Did You Hate Our Black Background?

Night WalkDark alley. Dangerous. Empty.

I couldn’t say they weren’t accurate descriptions. The black brickwork and the cement textured background of our site look did look like a dark alley theme – now that it had been mentioned.

We’d worked very hard on our site redesign. The look we’d loved so much – casual coolness, leather jackets and just a little bit of tough grit with a gun theme – wasn’t working for our readers.

“I hate the black background.” Yes, we know. “Your site’s hard to read.” We’d heard it countless times. “I don’t like your site so I use RSS.” Okay, thanks for reading anyways. “What’s the bullet for?” Drive-by shootings. “Do you have a search bar?” Yes. Bottom right.

We even had canned responses for emails from ‘helpful’ readers because we received so many complaints. We even had arguments and a few people were downright rude. Eventually, it just got discouraging to maintain the “Well, we like it,” argument and carry on.

But one day, I asked a friend for his honest opinion. We were neglecting good looks in favor of great content. He told us those three descriptive words: A dangerous, empty dark alley, far removed from the original bar hang-out feel we’d had going on before the redesign.

The gig was up. The image of a ominously frightening and scary place where gunmen dressed in black sneaked and lurked about, waiting to snatch innocent people and make them disappear without a trace… well., no. That wasn’t the feeling we wanted for the Men with Pens site.

So we turned on the lights. Come on over and see.

First thing you’ll notice is our banner, all cleaned up and polished for you. New readers don’t know what the old bullet stood for, so it’s gone. Nor did anyone under 35 get what “shooting from the hip” tagline meant. (Y’all have dirty minds. It means to speak without thinking, consequences be damned.)

We have a new tagline, an integrated search bar people can easily find and a more polished look. The RSS stays – it’s a guitar pick, for those who don’t know, because James and Charlie play guitar.

Dropping down a bit, we’ve added “Our blog” to the navigation, because some people didn’t realize that we blog. The Ajax area (go ahead, click it, it’s cool) filled the screen, and visitors would have to know to scroll down to get the latest post. No more – our blog is right there for all to see.

The Ajax itself was lightened up from a black to a brushed steel. The black background and white font is gone, replaced by a lightly textured and pale background with a dark grey font. Much easier to read, n’est pas?

Speaking of easier to read, we’ve gone back to magazine style to make sure people had a buffet of post choice. One thing we’ve discovered is that single-post styles of themes actually lower readership and magazine styles – no matter how much people hate the excerpts – get more readers. Since we like to think our posts are worth reading, the question of a switch was a no brainer.

And for those who hate excerpts in feeds, worry not. Full posts will be coming to your RSS, same as always, because that’s the best way to deliver your feeds to readers.

Lastly, we cleaned up a bit of clutter in the sidebar, and we added a Twitter ID to our comment section fields. For those that didn’t know it, we also have a Subscribe to Comments Without Commenting feature.

So whatcha think? Better? Worse? Any tweaking we missed? Lookin’ good? We hope so 🙂

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. I liked the dark design, except for the comments (usually reading on RSS and clicking through to the comments when I had to know what others were saying in response)

    Maybe you could do a dark background for the content, and light for the comments?

  2. ooooooooo, very nice! Much easier to read – the banner looks sharp. Well done!

    Sally, Snappy Sentences´s last blog post…Sentence case v title case

  3. Much better.

    I didn’t really think dark alleys or danger but it was damn difficult to read.

    It’s always the same isn’t it? You give rockin’ advice for others in your drive by shootings but when it comes to your own work that same advice goes out the window.

    Same with me. I can write for others or help them with their SEO but I cannot sell myself particularly well or even bother with SEO on my site!

  4. *coughs* should I just copy and paste our twitter convo here James?

    Ummm… I really liked the old site. I loved how it stood out so much on the net because it was different from every other site. This seems – bland. Ordinary. More like everything else that’s out there.

    Question – you’ve posted before about making it easy for readers and not making them click because you lose a certain percentage (7% ?) every time they have to click. Are you not worried about losing them because we now have to click to read the entire post?

    Never mind, I’m sure I’ll get used to the new look! Eventually….. 😉

    Melinda´s last blog post…Do You Have Permission to Market?

  5. @Sally – Yeah, we really cleaned up the banner and I love it tons now 🙂

    @Melinda – We used to have a mag style. We (erroneously) thought that moving to single post would increase comments and readership.

    False. Big, big false. We had two clients recently switch their theme to a mag layout and excerpts without changing the design, and their readership shot up, as did their comments and sales.

    Does a click risk the chance people will leave? Yes. That goes without say. When people can’t easily find what they want and have to dig or click around, they’ll get frustrated and leave.

    However, when they know what they have to click to get what they want because it’s very clear, and when they DO click and get what they want immediately, they’re happy.

    So no, we aren’t worried 🙂

    @ Marc – It is extremely difficult for anyone on this earth to be objective about their own work. We’re not above being human.

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens´s last blog post…Did You Hate Our Black Background?

  6. Hmm, I’m slightly in two minds. This is definetely more readable, but it doesn’t seem to go so well with the banner colour – and the black comment box that I’m typing in looks quite odd to me, on the white.

    Like Melinda, I rather liked the distinctive look of the site before! Could you keep that black colour and the brick texture outside the wrapper of the actual content, instead of the current lightish grey? I’m reading on a 19 inch monitor, and have a fair bit of space on the left and right of the screen.

    I do subscribe via RSS rather than reading the site, but I do that for all the blogs I follow – not related to your design at all!

  7. Michael Martine says:

    Mikey likey.

    Interesting results from mag layouts. Have one in the works now, so looking forward to seeing what it does to my own numbers.

    You guys have the styliest search box of ’em all, now. Plus, it’s where people expect it to be, which is always good design.

    Michael Martine´s last blog post…How to Set Up A Blog (For the Long Run)

  8. Ooooh I like it. I liked the old one too, but this is cool (literally).

    “Nor did anyone under 35 get what “shooting from the hip” tagline meant.”

    Really? Oh that’s just sad. Of course I reference Rod Serling in my novel and I was told recently that younger people wouldn’t know who that was. Young people are stupid… 😀

    Scott´s last blog post…Geeks Are the New Seers…

  9. Bullet Be Gone!!

    Congrats on the new look, MwP Crew. Hope you all keep tweaking it because that’s what Blog Gods are supposed to do. 🙂

    Jamie Grove – How Not To Write´s last blog post…Best Mornings…

  10. I like. Trendy or not, I think magazine styles make a lot of sense. It worked really well for my site when I made the switch. I think it helps newcomers get a better overall sense of the blog, and loyal readers are more likely clicking through RSS or email anyway.

    Cheers to spring cleaning 🙂

    Zoe´s last blog post…Answers to My Midnight Questions

  11. Haha!!!! Ali, I asked about the brick background too. Loved that. It looked great. Sad it’s gone.

    And now I need to rethink my non-magazine layout as the expert has spoken…

    Melinda´s last blog post…Do You Have Permission to Market?

  12. I really like the new header and do admit it’s easier to ready, but I loved how distinctive the old design looked. I know exactly where you’re coming from though as we’ve had a few of the same complaints about our black background mixed in with the many compliments. We too already have our own canned arguments and that’s just after a week.

    Really, people don’t know what “shoot from the hip” means? Sad.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post…How to NEVER run out of ideas

  13. I think it will take me a while to get use to, I liked the old style too.
    I like the new banner but like several other people I miss the bricks.

    I normally like magazine style. But this version annoys me, there are two things I don’t like.

    1. The initial insert is so long. If I’m a casual visitor I have to scroll down a long way to see anything other than todays story. A couple of paragraphs will tell me if I’m interested in this story or not.

    2. I don’t like the doubling up on exerts, between the recent stories and stories by category section. I don’t have a problem with increasing the number of exerts but I dislike the two separate sets and the overlap between them.

  14. @Scott Hmm I missed that line, sorry James!

    I’m under 35 and I understood its meaning

  15. I like this new one, but had no problems with the old one either. Readability has increased indeed, yet it’s true that the previous version was a bit more eye-catching. I think finding what works for more people is part design, part luck (guessing personal preference.)

    Maybe you should implement a css theme switcher and let your visitors decide which solution they prefer.

  16. I love the new look and the chance to see more of your content. I didn’t dislike the old one, but this is certainly easier on the eyes. I agree with you about magazine style themes – I also find a lot of older posts get attention when I use that kind of theme.

    Sharon Hurley Hall´s last blog post…39 Writers You Should Follow On Twitter

  17. I like this new layout, it is a lot easier to read than the old dark one.

    Content has always been great here but looks and readability does matter too.

    Bengt´s last blog post…Hang in there! 9 life lessons from rock climbing

  18. Content has always been amazingly fantastic…and I’ll agree, I like this look better as well. Great job!!

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog post…TUTORIAL – 7 Of The MOST Fascinating Ways To Monetize Your Sidebar Part 1

  19. Just a side note that I have no idea why the TwitterIDs aren’t showing up. That’ll be fixed later today.

    There’ll be a couple more minor tweaks happening too, as comments come in. Good stuff, guys!

    As for the like/no like, I say we start a swordfight! WOOT!

  20. *Reaches for his Samurai sword and his black belt*

  21. I actually really liked the old look because there was no mistaking which site I was on. I thought the brick work made it feel like I was in the site instead of looking at it from outside like the current gray border.
    I don’t dislike this look but I did like the old one better

    Andy@hairplugs´s last blog post…The Best Thinning Hair Treatment Is Hair Restoration

  22. *reaches for his lightsaber… wait, was that just a dream?* 😀

    Gabor´s last blog post…endless.hu v2.0.6

  23. One problem with the brick background is that it’s a full page static image which hugely increases the load time. So it’s a trade-off for faster site or cool bricks.

    And yes. We had many comments from people who thought ‘shooting from the hip’ meant something to do with their interpretation of Men with Pens.

    Dirty minds, I’m telling you. Dirty minds.

    *grabs slingshot, Glock and stiletto, snatches up a longsword*

    En garde!

  24. And the next Drive By Shooting … menwithpens !

    It’s always good when you can look inside your own house and admit things are not the best they can be. You guys made some good changes but still reflect on your overall ‘look’ that we all know.


    Dave´s last blog post…How to Build a Fully Managed Joomla Website the “Simple” way!

  25. Bravo! I didn’t hate the old design, but I did have trouble finding things at first. It was hard for me to read because I need contrast. The fact that you guys recommended so many things to others that you didn’t do on your own site puzzled me, but I figured you had a good reason.

    As for the graphics, it’s kind of a toss-up for me. (I’m wondering how Tei fits in with the heavily masculine theme and site name). I’m still seeing bullet holes. I’ve always somewhat minded the lack of color, other than black and gray and a tiny touch of blue. It makes the ads and the readesr’ avatars the most colorful things here, once you’re past the photo.

    Dot´s last blog post…Spring Has Sprung

  26. Hey Guys,

    Like the makeover! I think it combines the edginess you were looking for with an easy-to-read background.

    For the record, I thought the RSS button was a bullet, not a guitar pick. But hey, both work.

    Congrats all!


  27. There’s just something weird going on with the fonts. I feel like… I dunno, there are too many fonts? I’m not sure exactly. Or maybe I just don’t like the font for the taglines and headlines. It just doesn’t seem to match.

    Or maybe I’m just not into being surprised first thing upon waking Monday morning… so evil…. I haven’t even had caffeine yet!! (P.S. I love you, but don’t ever do that without warning again.) 🙂

    Geek’s Dream Girl´s last blog post…Arcane Power: E’s Top Five Fun Ways To Roleplay a Bard

  28. New theme looks more inviting than the old one.

    You write, “One thing we’ve discovered is that single-post styles of themes actually lower readership and magazine styles.”

    You guys are the champs and the experts, but I’m still skeptical of this notion. All the big blogs I know of use the single-post style (Unless I’m mistaken to what you mean here). Examples: Copyblogger, Zenhabits, DoshDosh etc.

    I think they are more effective than magazine style because people tend to just want to read the latest post and not have to jump through hoops. They just don’t care. Sure, there are exceptions, but I think when most new visitors land on a blog for the first time that the single-post design *is* more inviting to them and *will* result in a higher subscription rate. I have little doubt of this.

    That being said… This new design doesn’t really give me the magazine style impression even if it is. It’s simple and when I land on your blog I feel as if I’m merely landing on the latest post without *having to think* and that to me is what an effective blog should reflect.

    Because people don’t want to have to think. They just want to land on the latest post… New visitors to blogs are rather impatient – particularly when they are accustomed to single-post style which they probably are.

    Bamboo Forest´s last blog post…How to Make the Choices You Really Want to Make in Life

  29. Hey guys (and gal) very nice. Whenever there’s a change, it does take time to soak in though, doesn’t it? I think it’s great you’re listening to your readers and doing your best to give them what they want while at the same time not changing who you are.

    I’m 34, so I guess that tells you a few things 😉
    I think the banner looks great, nice job. And I like the home page. Uncluttered sidebars are always nice, too. It’s very clear to me where you want me to click in your sidebar should I have just one click to give.

    For some constructive feedback to chew on, here’s my 2 cents…

    – I agree with a few other commentators about the brick. Not that it has to even be brick on the sides, but I think some kind of background on the sides really makes your content area stand out big time. I know what you mean about load time, but at least for your usual visitors they will probably have that image in their browser’s cache. You can also compress it some through .htaccess.

    – Your links don’t really stand out to me. They almost seem to blend with the background. Clicks are a big part of what we want, right? Ever consider a color change to really make them pop?

    – When I click in the blog search box I have to backspace the text which is already in there in order to do a proper search for what I want. It would be possible to make it so when someone clicks in that box your displayed message would automatically disapear. Just makes it a bit easier for the searcher.

    Just a few thoughts, nothing paramount – except maybe the link thing 😉

    Look real nice. Congrats and good luck.

    John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s last blog post…How To Not Track Your Own Visits In Google Analytics – Setting Up A Filter

  30. Sorry for the second message, but I just noticed that the links in your upper drop down menu area all centered instead of aligned left. Not sure if that was on purpose.

    John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s last blog post…How To Not Track Your Own Visits In Google Analytics – Setting Up A Filter

  31. I totally agree with Sean that the old design was more distinctive, but this one is much easier on the eyes and to me that’s more important.

    I think you guys did a great job and have shown me once again that you’re a talented bunch.

    BTW, would you mind sharing how you got the Twitter ID setup in your comments section? I’ve played with some tweaks and plugin but haven’t found the right one. Eric

    Eric Hamm | Motivate Thyself´s last blog post…How To Be Successful

  32. Twitter test!

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens´s last blog post…Did You Hate Our Black Background?

  33. I like dark backgrounds, it’s easier on the eyes. The “toughness” theme I didn’t quite understand, so I’m glad that’s toned down. On my site, I went geeky and offer the reader the choice of three color schemes. Saves me the angst of making the decision.

    Kaushik´s last blog post…The Paradox of Effort

  34. Slick! I like the comment section, too.

    In my experience web pages are mostly unreadable when the authors don’t use new paragraphs much. Y’all know how to do that, though. 🙂

  35. Hate is a really strong word. I didn’t hate your white on black background, but I did find it harder to read.

    I was already a fan, so it didn’t effect whether or not I read the blog. However, when I’m surfing and looking at new blogs I usually scan them quickly to see if they are worth my time.

    The old theme wouldn’t have met the scan test. This theme is easier on the eyes and therefore easier to scan.

    Keep up the great content!

    Laura Spencer´s last blog post…How Do You Define Success?

  36. To me, the most important part of the redesign is the lighter background with dark text for the posts.

    Definitely more readable.

    I like it.

    Jesse Hines´s last blog post…The Top 10 Robust Writing Posts. Agree/Disagree?

  37. These “Last blog post” boxes here are a bit distracting imo, by the way. Not useless (quite the contrary), but too prominent. A smaller and lighter font and a somewhat ‘dampened’ container, perhaps…?

    Just asking. 🙂

    Gabor´s last blog post…endless.hu v2.0.6

  38. Alright, time to field some comments here – it’s been an amazing day, and I appreciate everyone putting in their two cents to know what we hit right and what we could work on.

    @ Eric – Extra Comment Fields, I believe, though Charlie would know more.

    @ John – The search bar is a bit of a thorn in our side. We haven’t found the workaround yet to get the Google Custom Search to erase that with one click. Any ideas?

    @ Bamboo – The bigger bloggers use single post, yes – but I’ve never seen them test and try something different, either, so who is to say they’re right? 😉

    @ Geek’s Girl – Now that you’ve had coffee, do you still feel there are too many fonts? I’m… not sure how to fix that problem, asides loading you up on caffeine…

    @ Graham – As long as you love it, you can make it be anything you want 🙂

    @ Dot – Since readers make or break a blog, we like to think that you guys should get some center-stage time too 🙂 As for Tei, she pre-approved the site. She’s all down on it.

    As for why we don’t apply everything to our own site… Very simply, it’s *much* easier to work on other people’s sites than something too close to your heart. Ask any writer or designer. It’s like writing an About Us when it’s about you. You don’t really know what to say, because you’re too involved to be objective.

    That said, we do try 🙂

    @ Dave – Ah, thank you. We really tried hard to maintain the overall branding and keep the same feel while lightening the place up. Thanks for that, it means a lot.

    Whew, okay, ran out of steam. Again, thanks to everyone for your comments, positive and critical – they’re all valuable to us!

  39. I might show up here now that I can read the blog. 🙂 I haven’t ventured away from the RSS feed for ages.

    Lillie Ammann´s last blog post…Review: Top Self-Publishing Firms

  40. @ Gabor – Looking into that right now. 🙂

  41. I was *really* hoping for something with bunnies and ribbons, in sweet pastels with a touch of sunshine and rainbows.

    Good thing I use a reader.

    RhodesTer´s last blog post…“The taste of the pudding is in the eating”

  42. The bricks are back, folks 🙂

  43. Guns next.

  44. Thank goodness guys! Good job making your site readable! And the other stuff — taking out the less understood bits — that’s good too.

    Elaine Luther´s last blog post…Time to Rhyme

  45. @ Marc – Hang tight. You want the guns GONE or BACK?

  46. @James Bring them back of course. Along with the tagline about shooting something from your hip 😉

  47. YAY! The bricks are back!

    I have had a serious amount of Diet Coke and I still don’t like the font. I don’t like the all caps headline. It’s like you’re yelling at us….

    Why are you yelling at us, Daddy? 🙁 Have we been bad kids?

    Geek’s Dream Girl´s last blog post…She Put “Curvy” In Her Dating Profile Description – Does That Mean She’s Fat?

  48. You guys should be psyched… this still stays true to your “outsider” / “dark and mysterious” image while smoothing out the edges for someone who comes here and doesn’t know you from Adam. Guns scare some people… And even though you’re sticking with the black in the header, it has a ton of depth and texture which, I think, looks awesome.

    Ethan Bull´s last blog post…The Most Powerful Assistant In The World

  49. ahhhhh …. nevermind. Scrap the bricks!

    hahaha…just kidding 😉

    John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s last blog post…How To Not Track Your Own Visits In Google Analytics – Setting Up A Filter

  50. Ooooh! The bricks are back!!!! Nice!

    *nods approvingly*

    Melinda´s last blog post…Do You Have Permission to Market?

  51. SO much better. Thank you for listening to Jamie! The other one looked cool, and all, but this is a place that’s going to be cool to visit … not scary. Much, much better. Now I can see my knitting….

    –Deb´s last blog post…Internal Entertainment

  52. LOL I am so glad that you decided to change. I just quit coming by and instead relied on my RSS Reader for the content.

    Congrats and good job!

    Ark Lady´s last blog post…Ten Stupid Mistakes Pet Owners Make

  53. I’m very glad to see the change. It’s still pretty dark to me, but it’s readable now. Readng from a dark background gives me a splitting headache.

    Still not liking the bricks but will live with them.

  54. It is SO much better! I stopped checking as often since it was work to get through…:) I am sorry your creative genius has been stifled but glad you listened to (what sounds like tons) of critics AND that your content is SO great that they took the time to care!!!

    Tara Jacobsen´s last blog post…Social Networking, Blogging and Sanity

  55. I liked this design which is easy to read. But, I miss that suspense thriller that highlighted your unique brand of content which is no-holds-barred kind of. I’m a big fan of your content!

    Solomon´s last blog post…Go Crazy …. It helps you LEARN and WIN

  56. I must say I loved your old theme, casual coolness, leather jackets and just a little bit of tough grit with a gun theme. It gripped the heart of my soul. I always wanted to imitate the look and feel of it, but I wouldn’t do it for the world, because it was yours: your identity. Anyway, any implied assumption that I could imitate it has less value than used hogwash.

    I was shocked to see your first black theme when it showed up. It was so different and so gloomy and off-limits backstreet looking to me. And, yes, reading it was harder on the eyes. This latest incarnation is a strong step in the right direction, in my eyes.

    I know that in your inner being you guys are as colorful as all get-out. Maybe you could let a little of that color seep into your site design in time.

    Have you noticed yet that I am a shoot from the hip sort of guy. As I am sure you know already, it invigorates the soul to let it all hang out there for whomever to love it or to pick on it to their heart’s content

  57. Bring back the guns and more of that devil-may-care image you had before.

    Don’t mull it over, just do it, guys.

  58. I am finding it bit hard to read but tag line is very true. Banner is also looking good. Quality of content is also very unique.

  59. You could have a chartreuse background with sparkly pink daffodils and it would still be the rockinest site around.

    Get on wi yo bad self.


    Tumblemoose´s last blog post…Vanity Plate E-Book

  60. I like the new look and I do think it’s important to update once in a while. I am a woman, so must say I’m not a huge fan of black — but I can see that it’s part of your style. And no, I wouldn’t want to see pink & blue (just in case you were thinking that).

    I do like the brick background.

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this yet BUT — a “pretty” or a nice looking site doesn’t necessarily mean an EFFECTIVE site.

    Its great you do research to find out what WORKS, not just what looks good. Okay, it is nice to have both (look & effectiveness) and our web sites are our ‘kids’ so to speak — its like a part of us (well, thats how I feel anyway as it’s a reflection of me…)

    So, that said. If it’s getting you results than that’s good.

    But I do like this new layout better.

    Dinneen – Eat Without Guilt´s last blog post…Wouldn’t you like to know The Top 5 Slimming Secrets of Successful Women?

  61. It’s a real shame, your old site had a certain mystique about it. It conjured up images of you sat in a pre-war french cafe sipping on a strong coffee writing manuscripts with a quill and a pen. ‘shooting from the hip’ was also a great tag line for the content of the site, you’re new one is more akin to a World Of Warcraft guild tagline!

    Either way, I just don’t get that same feeling from the content area, your banner on the other hand looks brilliant! 🙂

  62. I think whatever you guys do is great and I think it’s awesome that you’re willing to play around to get things just right.

    The big challenge of course is that no one likes change, so now that everyone was used to the new look, they hate the new-new look. 😉

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post…7 Little Somedays You Didn’t Know About Me

  63. I agree somewhat with Melinda, Ali, and David. This is blah. Nothing is standing out to me really. I find this harder to read. But I do like the header. I loved the black background and support all black backgrounds (as I use them myself) on websites, blogs, and printed materials. The brick is fine but when I scroll down there is nothing else to look at. I am a touchy, feely, looky kind of person.

  64. Although the dark alleys always made me uncomfortable, but hey, I loved your header banner which had the black and white colors blended harmoniously! It looks like a “Ying Yang” feeling to me… Well done, James!

  65. I’m glad to see that the bricks are back. When they were removed, I thought that your site’s design lost some of its cool factor. Also, your site is now much easier to read. I think that you have achieved the perfect balance between the old and new designs. What you have now really is a winner.

    Heather´s last blog post…Who Says That the Library Is No Place For POD People?

  66. I’m back from my vacation and catching up on my favourite blogs. Two words on the background change from black to white: Thank God!!!

    I was one of the readers who quietly suffered and respected the pride you so obviously had in your new look – but I suffered. Oh how I suffered! (I’ll stop being a drama queen any minute now)

    I’m sad that the bullet went away. It was my favourite feature in your design. I’m happy about the twitter id. As for the header – I liked it fine before too.

    I’m sorry you guys had to change the layout that was so close to your heart. (The loyal reader in me is so glad you did!)

    Samar´s last blog post…Twitter: Frequently Asked Questions [Part II]

  67. @ Samar – You went! You came back! You were missed! Yay!!

    And thank you for suffering in silence 🙂 I can be stubborn – I do eventually give in, given enough good reason. Reader opinion counts 😉

    (I miss the bullet too. We should have a “bring the bullet back” vote.)

  68. i prefer dark background because the text written on dark background is more visible.

  69. Capital idea! I’m all for bringing back the bullet!

    On a separate note, the rogue is an excellent addition. MwP needed a woman’s touch 😛

    For some weird reason, it reminds me of that movie ‘7 brides for 7 brothers’.

    Samar´s last blog post…What Travelling Means to a Freelancer

  70. I do like the lighter background better, but I’d come here regardless of the color. A good read is worth more than the background it’s printed on.

    Deb Ng´s last blog post…Freelance Writing: You’re Only Competing Against Yourself

  71. @ James Having just seen your old logo on your Paypal payment page I am calling for a return of the bullet. The way it’s shattering the bottom part of the “s” in “Pens” is just too rockin’ to lose!

    Marc – WelshScribe´s last blog post…Creative Writing

  72. @ Marc – Here’s our concern with the bullet:

    Do people even understand what it might mean or represent?

    While the “gunslinger” theme pretty much permeates the site, a few comments we discovered were that people either didn’t know it was a bullet (one thought spatula?), thought we loved guns (I’m Canadian! We’re all about peace!), or were members of the Hells Angels (Not this year).

  73. I can see what you mean James. It’s a toughy. In all honesty I think the the smokey logo goes better with the tagline. But I miss the bullet damn it 🙂

    Maybe I’m just getting tired but when I look at the bottom banner you got going on in the footer, I swear I can see Spiderman’s face on the left hand side.

  74. LOLOL! Yep, I can see spiderman now too….

    Melinda´s last blog post…May Book Giveaway – “Tribes” by Seth Godin

  75. *pow!*

    The bullet’s back, people. Enjoy!

  76. Just saw it. Really happy it’s back, I missed the danger in this site!

    Melinda´s last blog post…The B.S. Funnel

  77. So is there anything left of the re-design?

    Can we get rid of it? 😛

  78. @ Marc – LOL, I thought the same this morning. Let it be known that WE HERE AT MWP DO INCREDIBLE THINGS FOR YOU PEOPLE.

    But there’s a lot that stayed, so all’s well that blends well. Cheers!

    James Chartrand – Men with Pens´s last blog post…Drive-By Shooting Special: Go Smalley

  79. Blogs evolve just like people evolve. As you learn your community wants and needs, you adapt.

    It takes special people to touch on what their community is looking for it –and bring it every single time, whether it’s good content, good conversation or a magic bullet.

    Deb Ng´s last blog post…Is Freelance Writing Only a Work From Home Job?

  80. Hi James, Content has always been great here but looks and readability does matter too. I like this new layout; it is a lot easier to read than the old dark one


  1. […] me. Similarly, when Men with Pens redesigned their site, they accepted feedback from readers and made changes to suit. Good […]

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