What are we missing?

While The Lost Blog is fairly popular and has a great bunch of regular readers, when it comes to visitor amounts we are still quite a bit behind sites like Lost-media and The Tailsection.

I’ve been thinking about it, but I really feel that we are as good, if not even better in some areas than the larger sites, but then again, since this is my site, I am a probably a bit biased.

Be honest with me. If you visit one or both of the above sites, do you prefer them to The Lost Blog? And if you do, what do they have that you miss on The Lost Blog? Any thoughts or ideas about things that you would like to see on this site, or comments about my writing style or the kind of things we write about are also welcome.

I’m not going to sell my soul and change things just for the sake of being popular, but maybe there is something that I’m overlooking.

It should maybe be clarified that I have nothing against Lost-media or The Tailsection, they are both great sites. But there is clearly potential for The Lost Blog to grow and it would be very interesting to know in which way you guys think we should grow.

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40 Responses to What are we missing?

  1. Get a community(forum) done that will get you more visitors.

  2. Dusk says:

    Okay, since you asked for honesty, I’ll assume you don’t mean the fake honesty most people ask for, and lay down my personal singular opinion at least.

    I visit The Tailsection above all because it balances occasional spoilers with just plain old intelligent writing and articles. The quality of Doc Artz’s writing and analysis is print-worthy.

    Lost-Media takes care of the multimedia sides of things – not much to say there other then it’s a niche they’ve found and stayed at the top of well.

    DarkUFO’s suite of Lost blogs are simply fantastic, not just for the 100% catching of spoilers minor and major, but the vast array of mysteries, answers, and easter eggs that show much attention to detail.

    The Lost Blog however, to me, seems to struggle to find its voice. There is no real pattern of what to expect to be covered – and although one could argue that that is what a “blog” should be – that also means that no single area is excelled in.

    I’d never expect this place to be a “general” Lost joint that attempts to cover anything and everything, because frankly you can get that at other places and it’s a race that’s easily lost the second writer boredom or hiatus happens and it lags behind.

    So what I’m saying is, you need to discover an area or niche that you can make your own and primarily cover above the smaller, finer points of coverage.

    The strong non-spoiler policy seems to be a stumbling block in garnering a wide-audience. I don’t suggest you break that, but perhaps bring it to the forefront and use it in a positive way to point out “hey, this is the one Lost site on the net you can come and read the latest commentary but not get spoiled”. You could market it this way especially to overseas viewers in the UK, Australia etc. that I know very well go to great pains to avoid spoilers (yet can’t help themselves peeking at sites – like a game of chicken!).

    In closing, you need an identity like this or some sort of specialized area because on the surface, the place looks like just a Lost Blog (it’s even called that!) like any other 100 (though you’re far better then that!).

  3. SpinPapi says:

    I think Dusk may have a point about spoilers keeping a certain audience away, an audience preferring websites where spoilers are plentiful. But Andreas, I hope you keep your policy, because it’s what attracts me to this site…and from other comments I’ve read here, many of your core readers. I also like that you are outspoken but encouraging for people to post their thoughts and theories.

    Sometimes it can be hard for people to give their opinions, however, because the level of debate is so low in our society right now that people think you’re not supposed to disagree, debate or discuss anything controversial anymore. That’s too bad. But one way you could encourage more of that (and less sniping) might be to hold back on jumping into the fray on a particular discussion until several people have contributed…or to focus on encouraging the good posts and gently restating policy (rather than reprimanding those who stray).

    Overall though I find it hard to think of other ways you could improve the place. It’s a great blog and the first one I come to seeking LOST news and discussions. Usually the only one. Love the RSS feed…works great with Google Reader. Thanks for asking and please keep on keepin on!

    =]

  4. Maurice Tift says:

    I visit all of the sites you mentioned. I like lost-media, because it has so much to explore. The tailsection has interesting commentary, but does have spoilers. It’s an adventure to read the commentary and glance away before reading too much of the spoiler.

    I visit this site on a regular basis because there is always a new topic and it is very easy to make a comment. I like the no-spoiler policy. I enjoy speculation on what may happen in future episodes, but I try to avoid reading real spoilers. The fun for me is guessing what will happen on LOST, not knowing it.

    I’m sure you’ll avoid gimmicks – THE LOST BLOG – NOW IN 3D! I couldn’t bring myself to wear the TV-Guide 3D glasses when Medium was in 3D.

  5. Matthew says:

    I have visited those sites, but I definately prefer this one. I find it a lot more simpler site, and the absense of spoilers, even though it might drive a few away, it keeps us non-spoiler fans a place to go where i know i won’t be finding out who’s going to die (which I have done too many times already)

  6. KooT says:

    Hello from Poland ;)

  7. matthew says:

    personally I love this site and everything about it. Keep up the good work

  8. Yoshi says:

    You might have chosen the two worst sites to compare yourself to..

    Lost-media is exactly what the name implies which is a site where people go (including myself) to get hires screen caps from lost

    The Tailsection all though admittedly superficially similar to your blog attracts a different audience since it is more goofy and contains spoilers (as a matter of fact thanks to you linking to them I just watched what I thought was a recap of a part of a lost episode but it turned out to be a MAJOR spoiler! wich I so regret watching)

    Now what you can do to improve this blog is as follows
    1)At least in the hiatus you could provide info on other projects with the actors from lost (Grind house for example)

    2)Scavage the lost forums for the best theories and publish them here so that people like myself don’t have to look for them.

    3)I also don’t think the previews seen at the end of lost should be considered spoilers

  9. Umbrella al says:

    This site and Humpys.net are the only Lost sites i frequent. I like lostblog just the way it is, simple. It’s an easy read and the feedback feature (this thing) is great for discussions that further the topic of the articles. The content here is top notch I wouldn’t add or remove anything.

  10. John Cocquetosten says:

    Ditto on balance of spoilers and info.

    The other sites have pics and videos galore. You have… none.

    You’re site looks like a freebie account with not much thought put into the design of the website. thetailsection.com has a GREAT design, very in the flavor of the mystery and intrigue of the show itself.

    I like lostblog.net, and I go to it, but only about once a week, if that. You’re missing design and more pics/spoilers/media sort of content.

  11. Andreas says:

    I appreciate all the tips and ideas. There are several good points in your comments and you’ve given me quite a few things to think about.

    The no-spoiler policy will remain, don’t worry.

    John, do you seriously dislike the design of this site? I have put a lot of though and time into the design, and in my opinion we are the best designed Lost site on the Internet so I’m very surprised to hear that you don’t like the design. Does anyone else agree or disagree with John’s opinion of the design?

  12. Lesley says:

    This is my favorite of all the LOST blogs. It is easy to use, the spoiler policy is great and the discussion is consistently intelligent. Lostpedia is the next on my list as it provides a simple way to keep track of everything. The other sites tend to have so much going on that I cannot be bothered with trying to navigate them although from time to time I enjoy looking. I don’t have lots of time because I work so many hours but I always know this site can get me caught up quickly and always gives me a little something extra to ponder.

  13. Dusk says:

    I do agree there are problems with the design. For one all that empty header space up top just gives me the stinkeye every time I click in and my eyes naturally look at the top of a page. Also, the color scheme tends to remind me not of Lost but XBox 360. None of this is complaining – you asked for it – and you don’t have to listen to the answers as I’m sure you can find here plenty of people to tell you not to change a thing. However by virtue that this topic exists, I know not changing anything is exactly what’s bothering you. Take what works about the place, strip away what doesn’t – and have the courage to rebuild on a stronger foundation. You can do it. I have faith.

  14. Andreas says:

    I appreciate the comments Dusk. While it’s not always as fun to hear, I did ask for honest opinions and I will take all your ideas into consideration.

    It is very unlikely that I would “rebuild the site on a stronger foundation” or completely redesign it though, but I see the design of a website as an ongoing process so I’m open to a few tweaks here and there.

    Also, thanks to those of you who like the site just the way it is!

  15. Lost Damery says:

    Okay 2 – cents,
    1) I like the design and 80% of the comment. From time to time I look for a writer to write what I may be thinking and not really saying and with a zinger attitude. I read a blog for survivor one time that really had good writing that made you laugh and say Wow thats what I was going to say! Blogging needs good writing and you are a very strong 80%
    2) I would stick with no spoilers but I also liked the section to speculate on the ‘next week’ scene since I don’t know anyone who doesn’t watch it…is that too many negatives?
    3) This site has some really good comments except for the occasional goof who says crazy or hurtful things or cant count to 2.
    Keep up the good work this is a process and it is my favorite LOST BLOG 80% of the time…

  16. Austin says:

    I want to tell you that you really have an awesome site and is the sole lost blog i go to before, after lost and whenever i don’t want to work. To tell you the truth i do get bored after fifteen minutes on your blog, unless you have a big commentary (this was the reason i searched for lost blogs and stayed with yours) and many inputs from other readers (the next to biggest reason, but i didn’t expect much). There are sites out there that i believe have amazing designs that (1) keeps the focus of the site, in this case commentary and disscussion and (2) allows for other venues of explorations and tangents (for example thinknext.com or core77.com or medialens.com or just search for best web design and look for what works). in the case of this site, i would love to see other media like pictures and video clips which you have posted on the blog already, but just somewhere to browse through, but that is distictly seperate from show commentary and discussion. what your site lacks really is just fluff, and this is a hard part of web design to deal with because it is where you can easily loose your path. but it is possible to have fluff while staying true to your course. if you wish to branch out, i think this will be the easiest way to do it, and still keep the theme. -P.S. sorry about all the ()’s :-)

  17. Hmm, honest eh?

    Here goes.

    First, I don’t visit the Tail Section. Ever. Mainly because they do sometimes have spoilers on there that are not warned about. I HATE spoilers. I appreciate this blog’s stance on them, in particular your stance on teasers that were being aired with Daybreak.

    Second, you should not try to be a LostMedia. It is a resource site, and you really are talking apples and oranges. Unless you are going to set yourself up as a resource for collected media, screenshots and character info instead of a reporting blog on the Lost universe (which is how I see you), I wouldn’t worry about that one. I know they have a blog too, but yours is better, and I doubt that’s why people go to that site.

    Third, what can you do to improve? Well, a couple of commenters mentioned Forums, and I am 100% for that. I think asking your regular readers to get out and pitch for the blog is a great way to do it too. Nobody reads my blog, (ok, almost nobody) but I’d throw up a link and a post every now and again.

    Fourth, about the design. I own a web dev company, and I happen to think your site layout is nice and clean, great colour scheme, minimalist in ad space. Much better than that of the two sites you are comparing yourself to.

    Other than that, good luck and keep up the great work!

  18. Dusk says:

    Be wary of having a forum, they can split visitor numbers and it can become a constant battle to educate posters that the site component even exists. Of course, I’m playing devil’s advocate. It could very well rock. But I count on discussion being in these reply sections, not some other joint I have to sign up at. Peace.

  19. patience says:

    Lostblog is great the way it is andreas you shouldnt change a thing, i come to this site and this site only to discuss and read lost related stuff. I have never been to lost media or the tail section, and by only visiting lostblog I have never ever ever ever been let down by reading a spoiler or anything its good the way it is.

  20. DaveS says:

    I think what’s lacking is a bit of humor, to be honest.

    I remember you posted a ‘debunking’ of something another site posted from the spoof site ‘the misfit’, and you obviously thought it was a serious attempt at a scam.

    I check out this site for all the news but I like the misfit as well because it makes me laugh. Lets remember, it is just a tv show after all. Maybe a caption compeition or something, but a laugh now and then would make all the difference I think.

  21. docarzt says:

    I read you pretty regularly Andreas and enjoy your site. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this is of importance to you though. Seems you have a large audience of dedicated readers; your design if fine and readable; your writing is fine. Be careful not to make changes that will seem disingenuous. One thing that will always bring your more visitors is persistence. Keep doing it the way that is natural to you and your readership will expand. Another too, you should definitely approach the webmasters you wish to emulate and ask them what they did. In a lot of cases, they will tell you!

  22. exe says:

    Im sorry, but your blog is very boring

  23. Ivan says:

    We want to read spoilers not your personal opinion about Lost or how fantastic this actress goes shopping with x male actor.

  24. Mabry says:

    I think I am not in favor of having a forum. I worry that all the discussion would move over there and that the blog would lose some of its charm.

    For me the charm lies in the fact that this feels like a nice little community. I enjoy seeing the same people post every week. I enjoy the intelligent discussions and theories that are posted. I like being able to figure out where everything is due to the layout of the site.

    There’s not really much I would change about this site- it is the only place I come to for Lost information.

  25. downthehatch says:

    I visit thetailsection for news. I come here for opinion. I like the nice simple feel of this site. It may not be the place for up to the minute lost news, but I feel it’s more of a blog than anything else. thetailsection’s design while pretty, is flawed somewhere. Keep up the good work and don’t worry about hit counters. As long as you have a community that sticks around you ARE doing something right. Could be folks appreciate your no spoiler policy that other sites ignore.

  26. SpinPapi says:

    The discussion format of reading straight down the page on this blog is simpler and easier on the eyes than a forum would be. It’s why I come here instead of the forums (besides your coverage being fairly complete).

    Also, the design is beautiful. Very clean, good use of graphics where you do use them, and very readable.

  27. downthehatch says:

    [quote comment="22954"]I appreciate all the tips and ideas. There are several good points in your comments and you’ve given me quite a few things to think about.

    The no-spoiler policy will remain, don’t worry.

    John, do you seriously dislike the design of this site? I have put a lot of though and time into the design, and in my opinion we are the best designed Lost site on the Internet so I’m very surprised to hear that you don’t like the design. Does anyone else agree or disagree with John’s opinion of the design?[/quote]

    I disagree with John. I design my own website and STRUGGLE with it’s layout. I have looked at your design (though it’s just for a blog)and color scheme as being an influence to me. The simple design is one of the strengths of this site.

  28. meli says:

    i love the site. i always visit it from my RSS feeds and love the episode specific topics.

  29. KillerR says:

    In responce to Ivan’s post: A blog IS someones opinion just like an editorial in a newspaper or magazine. If youre looking for spoilers there are a thousand other sites and a million forums out there for you. Spoilerfix and DarkUfo are pretty accurate, but with spoilers you just don’t know until you accually see it in the episode. You don’t know if they’re correct or not until you see the show anyway. Don’t get me wrong i like reading spoilers for fun, but if someone is wanting to go without them then this is the site for them. You just can’t take them too seriously.

    So, Andi, the only thing I’d like to see changed is the ability to edit comments past the two minute warning other than that don’t change a thing dude. This site is the ying to the other’s yang. Oh,and please, whatever you do don’t move it to the 10pm time slot ;)

  30. theOtherdave says:

    Seems that the majority of comments are in favor of maintaining LostBlog the way it is. I agree.

    I love its simplcity, love its layout- minimal. I have no problem with the colors, nor editorial content. I find humor in several different places.

    But I also like the idea of maybe having a section where we can speculate on the next episodes previews-teasers-spoilers but it’s not that important. It seems everyone likes the “No Spoiler” focus.

    LostBlog is just right. I don’t visit any other forum or blogs. I have in the past and found most of them clogged-up with non-Lost ramblings or worse.

  31. nevolution says:

    My impression of this site, compared to the other pages (tailsection etc), is that I come here expecting theoretical discussions of the issues brought up in Lost. Whether it is something that as has been formed in my head without much evidence, I don’t know, and I can’t remember that far back; but I think that is what is missing from here. Lost Experience Clues Blogspot (not the tailsection extension, the other one) attempted to have scientific, theoretical and moral analysis of what was going on in the ‘experience’. Now, while that page was born out of a christian linkage to Lost (and please don’t move in that direction), it was a really good idea; while lacking in interest. I mean, sure, there is not much to say during the break, not to mention that some of the episodes don’t lend themselves to insight into the issues brought up. I think that with a show as nuanced and detailed with Lost that I’m surprised why there isn’t as much of it as there could be. If you want an episode break down or transcript, go somewhere else, but if you want an educated look at the inner workings of the story, come here. Thats the way I see it.

    Sure, the second series, being more steeped in ‘Lost’ mythology lent itself to that kind of thing, and the first series was fresh, so everyone was talking about, but I’m sure that more could be said regarding whats going on. Say, the sociological experiment that Benry is conducting, how else this has been done in real life; Locke versus Rousseau – philosopher grandslam. I dunno, you know what I mean.

    I will check up on the tailsection often, checking out the news and whatever. I will come here less often, but wanting a read, to think (and i stress the word think) about the show that I am watching. Not to mention the slower amount of tidbits coming from here, but I usually find them to be slightly more interesting.

    Regarding the design of the site. I am not a web coder, nor a web developer, but as a graphic designer, its a bit bland. Sure, it’s clean, it’s readable, and it works. It isn’t tacky (despite the extremely first season pic of the losties standing there, probably taken from a promo poster), and its very usable. If you want to spice it up, sure, spice it up. But only window dress it. Otherwise it takes away from the simplicity of the whole thing. And if you need/want help, I would love to. But thats obnly if you feel that this place needs a visual redirection.

    In answer to your question ‘what are we missing’, i think its longer posts, with a more informative and interesting angle. Get some new writers in, look at lost from a different angle.

    But then again, maybe you are asking the wrong question. Maybe its not what you’re missing, but how can you redirect?

  32. Andres says:

    Andreas,

    Like many of the folks here I like the no spoiler policy. The site design is generally-speaking just fine, colors are pleasant and easy to read for the most part.

    I specially like your blog because it’s easy and has a low barrier for entrance. It doesn’t require too much commitment to follow and it’s an easy read. The tone is friendly and approachable. It does not assume you’re aware of everything Lost and all the discussion and theories that abound. It’s a Lost website for the rest of us.

    I like the blog format because it functions as YOUR site where we can all participate, rather than OUR site. It’s sort of like a virtual book club format, where you are the host and invite us to your living room to discuss the last episode or whatever topic is at hand.

    But, if the purpose is to enhance participation, then make it easier to participate or to sit back and watch the discussion. For example, instead of having comments start at the end of the post, like in all blogs, have the comments run alongside the post (50-50 pr 60-40 split). That way, you can read the post or the comments. Allow users to rate posts or discussions to then highlight “hot” posts on the homepage. Or use the number of comments in posts to indicate the most popular discussions.

    I personally never look at the right-side of your blog, the stuff in the black column, specially in the posts.

    I would keep what’s best about a blog and ditch the rest. Recent comments, etc., etc. are not all that useful out of context of what post it is. Polls and such are marginally useful. I would limit how many of these you have, and would use them strategically.

    Perhaps you can maximize the use on the homepage by highlighting the latest post with an excerpt, and just have post titles for the rest. This gives you more real estate to use for other ways of looking at your posts (example: most participation, highest rated, chronological), categories, polls, etc.

    Hope this helps!

  33. Andreas says:

    I will read through all your comments and analyze the ideas more thoroughly tomorrow, but spontaneously I think some tweaks to the design and a (minor) shift from reporting about everything to focusing on my opinion of the episodes and events surrounding Lost might be a good idea.

    When it comes to news, I’m not really sure what to do, because usually we are the first site in the community to report about things, but if you prefer reading news on other sites I probably shouldn’t put as much energy into it. I think we will still have news, but it’s possible that the format in which we publish the news might change.

    I will probably also move from trying to report from a neutral point of view and instead bring a bit more humor and personality to the posts.

    Thanks for all the comments and input, I really appreciate all the feedback!

  34. Martijn says:

    Andreas, this site is the best. I don’t check those sites you mentioned, only lost.cubit.net after an episode (cause of the investigations), and the 4815162342.com forum.

    The site design is very clean and thats what i love about it.

    The only thing I would like to see is more blog entries, but I understand that there must be news first, to have you post it :)

    Keep up the great work.

  35. Andreas says:

    Thanks Martijn

    I will do my best to post a bit more frequently!

  36. Hammer says:

    I’m another one who comes here 1st for news, comments, and episode review. I only go the other sites when referenced on this site. I’m not just blowing smoke…you don’t have change anything to keep me here. You already take suggestions for improvement as they arise. I also feel that the design is fine.

    Andreas, when you post…I want your opinion. So I hope you keep doing that. It is your opinion that sparks the conversations. If all you do is report…I can get that on my own.

    I am not crazy about forums either. I prefer this type of commenting.

  37. shauna says:

    I like the site and use it as my only Lost info site. Appreciate the no spoilers, uncomplicated site layout, text just the right size and on a background that doesn’t make it difficult to read. I would like a bit more media files but that is easy enough to find elsewhere if you don’t want to incorporate more. Keep up the good work.

  38. Julie (Im Back) says:

    Love it! I’ve tried to check out some of the other sites and always come back to this one.
    It’s nice, it’s neat, and pretty much has regulars.
    I dont agree with shauna that there should be more media for the simple fact that there is so much of it other places… not to mention, if theres anything thats really relevent you seem to link us to it.
    Good job!

  39. bigmouth says:

    Andreas, I echo the recommendation of others to get a forum. Make it one where people can post pictures as part of their posts, if at all possible.

  40. Andreas says:

    I will look into it bigmouth, but unless I’m able to get a great deal on more bandwidth, I don’t think I will be able to allow images in a forum. It would be cool though =)

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