Hung Drawn and Quartered
There is a brilliant site Out There. It’s called Men With Pens.
If you are interested in writing at all, then it is more than worth a visit.
It is a huge site, packed with great advice on everything from blogging to fiction writing [is there a difference?], and I have spent the last few weeks trawling through it, getting some great advice and ideas.
They wrote about this site yesterday.
They were not kind.
I was glad they didn’t spare my feelings, because their advice was unbiased and excellent. They made very good points about my design and layout. I haven’t been happy with it for a while, and didn’t know why. Now I do.
They pointed out that a banner showing burning cars and guns and the word ‘Irish’ may be misconstrued. That had never occurred to me, but they’re right.
They said they didn’t know what the site was about. That’s OK, because I don’t either.
They really hammered my sidebar. Too many links. Too many categories. Too much crap. They’re right. It all has to go.
The only problem is where do I put it all? Some can go out for the bin men [more landfill] but it’s churlish not to have links to other sites. So maybe I have to create a series of extra pages?
One way or another, over the next few weeks, I’ll be tinkering around with the design and things will be disappearing and reappearing and generally confusing everyone.
Eolaí obviously read my mind this morning and posted up this……..
Nice one, Eolaí!
Incidentally, when they were over here, Men With Pens shot Father Murphy. I don’t know why. I suppose they thought he was me. They are a callous pair.
Now I have to find a substitute, otherwise all the devout non-atheists will be down my neck, next Sunday.
I know a bloke who knows a bloke who knows a bloke who knows a Rabbi. Maybe he’ll step in?
I’m sure they won’t notice the difference.
I’m not commenting. Feck it, I just did. Bugger.
Thrifty – You’re determined to keep that top spot. Admit it.
I’m with thriftcriminal…OMG I wonder what they would do with my jumbled mess? and I do already have 6 other pages! geez, i’m depressed now…..
Prin – I must admit, it’s more like an autopsy than a health check 😉
k, what can we do to knock them off the face of the planet? 🙂 can’t have critical people like that ruining our fun, dangit!
Invite them over to look at your site, and set a better ambush than mine. I admit they nearly got the better of me this time….
They are clever.
Jaysus, I’d need the interwebbing equivalent of a few pints of creme de menthe before I’d invite them to have a pop at my blog.
I read it yesterday and thought some of their ‘advice’ was good and some made me say WTF.
Andrew – What’s wrong with the real thing. I fancy a pint of creme de Menthe frappe right now 😉
Brianf – Advice is there to be taken or ignored. I think a lot of it is excellent and will be working on it accordingly. You’re just scared shitless that I’ll remove the .50 caliber? 😉
They are just jealous and afraid of guns! 🙂
Oh my word. I’m embarrased for them. Imagine being so 1 dimensional ! Sorry Grandad I can’t agree with your tolerance of their opinion. I disagree with their opinions of your blog, their lack of imagination and their apparent need to standardise ‘home’ pages. Plonkers! I’m still dizzy from navigating their home page. Text book Type A Personality disorders !
I just had a look – they were harsh, weren’t they? I’d kind of like that sort of advice myself but I’d be far to scared to get it! I agree with the person who mentioned creme de menthe… only I’d prefer a few glasses of wine. Did you have to submit to them to get a review?
I was just ridiculing my own blog and realised that the “Subscribe via email” button doesn’t work, and I have way too many gadgets!
The good news is that I just saved money on my car insurance (cheesy ‘Merkan commercial) and I moved up on the Commentators list! 🙂
JD – I wouldn’t say that too loudly in case they hear.
Ashley – Actually I agree with a lot [most] of what they say. They like my colours. They didn’t hack my writing to pieces. Their main criticisms are about my sidebar which, quite frankly is a mess. I like my image at the top, but they do have a valid point that it doesn’t really represent the site.
JA – They may take one look at your site and say it’s perfect! Have a glass/bottle of wine, and then go place a comment on their post about me. Just mention you would like to be shot too!!!
JD – My list is much more important than car insurance.
Change is good, keeps the mind sharp and the stiffy up! Also change keeps others guessing as to where you are coming from???? Didn’t know you had dreds?
That was my first, “huh?”.
It’s a Browning M1927-A5 .30 caliber, tri-pod mounted, air cooled, quick detach barreled machine gun with side mounted ammunition feeding device but without the shoulder stock so commonly found on the A5 variation.
Ummm, ahhhh… I mean, I guess it is.
Thanks… I’ve done just that, fool that I am. The wine rack’s stocked, there’s ice-cream in the freezer… I’m good to go!
How dull are those guys? Leave your banner alone for goodness sake! Plus, I thought this blog WAS about fast cars, fast women, the drugs that let you keep both hobbies up, and the guns that help pay for them! Don’t say it ain’t true!
How can you let a site like Men with Penis criticize you and say you like it.
You taking hormones again?
Ah everyone’s a critic. Take the good and chuck the bad I say. Interesting that there was little constructive criticism about ‘content’ it was all about design. Isn’t a side bar exactly that .. stuff you can bung on the side for people to pick and choose? As for the calendar . . .I find it very helpful to have someone tell me what day it is!
They couldn’t talk about the content. They could never compete. You know what they say…those who can’t…”teach”
Change it if you want to, but only ’cause you feel like it, not because they said you should.
It’s always good to get a bit of an outside review of your work, the content or the design.
Keeps you on your toes and sharp. My blog was a hideously gawdy thing altogether until I started reading a review site and tried to take their advice.
I think you’re looking pretty sharp for the most part Grandad.
John O – Keeps the mind sharp and the what??? I do have dreds, but seeing where they are situated, only Herself knows about ’em.
Brian F – Heh! Trust you to know about that. But then you are
my arms supplieran expert. Well spotted.
JA – Lay in a case of wine, just to be prepared. I see you are booked in!
Longman – I think the banner probably will stay. It took me too long to create. I maybe have to think about the tag line though? I’m playing with it at the moment. [And I’m playing with my tag line too].
Sixty – Jayzus, but you’re fierce protective? It is a constructive criticism. They are making suggestions, and some of those are good. Calm down!
Baino – Don’t you have a desk-top calendar? I may leave mine but move it down a bit, as I use it myself for finding stuff I have written. It’s the only way I can navigate around the damn site….
Prin – You say the nicest things!!! [And that comes from an ex-teacher] I am going to do exactly that – change some things but not others. Some of the advice was very sound. I knew there were things wrong but I didn’t know what. Now I do.
Xbox – I agree. It’s no harm to take an objective view from time to time, and if someone else does it, then all the better. And thanks for the last line 😉
Damn! I’ve been copying a bleedin’ idiot!
I’ll just have to copy you getting it right
They might be wrong though….. it’s just another guys opinion……… I doubt they held a committee meeting about it!
OK! got rid of the calendar, live chat thing, archives, already have a separate link page
There’s no bleedin’ way I’m losing my globe thingy I’d be lost without that
A delayed thank you, as I wanted to see how your reaction to their suggestions played out first.
One thing I would question about the advice given tough was the notion that your large number of sidebar links might be driving traffic away. That seems a rather antiquated notion of blogging.
Oh, and sure while I’m at it, I thought when you created your banner that it was perfect – but then I was familiar with your content.
I want to be top of the commentators list!
And poo to them, I think your blog’s lubly.
See what I did there?
Roy – I hate those globe things. They make me paranoid.
Eolaí – The problem with my blogroll is that it badly needs updating and trimming. I have come up with an idea that I’m going to experiment with – to convert my Top Commentators list into my blogroll!! That way, it is democratic. If you want to be on my blogroll, just leave a few comments!! If you don’t comment, you get dropped. That means I’ll never have to edit it, but it will always be up to date. Thoughts?
I like my banner [though I say so myself] but it does only reflect the site if you know what the site is about beforehand. Chicken and egg.
E Mum – Thanks, but you’re still not commenting enough 😉
Damn. Ooh, there’s another one!
Eolai beat me to it. The ‘too many links’ suggestion was definately one of the top WTF moments for me. Though I did like their idea of putting your awards at the top of the sidebar.
Brianf – What do you think of the Commentators list as a blogroll? Increase it to say 30 and do away with the hard coded one????
Excellent find and recommendation sir. Much appreciated. I was wondering if there was such a service out there, and hooray, there is.
It’ll take me a LONG time to get to any kind of decent standard but at least now I have a good place to start.
Best of luck with the renovations. I’ll be watching with interest 😀
I was going to skype you about that but here goes.
I think it’s a terrible idea. I personally use other peoples blogroll to seek out and find blogs I have never been to before. I call it ‘Blog Bouncing’. I’ll click onto a blog from your page and check them out then click on a blog link on their page and check it out…and so on.
I have launched this many times from your blogroll.
The Top Commentors is a cool widget. I’m just trying to figure out how I went from 20 comments yesterday and only eight today, though.
The other thing about blogrolls I don’t like is how Bock does his. Breaking them up into catagories is to stick someone like me into a catagory or two when in fact I rant about everything and anything.
So your blogroll will end up being a quarter mile (13.2 chains, 880 cubits, 2 furlongs, 220 fathoms) long! Make it a separate page if need be and put it on the header/banner.
Blimey, well, this one certainly got a reaction and a half!
On the one hand, you wouldnt want to be sensitive in the blogosphere. Grandad, do you have any association with these pen people, do you know them or they you? If not, it is ok for perfect strangers to come out and whack you like that in public, especially when your site is a personal one? On the other hand, you get free feedback and advice (even if I’m not so sure I agree with it all). I’ve seen personal blog content be rubbished before but never the layout of the personal blog itself. I would have thought that was breaking an unwritten rule, am I wrong?
Grandad, if you go mucking around with things, please dont change the by-line; “Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference” – loving it, one of the things that attracted me to your site in the first place 🙂
Darragh – Their site makes good reading but it can be difficult to find some of the stuff!! Maybe I should give them a Drive-by??
Brianf – I changed the timespan on the commentators list, and that’s why you dropped in numbers. I will have to think long and hard over this blogroll conundrum.
Charmed – I first came across them a month or so ago. I have been reading through their site, and fancied a Drive-by, just out of interest. Mostly they tend to do business sites, so I was curious as to how they would approach mine. And the great thing about free advice is that I can accept, or reject it. What is really interesting is the comments, both here and on the MwP website about their summary. Some are getting quite heated! I didn’t know I had such a loyal fanbase? And if anything, I was thinking of enlarging that by-line. 😆
A concern I’d have about using your top commentators widgery doo as your blogroll is that it might (actually I’m certain it would) attract those trolling for cheap links and solicit nothing comments from them.
That would then leave you with an extra layer of moderation to judge if a comment is really a comment. Great post, Grandad! is fine from your regular community (or You’re Full of Hair, Grandad), but how do you say no to 20 people who say that just to get on your blogroll?
Really the proof would be in the operation and it’d hardly hurt to try, but I’d feel a bit sorry for some of your long-time commenters if they find themselves ejected from your blogroll because temporarily something in the real world has tempered their ability to comment, or because newer people are suddenly impassioned to comment more than them.
As fair as it might be I suspect you’d have to play with the parameters a bit until you’re happy with who it’s including and excluding.
a-ha, so you asked for it then, eh? That kinda makes more sense(!). The reactions really are interesting. Reminds me of Oscar Wilde – the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about i.e. any reaction (good, bad or indifferent) is a good thing.
Eolaí – Unless of course I don’t tell ’em! [I can switch off the post count]. I might play with it for a bit, but I certainly need to spend a lot of time overhauling my roll. But that takes time, which I don’t have at the moment. 🙁
And I’d never forget my old friends. Thanks for the link 🙂
Charmed – I asked for it, in more than one sense. I was just interested in getting an impartial reaction. I got it!!
I am a contractor here is Florida, we remodel and do additions and on the job site the word we use around the ladies for a stiff c_ _ _ is stiffy. Am I still causing great consternation and confusion? I know that I am not always on task in the blog, still learning.
John O – I thought that was what you meant. A Morning Glory!! I just didn’t see how it would fit in [sic] in the context.
Who are these people? Tell them to fuck off.
Bock – Would you invite someone into your house and then tell them to fuck off? Yeah, I suppose you would…. 😉
Only if they pissed on the floor.
I thought you all did that down there??
-nice to know that you are a man of substance. Remember the right tool for the job makes the job easier!