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Ten New or Redesigned Features

I wrote about my site yesterday and I’m going to do so again today. Please forgive what must appear to be narcissism. I don’t plan on posting about it again for a while after today. But because I added several new features in yesterday’s redesign, I wanted to introduce them to you and show you how they can make your life easier and can make all of your wildest dreams come true. That may be overstating it. But there are some neat features that may help you use this site better and help you enjoy other blogs more as well.

I’ll start with the main page:

main.jpg

There are five things I’ve highlighted here:

  1. I know you already know about A La Carte, but I’ve now made it better, I think, by making the titles more descriptive. If you are a blogger, you’ll appreciate the value of having descriptive hyperlinks to your site. You can comment on A La Carte entries and in the very near future I’ll create a proper archive of all of the previous entries.
  2. I am going to tentatively add a little bit of advertising to the site. Just a little bit. What I’ve added here is just a link to a pay-per-click kind of program with Westminster Books. I don’t ever anticipate allowing the kind of overwhelmingly in-your-face advertising that a lot of blogs have! But this gives you a way you can support this site and support a good online retailer. And it’s as easy as a click.
  3. The Subscribe/Bookmarks/Tools area will let you subscribe to the site via RSS or email, add the site as a favorite at Technorati or Del.icio.us. And, of course, it the font is too small you can adjust it there. If you have never used Technorati, you may enjoy visiting it and perhaps making it a regular stop.
  4. The Recent Comments area will show you a list of the most recent comments, showing who made them and the topic of discussion.
  5. Finally, the Active Discussion area (which was at the top of the page in the old design) will show you a list of topics that have seen recent discussion. This tells you which topics are generating the most discussion.

Now we’ll turn to the interior pages.

interior.jpg

I’ve highlighted five things.

  1. These links are a simple way of navigating from one post to the next or previous one. Pretty simple, I admit, but handy if you want to read a few pages or want to catch up with discussion on multiple articles.
  2. One of the most interesting aspects of blogging is how one blog influences others and how bloggers interact with each other. This Technorati link is a simple way of seeing what other bloggers are saying about a particular story. If you are a blog reader, you can click this link to read other opinions on the article I’ve written. If you have a blog of your own and link to an article I’ve written, it should automagically appear here and allow people to navigate from my site to your own.
  3. I’m a latecomer to the tagging game, but have finally added them. Tags allow a simple method of marking the content of a post for later reference and of building relationships between various posts. Clicking on a tag will take you to a search function that will find a list of similarly-tagged stories. Because I’ve only just begun tagging it will take a bit of time for the full power of this feature to become obvious.
  4. The Related Entries area uses a database search to come up with stories that are somehow related to this one. It is a bit hit-and-miss at times, but typically does pretty well with coming up with related entries. So if the current article interests you, you can click on the tags or on the related entries to read more.
  5. If you are a user of social media, you can now link any article to just about any social media platform. Alternatively, if you want to subscribe to the RSS or email feed, you can do so here.

And one bonus feature: the “Submit” button should now be disabled as soon as you post a comment, meaning that we’ll see fewer double posts. The server is still a bit slow but at least we should no longer have multitudes of repeated comments!

So there are ten features, some new and some merely redesigned, that I hope will make browsing this site more enjoyable. Tomorrow we’ll return to more normal programming.


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