Tag Archives: design

Blogging Software

I’m building an awesome new blog for our very own June Steckler, and I’m looking around for a design program that won’t cost me $500. When I do my own stuff, I usually just hand-code stuff with CSS and HTML, but that won’t work for what she wants. I need some actually pretty pretty.

I realize that the right thing to do at this point is sub-contract to an actual designer, but I’m working in trade for original awesome artwork, and I’m not sure I can really offer somebody 1/3 of a painting.

Anybody use anything on a mac that they really like for web design, that is either cheap or free?

Results from the Blog Survey

The first 50 results from the survey are in. If any of you want to see the raw data, click the photo below, and it will take you to the survey report page. (quick note: click the plus sign on the right edge of the red bar at the bottom, and it will let you add all of the answers to the questions, so that you can see the raw data)

wufoo surver results

A few observations:

Fully half of you identify yourselves as lurkers. I think that’s funny, and a little creepy. Kinda like having a backyard BBQ with 300 people standing in the shadows watching you and your friends talk.

I’m surprised that more people don’t use RSS to track with the site. This is the inverse of most blogs – in most cases, significantly more people use RSS feeds to read the content than visit the actual site. I think this means that ARD has a lot of readers who are outside of the blogging mainstream. They visit this site, but don’t have a regular list of blogs that they read. I think that’s cool. I also think that if they know more about RSS, they would totally be into it.

I like that most of you think it should be up to me to decide when to change the look of the site. It means my plan to beat you all into sheep-like submission is working.

The consensus seems to be toward a blog layout that favors the core text, without so much dead weight on the sidebar. I like this idea, and I think the next design for the site will move that direction. Also, some of you have real daddy issues. I’m just saying.

Google ads vs. Tip jar, and the winner is google ads. Cool. I think it’s funny that the people who seemed to be the most upset by any sort of monetization (the “pay for it yourself” answer) were overwhelmingly people who identified themselves as fringe (lurkers, visiting once a week, via RSS only).

A quick word on that – when I started the site, I paid for the hosting out of my own pocket. No worries, it was like 7 bucks a month, and I considered it more than justified for the enjoyment it brought me as a side hobby. Then, when we started to get an uptick in readers, and more authors joined, I started hitting my bandwidth limit for the site (how much data you’re allowed to move in a month). Starting last August, the multiple authors started putting media content up (mp3s, videos, etc.). I think this is very cool, and I’d like to see a lot more of it. In fact, I think the fact that this site produces more content than commentary is one of the driving features.

But here’s what that means for hosting costs. When Chad posted “God Of My Future“, it was about a 5 MB file. Within a month of being posted, it had been downloaded about 1,000 times. That’s roughly 5 Gigabytes of bandwidth for just one mp3. “Ring Them Bells“, which I posted about a year ago, still gets abut 200 downloads a month. That’s another Gig of bandwidth. You get the picture. We started blowing through our allotted bandwidth within the first two weeks of each month, and the overages started getting very expensive. Just to reiterate, I do NOT want the solution to be less media posting. I love the media. Keep it coming.

The beauty of the google ads solution is that, as more people visit the site, more people click the ads, and the more revenue is generated. It balances the bandwidth issue nicely. Right now it’s pretty much perfectly balanced with hosting costs. On the months that more income comes in than goes out, I slip the extra off to someone else, like Real Live Preacher. On months where less comes in, I make Sophia roam the streets with a tin cup.

Eventually, I’ll probably have to lease an entire server somewhere, to host all of the sites I’m running:
Addison Road
The Bible Podcast
APU Music Tech
Details of the Day
The Logic Pro
EDU Tech Talk
Doulos Media
and coming soon, The Dailies (get off your butt and get me a domain name, Chaddy-poo).

The cool thing about that will be much more bandwidth, much more storage, total control over the software configuration, and if any of you guys want websites (www.bonowannabe.com, anyone?), kick me like $10 for the domain name, and it’s off an running. In fact, I can probably do that now, if you’re interested.

So, that’s the state of the blog. I’m off to start work on a text-based, emotionally distant blog design. Happy posting, everyone.