What do you want from Hide Your Arms?

by Andy on February 3, 2013

Honesty time. The traffic to Hide Your Arms has been dropping over the past year and it’s getting to a worrying point for me. I know that splitting my time between HYA and Rigu is partly to blame for the fall in traffic, but I’m putting out as many posts as ever so I feel that there has to be something else that is the problem.

After seven years I’d like to think things would be steady but clearly the internet is changing and Hide Your Arms needs to change with it.

With that in mind I am asking a question that I’ve asked before: What do you want from Hide Your Arms

If you read this blog but you’ve never left a comment, now is the time, I read loads of blogs that I never comment on, so I know how easy it is to just lurk, but if there’s anything you’ve wanted to say about the direction of the site then please do leave a comment or send a message via the comment form.

There’s no need to worry, I have no intention to close the site, I’m just wanting feedback and ideas for how we can move forward and bring the site back to where it was a couple of years ago.

  • http://malgusto.info/ Menor

    It’s a shame to hear that, I follow some t-shirt blogs and honestly if I only could read one it’d be Hya, not only for the complete coverage of new releases, but I’d love how your posts are opinionated and you’re not afraid of being critic. I’ve learned a lot from that critiques.

    So, I really like HYA how it is, sorry not being of great help. Maybe a lot of people only browses Facebook and Twitter when surfing and that causes the traffic drop.

  • Moshiko

    I check your blog daily, and I really enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for that.

    I’ve never commented before, but I’ll just say the content I enjoy most involves reviews of t-shirts you’ve personally bought. Mr Four Fingers’ “A Year of T-Shirts,” for example, was a great post, and I’d love to see more like that.

    I hope that helps. And don’t get discouraged by the declining numbers. You’ve got a great blog going here.

  • http://twitter.com/zombie_media ZombieMedia

    I agree with Moshiko – personal reviews of tees or tee sites is a key thing.

    Obviously there are millions of daily tee sites these days – maybe individual reviews of each site (including any of the new ones that appear – Unamee, furypig, Epic Embrace etc)

    Chin up old bean

  • Hussein AlBaiaty

    I love the site man, It keeps me updated with everything thats happening in the T shirt community. I would love to see more “video like” interviews with the artists, designers, screen printers. Continue doing what you do though man! Thanks

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/65CSAR3QATRNKJW4NYNB2BESZE JohnQPublic

    Actual reviews rather than publishing the press releases of whatever tshirt company. The whole “We are visionary artists with a unique point of view” text is something that’s enough left implied. The nice thing about tshirt design is that you can’t BS it – just show the shirt!

    And add your own value to the site by giving your analysis and thoughts about the design, quality, and other evaluation of the shirt or the company – whatever makes them stand out from the rest, fail, succeed, or whatever. That’s what would make it more interesting to read.

  • Geoff

    I used to read loads of t-shirt blogs – and now I mostly only read yours, as it is the most comprehensive and has the best stuff. I mostly just read within my RSS reader and only click through when I see T-shirts I like.

    I think part of the problem is the general decline of blogging – I’ve read similar complaints from bloggers in other fields, increasingly people are spending more of their time getting content from Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and spending less time reading blogs, so you could just be suffering from general consumer blog-apathy. Commenting on blogs is also on massive long-term decline, which must mean you end up feeling even more unloved.

    I’m not sure what the solution is. I think there are possibly too many submitted entries, and a bit more editorial control from you to filter out the worst ones would mean the overall quality would increase and there would be less volume to wade through (sometimes there are just too many posts in a week to even have time to read most of them) – so perhaps a less is more approach could work?

    I’d really, really miss the blog if it went – most of the T-shirts in my wardrobe come from shops around the world that I’ve only discovered via you (and some other T-shirt blogs) and I’d miss it enormously if it went.

  • sneaky

    Sorry to hear of the drop in numbers, Ive been following the blog for nearly a year and think u do a great job keeping up with the t-shirt world, maybe for me some vloging but thats just me, good luck man

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    Thanks for the feedback, from the sounds of it quite a lot of people want me to stop being a nice guy!

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    Videos would be interesting (especially since it’s shareable content), I’m a bit removed from the clothing world where I live but I suppose it’s something that I could consider whenever I’m traveling.

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    Doug did nail it with that year of t-shirts post, I think people like seeing a lot in one post even if it is quite a lot of work for us. Many thanks for the compliments and feedback, be sure to comment again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Douglas-Henderson/783540299 Douglas Henderson

    This year I will be doing not only more t-shirt reviews (Mr Four Fingers) but also looking into the artists themselves, so bringing the names of artists behind the designs to Joe public. Would be nice to see more interviews and behind the scenes etc.

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    I’m going to see what I can do about sharing more on Facebook an Twitter to make more people aware of the amount of stuff on the site that can be read on a daily basis, hopefully that will lead to more regular readers (and contributors too, possibly).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Douglas-Henderson/783540299 Douglas Henderson

    I like the video interviews and behind the scenes, nice idea

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    I could turn into one of those angry guys on YouTube that shouts at everything! I think it would be cool to do some more video stuff since I do enjoy it even if I’m not very comfortable in front of the camera.

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    I do hope I’m not fighting a losing battle, I’d like to think that the site can evolve beyond traditional blogging to go on and really grow, but I know it’s going to require changes, the current path isn’t really going to be sustainable. You’re right about comments too, that’s always been a problem, but what can people really say about a t-shirt? I notice that highsnobiety.com which is a massive fashion blog doesn’t get many comments either which makes me feel better about that situation.

    It was about 6 months ago that I decided posting every 2 hours might be a way to get more people looking at posts, more posts = more people reading, right? Well, it didn’t work, and the work schedule was really grueling for me, making sure that there were 12 articles a day ready to go. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve switched back to once every 3 hours, which is still a lot for a blog, but I have been able to enjoy writing more and also spend time doing things other than writing, which I think is going to be key to growth, I have to point people at posts, not just write them and hope people will look.

    Thanks a lot for the feedback, it’s given me stuff to think about, as all these comments have.

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    There have been a few of the daily sites reviewed (as in a hands-on review) over the past few months and it’s a long term goal to review all of them to give a good overview of what kind of quality they offer, but it is taking a bit longer than expected to get around them.

  • Duane Lambe

    This comment thing crashed Flipboard and Chrome when selecting to connect as my Google account (iPad). That’s one thing. Third time I loaded the site in Chrome, I was signed in. If the iPad gave me any more information, I’d have more.

    I read your stuff every day. I like your honesty – if a shirt is crap, you say it.

    I’d like to see a Google+ presence, that crossposts all your blog stuff. Google Reader/RSS ain’t gonna last forever, and I’d rather read and share you there. They didn’t just surpass Twitter for nuttin, and they hired Kurzweil, they’re not screwing around; it’d be a good move to get that traffic up.

  • Hayz15

    I am a little late and I dont usually comment but I had to comment on this post. I’ve been coming to HYA for about 2 years as a source for information on new t-shirts and brands and I’ve always thought it was great that not only did you put up post about brands coming out, but also gave an honest opinion about their product and how to improve it. Being an inspiring brand owner, that was what always kept me coming back to HYA, and set you apart from the many bloggers out there. You have a great thing going and you should keep it up with more reviews, more interviews with brands to show their motivation behind their respective brands, and more t-shirt industry news. Seems to me you have a pretty loyal following so a slight decline in numbers shouldn’t be much to worry about as your hardcore fans will keep coming and spreading the word on Hide Your Arms.

  • Seth from NZ

    I’ve been checking HYA weekly (at least) for the last year.
    It’s great! … :)

    TURN-OFFS: The terrible submissions from ugly brands just starting up. The endless pointless mash-ups (but I don’t see how you can stop those without HYA losing some of its democratic-ness. If anything it’s a necessary evil of covering such a big industry).

    TURN-ONS: More focus on the countless brands that use quality illustrations, but may not do press-releases often (Electric Zombie, Enclothe, Edgar R McHerly, to name just a few).

    SUGGESTIONS: I guess I’d have a better time on HYA if I could scroll through faster and see more large thumbnails of the tees maybe stacked beside each other for image-heavy posts?). Then I could decide more quickly which posts to skip. More like the archive view on tumblr.

    Maybe make it easier to navigate by categorising each post (“Start Up”/”Daily Tee Roundup”/”Sale”/”Editor’s Choice”/”Editor Hates It”/etc), each with their own little icon, giving the option to customise
    which posts you see (if, for instance, somebody wanted to skip all the “Daily Tee Roundups”)?

    Also, from a design perspective the site does seem to have a lot going on in the sidebars and on top of the page – lots of boxes and ads all fighting for attention. Maybe minimise any clutter and add a bit more white space?

    That’s just my two cents, anyway. … :)

    Cheers Andy for all your hard work! … :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Abelson/100001777732000 Adam Abelson

    If showing celebrities in t-shirts occasionally gets you more hits, but you hate doing it, just look for pictures of celebrities you like/respect wearing awesome t-shirts.

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    I don’t really mind it, it’s a necessary evil, I look at celebrity stuff as much as the next guy, I just worry that it gives people the wrong impression about what the site aims to offer. Fortunately, there are quite a lot of cool people who are also famous that also wear t-shirts, I just need to find the right balance.

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    Hmmm, I’ll have to look into that Flipboard issue, to be honest I didn’t even know the site was on Flipboard (which probably gives you a good impression of how little I know about the app, I thought it was curated and you couldn’t add your own feeds). I imagine that it’s a fault with Disqus rather than HYA since it’s an external comment system, but it sounds like some kind of conflict.

    I’ve been on the hunt for some kind of a ‘robo-posting’ plugin for Google+ but it would appear that Google don’t want it to happen which is a bit annoying, so I’d have to do it manually and I feel spread quite thin on Twitter an Facebook as it is, though if it’s the future I may well have to embrace it!

    Thanks a lot for the feedback Duane.

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    Not late at all and thanks for the many compliments!

  • http://hideyourarms.com/ Andy (Hide Your Arms)

    Hi Seth, first off, thanks for kicking your comment off with a compliment, it makes the rest much easier to take!

    I get what you’re saying about submissions, sometimes I wonder why people bother submitting, but then they are also good posts for me to give advice on, and give advice to readers and the people submitting, so I quite like the ‘bad’ ones for that purpose.

    In terms of the design, we’ve been in the current style for 2 years now, and I’m thinking that in 6 months I’ll be starting an overhaul towards something more appropriate for the amount of people that write for the site now and also the extra content, it’s amazing how much things can change in two years. I like the idea of icons for each style of post, that could be cool and a nice way to differentiate posts. I had to drop the thumbnails recently on the front page because they were causing real problems with the server and I haven’t been able to fix it yet, it’s something I’d like to have back on the site eventually. I will say that the ads won’t be going anywhere, for obvious reasons, but I would like to make the rest of the sidebars a bit more dynamic and have them change more often to promote other content, but from my position I do need to have quite a few things there to try and get new readers looking at other things and hopefully sticking around longer, even if it is unfortunately distracting to regular readers.

    Thanks for all the feedback, I appreciate you taking time to help, hopefully I can put it to use and help the site move on.

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