Why Not Me?

24 July 2006

I'd like to know, just who do you have to sleep with to get a mention in Crikey's Blogwatch? Every day, there's a list of posts that have caught the Crikey people's eye, be they insightful, irreverent or humorous...but I've not been featured even once! What do I have to do? I am willing to sacrifice my personal integrity to get on the Blogwatch. They have my number (I'm a subscriber) so I'm waiting for their call.


I think I know from good blogs. I've been running the Pod here for nearly three years, and I know that this isn't a good blog. Nonetheless, I surf random blogs, a lot:

My BlogMad Ranking
(I've been looking for an excuse to throw this in a post), so here are my tips on what makes a good blog - regardless of subject matter.

  • Put a description of your blog at the top of the sidebar.

  • It is true that most people find it easier to read dark text on a light background (not a white background though...if you look carefully you'll see this blog has the palest pink off-white background, which is supposedly easiest to read of all).

  • Unless you're running an art blog, start your posts near the top of the page, rather than requiring visitors to scroll past large pictures to see what you have to say.

  • If you must have ads, know that they are annoying, and put them out of the way on the template. On second thought, don't have ads.

  • Name the months in your archive, to avoid confusion between those of us who think 3/6 is the 3rd of June, and those who think it's the 6th of March.

  • And lastly, a mea culpa...yes, word verification for comments is annoying. But I think everyone agrees spam is far more annoying. So I've reluctantly had to add verification, after spending two solid hours one recent morning deleting spam comments from my post. I hope you will understand.

  • EDIT: Okay, I'll acknowledge the irony of posting this before I'd fixed the problem of the blog not displaying properly in non IE browsers. An explanation of the core problem can be found here. And a huge thank you to the kindly soul from the Blogger help group who found the solution (would you believe, it was all due to the lack of a single } in the style sheet?!?)


    1. I wouldnt be too disheartened with your absence of the Crikey blogwatch. Like most things, I think this will be influenced by who you know rather than the quality of your blog.
      Also, Crikey is there to serve a commercial and political agenda, and I don't mind saying it's heading in a direction I don't like the look of. I will soon be ending my subscription with them, having been a member since 2002.

    2. Well, some of the blogs there have nothing to do with...well, anything of relevance (one last week was complaining about the UK Honey, Were Killing The Kids, for Chrissake. Can't they find any Australian blogs for this kind of thing?

      And generally Crikey gets bogged down in semantics, obscure points etc, which makes it hard to follow unless you're committing each email to more or less memory each day. (To take a current issue as an example - the thing with the director of the NGV - not quite sure what's going on - but does it really matter so much?)

    3. Actually, for *screen* reading (and not many people print blogs), yellow text on a very dark blue background has been surveyed as the best possible colour scheme, with green and amber on black coming in second. That's why monochrome displays used to always been green or amber on black.

      The move to black text on a white background in computing was driven by a desire to use a "desktop" metaphor, with an emphasis on simulating paper. Well, that and trying to make everything look "nicer".

      Now that most people seem to be using LCD based monitors rather than CRTs the difference isn't as great - CRTs tend to "bloom" bright white backgrounds causing fine black text to blur a little, whereas LCDs keep everything clear.

      On advertising and spam, I think my only comments are "If one must have ads, make sure they're text ads" and "I'd rather deal with word verification than v1agr4 spam". There is an argument with regard to accessibility and word verification, but when the blog is typically unreadable with anything but IE accessibility is a bit of a laugh anyway.

      While your blog style might be unreadable in Opera, at least it only takes one click to strip all the formatting and present it as plain text only.

      I still think something like a blog should be as browser agnostic as possible, but providing a full-text RSS feed means that everyone has the option of reading in their preferred environment.

    4. I have to say it might have something to do with readability--I can't read your blog worth a darn. Dark text on dark background equals blocking this puppy on BlogMad to me.

    5. This blog can only be currently viewed in IE...I'm working on it.

    6. It works with Firefox :)
      It didn't before but it's fine now.


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