Now, blog redesigns are fraught with potential problems (this is not our first redesign, but so far, all Neatorama's theme changes had been incremental and evolutionary - I'm thinking that we should shake it up by a lot this time), some people simply hate change, and it's just nice to have our readers to be involved - so let me ask you: what can we do to improve the blog? What should and shouldn't we do in this redesign?
There are things that I can't change: we need ads to help defray the cost of running the blog, so eliminating ads is not a viable option (though we try to keep the number of ad spots to a minimum), and no, we won't get rid of the Upcoming Queue :) (I believe the quality of front-paged UQ posts have improved greatly since the last Great Upcoming Queue Revolt of 2009)
I'd like to keep Neatorama's "everything on the front page" philosophy. We've had this from the start: all of Neatorama's full posts (and comments - if you check the "show comment" box in the footer of the blog) are visible on the front page. The good thing about it is that there's not a lot of clicking. The bad thing is that there's a lot of scrolling - the blog's front page can get quite long. For an ad-supported blog, this philosophy is quite paradoxical. After all, a lot of clicking translates into more pageviews and therefore more ad revenue. But we're not shooting ourselves in the foot here: I believe Neatorama is more reader-friendly because of it and that this philosophy encourages frequent repeat visits. After all, 31.8 million visitors in 2009 (and growing) couldn't be wrong, could they?
There's a lot of things to consider:
- Do you guys use the Browse by Date and Browse by Tag features on the side bar? Should we keep those or get rid of 'em?
- What do you guys think about social media buttons? Are those used or are they just graphical flotsam that should be culled to make the design cleaner?
- Should we expand or contract the long list of categories?
- Should we make the pictures and text larger? Monitor sizes have increased over the years so it makes sense to make things larger on the blog, but that will probably make it harder to read the blog from your iPhones.
Above all, I'd appreciate your input and feedback. Love it or hate it, I'd like to hear what you think about Neatorama. Best 5 comments (it doesn't have to be related to the redesign, and it doesn't have to be all lovey dovey - your honest opinions about the blog, please) will get free T-shirts from the Neatorama Shop.
Thank you!Update 1/4/10 - Wow, thanks for the thoughtful responses, guys. Do you think that we have too many posts on Neatorama? Too few? Should we do more long posts or less? Update #2 - The Nokia banners are for a temporary ad campaign. So don't worry about it being the redesign, mmkay? Update 2/24/10 - Sorry it took a while! (Lots of things to do) There are so many good comments and suggestions - thank you everyone for all of your help! It's hard to pick 5 winners, but pick we must. So congratulations to Justin, giltwist, shadowfirebird, OddNumber, and Krista (Awesome poem! Thank you!) who won the T-shirts.