|Everyone's afraid this is gonna happen.|
(By the way, there are some things I want your opinions on that I'm bringing up in this post, so please just skip to that part if you don't want to bother with the rest.)
Under the Hood, Pt. 1:So, I've always loved those posts where people take pictures of their rooms and the equipment they use to blog (i.e. their computers). I've flirted with the idea of doing one myself, but the thought of actually having to get out my camera and take good pictures always stops me. Well, no longer! Sort of. While I do want to do this sometime in the future, I've decided that for now, I'll instead give all you Wordpress users a look at the competition. So we're gonna explore some of the stuff about the wild world of Blogger!
So, first up is the dashboard, which is what you see when you go to Blogger.com (click on the image to make it bigger):
1) This shows you how many posts you have, including unpublished drafts. Right next to it is your total pageview count.
2) This whole bar is reserved for giving you information on all your blogs, assuming you have more than one. You can click it to make it compress down, giving you more room to read your bloglist.
3) This is where you can access your blogger and Google account stuff. You can view your profile, change your account settings, and sign out.
And the whole bottom part is your reading list, which shows you recent posts by the people on your blogroll. You can decide to follow them anonymously, in which case they won't show up on your blogger profile. Has more use with other Google blogs. I personally don't use this feature.
Next up is the blog overview page (some information is censored for privacy's sake, as are URLs, since they include your blogger ID. That's what the big blocks of solid color are.):
1) This bar is where all the technical stuff happens. You can view (and where applicable change) your pages and posts, comments, stats, layout, and settings. There's also an Earnings tab if your blog has advertisements, but I don't use that.
2) This shows you your pageviews on a graph. The two censored blocks just show the number you use to read it (for example, the first might be 50 and the second might be 100).
3) This shows you pretty much everything you need to know that the dashboard couldn't tell you at a glance. Pretty straightforward. The published comments section is really only useful if you know how many there were before, though.
4) This just lists your top three traffic sources (all time)
Now for the page that a lot of you are probably the most interested in, the stats page:
|Censoring was a pain...|
2) The Audience window. This tells you which countries your viewers are coming from. I guess Asia isn't all that into anime and video games... :)
3) This lets you view the separate tabs on their own. Easy enough.
Just two more left. Here are the design pages:
(I didn't put arrows on these because of the amount I'd have to put down.)
The Layout page (the first one) let's you move things around and add more gadgets (like archives, recent comments, and so on. There are tons of them available, I just don't use a whole lot). Very straightforward, like pretty much everything else I've shown you. That's one nice thing about Blogger, it takes 0 experience and knowledge to understand.
The design page is a little more tricky, but still pretty simplistic. I know you can feasibly customize this (like, with your own coding and stuff), but I don't have the programming skills necessary to do so. Even so, there's a lot you can set here. You can customize text color, text font, and text size separately for just about everything, including links and sidebar stuff. You can also change your background colors and images, and you can make pretty much anything transparent like I did with my pages bar.
And lastly, we have the page where the magic happens, the Create/Edit Post page:
1) These are your publishing options. I only pointed them out because of the preview option. I have no idea if Wordpress has this or not (I imagine it does), but I just find this feature really useful because it shows you what the post will look like on your blog, as opposed to on this page. Includes things like all the little oddities that pop up that you won't find on the create post page, like unintentional extra spaces and stuff like that.
2) This is the bar that let's you do stuff (upload images, insert videos, change text size/font/color, all that stuff). That is all.
3) This is where you get to set publishing options. You can add or make new labels, schedule it to be released at a certain time, set your location for the most accurate time published, and close comments and stuff like that.
Closing Notes: Overall, Blogger is really very easy to use. There are a few annoying restrictions, like not being able to view stats for a specific week or month (it can only be for the latest) or having to use gadgets to get a bunch of stuff. I still haven't gotten one of those nifty contact forms everyone on Wordpress is showing off (though I know it's possible). There's also the matter that you only have labels, as opposed to Wordpress' categories and tags. Because I don't care enough about hits to add in a bunch of tags that won't be useful, I don't really mind this. Also, there are two quirks with commenting: you can't edit comments (including your own), at least from what I've seen, and I believe that you have to moderate comments individually, or not at all. That's right, no moderating a user once to make sure they're not a robot and then not having to worry about them again. I will mention that Blogger does have some nice notification options. Overall though, despite the few annoyances, I really like Blogger so far. Keep in mind that I say this not having used any other platforms. Still, it certainly is competent enough for my purposes, and there's also no premium fee (I'm pretty sure there is a data limit, but it's really really big, if I remember right). If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them (though I make no claims of my own expertise. But I've got the basic ropes down, so ask away).
Edit: One thing I forgot to mention: Blogger doesn't allow for footnotes like Wordpress does. You have to use the archaic "P.S." to do anything like it. Not a big issue, but worth a mention.
Okay, so that's it for Under the Hood. I enjoyed doing this and hope that it gave you a few insights about the platform. I may do another thing like this, focusing less on software and arrows and more on hardware and self-explanatory images. Please let me know if you liked this or the sound of the other one, because that would really motivate me to make another one. And if you don't, you don't. It's all cool. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this, and now we can get to the section that should interest you the most, the "Reader Poll" I mentioned in the title.
Reader Poll:Now, first things first, I'm feeling lazy and busy with other stuff today. Thus, there isn't actually a poll for you to vote on. I apologize. Instead, the idea is that I'm just gonna throw out a bunch of suggestions I've had out there, and if you like (or dislike) them, you can leave a comment. I may or may not make them even without input, but I'm much more likely to make (or not make) them with your suggestions. Also, I thought it would be kind of cool to include the readers in the blog design. And of course, if you have any ideas for other changes I can/should make, don't hesitate to bring them up. So, here we go.
Plot summary before Jump Break?
So, in the past I've put the plot summary for my anime reviews after the jump break, so you have to press "Continue Reading" to see the plot synopsis. Since a number of the shows I review (or at least, that I'm planning to review) are fairly obscure, and since a plot summary can tell people whether or not they're even interested in the first place, I was curious as to whether or not I should move the jump break to after the synopsis. The cons are that people are more likely to read the (much of the time bad) ANN synopsis and brush off the review based on that, which sort of eliminates the point of the review, and will also make the pages considerably longer. And yes, I would go back and change this for all the posts I've made so far.
Too much sh*t on the side?
Also titled "get two rows?" I personally think the stuff on the side isn't too bad, but I realize that I've got like 7 things there, and I didn't know if people felt there is too much. For example, do you want labels alphabetically, or by order of how often they're used? Also, this question also addresses the order of the stuff in the sidebar, so if you think that the "follow by email" should be on the bottom and the search bar on top (under the "Upcoming Reviews." That's always gonna be on top), don't hesitate to let me know.
I realize this is a really broad subject, so I'm gonna narrow it down into three main sections, in order of importance (to me):
1) Quantity: Should I have more(/less?) images in my posts? I do realize the importance of breaking up the walls of texts with images, but I question whether I do enough. I currently separate each section in my reviews with an image, which I personally think is okay, but I'm not the primary reader here. There's one main con that I've noticed with posts that have a lot of images: It sort of leaves the leader in a lurch, never quite sure of when the post is about to end. I personally like to be able to see text on either end of an image, because that let's me go "Okay, the next part is after this image" in my mind, and I kind of like that. I'm sure not everyone feels the same way, and it's not a big deal anyways, but that's something I've always felt myself. I also want to know if you think my editorials have enough images.
2) Placement: Should there be more left and right aligned images, and should they be smaller and/or inset? I did this once in my Mushishi review when I talked about the characters, and I wasn't sure whether or not to do it again. In case you don't want to check out my review (if that's how it's got to be), here's an example here. This is what I normally do:
|Takasugi-...I mean, Rokuro.|
3) Quality: This is honestly an area where I can't do much but try. I realize that a number of my screencaps are of less than high quality, in terms of image resolution. I've never really felt that this is a problem, because, hey, as long as you can clearly see the image and the subs (if they're there), then there's not really much else you need, right? I realize though, that others might not feel this way. The problem is that even if you do really want it to change, there's only so much I can do. I can look for a higher quality video or a super nice raw, but my success rates will definitely vary. There's no way I'm gonna buy every series I review, and due to personal and financial circumstances, I can't rent them either. I mean, if I find a higher quality image without a logo on it, then I'll go for it. But my options are seriously limited here. Still, I want to know if you think I should go for higher quality, because I admit to not looking very hard. Oh, and there's another aspect that falls under this category. So far, I've only been using screencaps in editorials. Should I use other images (like fan art or wallpapers) like other bloggers do? I'm not really crazy about the idea, but I will admit that they look pretty nice in other people's posts.
As always, if you think of some other improvement I can make with the images, let me hear it!
(NOTE: I've started saving screencaps as .PNGs instead of .JPGs. I don't know how much it'll help, but hopefully there will be at least some increase in quality.)
More Subsections at the End?
Should I have more Subsections (I already have Sound and Visuals, for example) at the end of my reviews? I'm especially curious about whether or not I should have more for my game reviews.
Okay, give it to me straight. Are my posts so long you absolutely can't stand them/get bored in the middle and stop/don't have the time to read them? I tend to pack a lot into my reviews, and while I can only limit the length so much before important content starts getting cut, I'm willing to try shortening things. I've always believed that my detailed reviews are one of the things that makes my blog a little bit special, but hey, you may feel differently. So bottom line: I'd prefer not to change this (just because of my personal preferences), but if I need to I will try. And it may be an exercise I should try anyways. What are your thoughts on it?
Have some sort of weekly/monthly/some prefix-annually thing I do, like a show/game of the year:
This could also include just something special like "John Sato Recommends" or something like that. It could also be "John Sato's quad-annual prostration before the idolized bloggers/John Sato's biannual blogger thanks." kind of thing. What do you think, should I or shouldn't I?
Make a separate page for my rating system?
Would it be more useful if it had its own page, as opposed to being part of the "About" page?
Should I adjust the ratio of game reviews to anime reviews to editorials that I do? My current formula is something like "Make an anime review, then realize I need to balance them out with more game reviews, then do an editorial when I'm too far away from completing a review/too busy to do anything else/am bored." Should I try to even it out a little? I wouldn't dare to suggest a posting schedule, but I could try to hold myself back a little in some areas. Right now, it's a matter of convenience for me.
Should I make better spoiler denotations?
As in, should I begin and end every sections that could spoil people with a big *SPOILERS* thing, or should I state at the top of the review very clearly that there are spoilers, or what? Or, should I just keep doing what I'm doing (which is at least beginning major spoilers sections with a big sign and mentioning it in the first part of the review)?
Should I get on Twitter/Google +/MAL?
Simple enough question. Would you like to/be interested in seeing me on these (or other similar) sites?
EDIT: 2/3 down. I'm on Twitter and Google+ now. The jury's still out on MAL. Thanks for the feedback, everyone!
Should I do AceRailgun's 50 questions?
Also very straightforward. I assume most of you know what these are.
Make an Editorial tag?
Right now, all my editorials are just labeled under "other stuff." Should they get their own tag? (This will have a greater effect in the future.)
EDIT: I've updated my previous posts to have the tag, and I plan to use it in the future. I'll have to get around to removing the "Other Stuff" tag later, but the important part is that I have the Editorial tag up. Thanks for the input!
That's pretty much all I can think of right now. I'm sure I'll edit this a little and add things as I remember/think of them, but for now, this is what I've got. I would love to hear your suggestions as well.
And sorry, the post isn't done quite yet.
|Sorry, but I can't. Look, it'll be quick, I swear.|
Update: So, yeah. I probably won't be posting anything new for a little while. That said, I do have big things (lots of them) planned (and started), so don't worry. Things are gonna be a little boring around here for a week or two, but make sure you check back then! Thanks for reading!