Case Study #3 Tonino Sarandrea

Overview of Shana Butler’s Blog

Shana Butler’s blog, Boston and Beyond, focuses on her journey from studying abroad, traveling the United States, and finally, studying for the highly complicated and intensive CPA exam. The first post was uploaded to her website in early April of 2015, but she has been more active on the page since 2017, uploading at least one post per month for the past two years. Shana Butler currently works in Public Accounting as an auditor at Grant Thornton, but her hobbies include photography and writing for her blog posts.

Analysis

Layout of the Blog: When first visiting the site, the visuals and colors of the blog are very appealing and friendly for the user to see. The white background, complimented by the picture of the Handcock tower and Boston Public Gardens provides the reader with the mindset that the Blog is vibrant. The title, Boston and Beyond describes Shana’s experience being from Boston, but also, explains to the person viewing the blog, that Shana loves to travel, and loves to share their experiences beyond just the confines of the greater Boston area. Underneath the title of the blog, there are a list of drop down menus organized by categories of interest for the user to interact with. The titles include the home page, a general photography page, a International page, a general blog page, a Boston page, as well as a USA page about her adventures around the United States, and finally a page about her journey to pass all four parts of the CPA exam.

Shana’s social media presence in her blogs is clearly seen, with multiple links to her Facebook page. Although her Instagram is not visible on this blog, there are not any links to her Instagram page, which does share much of the same content that her blog does have. The footer of her blog is organized well, with categories for different types of content including arts, travel, food and college life to name a few. However, although all of the blog is about Shana’s life and experiences, on the homepage, there is no description or bio about her life, but rather a short catchphrase about what the blog right below the title.

Content: One of the most popular and appealing part of Shana’s blog is her photography page and the photos that she personally takes for each one of her blog posts. She uses a Nikon D7000 camera for most of her photography posts, followed by a blog that describes her photo or a specific experience she had. In the screenshot below, Shana explains her passion for photography on her photography page, and follows it with a gallery of beautiful photos from around the United States and in many International locations, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, and Morocco.

Along with intriguing her audience in with pictures, some of her blog titles are able to capture a wide audience to her website in order to engage interaction from the users. For example, one of her articles, titled,”TOURIST RESTAURANT TRAPS & HOW TO AVOID THEM” Shana describes her experience abroad and how she has fallen into some tourist trap restaurants, and wants to explain to her audience how to avoid these restaurants that do not have good food and take advantage of tourists. She goes on to list multiple tips such as checking trip advisor and avoiding places that solicit business from outside their stores, and she makes sure to include pictures of her foods that she enjoyed while she was abroad to further entice her audience.

However, along with including blogs about her travel experiences around different places in the United States and abroad, Shana also includes her experience about studying for the CPA exam, a struggle that all accounting students must go through at least once in their career. Unlike her other blog posts, these posts are not filled with fun pictures, but rather a sharing of the true reality on the pains of trying to pass these exams. She explains to the audience the struggles of failing one of the exams by one point, as well as offering study tips to the readers who are currently studying for the CPA exam.

For most of Shana’s posts, she gets a minimal amount of comments, and has around 300 followers on her blog. However, for her other forms of social media, she boasts over 1 thousand followers on her Instagram and has much more audience interaction than just for her blog. Especially because of her excellent photography skills, the Instagram audience caters more towards attractive photos than the blogging audience, and while her writing is strong, it is not as strong as her photography skills.

Conclusion

Shana has done an excellent job at making a blog about her life and making it look extremely professional and clean. The visuals are stunning and the layout of the blog is easy to navigate based on what content the user wants to engage with. The photography is professional quality and extremely engaging. However, there is a lack of blog posts that are engaging to blog users, since most of the content is catered towards an Instagram type audience. There are some blogs, such as the tourist trap blogs, that do a good job of engaging users and providing them tips on how to avoid tourist traps, and in the future, Shana should consider expanding on that type of content. Also, the addition of adding her CPA experience brings the accounting audience into her blog posts, and accountants are always looking for tips and tricks on how to study for the CPA exam, as well as learn from people’s experiences on the CPA exam and how to improve on other’s mistakes.

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