: Spell out all numbers less than twenty.

Extras/Sitely Page

This is all of the extra stuff that Awakened Advertising offers. :)

This is all of the extra stuff that Awakened Advertising offers.

Explanation: Don't use emoticons throughout your site, unless it's in the updates. Otherwise, it just looks unprofessional.

***

Have you seen someone on the guild boards that has been just an amazing recruiter. They're always polite, helpful, and respectful. They seem to know this guide inside and out? Then go ahead and send in a nomination for them, and they'll get featured in this section, and get a nifty little button for their lookup.

Have you seen someone on the guild boards that has just been an amazing recruiter? They're always polite, helpful, and respectful? They seem to know this guild inside and out? Then go ahead and send in a nomination for them! They'll get featured in this section, and get a nifty little button for their lookup.

Explanation: Words rearranged; wrong punctuation; "guide" instead of "guild;" and run-on sentence.

***

Click on the button to go to the site that made it for me! :)

Click on the button to go to the site that made it for me!

Explanation: Don't use emoticons throughout your site, unless it's in the updates. Otherwise, it just looks unprofessional.

***

This page wouldn't be possible without each and every one of you! :)

This page wouldn't be possible without each and every one of you!

Explanation: Don't use emoticons throughout your site, unless it's in the updates. Otherwise, it just looks unprofessional.

***

- 5 points for grammar
- 0 points for spelling

5/10 Points

Content: Why am I qualified to talk about a guild advertising guide? Glad you askd. I've been in a steady guild for nearly five years. (It celebrated its fifth birthday on July 17, and I'll have been a member for five years come October 18.) I know how to advertise. I've done it successfully innumerable times. I was one of the ad-writers for my guild (I probably have some examples around here somewhere!). So yes, I know what I'm talking about.

Now, saying that, I really can't seem to find your guide very useful.

Sure, it has its useful parts. You say something about reading the person's first post, and maybe neomailing them a follow-up, but several of your sections seem unfinished.

Your "Font & Avatar" section, for example. You talk about fonts; what about avatars? (Why mention them otherwise?)

For another example, your "Posting vs. Neomailing" section. You talk about neomailing them....but what are the pros and cons of neomailing? Where's the "versus" that you promised us? (That's what the vs. means - versus. It's only used when you are comparing and contrasting two different things.) So where's the comparisons here?

Your content appears to be all over the place, and it's really difficult to navigate and find exactly what I'm looking for. (Remember what I talked about in the organization section? The way you have everything laid out makes navigating your site a lot more complicated than it should be.)

If you really went through your guide and expanded on all the sections, giving people a bit more to read and elaborating on everything, it could be a pretty awesome guide. At the moment, it's just "decent." Something to use in a pinch, and nothing more.

For example, you could really expand on the "Creating Your Own Board" section. At the moment, it's just the briefest glimpse of something that could be vaguely considered helpful.

You could put up examples of advertising posts. (I used to have some little graphic examples, but my guild leader deleted them from the page, and I don't have them on my computer. Sad face indeed.) You could explain what to put in each post. For example,

First post: Talk about your guild here! Put a short little introduction. Talk about yourself, when you joined, etc. Don't forget the guild link! (If it's private, include the webbie link.) You might also want to put the portal link!

Second post: Talk about the guild members! Talk about current events! What's going on in the guild today? Is there something special coming up soon? How chatty are the members? Are the council members active? There's so much to talk about in this post that you're going to have a hard time keeping it under 400 characters!

Third post: Talk about your activities! Do you have a scavenger hunt, an avatar contest, or maybe a banner contest? What other sort of things do y'all do for fun? Is there an activity that you have that nobody else has?

Fourth post: Involvement! New members always want to get involved; otherwise, how are they going to feel like they're a part of the guild? Talk about open positions in your guild (sub-council, newspaper staff, adoption agency staff, etc.) and how they can go about gaining said position. Talk about how active your guild is. Assure them that they're not going to be overlooked!

Fifth post: This is Kitty, signing off! End with a short little personal message, thank them for taking the time to look at your guild, and remind them that you'll be around to answer any questions that they might have.

And that's it!

There's so much that you could add to this site. You've got the barest hint of a skeleton right now; put some meat on them bones, girl!

15/25 Points

Other Problems: THE NAVIGATION. Quite honestly, you could change nothing but the navigation and I would probably be the happiest Kitty on the face of Neopia. That navigation needs to go!

No Points Deducted

Final Score and Comments: You told me that your site has been open for nine months. It rather seems like it's been nine days - everything's messy, and it really feels completely unfinished. It's like you starting writing your guide, but got bored and gave up in the middle of it.

FINAL SCORE: 32/55 Points
That's a 58%.

Recommended/Not Recommended

I find it really hard to recommend Awakened Advertising. You've got a good start on it, but it seems like you gave up in the middle. Most everything's a confused jumble, and there's a serious lack of explanation on some things. Maybe you need to hang around the guild boards a little more? Talk to some more-experienced advertisers? It's just difficult to read through your guide, and I came away feeling more confused than when I went in.

Your guide just holds...nothing. It's confusing, the navigation is absolutely terrible, and nothing about it appeals for a return visit. Or even a passing, "Hey, this guide might help you with advertising" recommendation. It's something that I would keep at the very bottom of the pile, to be pulled out only in desperate times.

But hey, it's not all bad! You just need to expound and explain some things better. Drag it out. Make it wordy. Put fluff in there if need be. Do something so that everything seems finished. At the moment, your guide is in serious need of content.

Oh, you have words, certainly. But you're lacking the content of your site, the stuff that makes your guide a guide. At the moment, it's more of an overview than anything else. It's not very helpful.

Don't forget to link back!



Find more here!

Extras

So, you've come here to learn more about the Siren, or perhaps you're looking for a history of the site. Whatever you're looking for, I hope you find it. It would be a shame if you were to get lost here forever...

About Kitty

So, you want to know just exactly who I am, don't you? I've been a lot of things during my time on this planet, but there's one place that I feel at home: Reviewing. Sure, some people can't see the excitement in nit-picking sites on their grammar usage, but I absolutely love it. There's nothing more satisfying than ridding the world of grammatical errors. I love it.

I started this site way back in 2008 after realizing the lack of proper review sites on Neopets. You're not here to listen to me rant about the joys of reviewing, though, are you? You're here to poke into my life, ask me questions, here what I have to say. You're here to make sure that I'm not a robot, or a minion of Dr. Sloth, here to take over the world.

Don't worry, kittycatisginger18. I'm not here to enslave you. I'm going to capture Malta one day, and start my evil empire from there. Muwahahahahaha! *ahem* Let's get on with it, shall we? This isn't hard; it's divided into three sections: Neo life, real life, and hobbies. Peruse each section at your leisure. Or not. It's really all up to you. Be sure to neomail me any questions.

Neo Life

It's probably easier to start with my life on Neo, considering that 99.99% of you will never see me outside of this interweb. That's okay, though; I prefer it that way, and so does Viacom.

Anyways. I've owned a couple of sites throughout my time on Neo, and three of them are still up: this one, Ultima (inactive for two years now), and Kitty's GIMP Tutorial (which really needs to be taken down). I once had a link directory called Midnight Secrets, but the upkeep was just too much for me. I have an about me page that I don't update at all, as well as a given-up-for-dead guild tutorial. That particular site will probably never be finished, and I should scrap it and use that petpage for something useful. I have also hosted and operated a number of guild pages, including (but not limited to) an activities page, a few newspaper pages, and the Sparkle Water page.

I love my pixels; when I lost my first account to a scam website way back in 2006, I was heartbroken and furious. Now I'm back, and this account's ten hundred times better than the other one, although I do miss my Curse of Maraqua avatar. My pets are my number-one priority. I'm currently saving (though I have way more than enough) to paint Eliriyanna Royal Girl and Alkemmi Halloween. It's going to take a while, but it's totally worth it.

If you ever need anything, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do!

Real Life

I'm a nineteen year old girl living in the Southern US. That means I'm a sophomore in college this year and also means that my schedule is HECTIC. Between studying in the afternoons, attending the few clubs that I'm involved in, and my homework, I sometimes don't have time for Neopets except for late-night and weekends.

I'm currently studying to be an English Teacher. I'm majoring in English, with a minor in Creative Writing. I want to teach high-school english some day, preferably with Juniors or Seniors, hopefully AP Literature!

Often, weekends are filled with WORK. I work at an arcade near my house, and I'm only available to work weekends during the school year because I live too far away during the week to drive to work every day. The arcade is fun, but sometimes it makes me want to tear out my hair and curl up into a ball and sob. It's the parents, mostly. The kids are usually well-behaved.

Hobbies

I love reading. I usually have three or four books in-progress at the same time, and I'm working my way through them as best I can!

I also love writing. I've written several short stories, and am working on two NOVELS. One's the sequel to the first. Both are unnamed. If you ever want to see some of these stories, just ask!

I really enjoy blogging. I recently got into it, and I absolutely adore it. It's a way for me to express myself and get my ideas out into the world. Not very many people stop by, but that's all right with me. I'll have plenty of traffic once I publish my novels!

Video games are my life. I started playing them when I was around seven years old (my dad got me a GameBoy Advance and two GameBoy Color games for Christmas one year), and my cousin gave me my first Zelda game when I was nine. That's when I really got hooked. Some of my favorites are Final Fantasy VI, the Zelda series, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and the Professor Layton series. I love RPGs, and I especially love Nintendo. (I don't have any of the other systems, you see.) Want to be 3DS friends? Shoot me a neomail! I don't bite...much.

Qualifications

My Strengths

I have taken advanced placement English courses my entire life, including all four years of high school, the first two semesters of college, and will be continuing that pattern throughout the rest of my college career.

I read grammar books for fun. (Honestly. I have a copy of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" that I absolutely adore, and I love my dictionary and thesaurus.) I know how to use grammar, and I will gladly instruct you in the arcane art.

I have owned several different types of sites, including this review site, a graphics site, a link directory, a GIMP tutorial, and I have also worked on several guild sites (including, but not limited to, the webbie, activity pages, and the newspaper). I consider these to be my strong points when reviewing.

I have friends in high places. No, I can't get you that missing liver. I do, however, have friends who own coding sites, review sites, premade layout sites, graphic sites, link directories, etc. If a problem ever gives me a ridiculous amount of trouble, I have friends that I can rely on to help me out.

I am a sophomore in college this year, and usually I have some free time between classes. I have a two-hour lunch break three days a week, and plenty of time after class, if I can stay awake. Finding time during the week to review shouldn't be a terrible problem, but things can get overwhelming at times.

My Weaknesses

I have never owned an adoption agency, so I am not very good at doing in-depth evaluations on that particular type of site. The same goes for pixel sites, customization sites, and untaken names sites. I have a general idea as to how they should run, but I am not very strong in this area. I will still answer questions and do grammatical checks for you, however, so don't despair!

I am a sophomore in college this year. I'm currently working on achieving a Master's degree in English with a minor in Creative Writing. (I hope to be a teacher some day.) Therefore, my time is sometimes limited, especially around finals. I do hope you'll understand.

I have a part-time job at an arcade near my house. During the school year, I can only work on weekends, leading to less free time. I usually review at night on weekends during the school year. During the summer, my schedule changes weekly. My reviews on weekends will have to fit into the space that I have left after work.

I am not very strong with coding, although I am able to do some simple things. Well, "used" to be able to do things is probably more accurate. I used to be able to code at least decently, but my two-year hiatus from site-making has dulled my senses. I do have friends who are able to help me with any coding problems that may occur, however!

Frequently Asked Questions

What made you start a review site?

Well, I really enjoy both reading and writing, and I absolutely love editing, so after seeing so many people asking for opinions about their sites on the Help Chat, I decided to open a review site. I'm sure the idea wasn't a new one, but I'd never seen a review site on Neopets before. You can read more about this in the Site History section.

What made you choose this theme?

I've always been fascinated with mythology, and the myths of the Sirens from Greek Mythology (as well as sailor's tales from around the world) always intrigued me. Some stories said they were beautiful, and some said they were hideous. [I chose to display their beautiful side, of course.] The idea of someone being lured to an island and trapped there appealed to me, so I created my theme around that.

Originally, Siren's Isle didn't have a story. It just had a name and a mermaid-themed layout. Over time, the story gradually appeared, but didn't make an impression farther than the introduction. After the very large revamp in 2011, though, I started adding more to the story.

Why don't you score personal pages/screenies/guild webbies/etc.?

Personally, I don't have enough experience with these sites in order to score them fairly. I will, however, do a Question & Answer rubric on them, and I will do a Spelling/Grammar check. These are some of the best things you can do to help your site along. I hope you'll understand!

Do I have to link back to your site?

Of course! I sometimes spend days on reviews (although most of them take several hours), and I would appreciate some recognition for my hard work. If you don't like the score, I'm sorry. You can always apply for a re-review in about a months' time, if you've revamped your site a little.

If you do a major revamp to your site, and my review is no longer relevant, you may remove my button if you like. I would still appreciate the recognition, though, and you can always make a note of, "This review took place before my revamp," so that people know it's an outdated score.

What made you take a two-year break from reviewing?

In short, Senior Year. I had so many different projects coming at me at once, and I needed to keep my GPA up so that I could graduate as Valedictorian. After I graduated, I was thrown into my summer job, as well as my first year of college, and I just couldn't find the time to do anything about any of my sites. It was heartbreaking to see them languishing about, but I didn't want to take them down and "kill them," so to speak.

What made you decide to come back?

I missed reviewing. I really, really did. I've always loved reviewing sites - there was a time when Siren's Song Reviews overshadowed Shattered Crystals Graphics (wow, that's a long time ago!) on my to-do list. Reviewing sites is the closest that I can get to editing without actually having to get face-to-face with someone. I tend to stammer when I'm nervous in real-life, but it's impossible to do that on the computer. That's why I love reviewing so much.

Site History

In 2008, I came across these things called "rating boards" on the Help Chat. Intrigued, I ventured in. I was soon thrown into a world of reviews and ratings, and I didn't want to stop.

Soon, however, people started getting WARNED for participating in these boards. Apparently TNT didn't like all of these "ratings" things, and they wanted them to stop. Cue my brain thinking, "What about a review site?" I hadn't seen anything like this on Neopets before, so I assumed, naively, that I had come up with a brilliant idea. It would be a way for me to hone my skills outside of my then-sorry-excuse-for-a graphics site.

Siren's Song Reviews opened up for business not long afterwards, in March 2008, and it was booming for a while. (I only regret that I have no pictures of this time, or this layout.) It was a simple page, and all of my reviews were short and to-the-point. The only thing I really focused on was the grammatical aspects of the sites. Most sites came away with high-90s reviews.

Review sites started popping up everywhere, and I was getting more and more sites to review. In 2009, I became friends with Cass (of Soroptimist fame) by reviewing her sites and helping her with a ton of things. I actually helped her start Soroptimist. (She was influenced by my link directory, Midnight Secrets, and the thought of being able to help the populace of Neopia.)

I started revamping my site more and more, and was soon getting more review requests than I knew what to do with! I didn't mind, though; I'd rush home from school and start on my requests!

I even made my first-EVER layout. I took a few scans from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap manga, and created a simple scrolling layout. (I really wish I had a screenshot of that. It was fantastic!) It was black-and-white; the only color was the navigation and the trailing blue vine border down the side. I was ecstatic. I had stayed up late for three nights, barely sleeping, so that I could get everything absolutely perfect. I really hated to let that layout go.

In 2010, after several more layout changes (I wish I could remember them all!), I reviewed a certain big-name anime site. (They have since closed down, so I'm not going to mention their name at all.) It was owned by two people. I only dealt with one of them while doing their review. Their site was a grammatical disaster, so I politely pointed out everything to them. I gave them high marks in every other category, however, and their final score was in the low-nineties.

That wasn't enough for Owner #1, as I'll call them. (The nice one was Owner #2, and I never dealt with her.) She proceeded to flame and harass me in Neomails, calling me a fake and a liar and "way to focused on gramer," and flamed me all over her site. She bad-mouthed my review site, called my graphic site "amateurish" and "n00bish," and even went so far as to trash my directory. It took a lot of groveling on my part (and I still don't know why I did that), but she eventually took the harassing "update" down.

The damage was done, though; I received only about one review request per month after that, despite repeated advertising through directories and on the Help Chat. Owner #1 had been vicious in her attack, and she had taken no prisoners. (I still have the screenshot of her rant on her site.) Owner #2 never talked to me, ever, even after her sister had pretty much verbally abused me. (TNT never did anything, either.)

So, regretfully, I took a hiatus from the reviewing world, and focused solely on my graphics site for a few months. (It wasn't getting much traffic, either, at least not request-wise. I still enjoyed making graphics, however.)

In early 2011, I realized that I wanted to get back into reviewing again. The site that had flamed me so badly had shut down due to inactivity, and not many people had high-quality review sites any more. I did a heavy revamp of Siren's Song Reviews, including changing the name AND getting a new layout. I also wrote a story for the site (since site stories had become a "thing" and all). I launched it to amazing success, and did a brisk business for a few months before Senior Year pretty much shut the site down indefinitely.

I did my last review in November 2011.

In July 2013, I realized I missed reviewing. I missed editing sites, I missed seeing what was out there, and I missed the site-making world. I took a quick look around some directories, and was shocked to see that most review sites were inactive or were listed as "low-quality." I decided then and there that I wanted to get back into the world.

My guild leader, Kiwi, decided to help. She, too, missed Siren's Isle. (She told me, "You were one of the only in-depth, high-quality reviewers out there. There aren't many of those left. I always enjoyed getting reviews from you.") She offered to make me a layout, and I jumped at the chance. If you've never seen her layouts, go to Vibe and check them out. Her premades are absolutely STUNNING.

On August 1, 2013, Siren's Isle made its redebut into the world of Neopia, ready to take on fresh sites for reviewing.

The Site Story

In the previous incarnation of Siren's Isle, I had a long, well-thought-out and highly-planned story to include on every single page of my layout. I decided that I wanted to include the story here, along with the title of the page that it would have been on. I hope you enjoy it!

Home Page

The sky stretches out above you; endless, vacant. The sea in front of you is empty. You're alone in this world, adrift on the waves. You can't remember exactly how you got here, but you do know that the piece of driftwood you're holding on to is your last defense against the unyielding waves. Waves. You spin yourself around in the water, but it's too late. A large wave crashes over you, and you're thrown off the driftwood, sinking deeper into the black sea.

Little one, wake up, a voice urges. You moan, feeling something gritty in your mouth. Little one! The owner of the voice sighs. She begins to sing.

You crack open your eyes. What is this...? you gasp. You're lying on a beautiful white beach. In front of you, sitting on a rock, is a young lady.

She laughs, a sound that makes you smile. Hello, kittycatisginger18. Welcome to my island. She spreads her arms wide and gestures to the world around her. I am the Siren of the island, and I will be reviewing your site today. She looks down, steps off the rock, and picks you up. She walks down the beach with you in her arms, and you realize that you no longer have the strength to walk and are glad that she is carrying you.

Something crosses your mind. My...my site? you manage to sputter. You mentioned...something about my site?

Reviewing. The Siren places you on a large, flat rock in the middle of the island. Where is your site, exactly? she asks, lifting her eyebrows.

You fish it out of your pocket. It's a little waterlogged, you reply sheepishly.

It is perfectly all right, she assures you. Might I see it? Now, a site like this requires time to review. Leave me be! I'll send my brother to you when I am done. Before she walks away, she turns back to you and glares. I hope you know that I do not have time for such frivolous things as fluffing reviews. Everything shall be the honest truth. The best sites will be rewarded. I hope you know that.

You nod eagerly, by now very anxious to have her review your site. You sit on the rock and watch her walk away. You notice something peculiar, something that sends a chill up your spine: she leaves no footprints.
She casts no shadow.
She's not human.

Reviews Page

You stare at the sea, watching the waves wash over the beach. There's nothing out there, no ships, no planes. Nobody's looking for you.

Someone coughs behind you. You jump out of your chair, sure it's the Siren coming back with your review. To your surprise, it's a scrawny teenage boy.

Here. He waves a seafoam-blue envelope under your nose. You've been waiting for this, right? He brushes his shockingly-white hair out of his eyes with a smirk.

Give it! you cry, jumping up. He holds the envelope high above your head, his violet eyes crinkling in laughter.

Oh, are you sure you really want this? he sighs, whipping it back and forth in the air. It's just a simple review. He shrugs, still keeping the envelope just out of your reach. It's nothing special.

You give up with a sigh and sit back down in the chair. No, you reply, it's nothing special.

Instantly, the boy drops his superior attitude. I'm sorry. It's just... He stares off into the distance. Nobody comes to visit me anymore. He hands you the envelope without another word. My sister's been thorough. I'm Josh, by the way.

You eagerly rip into the envelope from Josh's hands, not wanting to wait another second to see what the Siren has thought of your site. You notice the boy has vanished.

You open the letter with a trembling hand and begin to read.

Awards Page

Well?

You fall out of your seat in shock. Wh-wh-wha...?

Josh is back, crouching on the edge of the cliff in front of you. Well? he asks lazily. Didn't she say she'd be thorough?

You nod, a little disappointed. You didn't know that you had that many errors.

You'd better get going, he warns. There's a storm coming. If you get caught on the cliffs...well, you're not going to get off the island alive. He grins again.

You back up carefully. The boy's really starting to scare you. Between his violet eyes and his shockingly white hair, there's nothing about him that's remotely human. He's just like his sister.

I...I guess I'l be going now, you say faintly.

I hope to see you again. It gets so lonely up here... Josh dashes past you and flings himself off the cliff. You stifle a scream. What? He hovers in front of you, skeletal wings protruding from his back. I never said I'd die, did I? Now, you might want to go find somewhere to shelter from the storm. He flaps the wings once, twice, and soars above the cliffs, heading for the highest point. You watch him go, then carefully descend.

The Siren meets you at the bottom. Ah, she says, I see you've met my brother. She smiles warmly.

You head back to the beach with the Siren. Above you, you can hear the teen's joyful cackling as he swoops about on his wings.

That's it? you ask harshly, waving the paper in the Siren's face. Just like that?

The Siren smiles sadly and turns back to the ocean. I told you. Not many people come to see me anymore. I gave you the honest truth about your site. Whether you choose to accept it or not is your problem. You may or may not decide to change it. She sighs and begins to sing again.

I don't understand! you wail. What did I do wrong?

Absolutely nothing. Your site needed a review, and I gave you one. Now, she says, looking back at the piece of paper clutched in your hand, it appears that you have earned an award. Go ahead, take the one that your name is carved under. If you choose any other one, I shall know about it and shall imprison you on my island forever.

She turns again, and plunges into the sea. You're left with only the review paper, and the thought of collecting your award. You do so, quickly, and rush to the ocean's edge. There, you find a boat waiting to take you back to shore. Without a second thought, you leap into it. As the Siren's island fades behind you, you hear the Siren singing to herself.

I hope to find this place again one day, you think as you sail away. She could use the company.

This is from an old site review; she drew this for me in appreciation for reviewing her site. It has since closed down.

Old Reviews

Here, you'll find buttons linking to sites that I have previously reviewed. Their rubric selection and their score (if applicable) will appear if you hover over the button. If you're looking for some of my old reviews from 2011 (the few that I did that year), you can find them here. Pre-2011 reviews (all 200-something of them) were deleted when Siren's Song Reviews was revamped, and the coding disappeared from my computer. [Section idea from Frequent Flyer]

All reviews listed here are available upon request. I have them all saved to my computer.

Listed newest-oldest.

Leviathan | 32/55 | 58% | Not Recommended Josh | No Score Leviathan | 41/55 | 75% | Recommended Leviathan | 33/55 | 60% | Not Recommended Leviathan | 38/55 | 69% | Not Recommended Leviathan | 42/55 | 76% | Recommended Josh | No Score Leviathan | 49/55 | 89% | Recommended Leviathan | 39/55 | 71% | Not Recommended Leviathan | 44/55 | 80% | Recommended Leviathan | 45/55 | 84% | Recommended

Thank Yous

A lot of people don't realize it, but a site like Siren's Isle has a lot more than just one person behind it. There are a lot of people that have helped me get this site up and running, and a lot of sites out there as well. I would like to take the time to mention them, and I think that's what this section is for. If you would like to tackle this ginormous block of text, go right ahead. If it's too boring for you, go read the site story. I just want to recognize everyone who helped me get Siren's Isle back to its former glory!

As with any site, there are always so many people that I have to thank for helping me. Without you guys, The Site Formerly Known as Siren's Song Reviews (TSFKASSR) would never have been born in the first place. Now that it's simply called Siren's Isle, I have you guys to thank even MORE.

First up, there's my first true site-making friend, Kiwi. She's stuck with me through thick and thin. She's always there to help me solve those irritating coding problems (I think I've messed up the margins again! Gah! HELP!) and there to encourage me when my site traffic has again fallen below normal. She's encouraged me for almost four years now, ever since I came back to Neo after a long, long hiatus. Thank you, Kiwi, for all you've done. [She also made this AMAZING layout!]

Next up, we see the fabulous Siddey! She's gone through some tough decisions with me (Should I take the site down? Should I leave it up? What's up with the layout? You know what to do? Yeah? I'm having the same issue!) and somehow, we always come out on top. She runs two sites, Decoded [a coding-help site] and Golden Neopia [a competition site].

Thirdly, we have my wonderful, amazing, fantabulous guild, Scarlet Memories. You guys have always kept me going, even if I've had a terrible day and I feel like punching through a wall. The fact that the guild is now "officially" closed makes me a little sad, but that's what happens when people grow up and out, I suppose. We still talk frequently, but we don't try to put on events or create elaborate banners and whatnot. And that's just fine with all of us.

Fourthly, I would love to tell Rabbit that her graphics site is simply amazing! :3

Finally, I would like to give a shout-out to the many site-makers that got me here, even though they no longer frequent Neo. I try to hunt them down (unsuccessfully) outside these Viacom'd walls, but it's a bit difficult. So, in no particular order, here are their names:

Gabby, who got me started on graphic sites and used my review site several times throughout my first few months.

Sarah, who kept me going through some tough times and still found a way to make me laugh. (She also guessed my "true name," so to speak. My non-Neo name.)

Yume. Without you, I probably would have quit Neo long ago. Those few months with you in SM were fantastic; I only wish you had not quit. I miss you, Yume-san.

Link Back



Site Closed




Site Closed


Affiliates

Affilate requests are open.
Apply?

7/12



Listed At

Recommended Recommended


Credit

Layout designed and coded by Kiwi, made specifically for Kitty | PNG from Details

Open/Closed sign, Counter Base, Dividers, Bullets, and Neomail Me sign from The Lunch Box

Lots of help from How to Write Great Reviews. It was hard getting back into reviewing after taking such a long hiatus.

Loads of help from my BFF Kiwi, who was very nice with helping me figure out what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. Without her, my rules would still be long and wordy, and my introduction would not exist. You're the best, Kiwi.

Counter Started 19 July 2013.



NEOPETS, characters, logos, names and all related indicia are trademarks of Neopets, Inc., © 1999-2011.
® denotes Reg. US Pat. & TM Office. All rights reserved.
PRIVACY POLICY | Safety Tips | Contact Us | About Us | Press Kit
Use of this site signifies your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions.




Heads Up! You're about to leave Neopia!

You've clicked on a link that will take you outside of
Neopets.com. We do not control your destination's website,
so its rules, regulations, and Meepit defense systems will be
different! Are you sure you'd like to continue?



It is a journey
I must face...alone.
*dramatic music*
I want to stay on Neopets,
where the dangers of
Meepit invasion
are taken seriously.
Heads Up! You're about to leave Neopia!

You've clicked on a link that will take you outside of
Neopets.com. We do not control your destination's website,
so its rules, regulations, and Meepit defense systems will be
different! Are you sure you'd like to continue?



It is a journey
I must face...alone.
*dramatic music*
I want to stay on Neopets,
where the dangers of
Meepit invasion
are taken seriously.
Heads Up! You're about to leave Neopia!

You've clicked on a link that will take you outside of
Neopets.com. We do not control your destination's website,
so its rules, regulations, and Meepit defense systems will be
different! Are you sure you'd like to continue?



It is a journey
I must face...alone.
*dramatic music*
I want to stay on Neopets,
where the dangers of
Meepit invasion
are taken seriously.
/help/bumper/headers/log-in-to-facebook

NEOPETS, characters, logos, names and all related indicia
are trademarks of Neopets, Inc., © 1999-2014.
® denotes Reg. US Pat. & TM Office. All rights reserved.

PRIVACY POLICY | Safety Tips | Contact Us | About Us | Press Kit
Use of this site signifies your acceptance of the Terms and Conditions