Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Updates and Tweaks

I've been making a few small, and some not so small, changes around the ol' pagan tattoo blog. Let's get the little things out of the way first. I've added a visible counter, centered the title and added a submission banner as opposed to the old wordy "submission details" section. I've also added a five star ratings system, courtesy of Outbrain, which should better help me figure out just what you folks like (especially since you don't say much).

This is usually the part where I talk about implementing a new template or background. I think I'll give that a miss this time. I like this template; it's clean, simple and doesn't outshine the tattoos themselves. I've also removed the followers section from the page. I liked it but, through direct and indirect comments, I learned that it was preventing some people from submitting their tattoos as they thought they had to join or sign up for something. So, it had to go. Also, NeoPagan Ink is now on MySpace!

I'm also considering a rethink on the few spotlighted tattoo artists. There are so many great artists out there it's hard to know who to choose. And as I'm usually looking for pagan-specific content I often feel a tug-of-war between great artists who have only done a couple pagan tattoos and the very few out-of-the-broom-closet pagan tattoo artists I manage to find. Sometimes I think I'll just scrap the whole thing but something always changes my mind. I think I might, maybe make the spotlighted artists section a rotating project. I dunno, I've still got to think about that. Stay tuned.

Now, for the bigger stuff. I'm making a change in the way I view my visitors. I had previously thought of all of my visitors as very well versed in all things mythology. However, tracking and statistics have shown me that this is not always the case. So, instead of only providing little snippets of myths here and there, I'm gonna make a concerted effort to include myths in nearly every post with the view that my readers might not be familiar with the stories behind the images. I know I've said something like this before but I'm looking at the situation a little differently now.

Instead of thinking of this blog as a tattoo blog with the occasional accompanying stories I'm thinking of it more as a mythology blog with illustrative tattoos. Or something like that; it's late and I'm fuzzy on the details. Don't get me wrong, this is still a tattoo blog first and foremost. But the mythological link is stronger than it was when I first started out last July. So, look forward to richer posts!

As always, I welcome, welcome, welcome comments of any and all kinds. However, if you don't feel like speaking up I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the new ratings system. I want this to be an informative and inspirational resource for pagan tattoo enthusiasts as well as non-pagans interested in pagan, pagan-esque or related images. Feedback, positive or negative, is essential in making this blog the best it can be. Again, I welcome your opinions and encourage you to comment or rate, thanks!

P.S. From now on I'm going to try to stick with images listed under Creative Commons so as to avoid copyright infringement. Commenter Lili brought this issue back to my attention, thanks Lili!

P.P.S. Another great suggestion from Lili prompts me to ask: how many RSS readers do I have out there? Just a quick "Me!" in the comments would be great. This isn't required of course but I do wonder how many there are as, I've just learned, counters don't count you folks.


mrsb said...

I don't often comment, but I love seeing all the tattoos you post! I'm glad you are sticking around!

I love the set up you have on the blog - like you said, it's very clean and simple, and it really high lights the tattoos!

I love the idea of sharing the mythology behind the tattoos! Great idea!

Livia Indica said...

Feedback, yay!! I'm glad you like the way the blog looks and the myth idea. And I'm glad all over. And I just noticed a few things have been rated, yay!!

Lili said...

Thought I'd mention that your counter wouldn't show visitors who, like myself, use the RSS feed and a newsreader to view your site.

Also- not a harsh criticism, but more of a minor concern- I realise it'd be difficult to run this blog on reader submissions alone, but when you lift photos from other sites, do you ask permission, or do you look for a Creative Commons license or other explicit public domain notification?

This worries me at times, since "posted to Rate My Ink" is not equivalent to "in the public domain". I would be upset if photos I'd posted to any site were lifted and posted to a blog without me being notified of it, especially since I reserve copyright to any photo I take.

I do enjoy this blog very much and will be happy to see it expanded!

Livia Indica said...

Thanks Lili for bringing this up. I thought about the issue of copyright ages and ages ago. But then I forgot about it and now you've reminded me of it again. Obviously, it's nearly impossible (at least at this point) to have a pagan tattoo blog based solely on submissions. I've only had about thirty people submit art so I've had to find other sources. I guess I got ambivalent about it. But now that you've reminded me I'm looking closer at the Creative Commons area of Flickr and I'm finding there are quite a lot of pagan or pagan-esque images, it's just a matter of using the right search terms. So, I will, from now on, be steering away from Rate My Ink and more toward the free-to-use images of Flickr. Thanks again, that's some good feedback!

Also, regarding the counter: I know absolutely nothing about RSS. I don't even know what it means. But I will look into my counter site and see if there's a way to tally that. Thanks again for your input!

Lili said...

Thanks for your response, Livia, and I thank you for taking my comment in the spirit of helpfulness that was intended. I was worried I would offend you, and am glad that I haven't.

I found an easy-to-understand explanation of RSS and how it works here:

As a former public blogger, I have never found a way to count RSS readers, but it's been two years since I took my blog down, so things may have changed since then.

Since comments to your posts aren't delivered to RSS readers, maybe if you posted an entry asking anyone else reading via RSS to come to the site to comment and say hello, you might get a better idea of how many of us there are.

I wish you the best of luck and I will certainly be a continuing reader.

Livia Indica said...

Hi Lili. Thanks for the RSS link; I think I understand it now. Yeah, I couldn't figure out a way to count RSS readers either. :( Maybe that's the next big thing to come someday.
I think I will ask about my RSS readers, thanks again!