Friday, June 13, 2008

ESPN Blogs

There's been something of a redesign at ESPN Blogs. It's not radical, but there's a better presentation on the main page, making it easier to figure out what you want to read without having to click around as much as you used to.

For our purposes, I'll note that Rob Neyer's blog has gotten a long overdue face lift. The content has always been king there, but archives have been a problem. As of now you can easily navigate May and June, and I'm assuming at some point you'll be able to go back farther. Aesthetically it's nicer too, with all of that yellow and gray -- which often made me feel like I was entering a room with no windows -- being replaced by a cleaner, more modern look. And get this:


I'll close today with a note to any bloggers who might be reading ... Soon, or perhaps already, we're adding a blog roll to this page [note: It's up]. If you don't see your blog listed and you think it should be, I have one piece of advice: Wow me. Post often and extensively (but not too extensively, unless your last name is Posnanski). And most of all, be smart and write well. Oh, and if you do see your blog listed? Don't assume it will be forever. Nothing's more annoying than a link to a site that hasn't been updated since Opening Day.

I believe that blogrolls are necessary to keep the bloggy conversation going, but man, they're tough. Rob mentions the biggest reason for this, and that's in making sure that everyone in your blogroll is keeping current. There's no bigger drag than having to constantly go back and check that the people you link haven't gotten a life and given it up. Then there's the too-many-is-too-much problem, in that once you get over a couple dozen links, the power of those links becomes diluted. People know you're not reading all that stuff, and because of that, they don't see a blog's appearance in your blogroll as a true endorsement.

The final problem with blogrolls is knowing when to pull the plug. Many young blogs have made the mistake of overlinking at the outset simply because the linkees were nice enough to give them a random mention. And they probably should do that, because when you have 12 readers a day, any link is worth its weight in gold. But flash forward a year or two and the calculus changes. Oftentimes those original supporters are almost, but not entirely dormant, and the blogger has to ask themselves if and when to delete them from the roll. I'll admit that I'm not sure what the etiquette is in that case. I mean, if a blog is clearly dead, fine, strike them. But when they're limping along at two posts a month, even considering the subject makes you feel like Terry Schiavo's guardian or something. In light of all of that, it's probably a good idea for Rob to be instituting a strict post or die policy. It will save him a lot of time and hassle in the long run.


I know many of you hate blog-talk, so I'll stop there, but if you have Insider, you should definitely check out Rob's new look.

8 comments:

Crowhop said...

Neyer's blog introduced me to yours. And for that I am grateful.

themarksmith said...

same here

Jason said...

it's a long list. I remember Neyer putting it in a chat back in the late Fall 07. Funny how time flies...

Pete Toms said...

C, my blog is dormant. 86 it off your blogroll please.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Alas, that is sad, Pete. I had held off because I know you've been prone to long layoffs in the past.

If you ever rev it up again, please let me know.

Osmodious said...

I wish espn.com would do something about the speed of the site...it's abysmal. I think it is actually all the ad content, but pages take forever to load (oddly enough, the ads seem to load right away). The blogs are the worst...you get the border, then your browser is locked up for the minute (or more) it takes for the content to display.

Maybe I'm just spoiled by nice, plain sites like this one (my preference, actually)...I click on a link and -zip- the page loads. Nice.

Peter said...

The videos that automatically start are what really annoy me...didn't web designers with a clue nix that years ago?

And the search function...ridiculously bad. You're better off searching ESPN.com through Google.

The blogs and chats are great, though. They're the main thing that differentiates the site, and well worth the price of the Insider subscription.

Grant said...

Neyer and Law's content alone is worth insider. Anything else I happen to read (including the awful magazine) I just consider gravy.