I've talked to a few SE users and everyone agrees that chat is a useful feature, that should be easily available. The site blogs are also deserving of promotion. Can't they both find a home in the header links?
The current situation, where the chat link is replaced by the blog link whenever there is a blog post < 24 hours old, is not a good solution:
- The chat link disappears and reappears for a reason that has absolutely nothing to do with chat. This is confusing.
- On some sites, there may be a blog post every couple of days - or at times (e.g. when a related conference is happening) every day. This means that the chat link is permanently or nearly-permanently hidden.
It seems like there is plenty of room in the header, even if you have a long username, vast amounts of rep and numbers of badges, and access to the mod tools. If more space is required, perhaps the search box could give up some space for its chat friend? (The size of the search box only effects the click/tap target area, since the box expands when it has focus).
There's a chat link in the meta header, but chat isn't just a place for those that participate in meta. Indeed, encouraging users to take part in chat is a great way to get them more involved so that they eventually do end up taking part in meta.
The chat links in the sidebar of some question pages (I'm guessing it's questions that have multiple answers?) are prominent, but this isn't as useful as having the link at the top of every page.