(8) “Margo, Your Baby is Ugly.”

      “Margo, I think your blog needs to be updated,” Heinrich said.

      “But I’m already posting every day!

      “I mean the presentation.  The design.  Ways for your readers to interact with it.”  

        “You don’t like it?”  I felt like someone just me that my baby was unattractive.  “You said you liked my blog!”

        “Aside from the anxiety it causes me to have, and the interesting men you have met from it, I like it fine.  I think it is one of the best blogs on the internet.  The delivery should be better.  It looks amateur.  It looks like you are using MySpace or LiveJournal.”

           “But it is an amateur blog!  I write it for myself!  For free!”  

          “It is your–” he waved his hand, trying to find the word, “–vehicle for self-expression on the internet.  It ought to look as good as possible.  Why the hell did you decide to use blogger?   Why not WordPress?”

           “WordPress was too intimidating.  Blogger is like training wheels for people who are phobic of code.  It’s impossible to fuck it up.”

            “Well, there you are.  Even still, it can be improved.   It does not have to be fancy.  It is better if it looks like a serious project.  Pride in the presentation.  You work on it and show it to the public.  It is not a diary you are hiding underneath the bed.”

           “I don’t know…I think that part of the appeal of my blog is the unaffected intimacy.  I think my 8 readers appreciate that.”

          “Please!  This is like a hipster musician saying that if he uses a better guitar, he will lose his authenticity!  That the inferior quality of the recording gives to it the charm and the credibility!

           Well.  I had no idea what to say to that.   He had a point.

            “If a professional comes to your blog and is interested to read the best of the writing there, where does he see it?  If he wants to interview you, how does he contact you?  You need a contact button.  If I want to share this post, how can I share it?  Am I made to cut-and-paste it into the body of an email?  Too frustrating.  

            It needs the improved and attractive presentation with a user-friendly interface.  It should be as clear as possible.  The organization, is rational, and–” he flapped his hand, “–intuitive.  Better tags.  The tags are not so very helpful.”

           “It’s disorganized because it grew that way.  When I started it, I had no idea where it would go, or for how long.”

          “I understand.  Margo’s internet blog garden, growing wild and free with the nature!”

             He rapped his desk with his knuckles.

             “Impose the order upon it.  Make it better.  Improve it.”  

            “Jesus Christ, Heinrich!  No need to be so intense.  We’re not developing new technology for the Pentagon.”

            Is he right?  Does this place need a makeover and friendlier user interface?  Does it look worse than I think it looks?

9 thoughts on “(8) “Margo, Your Baby is Ugly.””

  1. Hmmm. The guy has a point.

    WordPress is indeed a far better option. For one thing, the sans serif typeface is a lot cleaner and more readable, and the design is slicker and more professional.

    I don’t know how Blogspot works from the blogger’s point of view, but WordPress also gives you a mass of feedback stats concerning blog access in nice histogram form – views per day, views per week, country of origin, search strings, most viewed pages, etc.

    If you are worried about learning the ropes on WordPress and porting the whole of this blog over, for around 500 bucks or so, you could get a professional graphic designer to do you a template that would keep you going until you are prepared to make the necessary investment in time to turn this blog into a proper publishing platform.

    Of course that might involve security issues given the sensitive nature of some of your posts. Aye, there’s the rub.

    In which case, WordPress offers a range of ready-made templates, some free, some costing a few bucks that you could play with and build up your confidence before actually putting online.

    Also, for a few bucks per annum, you could have your own domain name, piecesofmargo.com

    It would probably take you no more than a month or two to teach yourself enough HTML and WordPress to be able to adjust and tweak the original design to suit your own design criteria, or better still, to do the whole job yourself, in which case security would be guaranteed.

    As for your being HTML phobic – the whole point about WordPress is that it acts as a front end that writes the HTML for you. And looking at the code behind your pages (which you can do if you want) is a good way to learn enough HTML to feel comfortable.

    Modesty forbids me to link to my own site which was professionally designed for around 500 bucks, but for an idea of what could and should be done take a peek at dumbdomme.com which, for my money, is the best thing of its kind on the web.

    It’s time to abandon the training wheels. In the immortal words of Freddy Mercury, “Get on yer bike and ride!!”

  2. although i wouldn’t say that your blog is ugly, heinrich’s criticisms are valid. i encourage you to take the wordpress plunge. i used to share your feelings about it but i started poking around in it and it is much easier than i thought. there are also lots of tutorials on youtube to help you learn it and even to migrate your blogger blog into wordpress. i’ve done it, it is easy.

  3. I’m going to go against the grain of the other comments here and say it’s fine the way it is.

    Personally I use wordpress for my site, as I want the fine control over the layout and data gathering. But my site has a lot of visual content, I have different pages I want to feature, I like to play with the caching and statistics services, etc. Your site is almost entirely text and is updated as a series of blog like posts. That fits pretty well with what blogspot offers.

    I’ve never yet looked at a blog and thought – “I like the content but the presentation is kind of boring, I shouldn’t feature that”. On the other hand I have often found sites that look good but have terrible content, and occasionally found sites that have good content but terribly overly complicated presentation that ruined it. Great content always wins and often fancy presentation just gets in the way of it.

    It’s also important to distinguish between wordpress the software and wordpress the hosting service. One important benefit of the software is that you can run it on any suitable hosting site (provided you pay for it). The hosting service is no different to blogspot in that they might decide to delete your content at anytime.

    If you don’t care that your site could be wiped out at the whim of some corporations algorithm then I’d say stick to blogspot. If you want to ensure control over your site then run the wordpress software on a hosting service you pay for. But that comes with both additional complexity and a monthly bill.

    If you want to chat more about the technical aspects feel free to ping me. Can’t guarantee I cam help, but I will try!


  4. Of course the site could look better — you’re just using a simple and rather old Blogger template. But I think before you go into a big redesign, or learning WordPress, you should think about your goals for site. Heinrich says it’s not a diary you hide under the bed, but, in a way, that is how you present it. You post very private things here, and you imagine that you have eight readers. Of course you have more, but my point is, the site doesn’t seem to exist for commercial purposes. You aren’t trying to get sessions from it — quite the opposite. “What if someone wants to interview you?” Do you want that? You could have cleaned up media wise during this recent “50 Shades” phenomenon, but that doesn’t seem to be what you want to do. I would balance your goals for the site with the work required to switch it over and see if they align. — Michael

  5. maybe i have misinterpreted heinrich’s criticism. i understood them to be constructive (although harshly worded but hey, he is the master here) in that it would help miss margo’s writing get a wider audience and help push her into the direction of writing for a living. something i feel very passionately miss margo can do if given the opportunity. wordpress is the better platform for creating a serious, professional looking blog/website. miss margo, if you ever want to own the piecesofmargo domain, let me know and i will purchase it for you so you can maintain your anonymity.

  6. Personally I don’t agree with Heinrich. Think his logic is flawed. Either your blog is a company website for Pieces Inc or it is your personal website: Margo.org. You cannot have it both. A company website has to be effective. Your personal website should reflect you as a person. If somebody orders you to redesign your website according to their preferences, whose “vehicle for self expression” is it anyway?
    Your blog is perhaps the most personal one I’ve ever read. You got me worried quite a few times, and I know for sure I am not the only one. Your writing stands out, that’s why I read your blog. Once you’ve read it a couple of times, you do not notice the lay-out any more. Guess content is still king.

    For a while I’ve been wondering whether Blogger has any future and its recent decision to ban porn looks like Google itself is wondering too. My suggestion is to register two domains and run two websites, one for business and one for “self expression” The business website should be designed by a professional, based on a broad outline but for your personal site I recommend you get involved much more. Don’t worry about WordPress, it is simple and works well, most of the time even better than Blogger. Only thing I find complicated is working with images in WordPress. When you run two blogs you can cross-post and link between both blogs if you like.

    One thing: in one of your posts I read how you vigilantly protected your privacy, paying cash etc. Registering a website in your name, even if the hosting company shields your name in the registry, creates a permanent relationship between Margo, the college teacher and mistress Margo. Then there are the annual payments for hosting and registration. Even if you always abide the law – you do pay taxes on your part-time job, don’t you? – what if the database gets hacked? For me that was the reason to go with Blogger, no money trail, less risk of exposure. Guess I am homeless in a month’s time…

    1. Hi! I know I’m late to respond to this, and I don’t know if you’ll ever read it, but I wanted to say THANK YOU for leaving such a thoughtful (and kind) comment. I really appreciate the compliments on my writing, your opinions about redoing my blog provided me with much food for thought. I read it several times.

      Thanks again, and please feel free to comment whenever you like! I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

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