The reasons for the change are quite lucid [pun very much intended], I must say.
Well. Yes, it works for me. The orange links are maybe a bit hard, but i like soft tones.
Yes, the soft tones are quite nice (and the foreshadowing is clever). ;) But the pumpkin color must go.
*I LOVE your writing* In fact, I read every post you write. But, your design holds you back. Google's crappy commenting system lost my previous comment. So, you get the short version.
Blogs done well:
Things you find on solid blogs:
1. Black easy to read text on white background
2. Author Bio with interesting facts
3. RSS subscribe button and via email form
4. Follow us on Twitter
5. Retweet this post
6. Simple commenting that doesn't require accounts
7. Popular posts, Favorite posts, Recent Posts
8. Related posts below each post
9. Clean sidebars and footers with useful links
10. Nice article thumbs and short descriptions
Things you find mostly on hobby blogs:
Unused drop down archives by date
Extra or useless junk in sidebars and footers
Google logos blanketing the blog (11 on this page!)
Zero outbound links
Zero guest posts
Empty navigation bars
Like it :)
Sincere thanks to everyone for the comments. I've moderated the "pumkin" orange (the original was lifted from the official Ubuntu color scheme.
Vegan's thoughts were especially detailed and he took a lot of time to help me, so I want to address his comments.
First, I appreciate everyone who comes to read the blog, and I try to produce something of value, but it _is_ a hobby. I have a job unrelated to the blog, and I'm not trying to turn this blog into my full-time job. I don't do any promotion (as Casual Vegan noted), and I even backed off of blogging last year when I was up to about 100K views on a couple of stories. I found myself taking the blog too seriously and was spending a lot of time poring through mailing lists trying to break stories. I don't want to do that. My partner deserves better.
I have typically spent _no_ time on the design of my blog. You should have seen the original !pink! theme I used. Every once in a while, though, I get bored and take ten minutes to throw some useless widgets in the sidebar and change the layout a little. It's always horrid.
Vegan has inspired me to spend about two hours figuring out how to follow his advice. I prefer white text on black, though, so that's here to stay.
The blog is also well enough ranked on some stories that blog spam is a real problem, and disallowing anonymous posts gets rid of 98% of that. Since Blogger allows six different account types, I don't think I'm being very restrictive.
What's point 10 about? I'm afraid I'm totally lost.
I'll continue to work over the next couple of days to work on the sidebars. It's all a work in progress. Does the final section mean that you want to guest post?
Thanks for the great reply, your hard work is really showing. I love the email subscription box and the retweet button most! How about a picture for your BIO? It doesn't have to be of you.
I totally respect that this is a hobby, I have several hobby blogs myself. And, I know Ubuntu related Google ads don't pay well.
I'm sorry parts of my comment were overly aggressive and unclear. The last item was meant to refer to using thumb nails to make articles more attractive to new readers.
If you want some help implementing specific design changes, contact me. I'd be happy to roll up my sleeves to promote an Ubuntu Blog. Blogger can be a real challenge.
I respect your fondness for dark websites. My partner loves to make black art websites. If your set on black, I think a subtle background will make the strongest improvement to the site's visual appeal.
For further reading on high contrast designs:
Scrolling is so slow!!
What browser are you using?