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Calling All Readers: Help Direct the Future

posted by Matt Ward on Apr 13, 2010.

In this post, I am looking for a little bit of feedback from my awesome readers in order to help improve things here on the Echo Enduring Blog. I ask a few questions, which I can hope you can answer in the comments! Your input is always appreciated!

Hey guys. Today’s post is going to a little bit different from what you might typically expect to find here on the Echo Enduring Blog. I’ve been thinking about life and this blog and my freelancing career, and I’m just trying to get things more in order. I do pour a lot of time into this blog, and I would like to improve on a few things here. So, I’m throwing a few questions out to you, which I hope that many of you will answer in the comments.

What do you like about the blog?

It’s a pretty straightforward question. What are some of your favorite things about this blog and it’s content? I’m not necessarily looking for all kinds of praise here. I just want to know what you guys enjoy, and why you’ve become dedicated readers and followers of the Echo Enduring Blog.

Let me know what I'm doing right

Let me know what I'm doing right

With this information, I hope to be able to focus my content and vision a bit more, and really start to offer you more of what you want. I recognize that the topics of content can be somewhat broad. What I’m looking to do is get a bit more focused. If I have interesting ideas for articles that are a bit more off topic, well I have many alternate avenues for publishing that content on other prominent sites and blogs!

What do you not like about the blog?

Okay, I’m bracing myself for this one, because I know it will probably sting. Still, go ahead and let me know what you don’t like about the blog! Again, I’m looking more for information about the site’s content, and less about the actual design. We’re approaching the my one year anniversary in June and I’m aiming to have a completely new redesign up and running by then. Of course, if there’s something that you absolutely hate about the design (other than the white text on black background, which will be gone by June), go ahead and tell me that too.

Please, just be gentle!

Let me know what I'm doing wrong

Let me know what I'm doing wrong

By knowing what you guys don’t like in terms of content, style, post frequency (or whatever), I can work on improving in those areas, making a better reading experience for you and all future readers.

What is you favorite content?

My WordPress stats give me some indication of what some of the most popular posts of all time are, but that information is based entirely upon page hits and some of the highest ranked pages are the ones that have been picked up by some of the bigger players on twitter and other social media. Here are the top 10 articles according to my stats:

But what about you guys? Are these also some of your favorite articles or is there other content that you really enjoyed that just didn’t make it onto this list? Personally, I also like some of these lesser read articles:

What about you?

How do you feel about the Echoes posts?

For the past 30 weeks or so I’ve been doing a weekly post that includes one logo, one artwork, one tutorial and one website that I really like, and giving a bit of a review of these. I call these posts Echoes (as a not-so-clever play off of the name). I’ve received some positive feedback on these, but the posts generally don’t get huge traffic. Of course, I don’t really promote them as hard, since I don’t feel that these are the types of articles that appropriate to be featured on various social voting channels (which are already getting a bit clogged).

Should Echoes become monthly rather than weekly?

Should Echoes become monthly rather than weekly?

These posts do, however, take a good chunk of time to write. So, I am thinking of shifting these a little bit by changing it to a monthly occurrence. This would be a bit bigger and feature some of the best stuff that I’ve found over the course of the month. It will probably also be somewhat less structured, without necessarily including the same exact amount of different types of content.

What are your thoughts on this?

How do you feel about guest posts?

I am also hoping to get a few more guest posts going here on the Echo Enduring Blog. Every Saturday morning, I publish Brad Colbow’s The Brads comic, and last month I published an interesting guest article from Amber Weinberg, but I am still looking to have some more great guest authors on here from time to time.

Looking for guest posts

Looking for guest posts

How do you guys feel about that? If I remain committed to still maintaining the highest quality posts (which I do) are you cool with having regular guest posts on the blog? I’m looking to eventually have one guest post a week, but let’s start small though. Maybe one per month?

If you’re interested in being a guest author here on the Echo Enduring blog, feel free to hit me up and we’ll chat.

How am I doing on the other stuff?

Finally, I would like to look beyond just the content and look at how I am doing in some of my other interactions. For instance, I am pretty active on Twitter and I hope that most of you are following me there. How am I doing? Is there anything else you would like to see in my tweets or are you pretty satisfied as a follower?

Some of the things that I am definitely wanting to get better at is to respond to more of your comments (I do read them all in detail, I promise). I’m also looking to get more active on my Facebook page (and I hope that you will too, letting us build up a meaningful conversation).

Is there anything else I could be doing, though? Are there any other ways that you would like to connect with me? Please let me know. I’m always looking to improve in these areas.

Well, those are all my questions for today. I hope you can take a few moments to answer some of these questions in the comments and provide me with some much needed feedback. Thanks! Looking forward to providing a better experience and having more contact with guys in the future!

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Also from Echo Enduring Media:

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About the Author

Matt Ward is a digital artist who lances freely under the moniker of Echo Enduring Media, and specializes in graphics design, illustration and writing. He is also the Creative Director for Highland Marketing, a creative direct marketing company based out of Waterloo, Ontario. You can follow Matt on Twitter

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Comments

Apr 13, 2010

Pablo Lara H says:

Oh, everything is Perfect.

Apr 14, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Thanks. Not a bad way to start these comments :)

Apr 13, 2010

James Costa says:

Hey Matt,

Not enough bloggers do this, so kudos to you for reaching out for people’s subjective opinions. Oftentimes, you get very objective responses in your articles, etc (not just talking about you), and it can throw you off from an entirely different group of people you can be tapping into.

I know firsthand how much time is put into those weekly roundups and would suggest against them. Monthly is better because then you can compile more and you’ll be able to do more with them. Your Saturday comics are rehashed comics… are they not? Not a huge fan of that – generally what I like to say for The Phuse’s blog is “can my users find this somewhere else?” — if they can, great I won’t post it, if they can’t I make sure I’m the first to post it.

As for the articles, I love your writing style. I’m a huge fan (as you know) of the article that went over the sort of grammar behind coding that people don’t often understand. You don’t find enough articles like that that are technical, witty, and easy to understand.

I honestly don’t know what to say that is negative about your blog… I would suggest putting up some ad space if you can swing it so at least you’ll get some income on things and it’ll make the blogging a little more worth it. I like guest articles if you can find people to post them, but the reason I don’t get guest articles on The Phuse is because it’s based right off my company site… much like it is yours. Essentially, I don’t want people to go and say “oh wow, Amber works for you guys?!”. Although it would be great, it just doesn’t feel right.

Hope this helps, Matt… It’s been great to team up the last few months and see everything grow. Here’s to all the best in the future!

Apr 14, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Hey James. Thanks for the valuable input! It’s really appreciated. I definitely think that I am going to shift the Echoes to a monthly feature. Just seems to make more sense right now. As for the Saturday Morning Cartoons – your suggestion has inspired an idea for the redesign. I want to keep the comics, because I love them, but now I’m thinking about maybe shifting out from the main content stream on the blog and heaving a separate branch off of the main page.

I’m also hearing what you’re saying about the guest posts. What if I gave guest posts a slightly different design or did something to make it obvious that this is a post from a respected colleague rather than somebody who actually works for Echo Enduring?

Thoughts?

Apr 13, 2010

Aidan says:

Hi Matt,

I liked most of your popular posts and I believed that those are the preference of most readers too.

I think you are in the right direction, well at least for me.

If I have to really pick the bone from your site, it could with the text size and narrow post column.

I would like them to increase for better readability. The also seems to be too long a list of categories and the post headers should be made more obvious.

I would love to read more great intellectual discussion article which comprises of analysis, tutorial and showcases.

I think it great to network with fellow blogs and designers and support one another in this community. After all, we are working for our readers.

Just my tiny 2 cents.

Thank you very much.

Apr 14, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Thanks for the comments Aidan. Glad that you are liking the blog. Text size is definitely something that I will be addressing when in the redesign. So will the category issue. Actually, a big part of the redesign is actually going to involve reworking some of the way that my content is organized. No changes to permalinks or anything, but I am going to reduce the number of categories and change them from a list to more of a menu to help improve overall readability!

Apr 14, 2010

Hein Maas says:

Well Matt, to be honest i really like all your content, don’t have much time lately to read it all but for what I’ve seen, the content kicks ass.

The point i don’t like is the layout, dark sites aren’t my style. But this is just a matter of taste ;)

You’re doing a great job :D

Apr 14, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Thanks Hein! The new layout is going to be completely different and less dark. Should help improve overall readability. Thanks for your input!

Apr 14, 2010

starr says:

Hey Matt. This was a brave post but I’m sure it’s all going to be positive feedback. I like your blog because the posts you write are original, really, detailed and well written and you certainly know what you are talking about. Keep up the good work and I will certainly carry on tweeting your posts for a long time to come.

Apr 14, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Thanks Starr! I appreciate the kind comments – and all of the tweets of course ;)

Apr 14, 2010

Lucas Cobb Design says:

I really like the “outer space” feel of the design of the site. It’s very interesting to look at and does set your site apart from other design blogs.

On the negative side it leads to difficulty in reading your navigation and posts. Your footer text is also seriously hard to read with the dark blue against a just barely darker blue. I’m only 29 and it’s hard to distinguish between the different buttons.

Posting frequency is perfect on this blog. It gives you time to promote a post before you throw up another. I have a huge list of blogs I read through daily and I always miss articles on the blogs that update several times a day. No one has that kind of time unless they stick to reading one blog and then you miss out on so much more in the community as a whole.

The comics I’m not a huge fan of just because I don’t really like comics, but I know a lot of people do like them so I’d keep them if users are accustomed to seeing them on this blog Saturday morning. I’m sure you have readers who come here mostly because of that.

As for the echo posts, once a month does sound like a better option to me. Focus on more than one item in a category so your reader can have a few things to look at in one big post. It will also make finding info you liked from a post a few months back easier.

I’m a big fan of software for designing so any posts you make in regards to new tech, old tech, techniques with current programs, cheat sheets to work faster, etc… are going to be my favorite posts. The 13 Key Elements to Mastering Photoshop series is by far my fave on the site.

Hope this helps. Keep doing what you are doing with posting quality and maybe adjust the color scheme a tad and you should be all set.

Apr 14, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Thanks for the input Lucas. So glad you like the 13 Elements posts. I really enjoyed writing those last year, and I wish a few more people would get out and read them. I think there’s some good stuff in there. Appreciate the comments about posting frequency too. Seems like a pretty solid amount for most people.

As for the design – contrast is going to be much better the next time around.

Apr 14, 2010

Kiesha @ We Blog Better says:

I love the button tutorials. My favorite tutorial was the transparent icon design post. I think you’re a very talented designer.

The background background/light text was my only issue – but since you’re changing it. That’s fine. However, you don’t have totally get rid of the design, just add a white background for the text area. I’ve got a dark background, but the text area has a white background for easier viewing.

I liked “Free stock photos for your website” and “Icons and the Web” – but I’m not a designer, so my selections may skew your stats.

I love the tutorials, but I understand the time issue – have you thought about creating an eBook – you could charge for it or use it as a subscriber incentive (that would eventually increase traffic in the long run)

I’m following you, but it’s probably my fault that I’ve missed your tweets because I’m on-and-off of Twitter. You could tweet your latest posts with @mentions to specific users – I wouldn’t mind receiving this type of tweet from you (@krenee76) – but perhaps you could alternate which followers you mention.

Apr 14, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Hey Kiesha. Actually, I have thought about doing an eBook, or even a real printed book, or maybe both and connect them somehow. Still brainstorming as to what it should be about and how to approach it, but it’s definitely on the radar at some point!

Interesting idea about tweeting my followers. I’ll have to give that some thought.

Also, glad to see some non-designers stopping by the blog and enjoying the content :)

Apr 15, 2010

Shurandy Thode says:

Hey Matt I got to say, normally I would be theone of the first guys to comment over here but I’ve been busy myself lately. But hey, this blog is amazing! As you are aware of the white on black text, it’s the only thing that catches my eye at the moment.

Content wise, man you rock it! I like the style of writing and you have a perfect timing between posts.

1 I like the content itself and the way you network with your blog. I don’t have any negative points of concern honestly.

2 Sometimes I think you should go ahead and switch to a magazine :d But hey that’s up to you ofcourse lol. I think Echo will only benefit of it, variating the content with other type of articles and other designers/writers visions. Not that I don’t like the way it is now, but I think you can make it bigger and get alot more benefits.

Interaction is perfect. I like they you reach out and contact me just in case I missed one of the articles. I must say, sometimes other people are sitting there and analyzing if you’ve read their article yet. That is so annoying they’ll keep contacting you just for that. But with your blog that’s not the case. You have the perfect interaction. I catch your stuff via my reader or by email sent by yourself. And that email is only sent once as a reminder for me. So it’s all good. Keep it up Matt.

I can keep on going but hey I don’t wanna fill the page. If you need any feedback from me holla at me. I’m always available for a chit chat ;)

Apr 15, 2010

Matt Ward says:

Hey Shurandy! Thanks for all the kind comments. I really appreciate all your input and support, pretty much from day 1 of this blog. I think I will shift a bit more towards a magazine style, but I probably won’t ever get into a full online magazine. Still want to keep a lot of personal branding here – probably even a bit more about me. Still need to pick up new clients and such!

But a separate design magazine under owned by Echo Enduring Media is not out of the question in the future ;)

Thanks again for the comments and support though!

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