Most blog layouts follow a standard format. The main stage is populated with the summary of 8 to 10 articles. A side navigation tab (on the left or right) allows access to category pages, archives (by date), and any contextual navigation.
This has obviously been a very successful layout. But one problem with this approach is that it only provides direct links to 10 stories. In order to visit the 11th story, the reader is forced to either
a)understand the blog authors (often whimsical) category structure, or
b)page through tedious monthly archives.
A successful web site should have direct links to as much useful content as possible on the front page (I think of craiglist as being the prototypical effective website: with one click you get down to pretty much any content that you are looking for). Most blogs simply don’t provide that kind of information density, even though there is plenty of space for it.
My new “Mullet” layout (rolled out over the weekend) solves this problem. The first 5 stories appear as before, with summary descriptions. This makes sure that the blog gives of the right “information scent”. But instead of having 5 more stories with summary descriptions underneath, I have links to the next 45 stories! This provides direct access to five times as much content as was available before.
I call it the Mullet for the obvious reason that it is much longer in the back (bottom of the page) than you would expect.
I’m pretty pleased with the results: casual readers won’t even notice a difference (the area “above the fold” is unchanged) but readers scrolling down to find older content will find what they are looking for more easily than they ever could before.
Thoughts? Feedback? Has anyone seen this before? Is this a useful approach?
Update: Like the mullet? Check out the long tail archive, a superior approach to chronological archiving of blog entries.