Thanks for the feedback, Purplecow. I dont' take offense to anything since I asked for an honest opinion. :)
I was thinking the same thing about the sidebar...too busy. I guess what I really need to have there is enticing information that will convince visitors to read more. But, what? I have the drop down categories that I like because it shows the post titles...but what else?
My goals are two fold: I want to promote myself & my brand, but I also want to monetize my work somehow. So, I've tried to keep my own info (social networks, subscriber form, recognition) above the fold or close to it. And then I put some affiliate ads up, but not many conversions are happening yet. So, I was thinking of taking them down (again..I did this once before) and creating some of my own info products.
I like the look of blogs like Copyblogger or many of the other top blogs because they are simple and focus more on making the content what stands out rather than the colors or flashy design. So, I guess I like the white background, but I screwed up my uncluttered idea by cluttering my sidebar. :(
I'm thinking I probably don't need the Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs widget, plus I've read that anything that calls another site slows down load time.
I also want to promote more blog comments and build a community, so I think promoting my commenters with a top commenter and/or recent comments display would help.
I'm not a girly-girl that likes a lot of frills, but more of a strong female voice with a trendy, no bs, feisty spin. By the way, I spent HOURS making that header in GIMP from scratch because I couldn't find anything to reflect my personality..so it is amateur, but I'd want to stay close to that feel, if you know what I mean.
What about the tabs at the top? Lame, huh? I don't like them. It's all about me, and nothing to offer my readers. No resources.
Thanks again for any feedback!