Website updates and items affecting the website directly.
Website updates and items affecting the website directly.
I failed, and that is a good thing. Even better is that I know why: because I forgot what was important.
When I re-launched this site a while back, I planned on writing one weekly post about some sort of memory or history, and maybe other posts about whatever I wanted. The first post would be featured on the front page, while the other posts would be stored away in their own categories, accessible to anyone but promoted only to RSS subscribers, people who follow me on Twitter or who have access to my Facebook page. (Save your Facebook “privacy” jokes.)
Of course, it didn’t turn out that way. With the new format, I suddenly found myself in the position of having to write a great piece in order to justify its positioning in the front page. And that piece had to be about my (or someone else’s) past. There were a few obvious problems, however…
If you’re reading this via RSS you’ll notice that a small ad unit has been added to the bottom of some of the articles. Obviously, this is done in order to monetize the content, which I can really only continue if it pays for itself (I’m not exactly making a killing here, folks, just enough to pay for hosting, really). Still, I don’t want to be too obtrusive, so ads will only appear under articles over 500 words long. I’ve asked around, and it seems to be fairly well accepted that some feeds will have ads. However, I want your opinion. If you feel that ads shouldn’t be in the feeds at all, or if you feel that some ads are OK, but this is just too many (especially since most posts are over 500 words), or if you feel that this it’s just fine and dandy, go ahead and tell me. If I don’t hear anything I’ll simply presume it’s well tolerated or otherwise ignored.
[IMPORTANT: UPDATED ON FEB 7, 3rd PARAGRAPH] The powers that be (by which I mean my muses) decided it was time for a tune up to this site. Although I’ve updated the way the site looks–it now has a clothy look to it which makes it a bit more comfortable to read–that’s not where the biggest changes are. Those would be presentation, focus, and functionality.
Let’s start with functionality: Gone is the massive RSS button, the endless list of bookmarking site options, and extra widgets like Blogrush. Instead, the sidebar now features the latest featured articles as well as the latest articles from all other categories. Depending on where on the site you are, you may also see the top 10 articles by number of visitors and my personal favorites. On the front page, under the featured article, you’ll also see an automatically updated list of links from my Google Reader Shared bookmarks. Honestly, if there’s one reason to check the front page it’s to check that right there, otherwise you can check out the page directly.
Now about that RSS button: you’ll notice that it’s been replaced by 2 (considerably smaller) RSS buttons, 2 mail buttons, and a link to my Twitter account. The link to Twitter is obvious if you know what Twitter is. The RSS feeds, on the other hand, are where some of the new changes in the site’s focus are seen. The site now features 2 types of articles, Featured and everyting else (general). Categories still exist, but mostly for organizational pruposes. The Featured posts will be the only ones that make it to the front page from now on. These will focus more on memories and personal observations. The other feed includes not only these articles, but also all other blog posts written, regardless of whether they make it to the front page or not. Here’s what this means for you RSS folks: If you’re happy with what you’ve been seeing, then you’re set. If you’re interested in memories and personal observations ONLY, and have no interest in anything else I write (like site updates) then grab the Featured Article stream [EDIT: THIS WAS INCORRECT BEFORE. LINK CORRECTED ON FEB 7, 10:45AM EST.] or sign up for the Featured Article stream via Email. Note that the Featured Articles feed will update less often than the regular feed, because not every article I write will be a “Feature”. (That means not every article I write will be seen on the front page, at least not the content. The titles will be there, under the section “Other Recent General Blog Entires”.)
On the navigation front, you’ll notice that the front page and the archive and categorie pages are completely different now. While there’s only one post on the front page, all archive pages have exerpts from a number of articles. That’s because, in my mind, if you’re looking at the archives, you’re probably scanning. Of course, the argument could be made that it’s better to just lay it all out there, but in cases where things like self-starting flash videos are included this can be a problem. Frankly, this right here’s my favorite part of the new design.
Other than that, the site’s pretty much the same. A couple of new textures, a simplified interface, new access to feeds, a new general focus, and a more useful navigation. Here’s hoping you keep enjoying (and recommending it to your friends.
By the way, in case you’re wondering why I’m doing this: Ive come to the realization that this site won’t ever be more than my personal blog. That’s how I like it! So I’ve stared to put together a plan for a more business-focused site, something I’ll be writing about later. That’ll mean some of the content from this site (not much) will be moved to that new site.
I’m in the process of redesigning this site. Nothing major, mind you, but I thought it might be wise to ask your opinion on the matter. After all, you’re the readers, and while I write for myself, I wouldn’t be making this public if I didn’t intend for others to read it.
Now, the following poll isn’t about content: I’ve gotten great feedback on that already and know the direction I want to go (more personal, but still with some commentary and tutorials). I’m actually looking for help when it comes to design. Basically, I just want to know how you use this site. With that in mind, I’ve put together a multiple choice poll where you can tell me how it is you get your content: Do you get it via RSS? Email? Do you visit the site? Front page only or individual posts? Do you check out the links in the sidebar? Did you know there were two columns below the main content section? Do you check out the archives? What about individual categories, or pages?
Please take a minute and complete the multiple-choice poll. (Actually, it’ll probably take you less than 30 seconds). If you have anything you want to say not covered by the post, now’s the time to do it. While posts will be moderated (no need for someone to drop the F-bomb or be derogatory towards others), don’t be afraid to be honest, even if brutally so.
(If viewing this via email, go to http://www.polldaddy.com/p/1330258/ .)
[T]ypos will lurk and creep and scuttle on the edges of the text and, despite my best efforts, jump out and wave furiously at everyone as soon as I’m done…
from Neil Gaiman’s Journal.
You know, I should start a “quotes” miniblog or something.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what to write. I have the ideas, just not the time to bring them to fruition. Sorry ’bout that. You’ll have something new this week, I promise, even if it’s just a link post. (By the way, click here for good reading.)
Just a couple of notes for you who read this. In short, RSS feeds now feature full blog posts instead of snippets; those of you visiting the site can now see a few recommended posts from across the web, thanks to a Google Reader widget on the sidebar, and 9Rules Round 6 starts May 7 at 12:00 AM EST. (If you’re a blogger, this should be of interest.)
Update: Time’s up on the 9Rules submissions. If you submitted, good luck.
Here’s a question for readers. Why are you reading this right now? Seriously, I’d like to know. What brought you here? Why do you check the site (or have it in your RSS reader)? What kind of content do you expect, or do you simply enjoy whatever’s “good”, regardless of the topic? (Edit: Conversely, what do you hate? That’s usually the first thing I ask a person critiquing one of my stories, and something I openly ask you.) Most importantly, in your opinion, how could I improve? Read more…
Just a heads up. Seems like a problem with the site, so I’m taking care of a number of things. If things seem weird for the next — oh, week or so — I beg your pardon.
Just as a heads up: I’m out to Puerto Rico tonight, so no updates for the next week. In addition to the recent slowdown in updates, I guess that means I’m in full hiatus mode. It’s fine I should be there, however: I’ve been drained as of late, and ideas seem not to come to me, but rather to swoosh by during inopportune times, just to taunt me with the shadow of their existence once I finally get to writing. I need a break.
I probably won’t have any internet access over the next week, so if you need to reach me and don’t have my phone number, you’re out of luck. Heck, even if you do have my phone number you’re probably still out of luck.
I’ll be back next week, refreshed and, hopefully, once again ready to tell tales. But for now, to put it simply, I’m spent.
Just a short note: the latest version of 9Rules.com, Ali2, has just been released. If you’ve been to 9R recently, then awesome, you know what’s going on. Stop on by. If you haven’t been to 9R, take some time to check it out, as it’s one of the most informative, helpful, and surprisingly useful comunities on the Web.
This new version of 9R has been redesigned so that the usage experience becomes both more personal and more community oriented. I will warn you, though, the site’s deep. Very deep, lots of pages. In fact, I’d almost say it’s less of a site and more of an online application for information gathering and discussion. This makes it all the cooler.
Anyway, go check it out. If nothing else, it’s a great place to find awesome content. Lots of good business, personal development, science, politics, commentary, and writing blogs.
Disclaimer: Gnorb.NET is a proud member of the 9Rules Community of sites.