WordPress — what I like about you

I've been reading a few blogs lately and have noticed that blogs can be fairly confusing: pages look the same, few visual cues that tell you precisely *where* in the blog you might be at any given time. I don't know about anyone else, but I often feel like I'm going around in circles. Imagine how people who don't understand what a "blog" is might feel.

Doncha just wish you could see a list of what the heck is on such a site?

This is another acknowledgement, then, to the folks at WordPress. First, they've created blog software that can be re-designed with a reasonable amount of ease (given a certain level of skill in coding, of course). I've reworked the developedtraffic.com template(s) so that it's easy to tell whether you're in a category, for instance; visual cues are a plus.

The other great difference is that many blogs don't give you much of a clue regarding older posts; are they there? are they not? Either you get a jammed-together stack of links with dates as the link text (this is supposed to tell us what?) or you wonder where all the old posts might possibly be (chances are you won't find them).

This is another area where WordPress excels: the "narchives" (nicer archives) site map. While usability dictated that I not call that page "narchives" (and calling it "archives" seems to denigrate older posts), narchives is a kind of site map of all posts that can be sorted by date, category, etc. Since blogs generally don't look or function like "regular" websites in that the home page does not function like an orientation (or routing center, if you will), narchives is the Kinder to Visitors directory setup that I wish all blogs had.

Example: our Site Map.

The gang at WordPress are a nice and helpful crew; visit and search through their forums and you'll find just about anything. WordPress could be the best bit of free software that I've ever had the pleasure of donating for. Twice.

26 Comments to "WordPress — what I like about you"

  1. teli says:

    Hello Diane,
    I found your blog via Google and I must say it is quite lovely. I epsecially liked your WordPress design notes and do believe you are right in many respects on differentiating between pages on the site.

    Curious though – I noticed your category pages and your archive pages are using a different style – I think having the excerpts of the posts on the category pages as you do on the archive pages would be a nice touch also…was there a reason you didn't set it up that way?

    Since your site has found a happy home in my live bookmarks I'll definitely be popping in for the occasional visit :)

  2. DianeV says:

    Hi, teli — and thanks for the compliment.

    Actually, I had originally set up the category pages with the excerpts under the links, but removed it just the other day. My thought was that this blog was only started in August, and there are already a number of posts in each category; at some point there will be many more, each with an excerpt — which I thought would be a bit ovewhelming. However, taking a note from you, I've restored the excerpts for now, and may leave them for good.

    I took at look at your mildinsanity.com blog — great stuff! And your design work is also really nice. Good to meet a fellow designer — well met, and all that.


  3. teli says:

    You know, I figured that after I went to bed last night ROFL – because looking over the amount of posts I have in each category, I figured it would get overwhelming too – but in a worse case scenerio, I figured I could always paginate…

    I haven't actually gotten around to putting the excerpts on my archives, but after seeing it on your site – it's a very good idea :)

    Thank you for the compliment, that made my night (really early morning)…and yes, you're right – it's always good to meet other designers – I'm very glad I found your site

  4. DianeV says:

    True, you could paginate your category pages, although I have to say I've gotten lost at sites like zeldman.com, where what appear to be category pages all end with a link to "Previous Reports" (see zeldman.com/daily/1004b.shtml) … and I have to wonder where it all ends.

    This is where I wish for a sitemap so that I could know what is where.

    Luckily, WordPress works with a database, so we can change it as we will. And do. LOL

    Yes, it's good to talk to another designer. Thanks.

  5. teli says:

    where what appear to be category pages all end with a link to "Previous Reports" (see zeldman.com/daily/1004b.shtml) … and I have to wonder where it all ends.

    ROFL – how true. I like Zeldman and he's a really knowledgable guy, I've learned quite a bit of CSS from him (well, his books anyway) – but sometimes I have to wonder about the usability…

    This is something to think about – how to keep the excerpts, keep the pages at a decent length for readers, and providing them with some clue as to how many pages they will need to wade through to see all the category listings.

    Possibly a bit of Javascript – click on the title in order to show the excerpt, which will contain a link to the full article?

    I definitely love your sitemap page though. How'd you set up the drop down menus? Did you use a WP plugin? I noticed it on another website and thought is was a neat concept…but never got around to researching it.

    On a final note, I notice you did the "authorcomment" thing – nifty ;)

  6. DianeV says:

    LOL. I did that this morning — and I see that we are both keeping up to date on WP forum threads. (grin)

    The site map (I hate calling them "archives" because, in my opinion, it denigrates the posts … as if only current posts are worth anything) was made using the "narchives" and modified from there to work for this blog.

    I have updated our WordPress Customization Notes page to include our narchives notes.

    That should do it. Have fun!

  7. teli says:

    Thanks – the links are definitely helpful…and yea, I'm a wordpress groupie :). A very awesome tool indeed.

    Have you tried Moveable Type or Textpattern? What is your take on them? It may make for an interesting post – your personal choice of wordpress over the other blogging tools on the market…

  8. DianeV says:

    No, I haven't tried any other blogging software; I read some reviews at cre8asiteforums and chose WordPress. There are quite a few reviews there; the above link is one.

    That was the fast method. LOL

  9. teli says:

    Aha – I like that forum – it's officially been bookmarked.

    I've personally tried Moveable Type first and I think I lost a good chunk of my hair (and mind) getting it customized, my site sat for about a month b/c I didn't want to deal with it – then I found WordPress and it was if the heavens were smiling down upon me ROFL…

    However, I've since installed MT, WordPress, and TXP on a test server which I use to tweak, play, and test layouts on each platform.

    On another note – you might like playing around with TXP, I warn you now though – their documentation is pretty scarce due to it being new – but it is really great and flexible for creating actual websites (not just blogs) – you can see some examples of non-blog websites at their forums

    Okay, now it's time for me to really start working ROFL instead of blog hopping…

  10. teli says:

    oooo – can you edit that last post form me? I had a brain farty moment and forgot to close my link tag…

  11. DianeV says:

    Thanks. I will check out Textpattern as soon as a get a minute. It is good to share. :-)

  12. Martin says:

    Hi Diane, I followed a forum thread on 'narchives.php' by http://weblogtoolscollection.com/ a.k.a. LaughingLizard. Your name popped up on an issue I am trying to tackle. Unfortunately I am stuck. But, judging from the looks of your site, you succeeded in finding the missing link to generate a proper selection on the categories using 'category_nicename'. Something I do too. Could you enlighten me and tell me your 'secret'? Thanks, help is very much appreciated.

  13. DianeV says:

    Ah, someone had asked that earlier (as, no doubt, I had asked someone else earlier), so I wrote down what I'd done on my WordPress notes page.

    Would this perchance help?

  14. Martin says:

    Hi Diane,

    Well yes, perfect. That really should do the trick indeed. I'll give it a go later this evening.

    May I say what a wonderful blog-site you have. Very subtle linings and a neat lay-out. Especially your typography appeals to me. I'll keep watching this one :) Have a look at mine… Leave a comment, whatever, will be appreciated.

  15. Martin says:

    Diane, it did…partly. Your coding is fine, no problem. But I still have a problem displaying the posts sorted by category. Watch this Flyweb page. When click on sort by category it's a bit of a mystery on how this happens. You can download the code my coding here. Maybe you could have a look….? Thanks.

  16. DianeV says:

    Hmm. It's behaving very strangely in Opera. I'll take a look.

  17. DianeV says:

    your link won't allow me to download just the coding, as the page is parsed via php, so I can't really look at the raw code.

    Are you using WordPress 2.x? If so, there are some comments about problems on the Weblogtoolscollection.com narchives thread.

  18. Martin says:

    Sorry for the inconvenience Diane. Here is a better one. I think this goes better. Do you mind and have a go at it once more? Thanks!

  19. Diane Vigil says:

    Martin, I'm not able to go through it at this time. Unless you've seen another WP2.x blog using narchives, it might be that you'll need an updated version of narchives.

    Have you tried asking the software writer?

  20. Martin says:

    Okay Diane, thanks anyway. I will try elsewhere. Ah yes, I am using WP 2.01.

  21. Diane Vigil says:

    I'm wishing I could have been of more help. I'm just thinking that, if you implemented the code as I've shown, then it should work. Since it doesn't (at least, for the Category selection), I'm wondering whether it's perhaps a coding error or a difference in WP2.01.

    My suggestion would be to look over your code first to see if there are any errors. For instance, I believe I specified a change "around line 134" … that could be quite different in 2.01. Or perhaps we're changing it to something that doesn't work for 2.01?

    And … thanks for the compliments regarding this blog. Much appreciated. <grin>

  22. Martin says:

    Hi Diane, I haven't touched line 134. Other lines I have touched. The line you suggesting for the link to the category titles for instance wasn't right. I changed that one to make it work. It is appr. at line 123. The error was in the $siteurl. That will not work if WP is located somewhere else then in the root. My WP is in a subdir with index.php in the root referring to the subdir. So I changed the link to href=/index.php/category/'.sanitize_title etc.etc. But still I see those ':::::'. I think it has something todo with the way the SQL statements are made. But how…. oh boy, this is beyond me. I found another blog at < href="http://orangepolitics.org/">Orangepolitics. Maybe they can help. Still have to write to them. I will let you know. And hey… compliments are well ment, this IS a very sophsaticated and tasteful website.

  23. Diane Vigil says:

    Yep … that's what I was afraid of. Although it's curious that the post links should display in default mode but not when something category was selected.

    If all else fails, you might get a good PHP programmer to take a look. They usually make short work of these things.

  24. Martin says:

    You mention a good PHP programmer…Were to find such a person. And what's more, how to define one? Ah well, I will find one I am sure.
    I will keep an eye out for more niceties here on 'developedtraffic' :0) Happy blogging Diane.

  25. Diane Vigil says:

    Okay. I'd suggest inquiring at weblogtoolscollection.com or, if that doesn't work, at the WordPress Forums. For instance, this search at the WordPress forums might be of help.

  26. Martin says:

    Thanks, looks very promissing. Get into it this weekend. This evening was a late one, working at XML webservices, so time was running out. Cya Diane…

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