You may have noticed many significant changes to the blog in the past 24 hours. I made quite a few significant overhauls to both the design and the functionality. In fact, much of the backend operates very different from how it did previously. I was previously using a platform for WordPress that simply wasn’t updating anywhere near as often as they were 3-4 years ago. I’m not on another platform for WordPress that I’ve used extensively in my businesses, and it works very well.
A few key features to note:
Showcasing the Content
Content is now even more the king here. I can now utilize post types to create standard posts, video posts, audio posts, and gallery posts. When a post is createdÂ as a video post, the video is placed in the ‘hero’ or ‘heading’ section of the post, and the rest of the text follows it. This allows me to create a focus for the content I’m discussing. You’ll see me using it quite a bit.
Over the years I’ve used themes that support nested comments, and some that don’t. I usually leave them off because they seem to inflate the number of comments a post receives. For example, I used to reply to 5 people in one reply by doing @name and then stating my message to that person. I think I’m going to try something new and use the nested comments up to 3 levels deep. This means I can reply to someone and my reply will go below theirs and indent. Someone can then reply to my reply, and that’s as deep as it will go.
My reason for at least trying this out has to do with improving communication and interaction. This year I’m striving even harder than in 2016 to ramp up the blog, and part of the aforementioned content showcase has to do with getting our readers more involved.
Posts will now have a featured image (if I choose for them to have one). This is extremely common elsewhere. Most sites will have that big image, and studies show it increases engagement, enjoyment, and performance of posts. I will endeavor to choose good images.
I used to have the entire blog post appear on the front page. On one hand I liked it, but on a much more professional side I did not. I wasn’t able to accurately measure interest in a post if all of the post’s content was available with 9 other pages right on the home page. Posts were also performing poorly in search engines since Google prefers unique value be found in each post. Now you’ll see the featured image, title, and an excerpt.
Smaller Header (and more mobile friendly)
Our previous header image and menu were not mobile friendly. The image would cut off on 99% of phones, and the menu stacked all of its links below the image. I’m trying something new by using just a simplified logo and menu. Again, the content comes faster and is more readily at your fingertips.
I may revisit an image in the header above the menu again.
Our blog sidebar now features a simplified design with way more useful information.
The image on the top of the sidebar links directly to our Discord server now rather than to our forums. Times have changed, and although I will always be a forum lurker, people use Discord. Using Discord has completely revitalized our community, so I’m a believer now. A link to the forums is still available in the nav.
The sidebar will feature our social media, top trending posts, as well as feature dynamic content. That’s right, the content in the sidebar will swap out based on the type of post you’re reading. Reading a post about console games? The sidebar will feature that kind of content. This feature will be live next week.
Many, Many, Backend Updates
There are too many to write about here, but these include:
- Lossy and/or Lossless image compression (helps when a blog is 10 years old)
- Better, cleaner Â code
- Better UX for me to post and upload content
- Conversion tools I will start to use to help build my email list and engage with readers
- Built-in A/B testing tools for headlines and content
- Faster load times (these are site-wide and not just in the backend)
If you come across any issues, please let me know. Your feedback is welcome, of course. As I have mentioned, many changes are in a “let’s see how it goes” phase. Anything I don’t like, I can change. My goal is to continue to evolve with the times while still keeping true to being a blog focused on written content.
Cheers to a new year!