Crash and burn or why I’m not a web designer…



As you’ve noticed I’ve been playing with the header image of the blog, this is because unfortunately we have a bounce rate of over 90% from search. That means that over 90% of the new folks that stumble across this blog after doing a search for something leave in under 30 seconds and never return. That is not good and it makes it very difficult to grow… :-(

The first thing potential new readers notice is the header and most have been hitting the exit button as quickly as possible without reading a word of our great content or joining our community. And that folks is the reason that I’ve been working on the look and layout of the blog – to lower our “bounce rate”.

To be honest, I’ve never cared much for any of the headers that have topped this blog over the years, unfortunately, I’ve never been very good at designing, graphics or headers. I know this to be a fact because every time I’ve put up a new header image over the past couple of day, it only takes about 5 minutes for someone to tell me how much that they hate it…

If you’re good with graphics and web-design, then feel free to design a new header to top TheSurvivalistBlog.net and email it to me. If I get several different designs I’ll put them up in a contest of sorts and let readers choose.

Sorry, but I don’t have the resources (money) to pay for your designs but if you have a website or blog I would be happy to give you a bit of free advertising via a link back to your site and a thank you in a blog post…

Join over 13,225 subscribers and get the latest articles, news, reviews and features directly into your inbox - never miss an update. It's all FREE!
Subscribe via Email

 Subscribe via RSS

Comments

  1. I am a fairly newish reader of this blog. I enjoy it. The perspective of many of the posters is a bit different than most prepper or survival sites, and I like that.

    But, I will admit that I didn’t stay long the first couple of times I stumbled across the site. I think the wolf photo was off putting for me. I think it made me think you guys were either new agers or milita types.

    I am not sure if this feedback is helpful or not. But I hope you can increase your readership with some fine tuneing. I really have come to enjoy it.

    • Judy, another one says:

      Interesting! The wolf didn’t bother me at all when I first clicked into this site. A picture of M.D. wrapped in ammo-belts and guns would have though. Would a line drawing of the wolf (or a cartoon) have been less startling?

    • I’m a heavy lurker to this sight. But the lone wolf might be a bit off putting. I’m fascinated with wolves and all wildlife but paired with survivalism it can seem a little hardcore.

      I’m sure no expert, but…
      If something conjures up the following, I’m probably going to blow it off:

      New age, militia, religiosity, political partisanship, racism, sexism, xenophobia.

      For the most part this site avoids didactic diatribes very well.

      Liberty, peace and love for all, but don’ t try to @&$! us around!

  2. I would be nice if we knew why they were leaving so quick. Was it content or something else?

  3. M.d.- funny I think you’ve done a nice job with it. I am one of those people who stumbled upon it and have stayed the past year.

  4. I love your header!

  5. What is the bounce rate for similar sites?
    What sites are the referrals coming in from?

    You may be trying to solve a problem that does not exist.

  6. One of the outstanding things about your site is the community with its knowledge and experience. Replacing the wolf with something that shows community experience might be wise.

    • Thomas T. Tinker says:

      !! Would a photo of a ‘Pack’ be better suited? Perhaps some in repose or ‘tending’ to each other while others are looking outward as they tend to do. MD I’m bouncing out and going on a search for “Wold Packs”

      • Thomas T. Tinker says:

        WOLF…. packs…..

      • FreeRangePagan says:

        I agree. While I like the lone wolf, a pack photo or drawing would also convey the community sense we develop by being here and learning from each other.

      • Desert Girl says:

        I was thinking the same thing about having a photo of a pack instead of the lone wolf. As someone who has an understanding of marketing and the psychology of what “grabs people,” your site title and tag line are great! Perfect even! What might be causing new visitors to “bounce” are the words that are in the fancy font. I don’t think you really need them anyway because your tag line says it all. Seasoned preppers will know what it means and what they can find here, and tentative newbies won’t be scared off.

        To get the “community” feel portrayed…what about changing “join the pack” to “join the pack and become part of our great community”…or something along those lines? Perhaps “join the pack” is giving some people the idea of prepper extremists?? But by inserting the words “great community” it gives it a more “approachable” feel. It may seem like a subtle difference, but when it comes to marketing, the subtleties of human psychology become much more of greater influence than most people realize.

        Hopes this helps! You’ve got a really great site!

  7. What size do you need for the header?
    Debbie

  8. I hate to disagree with convention, MD, but I think that people who are searching for the information you present aren’t the type that care about headers. I have been a member for a long time and can’t even remember what the site looked like back then. I just know that I enjoy your site and depend on it for good content. Can’t say that about too many others.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      “THANK YOU”, Waterboy.

    • +1

    • Well put, Waterboy. I’m looking for valuable info, which I find each time I visit. I could care less about the design, but understand your efforts to attract more folks to read the great content.

    • Well said!

      • I’ve designed online content professionally for 20 years. And I’ve been looking at the site from that perspective since reading your post. I have to agree with Waterboy – I stumbled on this site and stayed because the content was exceptional, the forums and community were great, and the RSS was something I wanted to check in on each day. I also agree that people who are searching for the type of information this site provides are turned off by the header.

        I could make some suggestions for tweaks on layout and sequencing if you’d like to reach out to my personal email. But, overall I think you do a great job and especially given that, as you say, you’re not an expert.

        Thanks for all the great work you do and all the needed information you and the rest of the community provides.

        • Need to edit the previous a bit – I agree that people who search for this site are NOT turned off by the header. :-)

    • I agree, Waterboy! When I found this site, I was looking for real information, not graphics. I realize I may be an old fuddy-duddy, but it’s all about content for me. And the feeling of family and friends, caring and concern, even though we don’t actually know each other, with a few exceptions, I’m sure, can’t be duplicated. If I want artsy-fartsy graphics, worthless sensationalism, and pure commercialism, I can just pull up any site. I really think that’s true of all of the members here. We see it in the quality of articles that the members contribute to this site every month.
      M.D., I think the people you are worrying about, who take one look at the header and go elsewhere, are probably looking for easy answers on how much “just add water” food to buy, and the easiest way to boil water under the best of circumstances. They may not be planning on their emergency including washing laundry by hand with no electricity or know how to find a good place in the woods to s*** if necessary! You just keep on doing what you’ve been doing with this site as far as quality and content and an awesome job as moderator and I feel safe in saying you will continue to have a very large, very loyal wolf pack!!!!

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Hey, DJV! First, you crack me up! I haven’t heard the term “artsy-fartsy” in a while…kinda missed it, apparently. I’ll have to talk with the DH about that.

        I think you raise a valid point: most of these people are probably just GENERATION MICROWAVE – I want to push a button and get it fast. I don’t want to have to do anything but buy it in a freezer, throw it in a microwave, zap, eat, run….

        They don’t really want to know how to do survive without the microwave. If they did, they’d be here.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      MD, you are not going to please all the people all the time… maybe those that found your site, just didn’t have time to stay a while when they first found the site. ..they may be returning when they have more time.
      I have visited other sites, and this one has the most content on various topics…a group of posters with many backgrounds and experiences.. When topics are posted here, input comes from many different sides of an issue. That is one thing that keeps it interesting..
      How about using an Owl and/or a pioneer family-cartoon type figure? I am not submitting a header, as long as tthere’s not a black background, I will keep coming back, (I have trouble reading those pages.)

  9. Petticoat Prepper says:

    Is there a top ‘common’ search that is bringing traffic? I know my blog has lots of bounce folk but I have a few common search words. It’s hard to get people to read as most of us are very specific in our search and the first few sentences of any post (I believe) is what makes us stay for more than a few seconds.

    I know which posts are my top ones and my header works for that. I’d love to have lots of folks but mine is really a ‘handy girl’ blog of how to fix stuff on your boat. So the folks reading mine are looking for a very narrow bit of information.

    Ralph’s comment on the wolf makes sense too. I was here before the wolf and only equated it to ‘The Pack’ ie. community but you’d have to have been here to understand that. I know this isn’t really helpful info but I’ll think on it over the next few days and see if anything sprouts.

  10. Thanks for putting the wolf back up! I missed him.

    • georgeislearning says:

      was it gone? wth I guess the header dont make a difference to me I didnt know it was gone hehe

    • mountain lady says:

      I missed the wolf, too, but if it is too much for some, then maybe he must go. Can we still be a wolfpack without a wolf?

  11. HomeINsteader says:

    Ralph’s kind of honest feedback is exactly what MD is looking for, I’m sure.

    I wish I had the skills to do this for you and give it you, MD; alas, I do not!

    But may I make a suggestion? (I’m sure you’ll get a few hundred of them!).

    Make the header something “earthy friendly”, like green grass and blue skies and a homestead looking place, with a nice garden in bloom, free-range chickens roaming about, that sort of thing…with a wolf guarding the front and back doors…and a few cuddly puppies and bunnies about the yard!

    And you could throw in a partridge in a pear tree, for good measure!
    : )

    Perhaps that will help? Just sayin’….

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Personally, I like the wolf, but then, I like “beasties”. I like fluffy bunnies and cuddly puppies, too!

      • Maybe keep the same header but get rid of the black background and go with somthing else like white or some earthtone.

    • HomeINsteader,

      Interesting ideas… but a lot to put in one header… I could make it BIGGER.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        I’m LOL, MD! It would have to be REALLY bigger! ; )

      • thinking…

        WOLFPACK or WATCH THE WOLFPACK or JOIN THE WOLFPACK may work!
        Survivalistblog… does reek of weirdoes
        background …lighter….little wolf near a friendly bunker …..

        I don’t ‘know….just thinking…!

        I love this place….try to visit…everyday!

  12. I am a long time visitor of this site and have watched it grow and evolve.. I have liked most of it and especially the comments from other readers in the early days. I am too busy doing my own thing “Gettin’ ready” to take the time reading and commenting much in those months. I like wolves and what they represent, so the wolf image did not put me off when you started using it, but I recalled wondering why you would use it if you were interested in gaining more readers- which I did not think was really your primary goal anyway. I suggest you re-think or re-state your mission and goals to yourself and brainstorm on images and words that commonly stand for those ideas. Honestly alot of folks are put off by the term ‘survivalist’.. Not me – I’ve been one of sorts since the 80′s. And given the way it’s going, maybe its a good thing that 90% move on to other sites.

    • Scout,

      You could be right that it is more the fault of folks running away from the term “survivalist” than design. Same with the term “prepper” now since the media has sufficiently demonized it. Survivalist and Prepper they are the same thing, but even some folks that call themselves “preppers” look down on the original term survivalist…

      I supposes I could change the name to snow white bunnies LOL…

      As for getting more readers being a goal – well yes, that and helping the readers we have now. Without readers there would not be any reason to publish this blog… That is one of the goals of every site – to grow…

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Call a spade a spade. We’re preppers. We’re “survivalists”. If those concepts bother someone, why are they here? That’s my take on it. Sorry if I’m not “sensitive” enough, y’all, but isn’t that like developing a whole new area of political correctness? Aren’t we here because we rebuke pc in the first place?

      • Thomas T. Tinker says:

        “That is one of the goals of every site – to grow…” You have it there MD. I do wonder if this part of our culture has a finite number that will every be intriged enough to stay…. and learn.

        Growth may be found in the service to the community this site is directed at. I have only been aware of your site for a few years. It has evolved rather well IMHO.

        MD…. Pack members…. could it be that this site has reached a critical mass that precludes it form being ‘run’ by one soul. MD, sometimes I have a picture of you with your laptop tied around your neck with a very long length of chain. I don’t know how far you can ever get away without the need to moderate… As is… you gottadoitall Sir. My computer skills are right up there with my dish rack or toaster. I am amazed how one soul can keep todays posting flowing and find time to fry an egg. I’ll help and contribute as my limied skills will let me Sir!

        • Thomas T. Tinker says:

          Limied skills…. and unused spelfking check will allow.

        • Thomas T. Tinker,

          I’m looking into ways that I can allow trusted folks to post comments without moderation. It would speed things up a lot, for everyone.

          • As a long time lurker I would like to thank MD for this site and all your hard work. Thank you. I would also like to thank the pack for all their shared knowledge. I’ve learned much from you all.
            MD you are thinking of letting “trusted folks” post without moderation. Have you thought of having moderators? This may require you to separate things into threads, those threads would then be moderated by moderators. You would oversee everything, but the “day-to-day” moderation of the threads would be delegated to the moderators.
            For your review, here’s a web site that uses a similar model.
            Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with, nor do I own ANY portion of said web site or the material context , nor will I profit from, financially or otherwise from any perceived promotion, distribution, or sales of said web site. http://www.physicianassistantforum”dot”com
            MD, I’m not telling you how to run you blog, I’m only offering suggestions. Just my 2 cents.

        • HomeINsteader says:

          TTT, IF I recall correctly, just this past year MD tried to initiate a support system using trusted persons from this site; I believe he got enough flak from people terrified of OpSec issues that he changed his mind and continued DOING IT ALL HIMSELF. It’s a wonder he hasn’t just shut the whole thing down already.

          Thank you, MD.

  13. TexasScout says:

    I would be willing to bet that 90% of the 90% that leave after 30 seconds are just not interested in prepping. It’s just that simple. Sure you may drag a few of the ones “one the fence”, but don’t think that you are going to convert the masses.

    Tex

  14. Hunker-Down says:

    my2c

    The header has facts; true and important. The sentences there state the essence of preparedness but maybe the newcomer isn’t ready to process those facts in a positive way in the few seconds they stay on the site.

    How about some ‘teaser phrases’ that would encourage a further look?
    Ideas that come to mind are; ‘learn how to stay safe’, ‘learn how to eat when the grocery shelves are bare’ , ‘how do YOU protect your home?’, ‘have a question? We have answers’. These may not pique the interest of a browser, I don’t know anything about advertising but maybe the Pack can pick up on the ‘teaser’ idea and put it into effective words.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Or my personal favorite:

      “Ready for anything, at any time, for any reason.”

    • Good ideas, Hunker-down……..I have been a fan for some time now and could care less about the header – but newbies probably would at first. I like the ‘teaser phrases’……

    • Encourager says:

      HD, good ones! I really like “Have a question? We have answers!” and “Learn How to Eat When the Grocery Shelves are Bare”.

      • Encourager says:

        BUT….you have to be careful and not put too much up there as it may overwhelm the browser. Can’t be too busy, if you know what I mean.

    • Thomas T. Tinker says:

      Ahmen! Buttt its MD that has to sit down and correlate all these changes and the like. Suppose each header ‘teaser’ statement had a ‘click on this link option’ to the archive related to it……. Crapppppppola Somebody explain how ya keep up with moderation of that.

  15. If you are serious about finding out which header is the best for getting people to “stick” around you can test as many different ones as you want and your visitors will tell you by their actions. You can test this using this google tool called “content experiments”:

    https://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1745147&topic=1745207&rd=1

    basically you make a bunch of different banners and after a bunch of visitors see them they will tell you which banner has the lowest bounce rate.

  16. JeffintheWest says:

    To be honest, I never paid much attention to the header. If that tells you anything, it probably is that it definitely didn’t reach out and grab me. While I don’t mind the wolf image, all the little lettering up there is too wordy and distracting. Maybe what you need is some kind of catchy phrase up there in the center (a quote maybe? or something pithy that expresses the site’s intent better?) and then have the title (“Survivalistblog”) in smaller type in the lower left hand corner of the header. As for the rest, if you can get them to look at the page, you don’t need all that other stuff in the header. Keep it simple should apply. Oh, and move the “survival topics” list to the top of the left margin column and put the “popular articles” list at the top of the right-hand column so they can see at least some of what they can read about without having to scroll. Your advertisers then follow below your content. The advertisers will still get looked at — actually even moreso if you can retain the bouncers for at least a few more seconds. Artistically, if you become convinced the wolf needs to go, try to find a visual image that expresses at least some of what you are trying to do and which reaches out and grabs the bouncer visually. You want them to study your header for a few seconds. If you can get them to pause on the exit for even a few more seconds, odds are they will actually stay and read something — especially if they see something cool in your content lists without having to scroll. Hey, you asked, so there’s my $0.02 worth! ;-)

  17. I love the wolf! I suspect people who think “prepping” is for extremists & doesn’t apply to them will get off any site that mentions survival, prepper or whatever. Their loss. I love your site as it offers a lot of good information, not only from you, but from those who share their ideas with us. What I admire most, is that you are a Christian. I’ve had some of my friends tell me that “God will take care of all of our needs!” Well, He will, but He doesn’t expect you not to use the brain He gave to you in the first place! Anyone with half a brain should understand the dire mess our nation is in under Obama and his minions. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that droughts in the heartland of America, means a food shortage may happen. We are already seeing the cost of living go up on core items. I prepare for what is to come…and if nothing happens, well, me and my husband will have a whole lot of food when we retire. I’d rather be standing on my feet, than begging on my knees.

  18. 1979 Prepper says:

    I live in northern Minnesota and even though wolves give our farmers and ranchers plenty of problems; I am a dog/wolf lover. I’ve been reading your site for a couple of years and find your attempts at heading changes interesting. The image and inferred message of a “lone wolf” distracts from your previous emphases on community or “the pack”. Perhaps a heading image of a couple of families w/ or w/o dogs banding together to form a community/pack may appeal to more readers. One might even try something along the line of the old picture of Grandma with a pitch fork and Grandpa with a rife in the background and build from there the rest of the family and pets. The main thing to keep in mind is some image of community; which we ALL need more now than ever!

    • Encourager says:

      Good point about the ‘lone wolf’. Love the idea of Grandma with the pitchfork and Grandpa with the rifle, in the front. How about with a panorama in the background showing a house, barn with animals in the fields, people working a garden, a solar panel on the house roof and a working windmill/wind generator.

  19. HomeINsteader says:

    You may have just given us all a new mantra, junipers!

    “I’d rather be standing on my feet than begging on my knees.”

    This is why we do it!

  20. MD, I have no expertise in this field, but Ralph has stirred a memory. I was also a little put off by the wolf in the beginning. If it were my blog I think I would try putting the “join the pack” on the left, where it is one of the first things you see when the page loads. The sense of community is what makes the blog special. I was also thinking that if the wolf were on the right, or smaller, or even a puppy then he might be less likely to run people off. acub might be perfect, because most of the people you are trying to reach are just cubs in prepping, right? I think I personally, would take off “live on the edge” as I am not sure it brings in as many as it puts off.
    Feel free to disregard my opinion, I always have one. lol

    • Encourager says:

      Or how about a ‘family’ of wolves?

    • good point Patti. If “Join the Pack” was first, and close to the wolf, maybe people would make the connection.. But honestly, I guess I’m just slow. I didn’t think about the Wolf being offensive

  21. Rider of Rohan says:

    MD, I think you had some of those people on your blog a while back who get their feelings hurt when the right thing’s not on the header, or someone’s not playing nice, or you criticized their man in the WH, or when one of their sacred cows comes under criticism. Rather than fight back or respond, they just took their toys and left. IMHO, this blog is not for the people who wear their feelings on their sleeves, or get their feelings hurt on the drop of a dime. This is not a game, but is serious stuff as we approach the end of the American experiment. As serious as surviving. I know you want to attrack the maximum number possible, but many times that is counterproductive, and the next thing you know you will have to think, “If I say this, is it going to piss off my people who are role-playing instead of seriously prepping”? For my part, I really like this blog the way it is. I understand that you have to make a living, and will support your decisions. Just wanted to throw that in the mix as a cautionary measure.

    • SCPrepperPoppa says:

      Rider,
      I am a long tine lurker on MD’s site. May I have your permission to use your “end of the American experiment” statement in a speech to our local CofC meeting next week?
      Thanks,
      SCPP

      • Rider of Rohan says:

        Yes sir, you have my permission, not that you needed it. I’ve been reading where the people of NY are coming together and will refuse to register their firearms as required under the new law. Maybe there is yet hope that the experiment isn’t dead. Maybe there are yet some patriots in the Northeast. Now that I think about it, isn’t that where the whole thing started?

        • SCPrepperPoppa says:

          Thank you sir!
          Momma raised me the right way, so I felt compelled to ask. I agree with you, and pray with all my heart, that this grand “experiment” is not over. We in the SouthEast hold steadfast to our Constitution no matter!
          The folks I associate with will not register either! FYI.

  22. I did the same thing as Ralph – left the first few times I came here because it looked…well….scary. :) We all know that shows like Doomsday Preppers make preppers out to be a bunch of fringe lunatic, AK-47 toting, extremist losers, and we further know that that’s essentially the same view mainstream society has of us.

    I work for a Fortune 100 internet commerce company, that just went through a major, multi-year turnaround in an effort to attract new users. Lots of trial and error went on there, but I think we finally got it right. And here are a few things that worked to attract mainstream consumers:

    1. Friendy and welcoming. When a home page flashes up on someone’s screen, they are going to react to it viscerally in less than 10 seconds. Their impression is either going to be something like, “Interesting, let me scroll down and see more,” or “Ooops, not what I was looking for at all,” or “Too complicated; I’ll go find something simpler.” What kind of messaging in your header can you create to welcome visitors to the site? Maybe the “better to die on your feet” and the “living on the edge” blurbs could be toned down to be less scary?

    2. What demographic are you trying to attract? Mainstream society? Established and/or new preppers who already have the suvivalist mindset and are looking for more? People who want to just get info and go? People who want to become part of a community? Soccer moms? :) Know who you are after and that will help you figure out how to attract them. That was the hardest part for my company – we wanted “everybody”…but it’s hard to design something that appeals to everybody. :)

    3. Understand your current demographic. I know it’s hard, with OPSEC being top of mind, but maybe you could do some anonymous polling to find out who is active on the site. Things like average age, gender, marital status, top 3 survivalism interests, employed/retired, how often they post, how often they visit, how often they read, do they consider themselves part of your community, what keeps them from being more active on the site, etc. If you can get some of this info anonymously, you can create a profile of your “average” current users. And once you know that, you can decide either: a) how to attract more of those folks, or b) how to go after a similar pool of potential users.

    4. Does your blog host have any robust analytics? I know you said 90% of visitors leave within 30 seconds, but can you get your hands on any data that shows where they came from? Which search engine? What keywords they were searching for? Where did they go while they were here? Did they click on anything? Being able to get that info was extremely useful for my company, because we were then able to figure out what folks were seeing that we obviously weren’t providing.

    5. You’ll have to figure out a way to maintain the character you want to preserve here, but in a different way. I just did a search for some common survivalist/prepping keywords, and visited about 10 different sites. They were essentially clones of each other. Scary stuff in the header, followed by a nav bar on the left or right or centered, and a ton of sponsors and ads….that’s what draws the eye; not necessarily the content. I know you have to maintain a balance for your sponsors/advertisers that gives them visibility, but ads are just plain off-putting for a lot of people. My company used to have a big ol’ sponsored ad banner right across the top of our home page that advertised everything from cheap flights to new Jeeps to men’s underwear….none of which have anything in the world to do with our site. And that banner ad, if you happened to be looking for men’s underwear and clicked it, took you right off our site. Don’t give people a reason to leave.

    6. Finally, maybe rethink the nav bar at the top. People naturally read left to right, and the nav bar should be ordered in an intuitive way, based on why people are landing here. For example, your first two links are “Home” and “About” – honestly, I’d move those. I’d put the “Home” link in the header, and move “About” to the end of the row. I would change “Archives” to something more compelling and intuitive…after all, the word “archive” is often connotated with “old” or “outdated.” You could change the wording in the top nav bar so every item is a call to action. Read, Learn, Stock Up or Buy, Get to Know Us, Advertise, Contact, Donate, etc…. Maybe add one for newbies called “Why Prepare?” to draw them in.

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, but maybe you’ll find some of it useful. :)

    • Nanet,

      Good idea but if I did #3 on your list about half of the folks here are so paranoid that they would run screaming for the nearest exit. Even though there is no way for me to know who voted on the poll.

      #5 I keep banner ads to 25 or less (unlike that other site that has around 60 the last time I counted) and I do not allow any moving or flashing type ads.

      Good ideas… thank you.

  23. Yes it is such a shame that people twist the meanings of words around so they are interpenetrated to mean something other than what you are trying to say. The use of the word gay to describe an alternate life style is the bst example. The MSM will continually ascribe meanings to a word to suit their own means like insisting that the AR in AR15 means “Assault Rifle”. They are attempting to do the same with those who would take measures to ensure they remain among the last remaining by diligence of their labors and efforts when the entitlement minded society would join with the MSM changing the meaning of the terms to mean something on the order of traitor or selfish brute and then expect you to sustain them when the bottom falls out because they have been assured that they are entitled to social justice by ones who are desperate for their vote to remain in power and go so far as to mortgage this nation to another with your personal assets as collateral for these funds to continue this process rather than encourage a frugal self sustaining lifestyle like we are doing. Add to that the move to marginalize our efforts with the negative publicity campaign just like the anti-gun campaign which also is failing that one wonders if it is still feasible to think oneself human if your thoughts, lifestyle and habituates are not of the approved “politically correct” spectrum. Sorry for the rant MD. but this really raises my hackles. If it is important to you to try and obtain increased readership then a change to something more politically correct like “A blog for those with an extended vision of the future” or some other drivel. I myself prefer a forum to exchange ideas to ensure I am among those remaining when all lesser mortals have succumbed”. Harold

    • Rider of Rohan says:

      Amen, Harold. Now, I have a question. The lady who sold me the lead ingots has offered me all the lin-o-type at the old printing shop that no longer operates at the newspaper where she is the general manager. $100 and I haul it all off. When I went there yesterday and saw how much there was, I was shocked. She has over 100 drawers full of the stuff. I’m roughly thinking 1400 lbs. based on weighing a few drawers. How much is this stuff worth? It’s not ingots this time, but the type itself, drawers and drawers of it. And spacers that go between it, are the spacers lead also?

      • RoR I have no idea what it is exactly worth except that the money would change hands instantly at that price. Just think, a lifetime supply of premium bullet casting material. As far as the drawer dividers gom theymore than likely are aluminum. If however they are linotype material then you have added value. You could spend a couple of weekends melting down the old cast letters and pouring ingots. I would not be at all surprised if you found some ingot molds in the bunch. Linotype I got had six 2 pound ingot molds in it. Check the local scrap prices for lead and that will give you an idea of what it is worth. Check the metallurgy tables to determine the alloy separation temperatures and do not go above them. When my metal was fluid and the impurity film formed on the surface, I always reduced the heat to keep it at that temperature ans skimmed the impurities off be fore starting to cast. If you are wanting to sell some of it off it would not surprise me any if you found ready buyers among the pack

      • Personaly I am not into computer dweebdom I am into prepping.I am ok with the heaader,that is not what I come here for. I like the wolfpack thing going on. I told the salesman at the verizon store that I would prefer a rotary dial on my phone instead of the so called keyboard.enough of my tech talk. I do not mind the ads,I even visit some of the sights I just have not bought anything from them since I have never bought anything online. If you want to give the page a new coat of paint I won`t stop coming.I come here for the education and posting to some of the members.I also like to give my opinions from time to time. Thank you for the blog M.D.

      • Thomas T. Tinker says:

        Hey Rider…… I’d drive a day to get that much lin-o-type lead. If the drawers are wood….. you have a stack of antie-ques for sale.

  24. Wild Weasel says:

    What drew me to your site was information. I totally understand the importance of having advertising on your page, but maybe move your articles and information to the top. If someone is looking for info they are only scanning for that 30 secs. Have to have something to grab them. Today’s topic may not grab it but maybe something from the past will. For me having to scroll down on some sites is to much work, I know sad but true. You have 30 seconds to grab them, check out the competition and see what grabs you. Don’t reinvent the wheel. We want gratification know!

  25. MrSpud in ID says:

    Personally, I love the Wolf, and the “Wolf Pack” motto! Maybe just some extra other cannon fodder on the header with him and other stuff that make people stop and say, Hmmm! What’s this! You know, a short mission statement, that kind of crap. Just my Two cents.
    Still trying to deal with the death of my wife to that damn cancer in December! Getting the kids some grief counseling!! Kinda of changed my whole life (uderstatment of the year!), and our/my prepping plans as well! It’s just me and the kids now! A little scared. not gonna lie! I miss my Momma Wolf so bad it hurts! I’ll keep doing what she would want me to do, take care of our daughters at all cost and prepare for the worst, hope for the best! Pray for us :(

    • HomeINsteader says:

      Mr. Spud, my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry. I will keep you in prayer for healing, guidance, and wisdom.

    • Encourager says:

      Mr. Spud, you are in the Wolf Pack’s prayers. I cannot imagine the pain and loss your entire family is living in right now. Get yourself some grief counseling also! Find a support group for grieving single parents. And don’t worry about your prepping plans being delayed a bit. Right now your priority is yourself and your daughters. Yourself, because you are all they have left. Don’t ever be afraid of crying in front of them. Tears are very healing, for all of you.

    • farmmomwannabe says:

      Mr.Spud in ID, I am very sorry for your loss. Prayers being said for you and your girls, for healing, understanding, patience, trust, ……whatever you all need. Sometimes all you can do is keep on doing your best, letting your girls know you are there for them, that you hurt, too, and some “things” just have to slide for another day.

    • nobodyssister says:

      I’m really sorry for your loss, MrSpud. I know the folks here will pray for you, and you are in my thoughts as well.

    • Lake Lili says:

      Monkey and I will be praying for you and your girls. We hope that you all have someone to talk to who can support you. Look after yourself and those girls – we are all here if you need to talk.

    • Lifting you and your children in prayer, Mr. Spud.

    • Oh my. So sorry, don’t even know what to say.. Your family is in my prayers. God bless.

    • Prayers your way Mr Spud. Take care of those little ones, you’re their rock now.

  26. FWIW, I looked at your keywords in the source code of your home page and found 5 variations on survival and only one on preparation and that was preppers. My thought is the keywords may be drawing traffic looking more for content along the lines of The Anarchist Cookbook or hardcore wilderness survival and when they don’t find it it’s bye bye.

  27. Sorry, I don’t dwell on the banners, ads, etc. Let’s see, what got me here in the first place? The article on a shopping trip to stock up. The first one. Too awkward to search it on my cellphone. You know the one! That is where I started. I love that article, & have read it a few times just for your writing style. Although I have read a couple things I didn’t like, disagreed with, or thought inappropriate, I’m still here. The content is what keeps us here. I know you need visitors to keep your sponsors, but if folks are coming to watch cartoons, they aren’t going to supports your sponsors.
    I’m no designer either, so I can’t help there. But I respect your content enough to check in for more. Keep trying to draw them, but please don’t sacrifice the good info for mere hits.

    • SCPrepperPoppa says:

      Pj,
      Exactly how I found this excellent site. I really didn’t pay attention to the header either!

  28. I know from past readings that the content is always good and can lead to some good discussions, so I look past the header!

    Always thought the blog was good and personally, I like the header! Just my opinion!

  29. Encourager says:

    Interesting comments! Actually, I was a bit put off by the wolf, but loved the concept of the “Wolf Pack”. Had a neighbor that bred and abused wolf hybrids and since we have no air conditioning and must leave the windows open at night, the all-night howling drove us crazy. As did the animals roaming the neighborhood when they got loose.

    I do have a few suggestions: How about a man and a woman with their arms around each other, with a couple of kids in front of them and an elderly couple a bit off to the side with a wolfish looking dog? A sentence such as “Learning How to Protect Our Families in Difficult Times” or “Learning and Surviving Together” ??

    Wish I had the education to help you design, M.D. but I don’t. Sorry and good luck! There is nothing more frustrating when you don’t have the knowledge and/or skill to do what you need to do, spend untold hours doing it, and then not be happy with the results!!! Been there!!!

  30. I guess you could describe me as a minimalist. I tend to avoid sites that to my eye, look ‘cluttered’. They try to cram too much stuff in too little a space. I also use a laptop so I don’t have a lot of ‘screen space’. That may have something to do with it.
    By the way, I’m 74.

  31. Alittle2late says:

    I think the granny with the AK and flak jacket would be a great header pic. All kidding aside, I like the wolf, It’s us. Keeping the header simple would be best IMO. I’m not sure what your catch words are to direct you to the site maybe narrowing that search will give you better bounce numbers. There may be words that have multiple meanings which is pulling the wrong people. I don’t remember what I was looking for when I found this site, it wasn’t the header that kept me here, I do know that for sure. Your doing a great job M.D. especially not having a staff to run things for you.
    You could put up fuzzy bunnies and some fake name for opsec lol.

  32. How about a picture of an actual wolf pack, along with pups instead of the lone wolf. Maybe change the line about dieing on your feet being better than living on your knees to something about protecting, they will come around eventually!

    • Millie in KY says:

      Yes, running along from one side of the banner to the other in profile! That would be less scary and maybe bring a sense of community! And I like the protecting thought, too.

  33. How about something like: Beyond FEMA. FEMA may not get to you in 3 days! Those “HELP!” signs may be ignored! Hey, I don’t know I love it just the way it is!

  34. Mary in mn says:

    I think the header is very nice. I like it.
    There is always someone finding fault no matter what is shown. I would rather encourage than criticize. At least I try to.
    Good job. Keep it up.
    I have learned a lot on this web site and it is a favorite. Nice people here.

  35. button crazy says:

    I have reading this blog for over a year maybe closer to two years. I don’t often post a comment. As i am not the best at getting my point across. I read this blog every day and comments along with the blog. I thing the header is now too cluttered with the words. I was reading before you had the wolf on the header. This blog has come a long way since I started reading the blog. M.D. does a very good job with this blog. Have a safe weekend.

  36. I personally like the header the way it is. In-fact, it is similar to what I would expect to see when I visit a survivalist blog or community.

    I would focus more on ways to pull them into the article. Some things to consider might be a larger font size on the article title. Also, most very well know websites I visit do not use the font “Times New Roman” for their article titles or their text, to me “Arial” and Verdana” are much easier to read. These are just some things to consider besides you header image, hope it helps.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      I convert everything I save to Arial, as it much easier to read than Times New Roman.

  37. Santa Walt says:

    I have never paid a lot of attention to the header, but I greatly appreciate what you are doing. I have a book of information and the bulk of it comes from this web site and one other that is about health. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks from a fellow Tennessean

  38. Okay, you’re probably gonna hit me for this one, but do you have a Facebook page? Not a personal page, but what they call a “fan page” or business page? Lots of companies/bloggers have these now, and basically each day you post summaries of your web content, pictures, etc. there as well as here. As time goes on and people read them and share them with their like-minded friends, you can build up quite a following, which usually translates to more quality traffic here because the FB page is really just a teaser. Here’s an example of one I’m subscribed to:

    https://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/homesteading?fref=ts

    The downside is you can’t moderate everything on FB, but that’s okay – you’ll get a lively discussion going with a different community than visits this blog…and some, if not many, will end up here, as a part of this community.

    • Nanet,

      I had one about one year ago but deleted it – most of my “social media” traffic comes from Stumble upon believe it or not…

    • PGCPrepper says:

      I’ve refused to be on FB and my wife just deleted her account. Others I know have also left stalk book. I’ve been short the stock as soon as it went public. I hope it implodes on itself. Do a search about the new study of the psychological makeup of those whom have the most friends. Fuck FB. JMO

  39. I don’t hate your banner, but some tweaks could help to clarify at a glance what your blog promotes. It could be that the “lone wolf” scares some away because it gives an impression of backwoods separatist gun nuts, but it could just as well be that some were hoping the site would be even more obviously militant than that. It may not even be the banner is a problem at all. It could be that a lot of your “bounces” are just web scrapers looking to see if your front page had changed.

    I don’t have the artistic skill to create this personally, but I can see a banner that fades L-R between a series of vistas; mountains with no civilization in sight, a grain field with a hunter taking aim at deer from behind a blind, a bountiful and well-tended vegetable garden, and finally a comfortable house or cabin made partly from natural materials. There are subtle signs of modern technology throughout; wind generator, PV panels, satellite dish… The banner would have captions like “Prepare – Retreat – Build – Homestead – Hunt – Garden – Preserve”, “Transcend your economic ties”, “Living off the grid isn’t like living in the past”, “The peaceful future of self-reliant living”. The main title would be “The Survivalist Blog” (subtitle) “by M.D. Creekmore”. There should be no “.net” in the title – that’s the address, not the name.

    So, something like that could look corny, but a good artist could pull it off pretty well.

    • Encourager says:

      I like your ideas, Roman, especially the fading banner. That was what I was trying to get across with my post but sure didn’t describe it well. Thanks!

      I think promoting family, not a lone wolf is a good idea. We are all about family here…even those who are not blood related to one another!!

  40. Texanadian says:

    How’s this for a banner. We’re NOT from the government and WE ARE here to help.
    I think a couple of years ago I came over from Instapundit for an article of interest. Added the site to my favorites list and visit almost daily. I understand that pictures eat up band width but some articles/submissions just cry out for photos or illustrations.

    Of course there always scantilly clad females. :)

  41. Gray Hawk says:

    I very seldom post , but I enjoy reading this blog everyday . The wolf on the header never bothered me. I came here looking for survival information for the trying times in which we live. M D you are doing a great job keeping us informed . Continue the great work that you do !

  42. I like the header. You have the name of your site and right below it tells me right away what it is about Emergency Preparedness etc., the wolf image balances the copy on the right nicely.
    The type appears a bit fuzzy on my computer, like it’s “blown up (enlarged) to far”. I have never actually read the “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees…, Plan Prepare Survive, Living on the edge, and Get Ready ” until today because it appears difficult to read. Try this, enlarge the whole page quite a bit and look at the word Emergency to the right of the wolf, see how the type is fuzzy, bleeds and there are artifacts around the edges. I’m not much of an expert but a little research indicates that the edges of the type are pixelated and has something to do with the Anti-Alias settings. Was it designed as an image in photoshop then sized to fit the space, there is some technical issue but I haven’t done that sort of thing for a while and I could be all wrong about that.
    A good example of a header that is way to large (http://www.shtfblog.com), sorry’bout that.
    Enjoy your site, thanks.

  43. Texanadian says:

    ”A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again.”

    Being prepared – prepped is like a parachute. If you need some and don’t have any, you’ll probably never need any again.

  44. Backwoods Prepper says:

    ah MD I’m at a loss for words. I love this site it’s like I’m talking to my family members. You are always going to have people come and go. But let’s flip this around maybe they are not intimidated by the wolf maybe it’s because our site ain’t hardcore enough. Maybe they thought we were a bunch of extremist talking BS and found out we are just a bunch of peace loving simple folk. I think the Wolf is Bold and graceful like the members of the pack.

  45. MD, you’re the guy who solves your problems with what you’ve got now–brains, Tennessee common sense, integrity, hard work–rather than trying to buy a solution with money that’s not there yet. But you also have your next-stage plans ready for when more money comes in.

    To me, that’s the core message here, and ‘Dirt Cheap Survival’ is a great brand for that. If you want to build on that, how about a subtitle on the banner like ‘Dirt Cheap Survival – Preparing to Thrive in Hard Times’?

    That’d turn off sheep (hard times?!?) and bore Rambo-wannabes. But practical ‘can-do’ folks may slow down and take a longer look.

  46. PGCPrepper says:

    I have no idea why this is an issue. If the header were an issue before actually reading the content before making a decision about perusing or contributing to the content, I would just feel like an idiot an would not admit it. Some of you have. I say start your own blog and maybe you could use two rabbits in a cup as your header instead. This is ludicrous.

    http://www.gifsoup.com/view/1214957/bunnies-in-a-cup.html

  47. I have followed this site for about two years. I come here for ideas that are down to earth, practical and workable.

    Quite a few commented on the lone wolf and wolf pack idea. One must remember that not all people think that a wolf is nice cuddly animal, but rather a highly efficient killing machine(s). Grandparents on both sides would scare the heck out of us kids telling us stories about wolves back in the old country. Also, the term wolf pack has bad connotations such as the German U boats, a pack of out of control hooligans etc..

    Having said that, we preppers are more like creatures that put away for the hard times of winter. The old story of the grasshopper (non prepper) and the ant (preppers) comes to mind.

    Yes, we are all lone wolves in that we each are preparing for future scarcity, and we meet here as a pack. But neither a lone wolf or a wolf pack stores or saves for the future. It is hungry so it hunts, kills and eats its prey, gets hungry again and hunts again in a never ending cycle.

    Well, this is my opinion and a picture of a wolf does not compel me or deter me from reading a site with a picture on it. It is what it is, but I can understand why some might be put off by such a header.

  48. I am a newbie to prepping and started a very basic blog to go along with the emergency preparedness seminars I give. It is REALLY basic with absolutely no frills. I am in desperate need to “gussy” it up with pictures. Don’t have time and don’t know how!

    I read your blog daily because it contains information I am interested in. The header looks a little busy to me, but the wolf didn’t put me off. I don’t even have a decent header. Yours gives the facts and states a clear purpose. I think serious preppers are more interested in substance than glitz.

  49. M.D.=try this for size: locate your nearest vo-ed secondary school and ask to talk to the graphics, IT, or even art instructors. tell them what you’re looking for and either:

    A. Request the instructor have your needs as a “special project,” or
    B. Ask for the brightest most creative students and work with them; they usually will work gratis, just for experience. it’s a win-win. they help you and you help them with a reference.

    ask me why I’m a big vo-ed school fan? a lightning strike hit my electric pole, which ran the bolt to my natural gas furnace with blower motor. It fried the circuit board. I could not get a new board for love nor money (obsolete) BUT the elctronics vo-ed teacher tasked his brightest student to repair my board–which he did! Good as new. Furnace works like new. Cost=a dozen donutes for the class! Hoo-ray!

  50. livinglife says:

    One reason I stayed with this site when i found it was the low key approach. Hype sites are really full time commercials that hog up bandwidth.

    If someone is looking for a flashy survival world, they are in for a very rude awakening.

  51. PGCPrepper says:

    MD,

    I got to this site due to a search that had nothing to do with my desire to be a prepper or survivalist. I didn’t even know what the term meant. I was on twitter talking about the state of the economy and a follower said, “yep, I’m a prepper” and I did a search on it and came across your site and the “other” site. I immediately left the site as I just wanted to know what he was talking about so I was in the percentage that left immediately.

    Point is most folks do not want to accept that they believe in conspiracy theories nor do they want to consider themselves belonging to a perceived fringe element. One just does not want to and normally, initially, they get their ostrich on (head in the sand). I think you are over thinking this. How many times have you heard that someone’s spouse on here was not accepting of the prepper concept but eventually comes around? They do not want to believe because they want to be an optimist. Think about it.

    Your blog seems quite successful and has done much to convince many that we should prepare. I can’t see that it has anything to do with a header. I can see that it has to do with pretty much anytihng but. JMO

  52. I have two blogs that I go to and check every day. This is one. The other is totally unrelated to prepping and is a decorating site of which there are thousands to choose from. The reason I go to this particular one is because it is easy to use and is logical in its setup. I actually went to the very beginning and read every single post all the way through to present just because I could navigate the site easily. Now, keep in mind when you go to look at this that it is targeted at women decorating their homes, so I’m not saying to use the pretty colors or pictures, but the basic layout and the features used to maneuver are very user friendly and one of the main reasons I continue to go back. This is her page.

    http://www.addicted2decorating.com/

  53. This site is the most common sense blog I have seen on prepping. The IDEA or the FEELING of “the lone wolf” is more the point, I think, rather than an actual vicious animal. I am sure that there have been times when we have all felt like we were alone in our preparedness struggle until we discovered thesurvivalistblog and our fellow wolfies and friends.

    Perhaps just “Emergency Preparedness and Survival Strategies for Everyone” and remove the rest of the hard to read white writing would simplify the header. I have to admit that “Join The Pack” does seem a little daunting, as well.

    As events come faster and faster at us, our time gets shorter and shorter to prepare. The 30 second visitors could just be “tourists” looking for an instant fix for a long term problem.

  54. breadmomma says:

    been a member on this for quite a while…still lurk quite a bit as well…lots to learn here and always on the mark…love what you have done…I think some might be put off by the lone wolf…I think one of my favorite headers was the one with the hills in the back ground…a year or two back…less foreboding…I know we live in interesting foreboding times, but perhaps for those less inclined to be thought of as militia types, more mom and pop and the kids…this might work to get the message out to more to be prepared.

  55. Now that I think on it, the lone wolf image is not particularly newbie friendly. A bit counter to your message, I think. From Wikipedia: “A lone wolf or lone-wolf fighter is someone who commits or prepares for, or is suspected of committing or preparing for, violent acts in support of some group, movement, or ideology, but who does so alone, outside of any command structure and without material assistance from any group.”

    Another thing: the LONE wolf usually has low life expectancy – cut off from the pack (family), he cannot rest without fear.

    The big bad wolf is always evil, huffing, puffing, and blowing houses down, or sneaking to grandma’s house and eating her. You need something more PC, less in-your-face.

    How about a switch to coyotes – a pack or whatever, instead of the wolf/more wolves. Cuter, less threatening, cuddly, and so forth. Then add the quote “Nobody ever saw a fat coyote, but nobody ever saw one starve to death, either.” Sucks to lose the “Wolf Pack” meme, but…

    • Encourager says:

      Coyotes??? Have you ever been around any? They sure aren’t cuddly or less threatening! They will take out your dog, your chickens, your lambs, your calves, you name it. We live in a rural area in Michigan and they are a real problem.

  56. PreppingMomma5 says:

    I actually found your blog by typing in something like “top survivalist blogs” after I became more familiar with that term on accident. 90% of people leaving after one look? I’m guessing they are the 90% of the population who don’t really care too much about prepping and stumbled to your site by accident. Honest to goodness, that is exactly what happened in my life and made me start planning. I was looking up something that apparently had a connection to the prepper world (don’t remember what anymore), and came to an article on a blog and started reading other stuff on it. Panicked at first, started buying things like crazy, continued researching and then calmed down a bit and had a plan. I agree with others, people may or may not like parts of it or all of it, but hopefully they are coming for content. I know you want it to look pleasing, but I don’t come here because your site is pretty! Just glad you keep posting as you do and really appreciate yours and everyone’s articles.

  57. Schatzie Ohio says:

    How about “Don’t be a lone wolf – join our community and learn about preparing to survive and thrive”

  58. georgeislearning says:

    I don’t know why people are concerned with the image of a wolf. I dont think that has anything to do with someone coming to the site and leaving before they click the archive link and start gathering up information. If the image has anything to do with how long a person stays on the page put a picture of some boobs up. Everyone likes boobs. Im staying longer just to see if you put the boob pic up. As Ron White says once you’ve seen one set of boobs you want to see them all :-)

    Make a link to must have gear bigger and more in your face. Everyone wants to see what gear to have, especially newer preppers. Pick 3 or 4 real important stories and make them in your face.

    if those ad’s on the right side are not paying you get rid of em, ad’s suck infact I leave pages that have to many ad’s in my face. Each ad displayed is a possible malware drive by downloader, especially if they are not hosted on your server.

    The ad’s that really make me lol are the ones that say FEMA banned this video click here to see it. Well if its banned how am I gonna see it lol. I dont think you have those.

    People want information not ad’s. Just my opinion do with it what you will.

    • georgeislearning says:

      ps I really like a forum. make folks register for the forum. If someone posts crap thats just way outta line then ban their ip. Get some longer term members and make them mods. No fuss no mess and forums are great for creating convos imo

      • If you do a forum monetize it. Say 20 bucks a year to be a member, forums do eat bandwidth and man hours to set up accounts after all, plus you could still have your advertising there as well. A one year membership could also be a give away in the contests and used to extend a current membership for a year. The upfront cost should also hold down the trolls.

        Select folks you trust to be moderators, if they do well after the first year give them their membership free in exchange for their continued work. And it is a lot of work as you well know.

  59. I found your site about a week ago and have been reading non stop every since. ALOT of good info. As for the Header, Very nice, the only thing I would change.. Switch the position and size of “TheSurvivalistBlog.net” and” Emergency Preparedness and Survival for Families”. In my opinion that could hook more people. But that is just my opinion.

  60. M.D. – I meant to comment earlier, sorry for the delay. I too have struggled with what I feel is an outdated header. In my case, the graphic was just a temporary photo that I was going to replace when I could afford a more professional version. Long story short, a header can soon become an indelible identity and more than anything, change can be disruptive to the traffic flow.

    That said, I feel your pain. Spending 20 to 30 hours on back-end blog stuff is not fun especially when you can be writing or prepping instead.

    I agree with the others that have said if you get a bounce, it is probably for some reason other than your header. Different readers have different interests and some flip through the “top 50″ until they find something they like. So I guess what I am saying is keep doing what you do since you do it well.

    Yours is one of the few survival and prepping sites I still visit these days. That plus you seem to be an upfront and honorable person.

    Gaye

  61. PGCPrepper says:

    I still don’t think it’s the header at all. I had a little extra time this week to read more because I’m bed ridden as I’ve said and I’m suggesting that I would look at other things. If I were not bed-ridden I doubt I would be here at all.

    For instance, on the “what you did to prep” article each Sunday. It’s just too much to get through if you have a life. I just can’t keep up and it’s boring for the most part. Folks list of litany of things that is not about prepping at all. I just don’t want to read that someone had to replace a toilet or I had to correct a low tire pressure issue from 600 people. I don’t even read it anymore. Not trying to be an asshole but often it is not relevant to prepping at all. I guess it’s great for some folks that NEED an outlet but personally, I do not read posts that looks as long as what I’m writing right now. If one wants to write a book, submit an article. I also do not read certain folks that have to comment on every dang post. I’m sorry but all this bogs down the blog and it seem sort of rude to you, MD. I don’t have a fix for any of this other than some folks just need to self police themselves.

    When I’ve posted in the past on weekly preps, it was similar to:

    Wife went to range for first time.
    Bought glock 19, and X amount of ammo
    Read whatever book

    Good luck all. No hard feelings; just being honest.

    PS. I’m just an old crusty warrant officer; some will know what that means. GL

  62. M.D.

    A lot of traffic comes from twitter. Twitter is like the new RSS feed. I have a component to my blog that automatically publishes my blog to my twitter account. I hate twitter and I never put anything in there other than what my blog automatically does. However, lots of people like twitter and I’d imagine you’d double the twitter followers than you have for your subscription. At least, it works that way for me, more like triple.

    Here’s a wordpress plugin that will automatically tweet each of your posts for you: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-to-twitter/

    Hope that helps.

  63. I love this site and check it everyday. Thanks for what you do.

    I personally think that you should just brighten up the colors. Make the colors friendly and inviting then once the colors get their attention they will read the banner or look at the pictures, then move on to the articles.

    I think the trick is to make it look inviting with colors, sounds crazy maybe but the use of colors is very important in advertising as that is what makes them read or look around.

    My 2 pennies worth.

    BUDDY

    • Annie Nonymous says:

      What I noticed right off is comparing this to some of the headers from the past was this one looks a little dark.. comparing it to the one of the mountain vista…

      The one thing I *did* catch was the blog seems to change every few weeks. Format, header, etc… Compare it to that other blog… their format doesn’t change. THAT may be what keeps people moving on – when it keeps changing, it gives the feeling of instability.

      There is one other thing as well… the mood on the blog is beginning to get more political than the past. A lot of preppers aren’t into the political stuff – they’re into being prepared for the upcoming whatever. They may see some of that and move on, looking less for the politics and more for the substance.

      This may seem harsh, but honestly, were I a just starting prepper, thinking not of the evils of dotgov and more about how to keep my family alive after another Sandy Hurricane, and reading about the heavy stuff that starts to edge on Tinfoil Hat stuff, I might mve on as well. Compared to that, the header is small beans.

  64. Don’t have alot of experience with web design and headers – but I do know that I prefer clarity over colors because I have blue-green color blindness. Buddy’s and other’s suggestions of augmenting the color scheme is a good one – woodsy, natural tones, might be in synch with the message of survival and prepping.

    Whatever you choose to do, I am going to read this blog. :)

  65. In all fairness, observe overall internet users, we have ADD, they could be bookmarking the site for later reading, and come back at a later time, is it displaying that?
    One of the reasons I love frequenting this site is due the the simplicity of it.
    K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid.
    That said I understand part of keeping this up relies on new people coming on, expanding knowledge as a community and donations of whatever people can. As a Wolfpack member, IF I knew anything about design I’d help you out on this project, but I am of no use.

  66. I’m not sure I even qualify as a prepper. Let’s just say I’m someone who is concerned with what is going on, so I’m trying to educate myself as to what I need to do and when. I googled survivalist, and this site popped up. I’ve read it, and every other site that popped up as well. Some of those I won’t go back to. This one, I continue to read. Why?
    You haven’t tried to scare me to death. You keep it simple, basic, and realistic.
    I haven’t paid attention to your header, your colors, or the wolf. I could care less. I’m looking for valid information.
    I realize that most of your subscribers have been prepping for years, so they’ve got the basics down and maybe they are ready for the more hard core stuff. Me? I want the basics.
    Personally I’d make that list of yours, the one where your list the food to stock up on right now, front and center.
    Just my 2 cents,
    Farmgirl

    • Warmongerel says:

      Hear, hear, Farmgirl.

      I came here about 6 months ago. I had been prepping and didn’t even realize it.

      I stayed because the people here wanted to help, as opposed to the other sites where all of the comments turned into a big pi$$ing contest.

      If you’re worried about the state of the world and are doing something to prepare – even just reading websites – welcome to the world of prepping. You’re ahead of most people if you ever need to survive. Most people won’t.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        Well, warmongerel, we get that here sometimes, too; generally speaking, we refer to those as “troll posts”, and try to take MD’s advice by ignoring them. I know you’ve seen them, as you’ve been here long enough.

      • Thanks Warmongerel. I’m trying to learn and not make foolish mistakes. I have a farm and grow my own food. I’ve been doing that for many years. I have a well and 3 ponds, so I have water. There’s just so much to do and try and learn! I need food! No, I need guns! No, I need a bug out location, vehicle, bag, etc… I feel like I live out in the boonies, and would be safe enough here, but then I read something else and realize, maybe not.
        It’s a lot to take in and still live my life.

  67. Backwoods Prepper says:

    MD I miss the wolf but I like the big chocolate bar lol! I sure don’t visit for the header. But like I said you may be changing it for nothing all the trolls were probably searching for some more hardcore with hardcore ideas. But I’ll stay here no matter, I’m hooked.

  68. Warmongerel says:

    M.D., no offense, but I think that you’re over-thinking this.

    I come here every day – and I didn’t even realize that you had changed the banner until I read the post.

    People who come to sites like this search for “prepper” or “survivalist” or “SHTF”. That’s how I found it. And, when I got here, I doubt that I even noticed what was on the banner, I just started reading. And I liked what I read.

    I don’t blame you for wanting more readers. Nobody who creates a website doesn’t want more readers. That’s kind of the point of putting information on the web.

    But people don’t come here for fancy graphics, or the layout. They come here for information. I’ve been to other sites with all of the “bells and whistles” – but this one is the one that I come back to every day.

    I know how to make web pages using pure HTML. I can make them Active Server Pages (ASP). I could rewrite your whole website for you. But it’s unnecessary.

    Those who are serious about prepping aren’t looking for “lovely” webpages. And, quite frankly, I’m not sure that anyone with an attention span of only a few minutes would help The Pack much anyway. The opposite would be my guess.

    IMHO.

  69. Was wondering after reading the comments, what about a mother wolf with a couple of babies, making it a softer look but still with our wolf theme. She sitting and they around her.

  70. 90% of sheeple just can’t handle the truth. I joined about 2 years ago and comment off and on. The only thing I don’t see in the header that may keep more people interested is the word, Homesteading. There is so much information on this blog, in MD’s books, and on the CD that I think just about every subject of preparedness and self sufficiency is covered. Thank you MD and the ‘Pack. People who pass up this site may be of questionable character anyway.