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Changes at Mabfan's Musings

Those of you who read my entries via a Friends page are probably not aware of the changes I've made over here on my blog, so I thought I would bring it to everyone's attention, for your amusement and edification. And those of you who are visiting from elsewhere have probably reloaded my page and gone, "Huh? What?" Since Howard Waldrop taught me back at Clarion over ten years ago that you should never do anything to make your readers go "Huh? What?" I thought I'd explain.

Basically, I woke up yesterday morning and decided that I wanted this blog to have a more "professional" feel. LiveJournal supports a variety of different customizations for paid users, so I investigated those styles and pick one that I liked. gnomi suggested the layout called "Component" and I went with it. If you're reading this from the main page at http://mabfan.livejournal.com, you can see that my profile is on the upper right, with a calendar underneath and a list of links. (Well, one link so far, to Analog magazine. Where else?) There's a clear path to my website, and links to all the usual LiveJournal stuff (such as my user info) can still be found along the top.

Over the next few months, I imagine I'll be tinkering with the blog a little more. I need to come up with a list of appropriate links, after all, and a line of description somewhere would be nice as well. I'm also thinking of creating new headings for each entry, to give them appropriate categories, such as "Personal," "Writing," "Links," etc. Then again, it might be too much trouble.

One other note, primarily for non-LJ users. I've enabled anonymous commenting on this blog so visitors from outside of LJ-land can participate in the discussions. There are only two rules to keep in mind. First of all, I'd appreciate it if you'd end your comments with your name and perhaps a link to your own blog or webpage; otherwise we'll have no idea who you are, since Anonymous comments have no other indication of who posted them. And secondly, I reserve the right, as always, to delete any comments for whatever reason. (I suspect most LJ users enforce this second rule in their own blogs; I'm just making it explicit.)
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Comments

I'm not sure I remember what you had before, but the current look is very classy.
Thank you! The look before was their standard "Xcolibur" look. It's what you still get if you look at a single entry of my blog with its replies. (At least, that's what I still get. If you have your styles set differently, you may get something else.)
I think those are all the same.
I liked Component - I used it for a long time. I just recently changed to one which lists the posts on the page. It has the other things I like - the calendar and the list of links, so it works for me.
I incorparated a Page Summary into my Component style as well. It fills up the space on the right nicely. :-)
You could add the syndication URLs as links in the link list. Some browsers will Do The Right Thing automatically, and even those that don't often support drag & drop into the user's RSS reader.
Advice taken and done!

(Anonymous)

It's nicely pale, but I'm not sure how much a LJ style can affect the feel of your LJ. Most readers will see your content under their own friends-list styles, or as individual pages in the default LJ style if they're coming in from Google, RSS, or direct links.

If you want to connect your LJ content to a more professional context, you could import it into your official website with an iframe. There are sketchy instructions for doing so at the Drupal site: http://drupal.org/node/1901. (They don't actually require Drupal.) There's a blurty page that lists every possible way of achieving the same objective: http://www.blurty.com/developer/embedding.bml?method=all.

mcd
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www.mcdemarco.net
No matter how people end up viewing my blog, the important thing for me is that first-time visitors will come to see a professional-looking page. As I noted above, I doubt that most of the people on my Friends list would have known of the change if I hadn't said anything.

I would love to have the blog on my official website; I'll take a look at the pages you recommended. I considered getting Movable Type and other such things for my website, but for right now, the LiveJournal interface is what I know, and so it's easiest to keep using it.

(Anonymous)

I'm guessing the majority of first-time visitors would come in through direct links to an entry, either through Google or someone else's link, and get the default entry/comments page. So it's not just fellow LJ users who are unlikely to notice the change in appearance. Even as a non-LJ-user, I rarely see someone's LJ front page. When I do visit a main page, it's usually because I know the person well enough to be checking for new content.

Though many people click through a LJ username tag (mabfan) to the main page, such visitors would mainly be LJ users whose have preconceived notions about the LJ community that an LJ style is unlikely to alter.

To summarize, I don't think that there is a way for you to control the first-time user experience to the extent you might want, at least not with LJ. There will always be a significant number of visitors looking at the generic blue LJ interface, and (if they browse just entry/comments pages) *only* that style.

Whether converting to another blogging system is worth in look-and-feel what you'd lose in convenience (not just for you but for other LJ users who follow your LJ) is another question.

mcd
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www.mcdemarco.net
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