Website Review: www.9jamom.com – Connecting Nigerian Moms Everywhere

9jamom.com is a recent attempt to connect Nigerian mothers everywhere on the globe. Founded in January 2011 by Olukemi Macaulay-Newman (a.k.a The Lazy 9ja Mom) who serves as the Managing Editor, it is a multi-functional community and portal providing parenting news, resources & support for all Nigerian mothers, mothers-to-be & dads. As a registered member you can contribute and read relevant articles on parenting, join Groups and make meaningful contribution to ongoing discussion threads, and link up with other users via friendship invitations and inbox messages. You could even share your favourite pictures and videos.

On arrival at the home page, a rather ‘over-size’ banner, which covers at least half of your screen, welcomes you. The design is pleasing to the eye, but could still use some help: the banner could be cropped further at the top, whilst the sub-menu text, under the drop-down menus, would look better in lower case than in capital.

There is so much to keep you hooked, going by the several categories available; whether you want to read product reviews and shop on Amazon via the 9jamom link, stay abreast of news, or read insightful blog posts from experienced mother-bloggers. Though members of the website management team are quite active on the portal, aggressive publicity and the input of more original-content writers and bloggers would bring more life to the seemingly deserted neighbourhood, even though there are over 305 members signed up already. High-quality, engaging, original content is expensive, hence the need to explore more creative ways and cheaper means to grow the community up to maturity, when the site could conveniently begin to pay writers.

9jamom.com is a welcome development; and, hopefully it will endure through the seasons and grow to become the biggest and the best. Perhaps, 9jamom would be the Nairaland.com for Nigerian mothers. Visit the website, take part in the 70 plus discussion threads, add to the 52 plus blog posts, and spread the word.

Website Review: Omojuwa.com – The Book Of Revolution

SINCE JAPHETH Omojuwa made the first blog post in November 2009, Omojuwa.com has continued to wax stronger in the depth and breadth of its analysis of mainstream politics and governance discourse.

Gradually, but surely, increasing in its influence in the blogosphere, it has today attracted quite a number of guest bloggers who constantly feed the yearning minds of Nigerians with unique opinions and fresh perspective on national issues. Lanre Olagunju, a.k.a Larigold, is one of the most regular authors.

In July 2011, Omojuwa.com won the Best Political Blog category at the Nigerian Blog Awards 2011. Aside politics and governance, which constitute at least sixty per cent of the discourse, the website features interviews and general pieces about people, liberty, entertainment and relationships. Occasionally, you get a dose of fiction, poetry, or perhaps some random musing. If you are a lover of all that is text, then you should find the website comfortable.

The theme design is not exceptional, and do not expect top quality images to accompany the posts. Also, readability needs to be improved. Nevertheless, Omojuwa.com is definitely one to watch out for; it is leading a silent revolution.

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This review was first published in the Issue 6 of Y! Magazine (October – December 2011).

Website Review: Guerilla Basement

Guerilla Basement is a nascent website owned by Wana Udobang, a writer, journalist, and broadcaster. What began as a blog in November 2008, is surely cooking up the content-to-beat. A creative arts-centred website, it offers visitors something on books, film, music, poetry and photography by way of features and news and events on the world of arts.

GB also features interviews of notable Nigerian artists, writers and photographers. Some of the notable interviewees include award-winning Nigerian-Dutch writer, Chika Unigwe, Afro-German performing artist, Bantu, and widely-celebrated London-based Nigerian photographer, Jide Alakija, whose works have been featured a number of times on the site. The website has also featured works from visual artists, including Ananaba Ibeabuchi.

The pair of Tahirah A. and Biodun Adebiyi keeps you refreshed with excellent work presented in a unique voice offering intellectual content and entertainment. Guerilla Basement is like an exotic piece of embroidery in the works, gradually assuming shape in the hands of the master weaver. The truly artsy would love it. The articles on the site are unique and blissfully authentic.

Though a breath of fresh air in its message and discipline – Guerilla Basement is dedicated to providing online content on arts and culture in Nigeria – fans would like to see more content, more vibrancy, and enrichment in the writing. That said, Guerilla Basement is a promising venture by all accounts.

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This review was first published in the Issue 5 of Y! Magazine (July-September 2011).

Website Review: BellaNaija.com – All That’s Cool on Naija

BellaNaija was created on 1 July 2006 as a blog, but five years down the line, it has morphed into a full-fledged website with well-written material for that avid community of Nigerian internet readers. It is certainly one of the most popular websites of its kind in Africa – enough for its founder to appear on Oprah and CNN! Every day, over twenty thousand unique visitors from across the globe check in for inspiration, entertainment, and useful information.

Columns range from News & Features to Movies & TV. The Music column is a dynamic platform for both the underdogs and the established in the Nigerian music industry. Relationships, perhaps the most frequently visited of all ten columns, has a predominantly female community converging to discuss love, life partners, heartbreaks and marital stress. Comments can get as long as 750 words! Beautiful writers like Glory Edozien, Ejire, and Wana Udobang always bring fresh perspectives to seemingly over-flogged subjects.

The Wedding section is another high-traffic corner – readers swallowing the latest weddings, and commenting on planning, gowns, décor, photography, love story, exotic cars, and expensive suits. Career and inspiring stories are not left out of the mix with periodic features and in-depth interviews with some of Nigeria’s best – innovators, young leaders, and entrepreneurs.

Whatever gets on BellaNaija immediately gets cool, and it’s testament to the incredible hard work of the team behind it. Well done guys.

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This review was first published in the Issue 2 of Y! Magazine (October-December 2010), but has been slightly modified here.