I really appreciate the feedback you guys gave on updating the Trip Report Index last week. There were a ton of useful suggestions, and I hope to implement many of those as soon as possible.
It seems that overall though, there might be an opportunity to update the site in general. I’ve been blogging here for nearly six years, and while there have been a handful of updates on the backend, I really haven’t changed anything in terms of the site design or structure. I do believe that ultimately “content is king,” so that has always been my focus. However, a bit of “lipstick” on the blog wouldn’t hurt either, right?
I try to run the blog as a bit of a democracy, so would would love to hear what you would like to have done around here.
A couple of general thoughts/parameters:
- I am not looking to leave BoardingArea. We started this together, and while the tech issues can be frustrating at times, I imagine they’d be even more frustrating if I were on my own.
- Anything we do has to be based on WordPress. I’m very open to having a different layout/theme/style/etc., but the “bones” have to be compatible with BoardingArea, which means WordPress.
- I am bad with technology. Really bad. So there can’t be any ongoing CSS/HTML/WTF stuff. I can get help with the initial setup, but for everyday use it can’t be more complicated than point and click.
- I don’t want to change the “feel” of the blog, really. This is sorta my home, after all, and while I wouldn’t mind some new paint and furniture, I don’t want to change things so much that you guys decide to go elsewhere 😉
Outside of that, I’m fairly open, as long as the site is easy to read and navigate for everyone. There are a few things I’m specifically hoping to address:
I have a bit of a conflict here. On the one hand, it’s clearly functioning just fine, but on the other, that graphic looks like something you’d throw up if you’d slept through your midterm and wanted to start a blog to feel better about yourself and just needed to have something for the site to go live (this may or may not be based on actual events).
Key branding, or serious opportunity?
So I don’t know the people in my graphic, and I’m not sure it really conveys what the blog is about. The perspective being incorrect drives me crazy as well. I have zero design skills, other than knowing what I think looks “good” or not, so if anyone has suggestions as to what might look better I’d love to hear those.
What would you like to see here? I try to categorize things fairly consistently, but now that we’re over 6,000 posts in, everything is a bit more difficult.
Is having more categories and tags helpful, or could we have a better search/index function? Not sure what makes the most sense here.
The ‘Ask Lucky’ Page
I’m hesitant to even say something here, because I love answering questions, and absolutely want to be an approachable resource. While the ‘Ask Lucky’ page is a good idea in theory, at this point we have 11,000 comments there. The page takes forever to load, and scrolling to the bottom is irritating, which means that no one is reading the previous questions and answers prior to posting a comment anyways.
Similarly, the less usable of a resource this is, the more people are emailing me directly. I don’t mind answering questions, but when it’s upwards of a hundred a day it’s quite a lot to keep track of. So I’m not really sure what to do here, but it doesn’t seem like it’s actually that useful at present. Any ideas?
I would like us all to have the ability to “reply” to each others comments, and otherwise make things a bit easier. I really enjoy the interactions in the comments – that’s my favorite part of the blog, and the sense of community is something I’m really proud of. So anything that can be done to encourage that is a plus in my book!
What else would you like to see? I can’t promise we’ll be able to add everything, but I would really like to take the time to have the blog be a bit more modern, and easier for everyone.
Thanks so much for reading and for the feedback, I really appreciate it!