Blogs: Books or Windows?

question-markI’ve been half thinking about giving my blog a makeover. But there’s a big part of me that has come to see blogs as being like books that I like to return to and  much of what appeals to me about much-loved books is the familiarity of their covers, the feel of their pages, their well-thumbedness.

But blogs aren’t exactly ‘books,’ are they? They are more works in progress and clearly they are used by some bloggers as a way to try to showcase their actual books.

So, the other extreme, blogs could be perceived as windows ~ or, that’s what I’ve come to think in recent times. I’m talking shop windows here and the whole business of window-dressing comes into play. If a blog is a like a shop window, then change could well be perceived as being important to keep a freshness and to draw people in.

How do you perceive blogs: favourite books, windows in need of dressing or …? 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

35 thoughts on “Blogs: Books or Windows?”

  1. I like my book covers well worn and their artwork familiar… 😉 On the other hand, I trained as a window dresser. I keep looking at mine and wondering if I should update it too.. but at present it actually does everything I need it to do in terms of function. It’s simple, works on mobile devices and I can find things… and it is such an old theme, a new one would take some adjusting to! 🙂

    1. Hi Sue, you are certainly someone with a foot in both camps with the training as a window dresser. That must have been fascinating.
      I must say I like your blog as it is. I’m with you about being able to find things on mine but I’m not so sure if other people can or not. (I can on yours!). So this isn’t just about appearance for me; it’s about a complete makeover and it feels like a huge amount of time and energy would be required and I’m not sure if it would be time well spent, especially if I end up not being able to find stuff, like what happens when I clean up my study!

      1. Thanks, Jean, that’s reassuring. I admire all these clean, snazzy sites, but I’m rather comfortable in mine and like you, a good spring clean and I’d never find anything again 😉

  2. Books well worn are ideal if what is in the book has and remains fresh. Blogs change life and so do their coverings which is an individual choice to enhance their blog. Basically if a person is looking for change they wouldn’t be asking these questions. Take the plunge. Go window shopping with the themes. You can try them on for size and if you don’t like it put it back on the rack. Be well my friend.

    1. Joseph, you really got me thinking with your reference to blogs changing lives. I guess you’re right and one would hope that they change both the lives of the blogger and the readers in a positive way.
      As I said to Sue (above), it’s not just the appearance that concerns me about mine but navigation issues. I’ve played with themes before but changing the content around is another matter and I think that’s the one that bothers me most.

      You’re more than right about the freshness issue ~ though there is the matter of a blog reflecting changes in both personal and social history.

      1. Yes I agree. I’m not sure about your statement that follows but I have a pretty good idea. (changing the content around is another matter and I think that’s the one that bothers me most.) Is this an occurrence when one changes theme that your material is changed around?

          1. Oh Ok! To be honest with you people looking at older post are just a sliver in my experience if that is the case. I think a new theme will give you renewed energy and you can tackle the content. A fall and winter project. The end decision will be yours ultimately. Be well.

            1. My experience is a bit different in that the older posts tend to draw readers. But, I agree that a new theme might put a pep in my step. May play around with a few and see what they look like. Thanks for your interest. Be well too!

  3. That’s a great way to think of blog posts – like windows into other lives. The theme doesn’t matter to me – just the content and the chance to get to know the person behind it. I always love your posts and photos and I’m sure I’ll love them in any theme.

    1. Hi Sheila, thanks for your kind words.
      I’m with you about themes not mattering a lot. It’s really about organising content and keeping track of oneself as well as having the window clean!!

  4. Hello, I have just started my own blog to keep track of the reflexive analysis I do with my writing and also to identify challenges with research (or the writing process) and ways to deal with them. I love photos and I always enjoy your blog, so if you want to make changes, try them out on us and we can let you know what we think. I welcome feedback on my blog and I have only written a couple of posts so far, next one is due tomorrow. Blogging is a brave new world for me…did you feel that way?

    1. Oh I think the beginning is time of very mixed emotion for bloggers ~ excitement, trepidation, enthusiasm, uncertainty …..
      Thanks for the offer of appraising changes. Much appreciated.

  5. Very interesting topic Jean. I hadn’t actually given it any thought until you brought it up. I suppose your blog could represent a lot of different aspects of your life – a book or a window or a sampler or a fashion accessory, or whatever. I just guest post so far and I have tried a number of styles depending on the requirements of the host blog. I’ve written “window” pieces, “book” pieces, “story” pieces, “reporting” pieces, “history” pieces, etc.

    It seems to me that your blog and its format basically reflects your desires and can express whatever perspective you wish Jean.

    1. Paul, ‘guest blogging’ is probably a great way to start as it gets you into all sorts of different modes/moods of blogging. I’m looking forward, though, to seeing your very own blog soon! I think your apprenticeship is up.

  6. I’ve been doing much the same thinking myself recently, Jean, and changed my theme last week mainly because I felt mine was a bit outdated-looking. Whilst the new theme isn’t necessarily what I want, it is fresher. When I asked for feedback some time ago one thing I learned is that so many people read on mobile devices that themes matter much less than you think – but even so, slicker, more modern-looking blogs do tend to fare better in the online popularity wars. Most people say content is king and I agree completely, but we are a visually stimulated lot overall, and I don’t think it does any harm to have something that looks as professional and sharp as possible.

    1. Tara, I was one who said that ‘content was king’ and I was intrigued when you asked the question that I had to go and look at your site as a whole as I was so used to getting the latest posts.
      The fact that yours is about writing rather than a whole mish-mash of stuff would seem to make it more manageable than mine. I guess a ‘niche’ blog has its own issues that I haven’t even thought of. Sometimes, I wonder about subdividing mine into separate blogs but that would be a bit like cutting myself up which is painful even to think about.

      1. I don’t think a blog has to be about any one thing – far from it. I know mine is, but it’s a broad take on a wide subject. To me, your content is unified, because whatever the subject, the angle and tone are unmistakeably yours.

        Most people I know who run more than 1 blog say it becomes unmanageable and annoying after a very short while. I suppose my feeling right now (of course this could change next week, but anyway!) is that it’s not about changing what you’re stocking, but a thoughtfully refreshed display in the shop window is almost always a good idea.

        1. Tara, I don’t think I could manage more than one blog. It sounds like a nightmare!
          I love that idea of ‘changing what you’re stocking,’ though it has me thinking of ‘haberdashery.’ Now there’s a word I don’t ever remember writing before!

  7. I’ve been tempted to change my blog ‘design’ quite a few times. But I’ve always resisted, because, over time, it becomes a sort of brand for what you and your blog are about. That said, it isn’t much of a ‘brand’ as the design/layout is just a bog-standard free WordPress template. I think to create a true brand identity you’d have to have a bespoke design, fonts, logo etc.

  8. A blog reminds me of a quilt..bit and pieces that come together as a whole and form a picture of togetherness. Each adds to the quality of the picture. Every different topic adds to the overall picture, an exchange and meeting of the minds.

  9. There is a certain comfort in familiarity that is welcoming. Those of us who like that, will enjoy it. Those who like the thrill of the new and different will be drawn to the new and unknown. Ultimately, I think what matters most is that the design is imminently readable. To me, that is a white or light background with a serif font in black, and not too much busy-ness going on at the sides that distract the eye while reading.

    1. Suz, you could well be right about there being a divide in terms of people who like familiarity and those who crave newness and the unknown.
      Yes, being able to read posts easily is fundamental!

  10. Oh, that’s a cool question. Let me think. Not a book. Not even quite a magazine. More like a creative collage expression of the artist/blogger. So maybe more akin to a window or a twirling work of art?

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