Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Friday, October 11, 2013

NBI: Blog Layout

OK, I'm stirring the pot a bit here, but I've seen this tidbit of advice before, particularly from Tobold:
Just a short advice post for new bloggers, based on one of the dirty little secrets of gaming blogging: Most of your readers will read your blog from their work computers during office hours. When they are at home on their gaming computers, they'll rather play games than read about them. In consequence it is advised to keep your blog "safe for work": No sound, few graphics, and a color layout that looks sufficiently neutral to look like a serious website from a distance. Your readers will thank you for that!
But Tobold himself takes it to an extreme. News sites like BBC, CNN, and Fox News are not nearly as dreary as Tobold's layout. I will agree that a neutral color scheme with no sound is a great choice for a "serious" blog. This isn't MySpace. But whether you have extensive graphics in your blog posts is far more dependent on your chosen subject matter and format than consideration of your audience's reading locale. For example, if you're doing something like Hipstalotro, a self-imposed ban on graphics would doom your blog. So don't be afraid to include screenshots or other pictures that will help tell your story or get your point across.

However, here's another dirty little secret. Depending on your company—and some of my IT department readers can back me up here—there is a good chance your blog will be blocked by the net nanny software in place. In my case, just about every MMO-related website not ending in "blogspot" or "wordpress" is blocked on my office network, as well as many that do. I can't even get to Tobold's supposedly work-friendly layout, even though we both use Blogger. So I had to copy that quote from my phone to my computer through email.

Another huge chunk of your readership will be reading from a mobile device or an RSS aggregator like Feedly, so they won't see your precious layout anyway.

OK, break's over. Now get back to work!


  1. Along those lines, schedule posts for when people would read them, such as during the workday. No one is reading blogs at 2am (26:00 if you're on a 24 hour clock) and consequently, they're more likely to get buried or stale.

    1. Hahah: 26:00

      But I agree. I generally post during the day, and publicize again on Twitter a few hours later. Again, for those who subscribe and/or use a feed reader, this is less important.

    2. While I've never seen 26:00 being used in Europe (and the US seems to not believe in hours above 12 anyway), it's a cute quirk in Japan. You see it a lot on bars and clubs that have opening hours like "20:00 - 27:00" or something like that.

      This random useless piece of information is brought to you by Random Waypoint. ;)

      My "trick" is that I often schedule posts to appear around Europe noon, so they will appear further to the top in blogspot-like blogrolls during times where few new posts are published. The idea is that they stay up there for longer. I can't say it has done much for page views though, or at least I don't think so. It's probably mostly just superstition, and by now routine: even if I write a post in the evening, I often proofread it once more during a coffee break at work before publishing it.

    3. Haha, I'm always trying to get the rest of my family to run on a 24 hour clock. They think it's too confusing.

  2. I managed to miss out on this post somehow, but wise words, as usual.

    In addition, I'm writing my blog for my own fun, and not just to get most readers. I really like colours and pictures (which should be pretty hard to miss if you look at my blog), hence the joking "gamer girl". If you're too serious for that and refuse to use a reader, well then you're going to miss out on it, your loss. After all I'm not trying to make money out of this, it's supposed to be fun! Making your blog read like a boring newspaper just because some people have the habit to secretly read blogs during job times goes waaay too far in my book.

    I also thought about the best-time-to-post thing, but seeing that 90 percent of my readership is from America (= the other side of the world for me) plus me not knowing what timezone within that huge country they're from, I really have no clue what time would be best. With the Blogspot analytics I can't see any specific peeks in view moments either (apart from maybe, just after I've posted something - duh), so there's just not enough info to really care about this. I think your individual rhythm as a writer should weigh more.

    1. I get your posts in my email, anyway. ;) Though I do try to get over there to give you the hits. That's something that new bloggers need to be aware of. Your readership may be larger than you think based on the few trackers you may have going. And far more people will your posts than will comment on them.