Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

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JasonR
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by JasonR » Fri May 05, 2017 9:00 pm

A text heavy site (100%?) allows for some opportunities to use typography well.
Graphy seems adequate, and I think "adequate" is a great endorsement after having a look around.
If you absolutely have to use a teen theme, pick 15.

The democratic way is to vote, the correct way is to listen to the designer, and the actual way is whatever is easiest.
Good luck to you in the coming business year.

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cmonkey
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by cmonkey » Fri May 05, 2017 9:03 pm

I suppose I have a suggestion - if you add any sort of "list" to the site, the only thing that ever bugged me about the blog was no archive page! I know there are unofficial lists, but it's just not the same.

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FBeyer
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by FBeyer » Sat May 06, 2017 12:55 am

This is my favorite blog layout ever: https://zenhabits.net/

No shit, just text and info. Links are all placed very unobtrusively at the bottom.
No images.

Aaaaaaaaaaah....

Stahlmann
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by Stahlmann » Sat May 06, 2017 1:18 am

I just thought that it would be good to use Mathhew effect (measured as views based on some kind analytics -> generated top100 posts) on ,,our'' advantage to make good advertisement of ERE. Probably it would keep 1-2 more people per month. So not worth it.

But after such discussion there is no problem from my perspective.

If we talk about blog, for me it should be kept as long as possbile (free content, not so many people will buy book without some justification).


Maybe this issue with random posts was bugging me at the beginning (nobody reads info from outlined boxes! :p). Personally I would be happy with 'linear' repetition like posts from 2007, then 2008 and so on. It gives a feelinng that blog lives and we can follow journey of some hero... And many people wouldn't catch on!

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bryan
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by bryan » Sat May 06, 2017 4:02 am

Just my $0.02 but I really liked the blog when I found it after (I think) MMM. Jacob's use of red/black/white/bold/italics/red links/small font was really nice, I thought. It felt like maximum signal.

If anything, the left and right columns sandwiching the blog posts (and comments) could be re-worked?

lente
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by lente » Sat May 06, 2017 5:51 am

Looking at the homepage the left ads look to be sub-navigation. So I assume you get a lot of unsuspecting clicks on those ads. That pays for your website running costs I assume? Changing template will almost certainly impact that.

If I understand correctly, what instigates this discussion is the compassion for people who wish to read your blog on their mobile. You have Google Analytics installed. Simply take a look how many people browse your site with a mobile.

The risk is changing what I assume is a winning recipe. Is it wort it? How many mobile readers do you have anyway?

jacob
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by jacob » Sat May 06, 2017 8:14 am

@lente - Yes, that top left ad menu is the primary ad income for the entire site.

The other important factor is my compassion for having a higher google ranking insofar that google is dinging me for not being mobile-friendly.

Changing does imply risk, but it could have upside as well.

lente
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by lente » Sat May 06, 2017 9:17 am

I'm not sure how severe the "dinging" is. Nor what the opposite of dinging would be, blinging? Anyway. If you want to turn your dinging in a blinging. Research "Accelerated Mobile Pages" or AMP for short. There are wordpress plugins that can help to make wordpress blogs meet the requirements I think. Google favors AMP for mobile devices that don't have a fast connection.

I work at a webshop, so I know a bit about search engine optimization of webshops. In our markets we noticed that we temporarily got more traffic after the dinging. There were two waves of dinging as far as I kept track. After the first wave we saw a significant increase in traffic (we were mobile optimized, so our share of mobile traffic increased as others were punished). That increase didn't last, since other sites that didn't comply started to implement mobile-friendly pages too. The second dinging was only about a third as severe as the first for our business. E-commerce is highly competitive, I imagine blogs lag a lot more. Maybe there's more traffic to be had for blogs that update, I haven't seen the other side of the coin but I wonder how severe the dinging is.

Based on earlier replies you want to keep the time/effort investment minimal if you are to update . However, if you are interested in going down the search engine optimization rabbit hole some more, I might have a few more considerations to share. For example; you use a legacy version of the Google Analytics tracker. It works just fine, but there might be a few more insights for optimization to be had if you update it to the new analytics.js tracker.

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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by jacob » Sun May 07, 2017 11:08 am

I think I'll just keep the old theme for the new server. It fulfills 2/3 of JasonR's criteria. It's democratic and easy. Also, it's a proven/tuned concept (at least insofar the world was several years ago). The blog has run stable w/o interference since late 2015.

What's interesting is that back in 2007, the three column style was the bee's knees and pretty much universal, whereas I didn't find much of any options along those lines anymore. Now the pick is more along the lines of having the top half being taken up by some out of focus picture and the bottom half by just a few dozen words.

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bryan
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by bryan » Sun May 07, 2017 4:15 pm

Design is weird w/ trend-following. Presumably, these days website designs (bootstrap) are mostly tuned for maximum clicks/sales. If you don't need to worry about that, you don't really need to go with that design (but its now the default, basically). I prefer very readable websites (e.g. http://blog.codinghorror.com or https://hackaday.com/blog/; also see http://contrastrebellion.com/ (for contrast, not actual design))

halfmoon
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by halfmoon » Sun May 07, 2017 11:09 pm

bryan wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 4:15 pm
I prefer very readable websites (e.g. http://blog.codinghorror.com or https://hackaday.com/blog/; also see http://contrastrebellion.com/ (for contrast, not actual design))
This illustrates that readability is literally in the eye of the beholder. Hackaday.com's white-on-black type is so hard on my old eyes that I probably wouldn't stay long enough to read the content. I hugely prefer the ERE blog's restful design. I also appreciate that it doesn't currently have flashing links, self-loading videos (really obnoxious when your data is metered) or animations. All that frantic activity tends to make me flee for the exit.

On the other hand: I'm probably not the demographic any marketer is targeting. ;)

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bryan
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by bryan » Sun May 07, 2017 11:43 pm

halfmoon, maybe you aren't on your computer at night, in the dark often enough. Dark backgrounds are usually easier on the eyes in those instances. Though my linking to that example wasn't to convince jacob to use a dark background :)

simplex
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by simplex » Mon May 08, 2017 2:48 pm

For simplicity of admin, the twenty-* themes are very good. They are developed by WordPress itself and kept updated with (security) patches for a long time.
It is also quite easy to develop a "child-theme" (WP term) to tweak the user interface just a little bit. If you want, I can try to help with that.

I can also help with .htaccess files for extra security if needed.

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luxagraf
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Re: Soliciting suggestions for new ERE blog theme

Post by luxagraf » Sat May 27, 2017 10:16 pm

Mobile friendly is a good idea, but do yourself, and the web, a favor and stay well clear of Google AMP.

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