Improve my blog’s look

My solo blog is one month old today. I’m reasonably happy with the way it’s going – I’ve enjoyed writing it, there have been some excellent comments, nobody has breached the comments policy (though one person came close), it has prompted some discussion at other blogs, and I have been able to use posts in the media. The daily page views could be higher – averaging 247 a day since I started, though the navel-gazing of the last few days seems to have produced a bit of a surge. But it’s early days yet, and with a Technorati rank of 173,201 I’m ahead of about 56.6 million of the other blogs they claim to be monitoring.

But one thing I don’t like is the look of the blog, which is boring, and the fact that I can’t get the comments sidebar to work. If anyone can recommend someone to redesign it for a reasonable price I’m interested in hearing suggestions. I can be contacted via andrew AT andrewnorton.info

13 thoughts on “Improve my blog’s look

  1. Andrew – the look is ok. I notice that the econo-blogs and politico-blogs are often overly academic (which is necessary in part for the community you work in) and can be repetitive based on he says, I say, she says, are you a liberal or not, etc?

    My view of that navel gazing is it’s fine – but frankly will only get you readers of Catallaxy, LP, ClubT etc – who tune in for the latest stoush. Outside of those circles – I mean who cares what you think of the post at LP.

    Try base broadening by direct and personal marketing. Use the forums and hand people marketing info. Accounting firms, big law firms, politico-staffers, company execs, etc, etc are good sources of potential readers – both from the ‘l’iberal thinkers and the economically minded.

    My view is – be a Magazine not a blog. Write about a variety of stuff or link to interesting stuff – get the professions reading it, etc. Get 10,000 views a day and advertise!

    I think the Economist is a great editorial that can be used as a guide for what the 1 million readers it has want. Mostly comment, but a bit of fun as well.

    My thoughts.

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  2. Aside, I think overall the editorial is more magazine than other blogs. I think Andrew Leigh has a very defined editorial which is good but is not a magazine style. But at least you go there for a reason in mind. Some of the other blogs can be a bit random.

    I don’t know – going more magazine-ish with pictures and guests and interviews as well as your writing is a compromise – will it dumb down. If you don’t go magazine and want to keep it in the academic sphere then Leigh’s tight style has real merit as well in my view. Keeping it tight is the other direction I think could work.

    I just think the he says, she says stuff is overdone by all the “community” and doesn’t encourage new people in.

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  3. The look is fine in my view – people come here for the quality of your content, not the way the site looks.

    Have you figured out how to get a recent comments feature working yet? If people know what discussions are going on where you might automatically generate more traffic just through interesting thread discussions.

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  4. Hey Andrew, you beat my ranking! Don’t worry too much about how the site looks, like others I visit it for the content. It’d be good if you could set up a recent comments section, but otherwise, it’s pretty nice.

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  5. Andrew,

    I’m too busy at the moment but if you’re still struggling in a few weeks time, I’d be happy to help you fix the comments box and setup a wordpress theme.

    I’ve enjoyed your posts free of charge for a couple of years now and am happy to give something back.

    Cheers.

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  6. Andrew, I’m sorry I haven’t followed up with you on my offer of technical assistance: I’ve been a bit busier than expected in the last few weeks, but I am still willing to help when I’ve got the time.

    Yobbo’s suggestion is the best one for choosing a new design for free — pay more attention to the structure and shape of the layout than its colour and graphics, which can be easily changed. If you pick one out I’ll be happy to help you tweak it to your taste and install it, as well as adding the “Recent Comments” plugin you are after.

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  7. Wot Scott said too. If I want stimulating graphics rather than stimulating intellectual discussion, I’ll go to Yobbo’s blog and check out GirlFriday!

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  8. The recent comments plugin is working thanks to Robert coming to my rescue (and testing it to make sure). I decided against a larger site redesign, as several people told me not to bother and nobody encouraged me to go ahead.

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