Rearranging the Dust

I’ve made things look a bit different!

This is partly about aesthetics (if you’re on newer versions of Firefox or Safari it should look nice and curvy) but also about clarity and focus: I’ve tried to bring to the fore the latest content in a range of categories – and media!

A few weeks ago I was out with friends, and one said to me (let us call her Alice) “I had a look at your blog and but I don’t get it”.  She’d been recommended to it by a regular reader but “it seems awfully like a round robin”.  This prompted some reflection on my part, since I know a blog should have purpose, focus, and regularity so that readers know what to expect.

The thing is, I don’t want to have to be restricted in what I post, and I know if I start different blogs (one on the experiences of an amateur gardener, one on my views on Doctor Who, one on whichever locale I happen to be residing in) they’ll just end up festering.  Little Storping, after all, goes through fairly lengthy droughts even though I allow myself to post on just about anything.  So I use categories: and you can follow whichever category you’re interested in through its page or its RSS feed.

So I in this redesign, I’m thinking about how I make it easier for people to follow categories (I’m also thinking about my hierarchy of categories, and how to improve it).  Latest posts grouped by “top” level categories now appear on the front page, and I’ll add links for the RSS feeds very soon.  I’m also going to start tagging: I didn’t used to think this was worth investing the time in, and having not used them I felt reticent about starting.  This is an opportunity to do that!

The sidebar is now purely focused on my latest content: but not just the latest posts on the blog, also my latest photographs (from Flickr), my latest bookmarks (from Delicious) and my latest Tweets (although this has been on the sidebar for a few weeks already!)

To achieve this I’ve been using some new plugins:

  • Category Posts Widget provides the latest posts in each category for the front page (I created several instances: one for each category; I intend to write a widget to do this automatically)
  • Alternate Recent Posts Widget shows the latest posts on the sidebar but excludes those displayed on the page already
  • Flickr Photo Album (with extensive customisation to integrate it with the new theme and Lightbox) displays photo galleries and the latest pics in a sidebar widget
  • Del.icio.us for WordPress Widget pulls in my bookmarks
  • Twitter Tools displays my Twitter feed in the sidebar as well as tweeting each time I publish a new post.

About Simon Wood

E-learning officer, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more…

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