THE HAGUE, 1 June – It’s already 1 June here in The Hague, but still 31 May in North America where many Newbie Blogger Initiative peeps are located. As everyone is wrapping up this wonderful month of new blogs and great advice, I wanted to troll thru the list of new blogs and pick a few to talk about.
After wading thru the hundred-and-I-don’t-know-how-many blogs I finally decided to talk about some of the blogs I thought looked great. In a way that’s unfair since I’d expect a blog to start with some words, maybe add a few pix, and get around to overall design, interface, and usability a little down the road. Well, it may be an “unfairly” high bar, but a lot of peeps sailed past it anyway. I limited this post to 16 that I liked just so it doesn’t go on forever, but there are many more that were worthy.
• My Posts for NBI
• NBI Newbie Blogger Check-in Page
• The Oh-So-Valuable MORE Tag!
I apologize, and definitely LMK if you find any errors or omissions here. It was a lot to poke thru, and there could be name typos, bad URLs, etc. Also, I should have looked at all the new blogs off of one of the cool lists that many peeps made. But I actually tried to click thru all 16 pages of posts in the NBI Newbie Blogger Checkin Forum, so, silly me, I may have not read a post carefully and have some veteran blogger here on the “cool newbie” page – sorry if that happened!
haha, that and I nearly crashed opening so many blogs!
NoteToSelf: You don’t have to have all the blogs open in tabs at the same time!
Thanks to all the oldbies, newbies, organizers and everyone who helped make this such a nice month. And… here’s 16 blogs I thought looked pretty cool:
1. The Adventures of Danania, Supergirl of Lorien!
The minute I hit The Adventures of Danania, Supergirl of Lorien, I’m already on board and having fun with the ride. If the title left anything unclear, the visuals do the rest. I see a fun, inspired Danania in a meadow somewhere, her angular body language seems to say “up, up and away!” I love the way the drapery background of the blog mirrors her red cape. I know this is going to be a fun blog even before I’ve read a single word!
Even though it’s popular with the gamers, I’m not generally fond of blogs with white type on black backgrounds. I think it’s harder to read and I like the clean, modern, “Apple” or “Google+” if you will, feel, of black type on a white background.
Bloodthorne however is a real exception, this gorgeous blog really makes the black background work. The image slider atop the home page gives us a range of visuals that can hook us in many different ways depending on individual interest.
3. Casual Aggro
Like so many of the blogs I love, Casual Aggro has an inspiring masthead. I like that it’s long and thin, since I’m going to see it a lot of times, I don’t want it to take up the whole home page, but I do like the immersive reminder of where I am.
4. /con mmob
/con mmob looks great everyday, but I was probably extra-excited by today’s home page featuring a clean, sparkling fashion arrangement from Console to Closet. It was just such an unexpected image on an MMO blog. It inspired me and made me want to read more.
5. The Diverted Muse
The Diverted Muse might be the simplest home page that nonetheless blew me away. It’s really clean and spare. The woodgrain background and the face in profile in the center circle have a steampunk sort of breeziness to them, and the simple, but elegant and concisely phrased typography gets me quickly ready for our adventure together.
6. Elfkina Vežička
Elfkina Vežička is a lovely Slovak MMO blog. The graphic treatment, the image selection, all prepare me for a voyage of whimsy and wonder.
7. Gaming Abroad
Virtual Worlds already make us think of travel, but Gaming Abroad does a nice job of uniting its title with a vintage map background on the home page and a nice photo layout in the post.
8. Giddeon’s Hammer
A lot of great blogs choose the “full post” on the home page style, but I’ve got to strongly offer my not-so-humble opinion that “post excerpts” are far better. With full posts, even short ones, and especially long ones, I just feel lost forever in scrolling. With “Post Excerpts” (some themes have a setting to do this automatically, or you can simply use the MORE tag) your home page becomes much more cosmopolitan and magazine like. Think of your home page as magazine cover or table of contents filled with great choices of content for readers. Look at Huffington Post or any other top blog, they all have variations on this format.
Giddeon’s Hammer uses an elegant, beautiful home page with excerpts and “Read More” links to give me the maximum number of article choices, and therefore to give itself the maximum number of chances to connect to readers.
C’mon, you CANNOT look at this home page and not smile! Even though GnomeGates.com has a playful home page, they still have lots of post excerpts cleanly organized for maximum ease in getting to lots of content.
What a sweet idea, as the tag line on the Hipstalotro blog says “Me and my smartphone wandering through Middle-Earth’s coolest places” Take one part innovative photo-based design, one part clean, elegant style, mix and serve!
11. Image Heavy
Eva / Clumsygrrrl is doing such a nice job with this “Image Heavy” blog! Once again we see a gorgeous masthead on top, a clean, crisp layout, and then a parade of beautiful images.
12. Landroval Style
OMG Landroval Style just looks so good! The background, the typography, the post layout, the sidebar, it’s all crisp, inspired, and sparkling.
You know already know my rabid preference for EXCERPTS over Full Posts, so my one like-anybody-asked-me suggestion for LRS is to go to Excerpts. It would look extra nice on this blog since each post has the cool “Date Tab” as you see with “May 31″ so if the blog goes to excerpts and perhaps long skinny “Featured Images,” then that home page will sizzle with post tabs and options for blog reading.
13. Malefic Incantations
In my brief experience I have found it’s never a good idea to overlook a time-traveling, purple-clad Tyrian necromancer wielding a scepter. Beyond that, Malefic Incantations is a sweet blog with a crisp design, mood setting masthead, quick and functional menu bar, great images and nice sidebar.
14. The Poison Mushroom
The Poison Mushroom has a really interesting look! It’s clean and crisp, but also breezy and fun. It feels playful yet toxic at the same time. It’s an impressive use of purple! And yes, it uses my beloved post excerpts to good advantage.
Not only does Ravalation look great, but the current “3 Awesome NBI blogs” post features 2 of the same great blogs I just featured above! Yay! Ravalation has a beautiful masthead image that sets the tone, a great menu bar that runs thru that image and lets me select a particular virtual world if I like, and then scrolls down thru a series of nicely laid out and illustrated posts. All that and a great content-filled sidebar including a “Wordle of the week!”
16. Waldl’s Wanderings
Wald’s Wanderings doesn’t feature a lot of images, it’s mostly writing, but it’s a really gorgeous blog that’s picked such a delicious theme. The masthead image certainly inspires, and the parchment on top of wood very much puts me in a virtual world as I read the blog. The simple touches of this theme are so strong that reading the blog is like a gaming experience – how can you beat that!
Well, there’s 16 that I really loved. There were many more. Got a favorite? Go on! Throw a link in the comments below!