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We’re getting ready to add some more advertisers to the site by cleaning up some of the clutter and getting everything nice and organized. I know, ads suck, but they pay the bills. A necessary evil. In an effort to make some room on the front page I suggested we drop a couple of features, namely the calendar, recent tweets, and recent comments bits on the right hand side there. I’ve never used them, and I didn’t think anyone else did. RF wanted me to make sure before giving them the axe, so the question today is — does anyone actually use those? And do you have any other recommendations for improving the site, while we’re asking?

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  1. What is the calendar for anyway?? Axe it.

    The recent tweets are just the new blog postings… I am at the blog and can see the new postings… Axe it.

    Recent comments allows me to see where people are commenting and where the action is occurring. I say keep it.

  2. Unless you have regularly scheduled events, the calendar serves no useful purpose; the same goes for a twitter feed if you only use the account to publish links to new blog posts.

    A new comment blotter otoh does at least have the potential to be useful…

    I agree with the other commentor–ditch the useless crap and keep that which serves a purpose.

  3. agree with the others: lose the calendar & recent tweets. i personally don’t use the recent comments, but looks like others do.

    while we’re talking design changes, i would also clean up a bit by just having 3 simple icons near the top for facebook/twitter/rss. right now you have an rss icon on the top right, twitter/facebook icons on the middle right, two rss links on the bottom right, and a facebook ad on the bottom left.

  4. It was funny to answer the question in my head, and then come here and see that others are like me.

    Keep the comments, please, but feel free to ditch the calendar and tweets.

  5. Keep the recent comments, drop the calendar and recent tweets sections.

    Jury is out on the recent reviews, Usually just make use of the drop down tab on the header for review section so I expect it can go the way of the dodo.

  6. Get rid of the page-hit escalating parceled-out loading of comments.

    I understand the desire, but only showing 20 comments at a time, now that this website has grown, means seeing only a tiny part of the conversation on threads that draw a lot of comments.

    • I believe that’s more about keeping pages to a reasonable size. I’ll talk to the guys about increasing the cutoff, but there’s a definite benefit to having a smaller (and quicker to load) page versus showing every comment ever made on that post.

      • Fair enough, but see if you could have a system that simply loads more comments at the bottom of the page instead of breaking them off into separate pages of simply X comments.

  7. I visit your site daily, but have commented rarely. My suggestion is like many others: Keep the comments, and toss the rest.

    I wasn’t even curious enough to ever click the calander or the tweets.

  8. I am another of the many who like the recent comments. I would like a link to an authors list, I thought there used to be one. That is one thing that bugs me about, often I know who wrote something (Baruth, Lang, or Mehta), but not what the title was.

  9. I’m with everyone else. I already follow guntruth on Twitter so I don’t need to see that on the sight and I’ve never used the calendar. I do use the recent comments function everyday so I say we keep that.

  10. Keep Recent Comments and Recent Reviews. I use both features often and judging by the responses here, I’m not alone. Ditch the calendar and Recent Tweets.

  11. First of all, ads are awesome. Second, i agree with everyone else, and it would also be great if there were notifications or emails for when someone replies to one of your comments or if the conversation continues….

  12. Call me the odd man out, I use the calendar to look back at previous days I did not have time to check out the page.

    Keep the calendar, drop the rest.

    My 2 cents.

  13. I used the calendar to help get caught up with older articles after I first found this site. But now I have no real reason to use those gadgets, so I wouldn’t miss them.

  14. does anyone actually use those?

    I don’t, but they don’t seem unduly obtrusive, either.

    My #1 suggestion on how to improve the site would be to show entire posts on the main page instead of just the first couple of paragraphs. This is 2011, pretty much all of us are on broadband connections and have computers with >1 GB of RAM. Optimizing the site for the poor SOBs still on dialup should not be a top priority.

    • “This is 2011, pretty much all of us are on broadband connections and have computers with >1 GB of RAM. Optimizing the site for the poor SOBs still on dialup should not be a top priority.”

      This. I’ve BEEN a poor SOB with dial-up, and this site is in no way optimized for it as is; loading more text on one page load instead of having to clickthrough (and load tons of content again) is actually faster for dial-up users.

      Also, in the same vane, there’s no reason why there can’t be more than 7 posts on each page through the blog…

  15. Rarely visit the site, but read most of the content through Google Reader.

    I’d get rid of:
    – the Meta Section (your admins should know how to log in).
    – Lose the Facebook badge
    – Lose the Tweets
    – Lose the Comments
    – Hell lose just about everything except the content. It would really clean things up.

    If anyone is missing these features, you could add them back on a dedicated “Crap No One Uses” page or call it archives/recent/whatever.

    • “- Lose the Tweets
      – Lose the Comments
      – Hell lose just about everything except the content. It would really clean things up.”

      #2 is a terrible idea. and would fundamentally change TTAG for the worst. The comment section is one of the most substantial aspects of this website, discussing firearm topics amongst like minded individuals.

  16. I’m another Google reader user. But I still visit the posts I want to read comments on & comment too. I use the calendar & recent comments.

    I do not recall giving much notice to the recent tweets

  17. Your format works well for me tho when I view from iPad it gives me an iPad version that I don’t like at all. I know I can switch to ‘Desktop view’ at bottom of page, but it’s a pain and not ‘sticky’ from visit to visit or even on refresh. May be my iPad settings (suggestions welcome) But that’s just a nit. Your site is outstanding as is.

  18. I like the recent reviews for when I’ve not been on in a few days. Otherwise I don’t really use the sidebar stuff.

    I’m fingers crossed that “more advertising” doesn’t mean new java and flash ads.

  19. More paid advertisers? Thats great! Will the commentators get a share in the profits from the new revenue streams? Personally, I prefer the Silver American Eagle bullion coins over FRNs. Thanks!

  20. Recent comments is helpful. It draws people into discussions for right or wrong.

    Get rid of Mikeb302000 and that should clean the site up nicely

  21. I just spent the last two weeks of evenings reading your last three months of content (I know, get a life). Calendar was how I navigated and could access all that. So if you axe it from the main page please provide some other separate section with calendar. Like the gear reviews and the gun reviews archive pages. Or some alternative easy way to navigate past content.

    Also, what Ken said above.

    Comments are easily half the value of the site. Definite must keep.

    And thanks for all you do.

  22. I recommend getting rid of the “Recent Tweets”, the “Recent Comments” gadgets, and the stuff under the “meta” header. The calendar is very useful for new readers and “old” readers who have to spend time (sometimes a week or more) without internet access.

  23. Golly, I always read it in Feedly or Google Reader so I hadn’t noticed the gadgets.

    While I’ve always disdained “gadgets” and “ads”, I keep the shields up with “AdBlockPlus” for FireFox. If I decide that I no longer want to view something, I just right-click “adblock element…” and boom it’s gone. So you go ahead and add anything to the website.

    Just keep up the good work and keep the message flowing.


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