Friday 4 February 2011

A few small changes

I've implemented a few small changes to BLMA that I thought worth explaining and getting feedback on. Nothing too major but none the less worthy of some discussion. Some of you may have already noticed these changes as I implemented them a couple of weeks ago on a trial basis. But I've now decided I like the alterations and will keep them for the foreseeable future.

Since BLMA started in January 2009 I have had a BlogRoll in the sidebar. This lists all of the blogs that I follow in 'date of last post' order. So the most recently updated blog appears at the top of the list right down to the least updated site at the bottom.  The problem is I now follow something like 80+ blogs and the list is growing all the time. If I listed all these blog in the blogroll the sidebar would just grown and grow out of all proportion.

I have therefore changed the settings of the Blogroll so that only the last 25 sites to be updated are listed. This means the latest changes are visible and as other blogs update they will hit the 'top 25' and get some exposure on my site. Its a compromise, but one I think balances the desire to share my favorite blogs with the need to keep BLMA user friendly and hopefully useful. If I feel that the turnover of new updates is too quick I could expand the list to a 'Top 30' but for now I have set it to 25 and will monitor how this works over the next few months.

I hasten to add that I do read all of the blogs I follow. I use Google Reader which makes it easier to review new updates on a daily basis. As my reading list has increased this tool has become more invaluable in keeping track of new updates and highlighting posts I want to revisit in more detail at a later date.

News Feeds
I've added three news feeds to the bottom of the side bar (below the Blogroll). These list the top 5 news items from The Miniatures Page, Tabletop Gaming News and Miniature Wargaming News. The links open in a new page so you can check out an interesting new item without exiting BLMA (why would you want to do that!). I visit these sites several times a day and find their content very interesting and useful. I may add more feeds at a later date but for now I think these are useful additions to the site.

I've been adding Polls to BLMA ever since its started. Response to the most recent Polls have been excellent and the accompanying Posts have generated quite a lot of interesting comments. Usually I move the Poll results to the bottom of the sidebar when they close. But I think they don't really serve any useful purpose when they are read out of context and become separated from the original discussion. So in future I'll be copying the final results of a Poll to the comments section of the original post associated with it.

Facebook 'Like' Button
A few weeks ago I added a facebook Like button to the top of the sidebar. It's not generated a huge amount of interest (only 9 likes so far!) so I'm not sure its worth keeping. I'll hang onto it for a while but this may get removed later to keep the sidebar uncluttered.

My aim is to make BLMA a worthwhile and useful destination in its own right, not just for the latest Post update (although I hope you enjoy them as well). I started this process when I added the Page links at the top of the blog, providing a place for recording Events, Tutorials, a Scale Guide etc. Obviously I'm limited by the constraints of Blogger and the layout template I have chosen but within those restrictions I am trying to make the most of the space available. I hope you like the changes I have implemented and as always I am open to suggestions for future development of the Blog.


  1. I've done the 25 on the blogroll aswell and maybe go with the top 5 or 6 popular posts that you have had so new visitors can check those out aswell.

  2. Due to this post I just noticed I didn't have a list showing all of the blogs I follow.This error has been corrected thanks in no small part to you.I went with 10 showing as a reader only needs to hit the see all button to see all of my blogs I follow as 25 was still to many showing which helps keep things user friendly.Thank you for posting even if your original intent wasn't to remind me. :-)


  3. One other possibility is to split the single blogroll out into two or more shorter rolls by theme. That way blogs can be found faster, especially if a certain kind of blog, say terrain-making, doesn't update so often. I've gone a bit overboard with this idea perhaps, but it certainly helps me keep track.

  4. I only display ten blogs on the sidebar (recent postings order), but they have the thumbnail picture. When I check the site each day I hit the show all button so I can check on everyone that has posted. I think it's great that people have those blogs displayed because that's how I find great new blogs, just like I did with this one.


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