Tuesday 11 August 2009

On the dull design of my blog

Jon Worth has said it, and I agree: My blog has the dullest ("most dull") design of all Euroblogs.

He is absolutely right. My design is dull. Overly simple. Minimalist. Or simply: Dull.

But let's face it: In my private life, I hate things that are fancy, because fancy things need attention just because they are there. I don't want to invest time in facades. I don't want to make things more complex just because they could look better. I don't like to care for details, and - sorry - design is detail.

In addition, I am neither a very talented designer nor a programmer, so by keeping my blog design simple and hosting it on Blogspot instead of asking somebody to produce something for me that I would host on my own, I don't pretend to be what I am not.

I probably could get more readers, receive more attention by pimping my design. I could look more important, more talented, more interesting. But I am a blogger because I have fun reading what others write, and I have fun writing. That is all.

Myself, I don't read any blog or website because of a specific design; most of what I read is pure text, usually in an RSS feed (if I go to a website then to comment there).

And since this is what I look for elsewhere, I don't do it differently on my own blog.

But you may voice your opinion on my point of view - I am really interested what you think about this!

PS.: And if anyone thinks my content should be promoted or presented differently: Everything I write is free for re-use as long as it is clear that I was the original author - so feel free to pimp me if you think it's worth the effort.

PPS.: And also take a look at the article below that I wrote just an hour ago and that in some ways is a follow-up to "Becoming an EU-sceptic".


Jon Worth said...

I think you take a rather narrow view here... You style your blog according to how you yourself read blogs - just text. I fear that's a recipe for not getting the numbers of visitors you deserve. There are ways to make even Blogger look OK, and running Wordpress is not at all hard...

Joe Litobarski said...


I will install Wordpress for you. Go to http://www.one.com and buy julienfrisch.eu and e-mail me when you've done this.

Even if you choose a very basic theme for WordPress, it will still be more attractive than a blogspot theme.

You always say you want to make the EU blogosphere less elitist and open the circus tent for normal people. :-) A dull blog will not achieve this goal.

Anonymous said...

How about a bit of colour? Some blue and yellow maybe to keep with the EU theme.
Surely blogger.com offers better templates than plain white backgrounds?

Joe Litobarski said...

The only problem with blue and yellow (although they're very "EU") is that they make things difficult to read. Black on white is clearest.

Julien Frisch said...

@ all: All you do is statements, not arguments.

Basic assumption: I want more readers.
Assumption is wrong.

Second assumption: A more fancy blog gets more readers.
Needs to be proven.

Third assumption: I would like to pay money to get more readers and a fancy blog.
Rather not.

Fourth assumption: A single person can "deserve" more readers.
I don't deserve anything.

Fifth assumption: The colours should have a meaning.
The colours don't have any meanings, I just chose them. They don't look bad on my computer.

Summary: I don't get your point. I like my blog as it is. I don't want to spend money, enter into a contract, or let others do the work for me.

If you give me a good reason, I am ready to change the blogger theme. But this is just superficial. I could change these every day - so what?

Maybe I should just abandon the blog? I get the feeling that I have misunderstood the idea of blogging. It's more important how it looks than how it is. That makes me depressed.

I think I will abandon this blog. This has been the last post I ever wrote.

Good bye - see you in the next live.


Jon Worth said...


I'm rather confused here...

Think of the Think About It event in Rotterdam that you attended as a result of your blogging. Think of comments from Margot Wallström and others that have contributed to debate about EU matters... and see some role for yourself in this.

You might not want more readers for you blog, but from what he says Joe does want your blog to me read more widely, and I for sure do. You have an important contribution to make to debating EU matters, and there are some people that see that.

As for whether a better design gets more readers - yes, it does. Sorry to say it, but there are some blogs I should perhaps read but do not because I cannot stand the design. I'm not alone in that. You lose nothing with a change of design and you can better cater for your readers...

Pay money - it's 1.49 Euro a month, hardly breaking the bank... Also if you have your own domain name Google ranks you higher and, back to readership, that brings more readers, which those of us that read what you write would like you to have.

It's not a question of deserving more readers. It's a question of maximising the numbers you can get, and it's not hard to do...

Whichever way, new design or not, Wordpress or not, DO NOT stop what you're doing.

Andreas said...

Julien, I have no idea what spoiled your day, week, month or year, but do not abuse your small network of Euroblogging readers and colleagues as an excuse to abandon your blog.

Your own post is a statement, and not an argument -- "I don't like to care for details, and - sorry - design is detail" is certainly not an argument -- but what's wrong with that?

Well-designed webpages do engage readers more easily, but I have the feeling that despite your invitation to "voice your opinion on my point of view" you are - right now - not quite interested enough in why that is so.

Brussels Blogger said...

Julien, I agree that the design as such is not that important (and personally I think that the theme is not so bad either). You show, however, that you pay attention to text formatting and links, which really helps.

On the expectations of the readers: If you would do all this just for your own pleasure you could write up you blog articles on textpad and save them to your harddrive. However, you do make your coments in "public" and so I think in some way you have to accept that if you communicate actively and what you say is interesting then people will start to listen to you but also have expectations. Whether you respond to this expectations or not (by just leaving the blog design as it is) is another question.

All in all: Interesting debate, keep the design and keep on blogging!