Drive-by-Shooting Sunday: Sushi Day

“Trust me, James. You’re going to love this.”

Just the word ‘trust’ set off radars in James’ head. And the thought of sushi brought on all kinds of associations of eating raw fish and other yucky things he would rather not think about.

So he perked up and tried distraction. “How about McDonald’s instead? Cheeseburgers are good. Mmm… cheeseburgers…You like those.”

“No, sushi’s fine, thanks,” Harry smiled. He’d been looking forward to visiting this particular sushi bar since last week’s hit and he wasn’t going to be talked out of it.

The silver Solstice pulled up in front of the restaurant. Right away Harry knew this place was a class act. The maroon sign with its subtle background textures in told him this was going to be a five-star dining experience.

At least for Harry. “I really don’t want to eat raw fish,” James winced and sighed.

Today’s hit is Sushi Day, the blog of Allison Day. Here’s what the site looked like when we drove by:

“Absolutely stunning.” Harry stood by the parked car, admiring the design of the sign above. “Look at that. It’s like fine silk. Just your kind of place, James.”

For a class act, this site’s first impressions hit the nail of smooth on the head. The shade of red is a beautiful choice, very grounded and conveying luxurious credibility. The background image is well chosen and subtly placed to enhance effect without being distracting.

The title font is modern yet retains an Asian flavor without the cheesy script or imitation fonts usually used for oriental styles of writing. The lower case ‘d’ that resembles a sushi roll is perfect in simplicity and relevance.

The banner is beautiful yet not at all overbearing or overwhelming. The mood of the site is perfectly set at first glance.

One problem is that the featured recipe link in the bar is so small that it’s easy to overlook, as is the archives link to the side. Perhaps using a different color for the background of the buttons or giving them a border would help. They’re too discreet as is and it’s easy to just slide right by them.

“C’mon.” Harry tugged on James’ jacket, eager to get inside. They walked in and were served immediately – yes, this place was class from head to toe. There was no bustle or loudness, and the room was quiet, yet upbeat and invigorating.

The interior design was laid out in traditional simplicity and functionality, the foundations of everything the Japanese do. This restaurant was no exception. There was no clutter, there was plenty of space, and the room was a delight to the eye.

That lack of clutter and clean space is refreshing, so well done on that. The RSS (although a little small) is where it should be, ads are minimal and blend in well with good color, and there’s whitespace to help keep the fresh look.

However. Looking down the right-hand sidebar, there’s a huge chunk of white space after the t-shirt ad that doesn’t need to be there. There’s also another huge chunk after the “hunger” ad that doesn’t need to be there either. Whitespace is good – but not too much.

The Foodbuzz ad is okay – not sure why it’s there, though, and it doesn’t make me want to click.

The following images of sushi are very nice – the photography on this blog is amazing and magazine-quality clear. However, they come off as just images until we hover over and notice they actually lead to the recipes. Clarify that with a headline at the very least to encourage people to click.

Harry kicked off his shoes and knelt on the pillow, prodding James to do the same. A waitress in a traditional kimono appeared at the sliding rice paper door and handed them both a menu.

“Dude! Look at this!” Harry pointed, his eyes lighting up. “They have a sushi roll named after me!”

The waitress gave him a sly smile and Harry looked up at her. “How’d you know?”

“We have our sources,” she gave a half-bow.

Harry wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or nervous. In their line of business, too much personal information could be dangerous.

James ignored the exchange, scowling at the menu. “Is there anything without raw fish?” The waitress pointed a delicate finger at a selection with smoked salmon, tomato, basil and pesto. “Oh, that looks good. Okay, give me that.”

She took the menus and left. That’s when James leaned over. “I can’t even read half the stuff that was on there. Did you see? Maki, Nigiri…”

We certainly saw. In the left-hand sidebar, the font is huge. Bloody huge, which looks very odd compared to the rest of the site. Yes, you want people to notice that’s your navigation, yes, you want them to click, but it’s screaming big in an otherwise lovely blog.

The titles are clear, though. This type of recipe, that type, the end. Well done. The glossary is a nice touch, too, especially for novices wanting to get into the art of making sushi.

For those titles, we suggest changing “Other Posts” to something more relevant. That’s far too vague to be attractive. What kind of posts? How about “More On Sushi” or even break up the categories into “Restaurant Reviews” and “Book Reviews”?

There’s also an odd break in the navigation, separating the posts from the Contact info and About info. That doesn’t need to happen, so tighten it up.

“I like the pictures,” James whispered. He nudged his chin to the wall, where beautiful pictures of sushi and other restaurants lined the walls. “I mean, the food looks pretty enough to eat…” And it certainly did, though his keen eye noticed the gleaming fish eggs tucked in each roll.

A delicacy, some said. James shuddered.

Just as with any recipe book or restaurant, the main attraction is the food. This blog highlights Allison’s tasty creations beautifully. They aren’t stock photos, and each picture is the work of her significant other, Son. It’s impressive work worthy of a glossy magazine and only highlights the appeal of this blog.

In the right-hand sidebar below the navigation, there are a few more ads, again un-obtrusive and nicely blending in.

There are, however, a large number of links to other sites and we suggest dropping some, as there are just too many. The titles of the blogs are also confusing, because we expect to see more recipes or pages from the Sushiday blog itself.

In fact, that’s what’s missing – tantalizing titles of other recipes and posts in the sidebar. Why not have a small selection of five of the best recipes that you’d like to highlight?

“Are you sure I’m going to like this?” James stared at the sushi that stared back at him while Harry obviously enjoyed his dish.

“You’ll never know until you try.”

He shifted on his pillow. “My knees are hurting.”

“Whiner.”

James eyed the roll on his plate skeptically. “What if it’s poisoned?”

“Oh, James, for cripes’ sake.” Harry rolled his eyes. “Just eat it already, would you?”

Want more? You got it. Check out the lineup of upcoming hit jobs:

November 23 – The D Spot Redux
November 30 – The Antisocial Social Worker
December 7 – Writer Dad
December 14 – Deaf Mom World
December 21 – Linkers Blog

Apologies for having to move everyone ahead a week. But don’t worry… we’re coming. Are you scared?

Note: Requests for free drive-bys are closed. We’ll start taking names again in December for January’s hits. em>

Want your blog shot down? Hit us up for a professional private drive-by via email. It’s only $30, and you’ll get your shoot-out within a week. Come on. You know you wanna.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. Poor Allison.. you guys were SO hard on her!

    >>we suggest changing “Other Posts” to something more relevant. That’s far too vague to be attractive.<<

    Meanies!

    RhodesTer’s last blog post…The weirdest directions I ever gave..

  2. Now the real question is… did James actually eat the sushi?

    Thanks to you, Harry, the RSS button is now beautifully fixed. :)

    Regarding the whitespace complaint… I’m confused. I don’t see the whitespace that you’re talking about – all I see is the large FoodBuzz Ad (which is there because it actually makes me decent money, for an ad) but no more whitespace between it and the shirt ad above or the sushi pictured below than between the posts. FoodBuzz often has a lot of whitespace within their ads… maybe that’s what you’re referring to? If so, I have no control over that.

    For the side navigation, yes sir! You’re right, it is kind of blaring, isn’t it.

    Erm, right. I do need to say something about clicking through to the post to get the recipe, because some people *cough cough* Harry *cough cough* might skim and completely miss the recipe. ;)

    The popular posts list is a great idea. I’ll get right to that!

    As for you, James, I have LOTS of recipes that involve absolutely no fish whatsoever. You’ll see…

    Allison Day’s last blog post…Dynamite Roll

  3. Better get that cough looked at, Allison.. it may be some sort of fish related allergy.

    RhodesTer’s last blog post…The weirdest directions I ever gave..

  4. RhodesTer – I know, they’re so harsh. :P

    I blame the cough on the wildfires.

    Allison Day’s last blog post…Dynamite Roll

  5. You violent people. Are you *asking* for us to shred people and shoot them full of holes? They’d bleed all over the food!

    @ Allison – Screenshot sent. I don’t know if it’s the ad or not doing that, but it’s a huge chunka’ space.

  6. James – I see what you mean, and it’s the ad. If we had that much whitespace, I think Son would have a heart attack. ;)

    Violent? Of course not. By the way, did anyone order the fugu? :D

  7. Allison,

    You and Son have a great site – very elegant and appealing. Also the photography is outstanding. All of which has already been said by James and Harry above but which deserves mentioning again.

    Mark

  8. James,

    I’ve always loved Sushi Day, I can’t say a word against it. Plus you did manage a couple of words against it, somehow, though it’s one of the most lovely, peaceful, easy-to-read blogs in the blogosphere. It could nearly, umm, not quite, but nearly make me want to try sushi. I go for the eye-candy.

    Even if I wanted to say something negative, I can’t because I’m all choked up still over Son’s birthday post. *sniff, sniff* Everybody’s dream. *sniiiiiiff*

    Beautiful blog, Allison. Don’t you let the meanies get you down. I know you’ll have everything tweakable, tweaked in record time.

    The hit men got off easy this week.

    Regards,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post…Tip of the Week: The Empty Office

  9. Mark – Thank you so much! It’s made Son’s day hearing all the fantastic things everyone is saying about his design and his photography. :)

    Kelly – Awww, shucks. Thank you! You people all have me grinning from ear to ear. :D

    Oh don’t worry, I’ll get you to eat sushi one of these days. I’m already working on James, and very close to a breakthrough! ;) It isn’t all raw fish, you know. And if it’s nori (seaweed) you don’t like, it’s very easy to make a roll using a different, not-so-exotic wrapper.

    Though if you won’t eat sushi because you don’t like rice… there really is no helping you. ;)

    Allison Day’s last blog post…Together, we are Alli-Son

  10. … what on earth is up with CommentLuv? First it pulled today’s post, then on my third comment nothing, and now it’s pulling yesterday’s post.

    It’s going backwards… did James trying sushi create a tear in the space-time continuum?

    Stop me now, before I go all science geek on you.

    Allison Day’s last blog post…Together, we are Alli-Son

  11. @ Allison – No, space-time warping belongs in someone else’s talent lines. :)

  12. Allison,

    CommentLuv always messes with me here at MWP. I’ve learned not to look.

    Umm, when you can get me a sweet-cheese and chocolate chip filled sushi, wrapped in a baked cookie…

    Oh, wait, that’s cannoli. Too late!

    Until then, I’ll just have to content myself with looking at your always-lovely site.

    Until later,

    Kelly

    Kelly’s last blog post…Tip of the Week: The Empty Office

  13. There’s something nearly intoxicating about watching friends shoot friends. Just sayin. ;-)

    P.S. James, I don’t do fish either, but Allison sent me some very good vegetarian sushi recipes. She can also make tofu taste like steak. (Well, almost.) :-)

    Amy Derby’s last blog post…I’m tired of Fiction Friday. Let’s talk about cloning. Or how to lose weight while flipping real estate.

  14. James – I’ve been trying to figure out what you meant by that all day, and it’s just not happening. I blame lack of sleep. And the wildfires.

    Kelly – One of these days I’ll get you, my pretty. *cackles*

    Seriously… that actually might be really good in sushi. Like, a dessert sushi. *wheels are turning*

    Amy – *gasp* You *like* to see me get shot?!?! :( Though technically, no one actually got hurt this time. ;)

    It’s okay, I’ll forgive you… you always love the vegetarian recipes I send you. :D

    Allison Day’s last blog post…Dynamite Roll

  15. All I can think of after reading this is “when you do my drive by, please leave me as intact as you have left Allison!” :)

    Sushi Day is a great site and I love sushi, as long as there are no fish eggs in there!

    Karen Putz / DeafMom´s last blog post…A Neat Gift: GiiNii Digital Picture Frame

Trackbacks

  1. […] Sushi Day was the victim of a Drive-By Shooting! Hop on over there to see what they said about Sushi Day… but don’t worry, their […]

  2. Dynamite Roll @ Get The Food . Info says:

    […] Sushi Day was the victim of a Drive-By Shooting! Hop on over there to see what they said about Sushi Day… but don’t worry, their […]

Leave a Comment

*