Author: Bob Buskirk
If you are coming to the site for the first time this might not be a shock to you, but if you have been here before you are probably quite surprised to see the new design of the site. We have had the old layout of the site for a few years now and it was getting old. We all knew that we needed a new layout, less ads, and something more up to date. If you noticed over the past 2 weeks the site has not been updated that much, which is because we have been hard at work on what you see here. Please take a couple of minutes and read this post as it outlines all of the new features of the site.
Yes it’s WordPress!
As many of you might have guess the new site is based on WordPress. We considered many different content management systems, but WordPress seemed like the right choice because so many sites use it and all of the available plugins and addons that you can get for it. The old site was running on a flat file system that was not that efficient and also made pages load slower. With WordPress the entire site is on a database which will make it load faster and make it easier to change things site-wide instead of having to update every page. Also using WordPress will help us with SEO and make it easier for other sites to search and index our pages.
Starting at the top of the page we have 4 “Featured” posts there, these are the latest 4 posts tagged featured. If you want to see all of the featured posts you can check them out in the featured category. The 4 top units we hope will bring more traffic to the articles we want to feature.
Moving down to the logo as you can see our logo was been “upgraded”, it’s about time the guy had a LCD monitor head instead of a CRT! His computer has also been upgraded as well. Next to the logo we make it really easy for you to subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter and even subscribe to the RSS feed via e-mail.
The navigation of the site is below the 720 x 90 ad. The larger links go to pages and external elements like our forums. The smaller links are our post categories each have drop down boxes with subcategories. So if you hover over reviews the box will drop down and show you all of the subcategories under reviews. You can click on the reviews link for a list of the latest reviews or you can click on a subcategory for a list of the latest reviews in that specific subcategory. On the far right you have a search box, something we never had on the site before!
If you are on the main page of the site it will list the 10 latest posts on the site. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the site you will see an Older Articles button that will take you back and show you 10 more previous posts.
As you may have noticed we are only running 1 sidebar with the current layout. We think this will make it easier for you to read the main content of the site and it makes the site less messy. We have a popular posts widget that will show the top 5 popular posts for the current month. Below that we have split the sidebar into 2 columns. On the left there is an ad and on the right we have a listing of all our categories.
The sidebar becomes 1 column again and just like the old site we have a list of our 10 latest posts. The recent comments will list 5 of the latest comments and the top commenters widget will list the 5 top commenters on the site. Below that we have the tag cloud which will make it easy for you to see what we are writing about most on the site.
With this new layout all of our posts are easier to read with larger text and LESS ADS! We are still using the image popup system, just one that is more optimized. When you click on an image it will white out the background of the page and bring up the image. Also it will preload all of the images on the page so if you want to click through the images the will all load very quickly. To close the popup all you have to do is click off the image or click the close link on the bottom right of the image.
At the bottom of each post will have previous page and next page links as well as drop down menu that lists the pages if you want to easily skip through the posts pages. Below all of that we have the related posts that will list 5 of the most relevant related posts. This should help you discover more content on the site. Next to the related posts we have sharing icons for Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, and StumbleUpon. We also have the AddThis button that will allow you to share the post on pretty much any bookmarking or social site out there.
Instead of using our forums for comments on posts we are using Disqus Comments. After doing some research it was an easy choice to pick Disqus. Now to post comments on any post you are able to login via Disqus login, Facebook, Twitter, and OpenID. You can also just provide your name and e-mail to post comments as well.
Finally at the way bottom of the page you can see who actually wrote the article.
Where is all the content?
As you can see all of our content is not moved over to the new site yet. This is because the old site was flat file so it was not like we could simply import all of the content over. Over the past 2 weeks we have been moving reviews and articles over. We have everything up to April 09 on the new site. We will be slowly moving everything else over, probably around 5 posts a day until everything is moved over.
If you want to check out some of the old content don’t worry it is not lost. The old site is still functional you can get to it here http://www.thinkcomputers.org/old/. Also check out the Archive page for a full listing of where everything is.
We Want Your Feedback!
Obviously this is a big step in the right direction for us and we want to know what you think of the site. So please leave us your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below so we can make changes that will make your experience here even better. Also stay tuned for a contest that we will be announcing tomorrow.