The sitePosted: January 29, 2009 Filed under: DRambles on Black Mountain 5 Comments
Okay. Here’s the deal. And I want feedback!
When I first started the blog, it was to address the overwhelming job of keeping What’s New up to date. Each new item required rearranging, redesigning. Jason sold me on starting a blog. Not only would it make updating easy, but the archive and search features were added bonuses. And so my blogging journey began. I love the blog. I think lots of you do too!
The transition you’ve been witnessing the past week is being done for several reasons, including taking advantage of the latest in technology. Web 2.0 is interactive, so to speak. For more than a year, I’d been noticing websites – net necessarily dog sites – were becoming more interactive. Or communal, as Bryan said. Curious about that, wondering how in the heck that stuff could be incorporated into my sites, I went on a learning quest. To cut to the chase, modern sites are being run with Web 2.0 technology. Blogs run with that technology; I just didn’t realize it.
There were other things that led to the switch. The software I use to maintain the website is almost obsolete. It hasn’t been manufactured for several years. In the past months my server has had several issues because of this outdated software. I wanted to run live news feed into the website. Okay, so maybe this isn’t something you guys are interested in. But I thought it would be cool to open the site each morning, see who’s commented, check out the headlines over my first cup of java. The type of feed is call rss, shows up with a little orange box and if you hover your mouse over the headline a little box with a sentence or two pops up. It seems so easy now that I’ve figured it out, believe me it was a major coup for me!
It’s going to take lots of time to get all the content of the old website moved to the new website. It took all last weekend just to get the ‘skeleton’ designed. It’s going to take longer to edit the content of each page, including the graphics. Graphics are set up in tables on the old site. There are things called plug-ins for the new site that should make displaying graphics, including photo albums and video, really, really cool. Another learning adventure!
In the meantime, you should have access to all content within the old site. As you navigate through the new format, I’ve provided links to the old site so the information is available during this transition…which could take several weeks. If you’re having problems or can’t access an area, let me know.
One last thing. Two, really. Julie had some great input about the layout of the widgets (those are the areas like the calendar, search bar, live news feed, etc.), but she really liked the photos on the home page of the other site. She also prefers the blog buried within the website. I prefer it right where it is; just below the static introduction. I told her for what she’s paying me…it’s gonna stay where it’s at. 🙂 Besides it’s all part of keeping with the times. We’re not old ladies, right?! Right?!
She’s got a point about the photos. The header, which includes the FleetFireTimbers banner, remains the same, no matter which page you’re on. That’s suppose to be good integrative design. It’s also how the templates work…at least to the best of my skill level. The banner I tossed up last weekend was made quickly, sized to fit the template. That can be changed easy enough. As I edit each page, I’ll place photos – lots of photos – prominently.
Before I close this long From The Administrator post, please let me know if you have requests, comments. Is there an rss feed you’d like to see?
And, Julie, here’s one for you…
One thing I forgot to mention… I’m now able to see which areas have the most traffic. I noticed the Gallery had the most hits. This tells me I need to focus on that area first!
I just discovered something else… This morning I commented on Julie’s Knowledge, Hard Work and Good Friends entry. Curious, I didn’t fill out the name and email box. The comment came up as anonymous. Yuck! I don’t want anonymous comments on the blog! Sorry, Julie I’m going to change the setting back so that commentors must leave a name. You’ll have to remember to fill in your name on your comment before hitting the Submit Comment button.
Changing the right hand column like we talked about looks better and makes more sense. It is going to take some getting use to.
Please explain something to me. This first page with the blog on it is going to be the only one that has this 4 column layout-right? The rest of the web pages will look similar to what we had. I find all this info on one page very distracting and very hard to read.
All pages, not just the first page, have the 4 column layout. That’s the way this integrated design and technology work. It’s confusing right now because I haven’t transitioned all the text. Nor the images. So, on most of the pages there’s a ‘During the site’s transition and this page’s editing access the old XXXX page’. Access to each old page will disappear as I move the content of that page.
Are you seeing the headings above the banner? About Us. Apsos! Apsos! Etc. Those work the same as before. Click About Us. Across the top of the page, you’ll find the same links. You. Me. Kaylee. Click yours to get an idea of how this new layout navigates the same as the old layout. Don’t click any ‘During this transition’ links. Notice no matter where you are, the only thing that changes is the contents of the white page.
I’m going to move everything in the third column except the calendar. Maybe the extra blank space will be less distracting?? Each piece of information is called a widget. We can choose which widgets we want, including photo widgets. For example, yesterday I added the ‘category cloud’ widget. It’s at the top of the fourth column and contains the exact same information as the category list (which I’m going to remove as soon as I submit this comment).
I love the colors of this particular template, however I wish there were only 3 columns and the white column was wider. A wordpress template designer could probably change that in 2 mintues, but I don’t know how. When Bryan and Sarah come to pick up Vincent, maybe he can show me.
There are lots of other templates which I can show you next time you’re at my house. We can even apply some of your favorites so you can see how each would look. I’ll take another look today. There was another cool black template, but the font was orange. Not all templates have the same features . Not many templates had links (like Apsos! Apsos!) at the top, but at the bottom instead.
I want you to like this new site and, within my capabilities, will try to incorporate everything you liked about the old site. Today I’ll get the banners from the old site moved. Maybe that will make everything feel more like ‘home’.
Regarding the widgets being distracting….I’ll move/remove some of them. If there’s information I’ve removed that you (any of you! all of you!) want back up, let me know. In the meantime, I’m going for less distraction.
Here’s the widgets that have been up (not all will be there as you read this):