After taking in and considering some valid criticisms, including:
"... your site has far too many things going on. It’s difficult to navigate and everything seems so random. There are odd links all over mixed with Google Adsense ads and widgets that don’t seem to be relevant to your topic.and
The color schemes don't match, your profile picture is of poor quality, and there are simply too many distractions.Also, the donate button is the first thing people see. I would move it to the end of your posts. If people see value after reading your article, they might be more inclined to donate. Seeing that in your sidebar like that is a big turn off.
To be honest, when I see a site like this, I just leave. Readers want a simple, easy to navigate site. There are so many good blogs out there that when they see one that is structured poorly, they lose interest immediately...."
"...I were Dave, I might consider making the whole page wider. That is, of course, unless his mom is reading it on an old monitor, or some other good reason for keeping it smaller."I decided the current template could continue to work IF it could be widened to three columns. Experimentation led to many dead-ends. This is an old blogger template from the early 2000's, lacking many of the features and extras of the more modern themes. So there was no way.
Then, I found a new template that I like, but there are two possible problems that could affect it later on down the road. (1) It's an indie design that does not reside on the blogger/google network, and (2) Parts of it ignore commands given in the blogger layout form. The big fear with (1) is that if the server where the host images are located goes down (either goes out of business or the template designer stops paying the hosting fee), everything is lost.
People like to say "you should always get your own blog hosting." Good advice, unless you forget or don't have money to pay the hosting bill, or as mentioned above, the hosting company shuts down (and many have done so with NO warning to customers!)
I kept thinking and thinking and thinking, and then Kimmy was thoughtful enough to leave this comment...
I have tried to find another format for my blogs, and just don't have the patience. It works if it works for you. Our society has been pushing the SEO, and other branding topics, and I truly believe people are not blocking out the right columns anyway unless you are seeking to drop. So do what you want! I like your blog the way it is!
And I like your comment, Kimmy!
So, (to borrow an Andrew cuomo phrase) I am 'right-sizing' this blog. A little streamlining. The blogroll has been moved to a seperate page. The widgets and badges re-organized. The number of posts appearing on the front page cut.
So now the blog should load more quickly and evenly... but there's MORE!
I decided to apply the total re-design to one of my other blogs, one which I had left fallow. Once the new template was in place, I was not pleased. But then I started tweaking and playing around with the code. While there are a few things I still don't like about the presentation, (including a couple of noticeable glitches; smart eyes will see them almost immediately) I must say I like it enough to give that little blog a new push.
I'M REALLY PLEASED THAT I DIDN'T MAKE ANY DRASTIC CHANGES HERE!
If you want to look at my blog makeover, please click right here!!!