Magazine Format Blogs

Jayvie Canono has a useful discussion about the magazine-style format that has taken the blog world by storm over the last couple of years. Among the non-technical issues he raises is this:

Will your readers like it? Maybe they would prefer that they just keep scrolling down to keep reading your posts. Maybe you should ask them when you play-test your site.

Having invested in the Thesis theme for Manzine, I’m seriously considering porting OTB and some of my other sites over at some point.  Manzine‘s thumbnail-for-every-article format is too labor intensive for OTB but I like the idea of a featured post or posts followed by headlines and excerpts for older entries.

What say you?  Do you like “magazine” formats on blogs like Michelle Malkin, Hot Air, TPM, and Lifehacker?  Or do you prefer the standard blog format such as OTB now uses?  Or does it matter at all?

I’ve thought about doing this for awhile but have resisted partly because I think most people read blogs, as I do, via their RSS reader rather than directly.  But that may just be idiosyncratic to those of us who peruse a hundred or more blogs.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Burgess says:

    I like OTB the way it is. Perhaps it’s because I’m a conservative old fart, but I’d rather just scroll down for content than have to search around a page for it.

  2. Boyd says:

    Wait, I can read more than the first few lines of every post at OTB in my reader? When did that happen?

    Seriously, if I can’t read it all in Google Reader, like I do with MANzine, then I much prefer the blog format, since I read all of the posts here at OTB. Those magazine formats seem more designed to confuse the reader (meaning the person) than anything else.

    Well, it may not confuse by design, but that’s the effect.

  3. Eric Florack says:

    Art Smith at Conservative Reader does a fair job with the format as well, but frankly on the whole I tend to prefer the more traditional style blog.

    From the operator’s perspective, the magazine design does add a mechanism by which your page hit count goes up, particularly for larger blogs. But I’ve found that increase is roughly offset by a lower number of readers, because folks eventually get tired of loading a new page for every story.

  4. odograph says:

    I read most things in Google Reader, so it doesn’t really matter what the host page looks like for them. It is annoying when the first click is to a partial article with a “continue” but I don’t think that’s what you are talking about.

    I read OTB and one other closely tracked site in iGoogle’s Slim RSS Reader, though I do flip over to your front page when I suspect Slim Reader is lagging.

    I suspect I would be OK with changes, but do actually like your current structure.

  5. Janis Gore says:

    I like it fine as it is, but you, the writer, might be bored with the format.

    I’ve read since you started this blog. Do what’s necessary to keep your interest going. A shiny new vehicle won’t put me off.

  6. E.D. Kain says:

    I think it works pretty good for co-blogging sites, because you can hi-lite multiple authors on the front page in one view. The problem is for sites with really high output – I think it’s much easier to lose posts once they’re off the front page, which is naturally more constricted than a classic scrolling blog.

  7. capital L says:

    I read a lot of blogs and visit a lot of webpages, and I’m hopelessly set in my ways. I don’t use an aggregator, and I much prefer the simple single column, scroll-down for more, blog format.

  8. Dutchgirl says:

    I much prefer the blog format, as I can scan more than just the headlines even if I don’t read the entire entry. Plus I end up reading stuff that would not register as interesting to me if all I got was a headline. A shiny new vehicle would put me off.

  9. sookie says:

    I tend to drift away from magazine type blogs. Too many page loads.

  10. Ryan says:

    I very much prefer the classic, blog-style lineup. It’s much harder to browse through articles with a magazine-style presentation.

  11. Triumph says:

    Go for the Mag-style. When I commented over on the ManZine that I dug the format I was going to suggest that OTB needs a makeover, but I didn’t want to be offensive!