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NiennaC
12-17-2007, 02:38 AM
The site's relatively new, and I'm still adding things, but I'd like to know if I'm on the right track.

The blog's called Offbeat (http://offbeatfantasy.blogspot.com/), and it's basically a news/commentary with the occasional short story thrown in, blog about fantasy.

nancy sv
12-17-2007, 07:52 AM
These are my impressions by just looking at the site...

I really don't like white backgrounds. It looks somehow 'unfinished' to me - like someone forgot to color it.

The title is great - "Offbeat" sounds like something I want to read! But - the text is definitely not 'offbeat'. I would make the font some kind of silly something - something 'offbeat'!!

Since you are writing about fantasy, I would like to 'see' fantasy when I look at the page. Maybe have some pics of dragons or trolls hanging around.

Also - who are you? I would like to see a little bio and a way to contact you.

That's all I can think of right now! Good luck with it!

Georganna Hancock
12-17-2007, 07:05 PM
I'm a big fan of the Minimalist template by Blogger, which Offbeat appears to use. And, let's face it, fantasy is offbeat in the world of writing, though perhaps not as far off the beaten path as sci-fi (my fave).

Perhaps you could perk up the posts with more graphics like the one in the Harry Potter posting? And if you place them on the right side of the post, it will balance the appearance of the page (unless you start putting graphics in the right column, then I'd suggest keeping the post graphics on the left).

I agree that enabling your Profile would create more interest in your offerings. Readers always enjoy finding out something about the person behind the post.

Otherwise, on the main page anyway, it looks to me like you are delivering exactly as promised: "Offbeat is a blog about the fantasy genre, featuring news and commentary on books, comics and writing."

Good start!

NiennaC
12-18-2007, 02:53 AM
Thanks so much for your input guys! :D

nancy sv - I added a background and some graphics, to hopefully get rid of that unfinished feel to the site. I changed the font around too, but I'm not sure I'll stay with it - still trying to figure out something offbeat that all browsers will support. :) And you're right, I should have some fantasy pictures. I put a blank graphic where I'm going to add an image - when I find one :) I also added a bit about myself, as you suggested.

Georganna Hancock - I like minimalist too, that's why, even though I added a background, I tried to keep it very simple. And you're right, the posts do need more graphics. I wasn't sure what was missing until you mentioned that! Thanks! :) Now all I have to do is find more pictures! Thanks for your help!

So, what do you guys think now?

L M Ashton
12-19-2007, 06:25 AM
In your header graphic, I would delete the "this site is under construction" bit - it adds nothing to the site. Instead, even if this isn't the finished look you're going for, I'd be inclined to drop the Offbeat title with the text below it down onto the black box so that it looks finished - even if you know you're going to change it later. It'll give it more of a finished look, even if temporary.

Also, if your post-it will later have links, then don't put it up until it's linkable and ready to go. That adds to the unfinished feel with your blog.

The problem with an unfinished look is that readers are more likely to think, "oh, not ready. I'll come back later, then, when it is..." But whether they actually return or not is a big question. If you give your readers any excuse to not come back, they won't. You do, however, want to give them every reason to stay and enjoy what you already have here. (And, given that you're talking about one of my favourite genres, I'm biased into thinking that you've got a lot of potential with your blog. :))


Introduction
Offbeat is a blog about the fantasy genre, featuring news and commentary on books, comics and writing. Enjoy!I'd rather this be tightened up some. Especially since you have the text "Commentary on books and the fantasy genre" under your blog title. It's redundant. Either make it not redundant or delete it. :)

Your background image is the word "offbeat" repeated everywhere. Instead of the word offbeat, can you replace that with an image that actually is offbeat? Some kind of graphic that represents fantasy somehow?

Also, you say:


News Tip or Question?
If you have a news tip, or a question for the blog, please feel free to post it.Where is the reader supposed to post it? As a comment to a blog post? In an email to you? Give some options. :) Make it easy for the reader to give you those news tips. Make it easy for the reader to interact with you. But I'd also be inclined to clean that up a bit, perhaps to something like this:


News Tip? Comment? Question?
If you have a news tip or a question for the blog, please either post it with the relevant blog entry or email me at email (at) address (dot) com. All comments are welcome.That's not quite it, I don't think, but you get the general idea.

Good luck! :)

arainsb123
12-26-2007, 06:26 PM
Hmm. I would like to see you focus more on your own thoughts and feelings, as opposed to linking to other sites with only a bit of commentary. You write well, but ... the subject matter doesn't seem to merit being written about. What do your entries about the new JK Rowling interview or about a living author finishing the Wheel of Time add to the discourse?

If you had written something to the tune of "Demonstrating that money is thicker than literary integrity, Brandon Sanderson is finishing the Wheel of Time now that Robert Jordan has died" (which is my feeling on living authors finishing the works of dead ones, in general) then your post would serve a purpose.

But you offer neither strong opinions nor thoughtful ruminations; you simply report the news. And the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are already doing so, in a more timely and polished manner; why choose your blog over a news site?

This is not an attack on your writing or on you. It is just that your blog reflects the great problem of the blogosphere: bloggers don't have a purpose in mind when they start blogging, so they meander, and are lucky to get more than one or two comments and a few dozen readers of each entry.

rejectME
12-28-2007, 08:34 AM
Hmm. There are some interesting points made here and I fully agree with doing away with the "site under construction" in the header. I think the point about reading "news" in your blog as opposed to a newspaper might detract from the point of a blog. I think what you are doing here is just fine for a blog as it reflects what your thoughts are. Jsut because you are in essance reporting on something that is not original doesn't mean that it doesn't reflect your own thoughts. I feel it does as it shows your readers what it is you are interested in and perhaps they would rather read your blog than The New York Times. As for yout choice of templates, I know Blogger is rather limited, but I think you would be better served with somethat doesn't have so much room in the side bar as there seems to be too much open space and although you like the look of it being unfinished, there could be a better use of space. In all, I like what you have done and look forward to reading more. Keep it up! Best, Jerry