Blogs frustrate me – and they probably frustrate you too. They make life easy for their authors by allowing them to easily post content.
But they make life difficult for readers by, for the most part, providing a single time-based reading option, with the newest content at the top of the page.
If, for example, you previously stopped by my site, you might have only caught a couple of my most recent posts.They may not have been my best ones and they might not have been the most popular, as deemed by my readers or the blogosphere. In the end, I lose out because I did not convert that visitor to a reader and the visitor loses out because they might not have found what they wanted.
In order to make blogs more valuable to their authors and their readers, I believe it is necessary to challenge traditionally accepted blog layouts. And that is exactly what I have done with my latest re-design.
One of the primary motivations for making my blog “less bloggy”, is to appeal to the less technically savvy. My goal is to capture visitors who are new to blogs, trying to get smarter about the web, etc. The homepage of my site now resembles something more of a news site with the latest entry highlighted, followed by three excerpted posts, and nine title-only entries. The bottom section (title-only) also provides direct access to the entirety of my archive.
Another trend I’ve continually bucked, which is further highlighted with this re-design, is opting for displaying fewer high-level categories over many detailed ones. I have three parent-level categories – Strategy and Marketing, Tech and Productivity, and Society and Culture. I’ve decided to direct readers to those, as opposed to a deluge of granular categories that many visitors probably wouldn’t even understand. Each parent-level category links to a page that shows the entirety of those excerpted entries (e.g., Strategy and Marketing).
I’ve also added some “bling” (def.) in my sidebar. Notable elements include tabbed sections that let you to toggle “Greatest Hits” / “Recent Comments” or “Get Web Wisdom” / “Get E-mail Updates” and the very cool Shelfari widget. My Web Wisdom form allows visitors to make contact with me from anywhere on my site and ask me questions about the web. The Shelfari widget helps me highlight some of my business book selections (I’ll be adding more books and reviewing some of them in the future).
A special thanks to Blazer Six for bringing my newest vision to fruition. I started off this effort by sending them a very detailed wireframe that they definitely improved upon during the design and development process. I’ve worked with Blazer Six for just under two years now – on my own projects and as a partner on others – and they continue to deliver. If you would like to get connected with them, please drop me a line.