The cover of the blog is the first thing that our readers encounter when they reach it. Even if they have reached through a link to a particular note, it is normal to be among one of the most viewed pages in our statistics. Therefore, it deserves to be given special attention. First as a reader and then as a maintainer of my own blog (or several), I have realized that my perception of how that cover should be has changed over time.
At the beginning, as a reader, I was very grateful that a cover contained all of the latest published notes. Especially because in those early days I used to pull a lot of cybercafé and that way of displaying the content made it very easy to keep the whole page with several notes at the same time, instead of going one by one. In addition, there was another important factor: at that time, the blogs I approached seemed very interesting and I tried to read everything published. And they were few. Very few, too much compared to the number that I currently follow RSS via.
Over time, I have evolved as a reader and, of course, this has also made me evolve as a maintainer (the first reference is always oneself). Now, that format seems to me of what most inappropriate: it bothers me to find a cover that is too large due to the large number of complete articles that appear on it. I prefer, by far, a series of titles followed by the first words of the article or even, if possible, a summary. Even if the blog is one with content that interests me a lot, I prefer to be able to cover a greater number of headlines at a single glance. Taking this as a basis, I have been thinking about what are the parameters that should have a cover to my liking. And I emphasize the “to my liking” because some details I think are not so generic as to be liked by everyone.
Clean: no saturation of distracting elements. Preferably, the publications and that’s it. Ok, social media buttons are allowed, but discreet. Here, minimalism wins.
Ordered: one below the other or in columns. If each of these corresponds to different sections, let them know in some way that is not thunderous. Yes, Mash able, I look at you at this point and the previous one (more on this, later).
With miniatures: a cover with images is more attractive than one without them, which we are going to do. As a blog owner, it can be a somewhat ball-bouncing thing to have to include an image by force only for decorative purposes. But in reality, I think that more important than the images themselves, is the size of these. Better small than full size waterproof car cover.
With grid format: yes, I prefer the columns. I receive more information at a glance than if I have one entry below the other.
With infinite scroll: it is not something that seems obligatory, but I really like the infinite scroll. I appreciate it, come on.
Without sliders or carousels: if you put it on, I will not use it, I warn you from now on. So what you save. And if it is also the only way I have access to your content, I will feel uncomfortable. Now, if you need a more reasoned argument for not putting it, you have several in this interesting article, but I’m sure looking, you can find more.
I have to apostle a couple of things to this list. The first is that I understand that the reality of a digital publication is different from that of a personal blog or, at least, to a blog that goes by different paths to making money. A newspaper or commercial blog publishes a lot of content on a daily basis and must display it in some way. My criticism of Mash bleat this point it does not mean that you understand why it is diagrammed in that way. And that is not that it bothers me too much, is that sometimes I feel a little disoriented when entering its cover.
Worse is the case of many digital newspapers, which have the ability to react from the Titanic when they heard about the iceberg and are a couple of years behind in design. The second thing I must say is that, in the case of personal blogs, many of us depend on the subject of the shift because we do not have enough knowledge to create ours or even modify the one we choose. Hence we put a topic that we like in some aspects and not in others. And of course, sometimes it may be that the cover is not exactly as we would most like. It’s what you have to go pulling free themes. One day I’m going to roll the blanket to my head and you’ll see that I chaos armor with php and css.
My favorite covers
I thought that to finish all this dissertation about the cover of a blog, it would not hurt to show some of the covers that I like most, be they blogs or other things that are not blogs, but not publications. Well, okay, I admit it: none is from a blog. And the truth is that they are quite conventional within what fits, because there are real wonders out there. I really like how clean and tidy this cover looks. The miniatures are just the right size, each note (or rather, link to the note) occupies the same space and the buttons of the platform itself and sharing remain hidden until you pass over them.
Sometimes, I usually write the entries well in advance of when they will be published. Or rather, I publish them some time after writing them. This causes that sometimes you have to review them and change things, as in this case. I had included Medium among the covers that I liked but taking as a reference the design they have maintained I think most of this year. Recently, they made a redesign that… ET voila! It seems better than the previous one and I like it much more. In fact, I see it quite similar to the next one on this little list.
Anyway, I think they have to improve some things. I do not like how articles that have no image look and there are elements whose distribution is improved. However, I think they have won with the change. By the way, the capture that heads these lines is taken with zoom so that the new design is better appreciated. Pocket has two display modes: as a list and as a mosaic, the latter being the one that appears by default (if I’m not mistaken).
What I like about the mosaic (although the list also seems attractive) are two aspects. On the one hand, the change in size that occurs in some links, which go from occupying a column to two, although I do not know why, if it has any reason or is only random. And on the other, the alternation between links with title + image and title + text. I imagine that this is due to whether or not the linked article has an image at the beginning or, at least, a prominent image (Word Press type), but I would not mind if something like that was deliberate. Obviously, there are many more designs that I like, but I must admit that the simplicity of these I find quite attractive.