We are starting work on a redesign of AVC. The current design has been in place for a year or two and we'd like to update it a bit. The "we" is yours truly and Nathan Bowers, a member of this community who has been helping me with the design work on AVC for a few years now.
We put a heat map on AVC last week and learned that the main column is where the action is, most people ignore the right sidebar. But people do seem to engage with the header and the "tan box" at the top of the right sidebar.
Both Nathan and I read AVC and other blogs on our iPhone and Android browsers and we've noted that a single column of text is a powerful model for the reader. While I don't think we'll get all the way there on the web (that is how AVC reads on iPhone and Android now), we are going to try to get close.
I suspect it will be a few weeks to a month before the new design launches. If you have any specific requests, please let us know in the comments.
One thing I'd like everyone's opinion on are full posts vs read more links. Brad Feld just updated his blog design and he's gone for a paragraph or two and then a read more link. If you read TechCrunch, you'll be familiar with this approach.
I've never liked to do it that way. I don't truncate AVC's RSS feed and I don't truncate the posts on the main page. It seems like more and more blogs are moving to this design. My instinct is to stick with the full posts at AVC but I'm interested in all of your views on this issue.
That's it. Please share your thougths.
My guess is (and my personal opinion) that you’re better off putting the full post, as opposed to a paragraph and read more. The truncated style makes sense for a publication where there are many posts per day (like TC). People may often go to the main page and skim over the articles and click through to read only a few. However, since AVC seems to have a readership that checks in once a day or every few days, full posts make more sense.
> People may often go to the main page and skim over the articles and> click through to read only a few. Thats an interesting observation. I’d always (cynically) assumed the “Read More” link was to force more ad impressions and increase the page view count. Using snippets to skim the home page is a more direct equivalent to truncating the RSS feed, I suppose.
That would be true too.
I would actually disagree with this observation somewhat for avc.com (though since I come here via RSS I’m agnostic so long as that doesn’t change). My experience has been that if I find an article interesting, I click through to see what the community has to say (which as we all know only enhances the post).Knowing that, I would post the first couple of paragraphs on the main page and “link bait” any newcomers to see the full article. This might in turn lead them to the conversation below, and perhaps even create a new voice within the avc community.
Fred, your instincts are correct. Please don’t truncate. It makes mobile reading very frustrating. I can’t understand why SAI does it and it almost makes want to unsubscribe from their rss. More and more reading is done on mobile (where typing can be slow) so I think it’s particularly important to cater to that crowd in this case.
right. since we did the redesign a few years ago, mobile reading has been apriority. great point. i hope disqus can make mobile commenting andengagment broadly work better
A mobile mode for disqus would be incredible (email reply is already a very useful feature).Even better would be a mobile rss reader app that let’s you comment from within the app instead having to go into safari, then click on comments, then click to log in, then enter login details, then reload page again etc… Ugh. An rss app that syncs with disqus and let’s me comment immediately… I would pay money for that. There you go app developers, your customer development is done!
I would love if disqus had a mobile mode (although replying by email,as I’m doing now is pretty sweet). Even better would be a mobile rssreader app that lets me comment directly from the app as opposed togoing to safari and interrupting my rss reading flow.
Another vote for not truncating.As for SAI, the thing that has got me rarely reading their stuff these days is the blatant page view whoring of turning everything into a “Top N Reasons for …” slideshow.
Yes. Its awful. Reminds me of forbes.com
Full post please Fred, it makes your reader’s daily routine much easier.
Western eyes track screens via an F route (some say because we assume the right-hand side will be filled with advertising) so I think your premise is correct. I need your posts and some navigation tools to enable me to find posts I’ve missed or those I want to revisist. For me anything else is pretty superfluous.And I personally really dislike having to click on “more” – I have already indicated I want to read the content by virtue of coming to a site or a feed so why make me do more work?
Go with your instincts, I prefer full posts too. Looking forward to the new design!
Hey.Couple points:1- I agree with you. Truncating posts is bad. Less bad is if you have an AJAX interface that lets you view the full post without a full additional page load but non-truncated is still best.2- My main complaint would be that there is just too much stuff on your blog. You have about three thousand widgets there: Flickr, Hunch, recent visitors, Tracked.com, Google Translate, ads, most popular pages… It actually used to be much worse (avc.com would crash the browser on my iPhone) but I’m sure there’s stuff you can still trim.That’s my $.02. For the actual design I’m sure you have good taste and good people so I trust you.
the widgets are going for the most part. the heatmap told us all we neededto know on that.the one widget that people seem to care about is mybloglogand i am not getting rid of the banner ad since it produces a significantamount of money for charity
Points taken. Thanks.
Keep the full post. Radical suggestion, reduce or lose the right side entirely. The main column is why people show up, (as they should). In an age of increasing complexity and information overload people will more and more appreciate and seek simplicity and directness. This design would also reflect the strength of your writing, which is your ability to take issues of great complexity and give them clarity and directness for the purposes of discussion and greater understanding. In other words the design would better match the content of your blog.
Bullseye Chris. This was a tough hurdle for me to get over for my own blog, because I wanted to highlight what my proto-startup had cooking. I decided to move it to a top navigation bar and have been happy with the sleeker more idea focused feel.
I agree with Chris, keep the full post.
Good comment. But the right side content should not be removed; it is useful for people who want to dig deeper. That is, they have consumed the blog and are hungry for more. Hungry enough to read “second degree Fred” – that is, those things that Fred pays attention to. This serves a small but valuable percentage of readership.
Personal viewpoint: I just skip blog posts that are not full post. Who has time for clickthroughs and understand complexity offered by a site. Blogger Viewpoint: Established blogs need to maximize pageviews. And for them excerpts are a good idea. However content has to be compelling enough to generate the clickthrough. As a result, for this to work, you have to make per post decision.
Definitely keep the full posts. No one likes more clicks when they don’t have to.
Fred, avoid the temptation of increasing the main column larger than 600-700px. Regardless if people read the sidebar it is a usabilty strain to read a very wide text column on the web. You sidebar has too many widgets that slow the load of your page. This is one of the slowest pages I visit and you should be aware of that.Post Truncating. Don’t do it as a rule. Truncate only posts that have a lot of graphics or videos, but putting some of those below the fold (WP ‘more’ tag) you speed up the main page but don’t do it as rule.
P.S. In the end it is all about reading. These rules are good to follow religiously:1. Always errs on the minimalist side. Less buttons, ets. The text is the king.2. Don’t make text too small ( Feld’s new design). After all work is done you made reading itself worse.3. Look at the page through the eyes of a usability expert and a graphic designer not a coder.
I second (15th?) full posts.I really dislike truncating, the only time it works IMO is when you’ve got a completely different homepage design, like a magazine layout, but I don’t really care for those either 🙂
Another vote for non-truncating.Great design and positioning should focus on the one thing that the community finds the most value in…and for me that is the current discussion. The whole post.
I like the full posts on the avc page.I moved over to an RSS reader and have skipped comments for a while until i made a conscious effort to come to avc.com. So if feel that for rss through a desktop, you should truncate with a small message saying, “Please join us in the after party in the comments section 🙂 ” NYT truncates the posts for rss and i dont see it as a problem but when i got to techcrunch and see read more its irritating. :)For mobile it should be a single column with the entire post.If you want to get rid of the right bar, you could move the entire box with the info & links to gothamgal, jessica and emily into the main column. That would fit in 2 lines and it would still serve the same purpose. I like those links too.
Whatever happens please don’t truncate the RSS feeds, sometimes web portals will deny access to random sites for reasons unknown, similar to your tweet on the Acela issue. The way I get around it is most of the time it will load on Google Reader without giving me an access denied screen.
Fred,My preference is for the full post.Thanks,Sam
I really really use the full posts on the homepage.
– Full post- Mobile reading (/m version that auto-detects the browser)- A Disqus widget/roll that ranks/displays the top/popular commentersA long shot: How about a Fred Wilson iPhone or BB/Android App that puts it all together? I bet someone will do it for free just for publicity perhaps or as part of a contest.
i’d like to replace mybloglog with something powered by disqusthey just don’t have the MBL equivalent right now
Twittercounter may be a good replacement for MBL – you have 10x followers there, so the widget would definitely be very lively.
i’ve seen a bunch of blogs using that widget. we may give that a try.
Full articles, please. I read avc because I know that I’ll find great content here and that the entire article will be valuable – I don’t need to screen articles by scanning the first paragraph.Widget-wise, I know that some of the student entrepreneurs I work with have used tracked to check out some of the ventures you are in – for them it was inspiring to see what you were betting on and interested in.
Just curious; when you say heatmap, what do you mean? Did you heatmap the clicks on the page?
Fred, one thing I’d love for you to explore is how to make your old content easier to browse (as opposed to search). I often think to myself, “I remember that Fred wrote about this topic and I want to remember what he said” and it takes me forever to find it using search (mostly because you’ve been blogging for so long that I have to hone in on exact key words to get a match). Having the link to MBA Mondays goes a step in this direction for those posts.You might also think about tagging topics. Example, if you look at Feld.com and do a search for “term sheet” then you get all his posts on that topic. I share stuff you guys have written often in emails, etc. to people. I love that I can send one link to Brad’s term sheet series by sharing this link: http://www.feld.com/blog/ar…Finally, for the minority who read you on Blackberry’s – FYI, I can’t read the comments for some reason. Only the post.
Yes, tags +++ (it also improves SEO.)And browsing would be easier if the Archives listed titles only, rather than full posts in the monthly and extracts in the category archives, as they are now.
i do tag all the posts but i don’t know how to expose them for discoverypurposes. i only know how to expose the categories, which are way too broadto be useful for discovery (except for MBA Mondays)good suggestion on the archives. i really like that.
I think they’re auto-exposed with my blog setup (wordpress self hosted). May be for yours as well?
You should be able to reveal the Tags that Zemanta suggests (or which you manually add) below each post. I use Zemanta for my blog, and it does that. It’s a small step towards discovering related posts, and then you can have list of hot Tags on the right like a Cloud (there are plugins for that).
if you’re really hardcore about it, use you’re categories/tags to help you build a contents page like Chris Dixon just did, though yours would probably create the AVC book. and please have the streampad bar only show on user agent (unless you got the css to kill it for all mobiles), so the .01% doesn’t accidentally shoot their phones one day.
that’s one of the many reasons i now carry a blackberry and an androidphone. the blackberry browser is really not an acceptable blog readingexperience.i suffer from the same discovery problem on my own blog and i agree thatsearch is sub-optimal.however, the categories i use are very broad and i can’t go back and re-tagevery post. there are 5,000 of them.it’s possible that zemanta could crawl every post and recommend tags to me,but even then that would be a lot of work for mei’m not sure there’s a good solution. i’m certainly not aware of itfred
I was mainly thinking about tagging going forward. Starting to tag at source now would make it easier to search your stuff in 1 year.Also, re: archives, why not do a little experiment with CrowdFlower or Mechanical Turk to tag the past? Might be a fun little project to test the efficacy of those services. I always love to play with stuff like this – helps me learn better how they actually work.
mechanical turk is an interesting idea. thanksi do tag my posts using zemanta’s recommendation engine.not sure why it doesn’t improve the discovery
The problem is that when you click on a tag you get the full story rather than titles. It makes discovery too difficult. Plus, your tags are kind of lost because you put too many irrelevant links below each story so a reader’s eye doesn’t see the tag itself. Either have less links or make some of them icons to make the tags stand out. Finally, if you aggregated your main topics and listed them either in the top nav or right nav people who are interested in those topics could more easily discover them. That’s what I do at the top and right of my blog and I notice that I get a lot more discovery that way.
The longest time eater of my posts are finding the articles I’m trying to link. Making the easier is content gold.Comment speed has become an issue for all us mobile junkies
Totally agree w Mark on this.Especially the archives.
I agree with Mark about better tagging. But I would keep the tags at a very high level, there are basically only a number of broad things you post about, for example:1) Your perspectives on tech trends2) Portfolio company updates3) An inside look into how VCs work4) MBA mondaysEtc.
Go with your gut….please keep the full post Fred. Based on your strategic intent of the redesign, “ShareThis” might be a good add http://bit.ly/cG1o6X Best of luck on the redesign. Cheers…Steve
A side note; with you and Brad going that way, it seems like blog re-design is becoming like changing cars to a new model. I’ve got to keep up with the Joneses, Wilsons, Levines & Felds now and change mine too…
Not sure the TC format would fit, there’s only one author I read here. You might be more successful putting some of that sidebard content in an expandable bottom bar such as the FM player thing you’ve got right now. Just make it auto expand on mouse hover. And trim down or organize the content better because I don’t look at the sidebard since it really mainly looks like noise to my eyes.Apart from that, please keep up the blogging, very insightful.My 0.02$
Time compression is always a plus.I prefer “Read more…” links. If the intial paragraph interests me, then I read on. If not, then I scroll down to the next blog entry which may be of interest to me and is readily available – as opposed to navigating away to an entirely different page to view the next blog entry.There is another option. Why not design two feeds – one for mobile devices with the full text in a single column and one for standard viewing with truncated links? Sure, this means more work intitially, but, instead of catering to one segment of the crowd, you would be catering to the entire crowd. Win-win-win.Love the blog BTW. I have been searching for a VC with an opinion they are willing to share. (You would think that would be easy to find! 🙂 )
I like the truncated posts on the main page and full post in the rss. If you do the truncated ones on the home you could show more posts too (people only scroll so far).
Don’t truncate the community. Not sure this is advisable, but I’d love if the most recent post loaded up with comments. Obviously this is going to push the day olds way way way down the page and this is clearly a problem. But I think it’s an idea worth exploring, an account of there being such an engaged community here. Older posts can truncate the comments, so maybe there’s some sort of a creative way to use all that freed up side bar real estate and index them in there.Possible variations include auto loading the fist ten comments, or the most replied to comments or the most liked comments. I think it’s important though that the add comment opportunity not be truncated. Might be a crazy idea. Might increase engagement. I would selfishly love it.
if disqus could build a widget of the ten most popular comments (using acombo of likes and replies) i would seriously consider running the ten (orup to ten) most popular comments on the main page on the most recent post.i’ve always wanted comments on the main page to increase the communityaspects of this blog
Why not hire someone to build a few custom Disqus widgets for you using their API? I haven’t looked too closely at their API, but I imagine it includes all the info you need and would be a pretty simple job. Recruit a developer from the AVC community.I would strip the home page down to:1) Three most recent full blog posts.2) For each post, show the top three most active top level comment threads under each post (ie. the three comments that sparked the most replies, so you don’t show a reply to someone else’s comment out of context).3) Your short bio and contact info in the sidebar (the yellow shaded section at the top in the current design.4) Sidebar widget showing the avatar, name, number of likes, and number of replies for the most active commenters over last 2 weeks.5) One ad unit in the sidebar for charity. Change the ad size to 300×250… those tend to make more money, they look better, and the 300 pixel width will provide enough space for #3 & 4 above.6) Remove everything else.For the post pages, show the post and all the comments. I would remove the Twitter replies or, if you’re not ready to do that, maybe only show them when someone clicks to expand. They tend to just be a list of links to your post, which isn’t all that useful here.Keep the design, clean, simple, and readable. You’re in good hands with Nathan on that.
great suggestions Joe. this is exactly the direction i’d like to go.
that’s a really neat idea.beyond ‘most popular’, what would be interesting to highlight is ‘most contrarian’. provide a shortcut to the range of ideas, not just the popular ones.
I prefer full posts but understand the draw to require visitors to ‘click for more’ to get a better picture of engagement with the site. Bounce rate is generally much higher for blogs or other visits that are typically single page views, since time-on-site (TOS), a metric associated with engagement, is generally calculated by comparing the difference in the time between page loads. One page load means nothing to compare against, so no TOS and no way to know whether the visitor spent a second or ten minutes reading the entire post. If you’re looking for ways to gauge engagement, metrics like loyalty and new vs. returning visitors can be helpful. Also the activity in the comments section can act as a good barometer for individual posts.
As for truncated posts or full, I’m a big fan of full posts.
I don’t mind the ‘read more’ links as long as there is enough content before the link to let me decide whether a I want to click the read more link or not. The New York Times is an example of too little information and certainly just the headline is way too little. I personally don’t mind the Tech Crunch model, I think it works well and strikes a good balance.
I prefer simple designs and seeing the entire article without truncation or redirection. I also tend to focus on the main article and ignore links and ads.I agree that easy reading on smart phones is critical. Quick, simple, classy, fun designs rule.
I appreciate being able to read your full articles via RSS; if I have something to say (like right now!), I’ll click through and leave my comment.Thanks for soliciting your readers’ input!
I’ve always believed that regular readers won’t mind clicking a link to “read more” while occasional visitors appreciate the ability to scan the homepage to read what’s of interest to them (and the page loads slightly faster). That being said, in general your posts aren’t so long that going with a “read more” is going to save much space on the page so I think it’s a wash.
i’m stuck on typepad. i started this blog in 2003 before WP was the obvious choice and i’ve not had the energy to switch
a few links which might help :http://codex.wordpress.org/…http://foliovision.com/2008…http://adamstiles.com/2005/…
I like the immediacy of your posts / layout style. New posts + previous posts name @ the top. Ability to comment. Will take advantage of the other “click box’s” from time to time, yet overall and given the significant amount of data I / anyone else search for daily…I am fine with what you have presented now. BTW: @ 8:15AM….a hint of blue sky coming through now…you may have a slushy drive up to your final ski destination – yet a fresh foot to ski down by tomorrow! Mtn highs = 28 / Lows = 14
scrobble yourself – box with links/comments most liked/read/comment by readers, your personal most read/forwarded articles/sites/artists
Another fan of full posts both for blogs and RSS as I tend to read blogs from my iPhone and having to keep clicking rather than scrolling is a big pain. I tend to unfollow blogs that make my life harder (TC and Felds were 2 culled for that v reason). My focus is a quick scan of the content and comments.Agree with the other commenters about slow loading from the widgets and also Disqus. Lo Disqus is not optimised on mobile and takes ages to load/sign in.Love the MBA Mondays link at the top, that was really helpful for finding one quickly, thanks Fred.Search is tough here. One widget I did keep on my blog was Lijit – it searches for words in blogs and is a great timesaver. Works on iPhone nicely too without slowing things.
I’d like to see a Medium Rectangle (300×250) video ad autostart on launch with sound muted @ top left. I like to feel like my eyeballs are worth something.
are you serious?
It raises the value of content / producer. It makes people admit / feel what they are getting has value. Besides, as Paul Harvey says, sometimes the biggest news of the day is that your feet don’t have to stink.
I decided to try excerpts only on the main page and full posts in the feed. After a few days of it, I don’t like it and am switching back to full posts on the main page!
i’ll watch to see where you end up brad. i like how your main page looks but not as much how it reads
Tell me more about what you mean on “how it reads”. Font? Spacing? Or just “excerpt” vs. “full post”.FYI – I’m back to Full Posts as of yesterday. Your post prompted me to make a decision and the comments to your post were unambiguous.
i just meant that i tend not to click the read more link unless its something i have to read. if its a full post, i simply keep reading
Yup – got it. Thanks for the nudge on getting rid of the “read more” bullshit – full posts only for me from now on.
Personally I prefer full posts, the less links I need to click through to read the content I want, the better.
Along the lines of surfacing the hot stuff, how about a straight link or top menu item to “Fred Wilson’ Videos”, grouping all your video interviews, presentations, etc…There was some good stuff there.Or you could also link to a Fred Wilson YouTube page that hosts these too, curated by you.
we do that on the USV blog. i could copy what we’ve done there
if possible, full post for the active 1-2 posts, the other posts truncated. So a post is shown in full for a day or two and than truncated, easy to read the current post and to scan past content.Showing selected comments can kill the discussion, DISQUS “poplar now” sorting is great and enough.
great points aviah
I love your blog as is. Some suggestions:-use the sidebar to highlight your post categories-display the most popular AVC pages more prominently. -do not go to the truncated read more style.
IMHO stick to the full posts on the main page, do not truncate like TC. Your blog is a lot different then others, it is not a blog to scan over and get the news of the day.
I’ve gone through several redesigns with Victus Spiritus this year. I settled in on a content only simplified display with tabs to discover other content up top. I don’t even pitch my startup idea the main page, the focus is ideas, and comments.One thing I’d really appreciate as a super fan of AVC is a mobile friendly comment setup. Could you talk with the Daniel and the disqus team about meaner and leaner jscript for mobile? I may be moving my comment section to an open salmon variant soon, partly because of speed issues, and partly because I’d like to see a convergence of comments on the post page from all across the web.I swapped to a preview mode, as it makes sense for the diversity of topics I cover. Not every reader is going to care about startups, my thoughts on adaptive web/social media, far out concepts and inspiration or my critical value/meaning search.Surprise us, you’ve more than earned my trust. If I can nail down the adaptive web blog pluggin we’re planning new visitors can see a quick list of your content that matches their interests, that could be fun.
Fred,I definitely agree that the full posts are the way to go. Felix Salmon did a look at this after Gawker made the change and has a number of good points about it: http://blogs.reuters.com/fe…
Fred,I don’t know if it’s the quality of your content or the fact that you don’t have “Read more” links, but I almost always read your full posts. So for me, ixnay on the “Read more” links.
Read more links do not work well on mobile devices. If you were using avc.com to make money via advertising (which I don’t think is your primary goal) then maybe it would make sense. It is just too difficult on most phones to follow a read more link and, at the same time, I think more people will be reading feeds on mobile phones. I would wait a year or two until enough smart phones were out there to make read more links make more sense.
My vote is for a fuller post versus links. When you’re reading on the go, on a non-multitasking device, skipping around to links is a really ADD feeling. Disconcerting.And of course while we’re reading we’re generally doing other things at the same time too. So it’s a pile-on. The more we stay focused and can complete the main thoughts from end to end, the better.
“The current design has been in place for a year or two and we’d like to update it a bit.” – Sounds very familiar to your home moving situation Fred.Really enjoy the blog, please don’t truncate the posts. Also, single column with minimal content on the periphery is appealing to me. I know it will be good either way.
Another vote for keeping full posts, if I’m clicking through from Twitter or reader or whatever, I’d rather have the whole post ready to read, than have a truncated post and another click. It’s really annoying when TC link to a truncated post from their twitter feed, meaning if I want to read the full article I’m an extra click away from it with no benefit (other than the ad impression for TC I guess)…
Since you make tonz of monet, and it appears there is only rev gen ‘particulate matter’ in that far r/s column…I say…jettison.There is nothing of value on the r/s of this page with respect to content.The content holds 100% of the value of your site.
I actually like clicking through to Gotham Gal, Monster and others.
the money from that banner goes to charity. i think its valuable
For what it’s worth:- I prefer the long posts- I have not once clicked on the FredWilson.FM bar here (on fredwilson.vc, it’s another story)
I think I’m swimming against the tide here, but I think you should move to the truncated posts. I really enjoy reading the full posts on the site and generally I prefer sites that show full posts. But, I need to click on a post to read the comments anyway. So, by truncating the posts it’ll make comments more important, since everyone who reads the post has to see the comments too.But of course, don’t truncate on mobile or in RSS
I really dislike having to click through to finish reading a post. It reminds me of having to flip pages in a print newspaper, which is also annoying.
Cut the clutter and go minimalist. Just your highly recognizable brand icon at the top, clean copy for your posts, and on the right site the essential RSS, Twitter and email update button, that’s it. Cut the ads (or replace them with calmer text links), cut the widgets. Less is more.
+1 for full posts & shorter Disqus load times.
I am against “read more…” and pro full posts…
fred, please dont add a ‘more’ link…its a pain to click on those links to read the whole post
Something to consider…http://relatedlinks.googlel…
Please don’t truncate the posts
Truncated posts make me angry.
+1 full posts. Your comments are so good that the temptation to click on a post just to read them is already high. In a certain sense, they already are truncated.In terms of layout, I’m a big fan of fixed height slugs. Google Reader kinda does this for you automatically. With some script you could make the slug expand into the full post in a more usable way than a site navigation.
I like the full post. I agree wholeheartedly with chrisdorr. Also, is that advertising?!?
TC and others pump out numerous posts a day, they truncate them to make the initial discovery easier. We know here we get 1 dose of Wilson Wisdom a day, so initial discovery is kinda easy.Truncated posts are also used as a ploy to garner more page views and eek out that extra advertising cash. Not sure that’s necessary here.
My perspective would be keep all right hand column features to be community-oriented or subscription oriented. mybloglog, a twitter stream, maybe an area for you to highlight most commented on comments or even a a place to link to your community members twitter etc.Make the main page community and use navigation to discover you, your tumblr, flickr, etc. I would love to know more about JLM, KidMecury etc.
i need a disqus widget it seems
+1 for Full Post in RSS, I appreciate that you do this now. It’s the only way I fully engage in blog. If a feed doesn’t have a full post, then I’m more likely to scan and NOT visit. As it is, I only visit this site if I’m interested in experiencing the comment stream based on the article. The quality of the blog = articles + comments. I read more articles in the reader but I’m engaged often enough to visit the site.Since your more interested in audience engagement than revenue generation, you’re more likely to take the path that benefits the former in the long run.
wow. that’s a handful, but some great suggestions in there. thanks!
I personally hope I get the archive pages, one for each year. The rest would be bonus.
I know I’m just a pedantic, off top, old fart, interloper around here but as a representative of the , run on at the mouth crowd…..I vote for full posts!
full posts please
Move the streampad bar to the top of the page and make a comment bar/blog bar with css fixed position at the bottom. Your eyes float down as you read.Create a higher contrast color scheme- Charlie O’Donnell just did a site do-over- he uses black, red, and white. It forces the eyes into the body of the content. Your current one is too pale to force readers to look into the content for long periods of time.Don’t truncate.Probably one of the reasons that people like the MYBLOGLOG is that it includes pictures of human face. People like looking at human faces (we’ve actually studied this with infants.) Your design may want to included elements of the human face, or at least try mimicking human proportions (Golden ratio 1: 1.618 Bing uses it to great effect.) Make sure the design is slightly off center. This one is too on center and then has the these two extra columns to the parallel base. It looks funny as a result.Just my very late $.02
I’ve been thinking about this more. How about a rich data set where we can customize our own view. That’d be perfect
Stick with the full posts.
You need to offer one of these like Chris Dixon did and that I am going to torture myself to do http://cdixon.org/contents/
wow. that’s impressive. i’m not sure i can do that. i’ve got 5000 posts to go back and categorize
With so many readers, it seems you could intuitively come up w topics (5-10) and have us crowdsource the tagging…
Please, please, please … full posts and full feeds. It is now at the point where partial posts and feeds is becoming a deal-breaker for me. The only way I can keep anywhere near “up” with all I want to follow is via RSS, and I visit blog pages only to comment (like now!) Ration the content, and I’ll ration the attention 🙂
regarding publishing truncated posts in blog feeds: i’m strongly against this if the truncated version is the only feed that’s available and it is a huge beef of mine. here’s my reasoning as a reader of blogs: as i see it, truncating posts is only good for the reader if the truncation takes the form of a summary abstract OR if the posts largely comprise bandwidth-intensive content like high-resolution videos or autoplaying videos (another no-no). otherwise, truncation disrupts workflow for anyone who wants to collect content from disparate origins in their reader application. having a “read more” link is probably good for on-site pageviews and monetisation, but i believe these motivations should be secondary. if the choice had to be made, in my ideal world, i would offer two feeds, one complete and the other truncated, and allow the reader to choose.
Full posts please. I really like being able to just read through without clicking. Sometimes I’m in a spot with weak internet connection and I just enjoy being able to to read straight through without any hassle.
Full posts and better indexing (I like what Chris Dixon did, see Howard’s comment)O/T – I’d like Disqus to either integrate with Delicious so that I can bookmark comments (Yahoo are really not putting any effort into Delicious it should be awesome) or if that’s not possible/not what Disqus want to do then keep a track of what I like either through the existing like button or a separate star/save for later button
My vote is full post & simpler search tool for past posts. I’m pretty far removed from your work world but love reading how you simplify things that often scare me enough to try to ignore. Full posts allow easy reading, not sure I’d click through all the time.
I receive your missives by e-mail, this is easier than RSS feeds for me because I am a world traveler. However, when I click on a link inside the e-mail feedburner creates a messy link when it finally resolve. This final link is not the true link, this causes problems for me to link your post or to send the link onto my friends. Viral marketing strategies break down here, you instead seems to want me to use Twitter or Facebook to promote or assist, your writing would only annoy the majority of my friends, therefore I send onto selected friends, not the my general group of friends.I know I am unusual, because my sphere of influence or group of friends encompasses about 10-50 times more than the average human with more allowed diversity.I need to forward or send your page link to friends, I am not sure how to do this easily.
First time commenter long time reader, normally I dont comment but I really enjoy your blog and I usually only read blog posts on my iPhone and it is a huge hassle when blogs have a “read more” link. I completely agree with Chris, keep the full post.
You could also truncate the posts but dynamically show the rest if more is clicked rather than loading a whole new page, either via ajax or have the post loaded in the background.Truncated works nice for scanning but is a pain for those that would like to read more. A dynamic load of the whokle post might be a nice compromise.Or, if you are really ambitious, set a cookie and let the user have their preference!
Looking forward to the redesign. I prefer the full posts as well. When the new site is done could you share all the different software/plugins/services/widgets/etc. that power your blog? I know some of it is obvious, but it would be nice to see it all summarized.
I’m favoring continued full posts on site and feeds. You don’t have the eyeball = revenue pressure TechCrunch does. As for the sidebar, your rationale has been it’s your learning sandbox… I’m seldom clicking things over there. But, have to admit, there is the tidbit here and there that draws me in now and again. All in favor of tinkering with stuff to learn those lessons first-hand.
The truncated post thing is simply a problem for those who read your blog through their RSS feed or mobile.Much like feld.com, there is a difference between a redesign and a tweaked one. I nearly never read feld’s blog because of his unfriendly design before (sorry…), I’m going to now.# on the importance of you and the community :I think the redesign should be focused on the key aspects of this blog :Your writing, and the comments.Those are the two essentials that make this blog what it is and what it is going to be. The value here is more likely 40% of your posts and 60% of the comments (JLM’s, Shana, Mark, Kid, David, Reece, Andrew and so many more who give as much as you do IMHO)Data retrieved from your analytics give you information about this current form factor, not the future design and its impact. (I’d like to point out too that “memetrack this blog” from tailrank does not work on your stats page, they’ve changed their product name and now is called spinner3)#on the style of the design itself :It could be interesting to view the main avc.com page in a magazine style. Like it was suggested just before, blog posts on the main page could be virtually truncated for visual purposes but not for RSS feeds or mobile viewers (especially since you will most likely have to have a custom made mobile version of your site for BB, Android and Iphone users). If truncated, then they should show the heading instead of an excerpt of the post.There should be a very easy URL for the mobile version, either m.avc.com or avc.mobi or something like this.Also, most of the time, people will want to read the latest or the 3 latest post straight ahead, but their very likely to click anyway to add a comment. Visually speaking, their should indeed be an emphasize on groups of posts like the MBA Mondays right on the main page.# on color scheme :I think the colors of this blog work very well together.You’ve got three main colors : light blue, light green and beige. If you look at it, it refers somehow to the colors of your avatar which I think is a good thing. It also work perfectly with disqus, and feels like the comments are 100% integrated to the blog. (green is nearly the same for the “verified” badge, beige for the “registered” one and the blue works perfectly with the twitter and facebook icons and disqus logo.the color scheme helps serving the purpose of users : reading, it should be easing the way people read your blog.Before I forget, there is sometimes a z-index issue with the streampad bar when you post YouTube videos. Maybe it’s YT’s fault but it would not hurt to try and boost that z-index in the css :-)Also, even if I don’t use it this much, I think it’s important to keep at least a link to FredWilson.fm (and also to your tumblog, which both will need to be redesigned accordingly)# back at you and your posts with an API :-DSince you’ve been praising the API way for web apps and services, why not do the same with your blog ?having an API (which you could potentially charge to give to charity) would let some developers or regular commenters with development skills to toy around and build a few stuff to ease the reading for a few people.examples ideas could be :_ a virtual book or library of your best posts with the comments, _ crowdsourcing the categorization of posts (powered with zemanta if possible)_ copy writing maybeGranted, it might be overkill, but very nice and possibly fun !I second Mark Suster in which categorizing your posts is really essential here, and also would help discovery of your old posts (Obivously for reading it again or keeping it somewhere close to refer to it when needed).# On plugins and add-ons :Those are the ones that slow down your site, but then again, some of them are here because they’re one of your porfolio companies. Disqus obviously won’t go and that’s a very good thing none of use will argue against. I think the same is true for Zemanta, and would be interested to see if it could be possible to emphasize more on their service.For the loading times, Mashable and a few other websites (also using disqus) have apparently a neat plugin which loads pictures as you scroll down. This makes for a very fast loading of the article itself. You could also use a sprite for the static images of your blog (mainly the avatar, your family and the rss/email/twitter icons), making about 5 http requests into one.I suppose you are going to integrate the @anywhere twitter platform and am eager to see what comes out of this. Maybe the twitter guys can give you an insight in how you should influence the redesign of your blog so that it can be well integrated.#on networking :Just like an MBA, networking here is truly great and adds a lot, don’t forget the list, Shana made ;-)# on webdesign, again :Most of us have recent browsers I believe (don’t have the stats tho), take a look at TypeKit (www.typekit.com) for some typography love :)The header and Tan Box isn’t the most important, but adding the Tan box into the header and making it slightly bigger might do some good while keeping the family picture too. the footer tho is nearly nonexistent, but links to stats might go there instead of the header.There is also the link parts right before disqus comments that could use a refresh, advertise here could go right under the ad itself or in the footer, just like the CC license. I would also like to suggest you add an instapaper icon (and actually turn those text into icons too, which would in turn increase usage) which is a very nice little tool made by Marco Arment (lead developer at tumblr, just in case) for reading later. I use it all the time and it even has an iPhone app + Kindle app :)Okay, now I’m done with this, I’ve said more than enough (probably too much, which reminds me that the comment box on disqus is a little bit too small when writing a long comment…) and wish good luck to nathan !
wow. excellent analysis and suggestions. very appreciated.
If you want to make money off of ads, generate higher page views, etc. then you should truncate. Otherwise, keep it as is – for your users. (I read most in RSS, but I click through to engage with comments.)
I think that if you are going to go for shortened posts, it really is only necessary when you have high volume of output. That being said I do appreciate being able to ‘skim’ the recent headlines or articles and that is one way to make it happen. I like Salon.com’s implementation of same.As for the rest; I mostly read your site from RSS; the design was new to me! I could go for something more minimalistic about it.
I’m +1, as are many others reading the comments, for the full posts. I think the main draw in the partial posts is understanding which posts are attracting people, having more nuanced analytics and probably serving more relevant ads.I think you’re not interested in the third option, and you already gain the information provided by the first two options through the comment threads and discussions that occur on each post.Thanks again for sharing.
pro(s): you’ll also rack up more pageviews, which equals more impressions and hence more $ for charities. also, you’d get a better idea about bounce rate; if that metric is really important for you, it’s better to have the “read more” link.con: it’s a little annoying. also, there’s *a lot* going on in this blog; running AVC through google’s page speed add-on in firefox would probably give some good recommendations for cutting that time down.i guess i’d be ok with the “read more” option as long as you kept the “next | main | previous” links at the top of the post.
A little late to the party, but here’s a quick thought on the main content. I always like when a blog shows the full text of the 3 most recent posts and then a very truncated (like title & one sentence) of the next 3 – 5 posts. This may satisfy both sides of the argument.
The single column route is the direction I took recently when I re-designed my own website. I’ve noticed that the bounce rate has dropped dramatically and the number of page views has shot up.So that gets my vote straight away.
I get deterred from sited which only contain the first paragraph or two. Mobile web speed is just not to the point where I’m willing to wait for the post to load so my vote is to keep full posts available
You can do like Nate Silver’s blog does, full text, just initially hidden through CSS styling.When you click on a button the entire article is revealed and pushes the rest of the posts below.
Please keep full posts – so much more enjoyable to read that way. If a reader is not interested in the entire post, they can just skip ahead. I read via an RSS feed so didn’t realize you had a “right column” but now that I’ve been to the actual site agree it’s useful to go in depth. BTW, I’m a new reader (~ past 2 months) but have become a big fan!
I was very happy to see you post this a few days back. I love reading your posts on my phone, the format is simple and focuses strictly on the content. Moving to a similar wired web treatment is a good move.
I personally don’t mind “read more” links when it comes to being on a laptop or desktop. But I hate them when I am viewing blog posts from my smartphone (either the iphone or droid). This is especially the case if I am viewing these posts through google reader, which encapsulates each post that you have to “read more” in google’s “web friendly” (read: ugly) version.If you’re wanting to focus more on mobile, I’d love if you avoided “read more” as I think it will reduce the friction of people trying to read your posts.p.s. I don’t think FB connect quite worked as it was supposed to in Chrome.Nathan Snell
I did a pros and cons of this very subject when I built StartupAlley.net over the holiday break in December. The advantage of the truncated design is that people can get a 50,000 foot view of what you write about very quickly and then deep dive as desired. This is especially advantageous for new readers that trip upon your site and are trying to quickly figure out if you are subject matter expert in something they care about. Full posts obviously make it (one click) easier for existing readers to consume the latest post and move on, but then those readers are probably seeing the post on Twitter, Facebook or RSS and can click the link that takes them right into the full page post.
Stick with your instincts! All of your content is long posts so the expectation when landing on your blog is read and be educated. If you had a mix of content types (and say, for instance, images were more popular), I might suggest reconsidering. The only place I might suggest read more is on your Tumblr. Here you have a mix of content types and the community thrives on shorter bits of information (although this is slowly changing as Tumblr’s blogging audience grows). At the same time, you’ve built and established your brand to the point that people are eager to consume what you write. I’d say full posts all the way!ps – did Brad Feld suddenly change his format? I don’t see the “read more” approach anymore…
(ps – just noticed brad’s comment below on switching back)
He changed it back after reading this comment thread
Whatever you do, please, don’t truncate the RSS posts.
Please, please, please keep the full view! I generally stop reading blogs that don’t offer full RSS feeds. I do all my web reading via Google Reader and hate needing to click thru to posts, especially if I’m reading on my iPhone. That extra step is a serious downer.Some blogs feel that they can only monetize their site if they force people to click through. I don’t see why they don’t just place ads in the RSS feed. Everyone’s happy!