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Working on a New Look

I finally made a development copy of Snowflakes in Hell to start working on our new look. Our new look will include ads, but I’m going to do my best to keep them tasteful. I’m not going to take huge flashing banner ads or anything like that. I’ll do my best to boot ads that I find annoying.

There’s just not really any way I can continue to justify the expense of keeping the blog running with all the hope and change that’s happening lately. This blog should, by my projections, make enough to cover costs, and that’s all I’m really looking for. No one is going to get rich running a gun blog.

But the biggest change you’ll probably notice, unless I can’t make my idea for it work (I’m a horrible graphic artist), is a name change for the blog. With the exception of the name, and a new look and feel, it’ll be the same blog. Same posts, same archives, and same comments as always. If links worked before, they’ll still work. I am looking at implementing a few requested enhancements people asked for.

I picked the name “Snowflakes in Hell” hastily, never thinking I’d keep this up. Ever since I passed the 1000 visitors a day mark, I’ve hated it. I’ve also hated it when I introduce myself as a blogger, and I get a weird look from the uninitiated when I tell them the name. Rather than talking about the blog, I get to spend the first 10 minutes explaining the name. I’ve also, rather humorously, heard people that did not know I was Sebastian mention they found something on this site “Snowflakes in Hell,” but they didn’t understand what kind of site it was. With my name and theme, who can blame them? I want a theme and a name that draws people in. I think a more relevant name and theme will be necessary to take this blog to the next level, and continue to grow my audience, and improve my brand.

There will be a new URL associated with the new blog name, but the old URL will still be 100% functional if you’re a creature of habit. RSS feeds should continue to work as normal. We will still be blogging here as Sebastian and Bitter. I hope you’ll all keep reading, and I hope you like the new look and feel.

UPDATE: I should say “working on a new look and feel” = “battling endlessly with poor WordPress themes and plugins.” Snowflakes in Hell makes use of about a dozen plugins. Many of them don’t work nicely with these newfangled highly configurable themes. I’m having all kinds of problems getting some of them to work.

25 Responses to “Working on a New Look”

  1. Garrett Lee says:

    Personally, I love the existing name – but that’s probably because I lived in Florida before moving up here, so the name seemed appropriate, somehow.

  2. Sebastian says:

    I’ve agonized over changing it for years. But every time I thought about it, I decided against it, because if there’s one thing I know from my days of being a MUD developer, it’s that people loathe change.

    But ultimately, I’ve decided I need to try to grow my audience, and make some money at this, even if it’s just covering my cost of the pipe, and the electricity from the server. This may not work out. I could lose my audience. But my I’m becoming open to a lot more risk then I used to be.

  3. Dannytheman says:

    I wish you luck!! And for the record, I never asked you about the name.. I might be in the minority, but I like the name! But it is obviously yours to change! It’s yours and you can do what you want with it.
    I like reading your stuff, and while we don’t always agree, I like that you never talk down to anyone. (99,9% anyway)
    Best of luck!!

  4. Sebastian says:

    It happens more in circles where you’re dealing with people who have heard of this blog thing, but don’t know a whole lot about them. People who are familiar with the community a little more understand some blog have silly or strange names.

  5. I’m with Dannytheman … you shouldn’t even try to explain the name because it’s your blog, dammit!

    Of course, I feel that way because I don’t have the problem of a large readership!

  6. Todd says:

    I love the name. But it’s your blog.

  7. Link P says:

    I’ve always been partial to the Snowflakes In Hell name. It’s memorable, and I never thought an explanation was really necessary. The Wendy’s and McDonalds brands don’t impart their hamburger business like the Burger King brand does, but everyone knows they sell burgers. Snowflakes In Hell has come to be synonymous with the best gunblogging in PA, but I’ll gladly help get word of your new name out once the changes go live if you go that route.

  8. Sebastian says:

    I was thinking of fucking with everyone, and changing the name to “Snowflakes in Heller”, with a picture of the Supreme Court room during oral arguments with annoying little animated snowflakes in the title background….

    But fighting with WordPress as much as I have to get everything right, I think it would be too much work for a joke :)

  9. Matthew Carberry says:

    Just keep the free ice cream coming. ;)

    You’ve got a great product, changing the name shouldn’t hurt your brand.

  10. Jujube says:

    Add me to the list of people who like your existing name.

  11. Martin Goodman says:

    Sebastian,
    I really like your blog. It is one of my almost daily reads. Like the name, We’ve never met. May never meet, but I like the title and content. It’s your blog, changing the name will not deter me from reading. Good Luck in all things blogging and career change.

    Marty

  12. mobo says:

    I like SnowflakesinHeller. EvilBlackBulletHose.com and MoreThrustPerSqueeze.com would be pretty good too.

  13. ecurb says:

    Gotta say, I appreciate a gun blog without “GUNZ!” or “tactical!!” in the title. Very understated.

    For some reason people seem to use your names rather than your blog title. With luck changing it won’t have a huge impact.

  14. Anon R.D. says:

    Sounds like a well thought out change. Good luck.

    Please consider adding a tip jar. Could be kept tasteful.

    I get value from reading this blog and would like to be able to Paypal you a $10-spot now and then, even if I don’t click on the ads.

  15. Sebastian says:

    I do plan to add a tip jar. I never really had any issues with the idea, I just didn’t need the money so didn’t bother setting it up.

    Now I could use the money :)

  16. chiefjaybob says:

    I always loved the name. But no matter what you call it, and what you advertise on it, as long as you keep the same content and write regularly, I will read regularly.

  17. Monte says:

    Good luck on the changes. I’ll kinda miss the name (or at least I think I will – depends on the new name), but I definitely get the reasons for the change.

    Have you given any thought to having ads in the RSS feed? Since the whole post is available there (something I really appreciate, btw), I often don’t click through to the site, and it’d be a shame to miss out on that ad revenue.

    In any case, I’ll be sticking around!

  18. Richard Allen says:

    While you are at it, update your blogroll. Half the sites are dead.

  19. Fiftycal says:

    Keep the name. If people can’t figure it out, that’s their problem. And please don’t take some of the ads like on Instapundit that take about 20 seconds to load and stop everything until they are “running”.

    How’s the employment situation going?

  20. richard says:

    I love the name too. I always assumed it was reflective of the attitude of most Pennsylvanians to gun control.

  21. Ian Argent says:

    I’d like to see a mobile theme triggered by detection of an appropriate browser user agent. I have seen a couple of other WP blogs that do that.

  22. DirtCrashr says:

    You’ve got an established brand, that’s the really hard part to do, create and establish – don’t go all “New Coke” on us.
    If you need graphical-help, email me.

  23. Sebastian says:

    I’ve been trying to avoid creating any kind of “New Coke” fiasco. The new look and feel will still be very much a blog, despite the fact that some folks have tried to convince me to adopt a more e-zine-like theme. I’m not going that route because I suspect it would be universally unpopular with blog readers.

    Nothing much about the format is really going to change.

  24. Sebastian says:

    I’m going for a traditional blog look and feel, but with a layout that makes it easier to monetize. This blog has a column down the right. The space down the left is wasted. I’m going to make better use of that space in the new version, but do it in a tasteful manner. That would be the case even if I wasn’t changing the name, because you get more for ad space on the left than on the right.

  25. Alpheus says:

    I like the name, despite being a little “prudish”–I will sometimes search for “Snowflakes in Heck” to find the blog (and yes, that works! which probably means Google makes allowances for prudish people); so in that sense, I look forward to the new name–if it’s a good one :-).

    On the other hand, if Sebastian had never changed the name, I’d continue to read the blog anyway. I like it too much to let a little bit of prudishness keep me from reading!

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