Blog Days Are Over

Earlier this morning I confirmed the domain transfers for something that I spent almost six years of my life on. A site that I both obsessed over and neglected terribly.

As of 8 AM, Preshrunk is somebody else’s baby. Saying that is a real punch in the (emotional) dick, but at least I know it’s in good hands now.

I’m not going to use this post to talk about why I sold the site. That’s already been covered in enough detail. All I really want to say is that I’m happy it went to a good home.

Oh, I’m also happy that I can pay off a respectable chunk of our wedding loan — but that’s only because the interest rate is embarrassingly high.

Hopefully I’ll have a little more time to post here now. Considering my track record tho, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that…

Can’t Stop The Hustle

Inspired by what Merlin is doing with 43 Folders, I’m taking a step back from what I set out to do with Preshrunk. Yeah, I know that I just relaunched it. No, I’m not talking about walking away from it.  It feels too good to be back to just up and stop again.

What I’ve realized tho is that the internet doesn’t need yet another daily t-shirt blog — it needs a better t-shirt blog. Spitting back every press release and sale notice that drops into my inbox doesn’t make for compelling content. The reason people show up and read Preshrunk is because they actually care about finding wonderful tees. What’s more, people actually trust my taste.

I know. It befuddles me too. But they seriously do. At least that’s what the feedback coming in says.

When it comes down to it, the last thing I should be doing is running something I’m only kinda feeling. Or trying too hard to make sure people have fresh content to read when they check their feeds or hit the site. When I’m up against a self-imposed deadline, I end up putting out stuff that’s not up to par. You guys seriously have no idea how hard I’ve had to fight myself to not go back and rewrite entire entries when I read them in the morning. When you realize that you’ve turned out more than one post in the past month that reads like bad Geekologie copy — which isn’t really that great to begin with — it’s time to examine what you’re doing.

So if you don’t see new shit up on Preshrunk daily, please know that I’m just trying to make things better rather than fall into a routine. As they say, it’s all about quality over quantity. Six months off won’t happen again tho, honest. Maybe a few days at worst. Expect a good excuse from me if that happens tho, alright?

Bring The Ruckus

The game has changed a lot since I launched Preshrunk in late 2004.  According to Andy at Hide Your Arms, there’s over 150 t-shirt blogs out there now — and I’ll be damned if I can actually find more than a handful that are actually readable and worth following.  Granted, there are a few “good blogs” out there — but the amount of coverage for poorly designed tees and really weak write-ups is pretty fucking dismaying.

Anyhow, I recently found myself coming to a crossroads of sorts.  It was sparked by a bunch of mail from old, dedicated readers wondering where I’d gone.  Questioning if I’d ever come back.  Asking if I’d consider selling the site (with some pretty decent offers, I might add) or taking folks on as contributors to help get things going again.

So I found myself asking a very simple, but poignant question.  Do I add more noise to the genre of blogging that I helped start, or do I pack it in?  The money I’d get from cashing out would allow me to fund another project I’ve been working on instead of bootstrapping it — so that was a bit tempting.

Besides, six months without an update normally means a blog is “dead” in internet time.  And regular readers will no doubt recall that I’ve staged so many comebacks at Preshrunk that it borders on ridiculous.  But I still couldn’t leave my baby just sitting by the side of the road.  Nor could I leave it in the care of someone I didn’t know.  Kinda control freak of me, I know — but that’s always sort of been my way.

Despite my apparent disinterest tho, I never stopped thinking about Preshrunk.  It was honestly a matter of time (and my poor allocation of it) more than anything.  I have what amounts to half a moleskine of site ideas that I’ve sketched out and jotted down on the train.  Most of them are actually implementable, too.  New weekly features!  New sites!  New ways to fold in social features that don’t involve lazily adding “Digg This” buttons!

And they’re actually all coming.  Well, that’s the plan at least…  Right now, I’m concerned with getting content on the site and convincing people to come back more than anything.  The bells and whistles can wait until later.

Speaking of bells and whistles, there’s a new theme up at Preshrunk now, but it’s not really expected to be permanent.  In fact, if you know a solid, affordable WordPress designer, send them my way, won’t you?  Some of the aforementioned ideas need something a bit more robust before they’re deployed.

Even if you don’t know a theme designer tho, it’d be nice if you can show some support.  Read the blog.  Add the Twitter feed.  Spread the word.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to remind these kids where they came from…

Productivity

Damn. I’ve been a busy bee tonight…

Sadly, I can’t remember the last time I pulled off that much stuff in an evening. All I know is that it feels good to be productive for a change. Perhaps I can manage to keep it up.

Why Is WordPress So Sexy?

Psst… I fidgeted with the layout on Preshrunk.

Actually, all I really did was find a really sexy WordPress template and tweaked it to my liking — but I’m pretty sure I’ll keep this design up for a while. At least until everyone and their brother starts using it on their own sites.

When I showed the new layout to Matt, he remarked:

Matt: WP templates out there are so good
Matt: it seems stupid to custom design anything

And you know what? I’m inclined to agree. I only spent half an hour switching up some colors in CSS and fixing a few grammatical errors in the post data at the bottom of the page before I considered it ready. To compare, when I launched the site using Blogger, I spent a few hours tweaking someone’s port of Kubrick to get it exactly the way I wanted it.

Now I’m not trying to say that WordPress is easier to use — or even really any better — than Blogger is. Both of them have their shortcomings. But please don’t think that I’m knocking Blogger. I was a paid Blogger Pro user back in the day. And up until a several months ago, I thought I’d be using it forever. So needless to say, I have plenty of love and respect for them.

What I think I’m getting at here tho is that the WordPress community has quite a few more passionate designers than the general Blogger community does under its belt. Sure, Google can afford to hire Zeldman, Cederholm and Shea — but they don’t even use Blogger to run their own sites. Can you even name one resource for Blogger templates other than the default ones that are provided for you? I know I can’t.

The people who are releasing all of these beautiful WordPress templates on the other hand, actually manage to use the software on a pretty regular basis. They know how to hack their way around the extensive template available to get some pretty amazing results. Sure, the code may occasionally be a tad bit hellish to read thru when you need to do a quick tweak, but the designers are passionate about WordPress and really manages to show in their designs.

Think about it… When was the last time you saw a Blogger design get ported over to WordPress? Yeah, I don’t seem to remember that happening either.

Damn. I’m getting off on a rant here… Sorry about that. I could go on for a bit longer, but I’ll spare you all. Just go give the new Preshrunk a peek, okay? Cheers!

What Just Happened?

Hrm. That was weird.

Some eight year old kid just walked by the window of the place that I’m at and threw me the goat while nodding at my Powerbook.

Maybe he’s a fan of Preshrunk… ;) Although I’m sure if he was, he’d probably would have flipped me off for not posting more than two updates over as many weeks.

I guess he must like Apple gear, then. *shrug* Fair enough.

Unfocused Group

So while I love the look and feel of Hemingway and it seems to be working okay on Preshrunk, I think I’m going to need to go elsewhere for my templating needs. It’s nothing personal, honest… The only breakdown is the fact that I really need to start throwing some ads up1 but every tweak I make to Hemingway ends up not looking as elegant as it should. I’ve toyed with the idea of going to a standard 3 column layout, but I’m also getting pulled in the direction of running a yogurt template2 with ads after every second or third post.

Since I know that some of the regular Preshrunk readers happen to check in on this site too, I was hoping I could get some smaller scale feedback. So, what do you lot think I should do?

Any feedback y’all can give me would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

P.S. “Don’t run ads” is not an acceptable answer. Most of the feedback I got from everyone seemed pretty receptive to the idea of a few tastefully done ads on the site, so that matter is closed.

  1. Not because I want to, per sae. I’m just trying to make working on the site a little more lucrative for my broke ass.
  2. Culture [posts] on top, fruit [navigation] on the bottom. You know, like those single column layouts that all the cool webloggers seem to be flocking towards3.
  3. Okay, maybe “yogurt template” is not that awesome of a term — but it seemed cool at the time… *shrug* Whatev.