The number of hits on this site (~200k) just keeps growing so it would make sense to try improve the user experience. From the start the basic concept has been to put the content first. The site is now flush with content (100 published posts) so now would be a good time to find better ways to present it and realign the design to match the editorial style of the content. The goal is to add more pictures to posts, change the visual design and have a dab at activating the no logo cycling community. Bit of a re-branding is also needed.
Generally I personally only like to read blogs that start posts with visualizations or images. I have tried to keep the posts short, but even then “text only-posts are kind of boring and do not invite to explore more. So one simple way to improve would be to start embedding more pictures to posts. The least I could do is start posting pics I have taken on my rides since I don’t want to steal others’ pictures. So look forward to some posts in the vain of BikeRumour’s Pic of the Day. Now I just need to remember to stop for pictures when the scenery is nice.
The current layout was originally cooked up in 10 minutes almost three years ago so a new visual design would be in order. Spending an hour or two creating some eye candy would definitively not hurt the overall look of the site. This far the visual style has been deliberately crude as the intention was not to confuse the readers by mimicking big brand sites. Finding the middle-ground should not be too difficult, but might require an investment in tools.
From day one the blog has purely been a non-commercial venture. At first I even thought about publishing all the information in a Wiki format. Eventually I defaulted to my favourite free publishing platform. Despite the editorial freedom brought by independence money would be nice. Still finding ways to monetize has not been high on my priorities. Testing more new models and gear would be much easier to justify if the blog had some alternative revenue streams instead of my own pockets.
Advertisements would require moving to my own domain and I’m really not all that excited about paying for a server and ruining the refreshed design with flashy banners. I would be open to the idea of infomercials ie. writing reviews on donated stuff, but I have a bad habit of being brutally honest. I don’t like to beg either so Chinarello merchandise could be an easier route to finance some of the purchases. I also really fancy the idea of creating a global community across people riding chinese carbon. Wearing the same uniform has always been the most powerful way to unify a group of people.
In all honesty I kind of think the glory days of chinarellos are over. The brand name carbon frames have gotten much cheaper and there is true variety of offerings available. In many ways the mission of Chinarello Blog has been accomplished. War isn’t over though and I will still keep writing about chinese carbon as I’m looking to upgrade to electronic shifting and buy an sscx. What I would really like to promote in the future is this diversity of white label cycling products that are based on industry wide standards. There is definitely still need for an 0utlet for that viewpoint since other media outlets do not cover those topics.