Picking up the Content Strategy / Design

Picking up the Content Strategy / Design

Yesterday I wrote that there were two main issues I had about the new website. It’s 3PM, somewhat later than I planned to really look at this, but had gotten caught up in making the kind of endless small website tweaks that I find myself drawn to: fixing some image formatting here, adjusting widths there, patching PHP Markdown Extra to open links in a new window, and other stuff like that.

Making Decisions

So, the question: what is the content strategy:

  • Main website: this is the general audience, friendly face. More newsy and informative, like hanging out for coffee with friends and catching up on what’s new and exciting in the world.
  • Sub websites: these are for when it’s time to get down and dirty with the work. For the determined explorer. Currently these areas stand as: Agenceum (my pretend design agency), Lore (knowledge and learning), Code (programming), Gear (useful stuff), Food (for eating!), IT (for the sundries of managing computers) and SOC (stream of consciousness, or my raw process thoughts like this post).

  • All posts and categories have to relate to stories.

And next, How do I implement it?

  • The reason I’m splitting into sub blogs is to give myself more places to write. This has the bonus of making it clearer to visitors just what I am interested in, and what I am available for.

  • Each sub blog gets a link on the main page

  • The main page shows recent blogs posts too. It’s the “what’s going on” place.

  • Having a way of showing the most recent postings on each subblog would be nice too.

  • The main page is the main “david seah: person” landing page, so it needs to have some links about who I am there somewhere.

  • I’ve decided that I will fix the content width to 580px with 40px total of padding, which gives me a 640px base width. This works out nicely with certain pixel grid systems, and 580px seems like a good width for reading to me. It also helps me unify my “Lazy Image Layout” plugin I use across all sub blogs.

Taking a Swipe at Design

I have to incorporate the decisions I’ve just made into the variant of the TwentyTen theme I’m using. I just spent some time looking at the theme code again and contemplating what I need to do. I’m feeling a little stuck, wishing I knew exactly what to do. Since I don’t know exactly what is BEST, I will just make an executive call on this and evaluate after a little ways in.

  • I know I need a way to reach all the subblogs. I can put them in a new top menu, or replace the existing bottom menu.

  • I need to show recent articles the subblogs. The easiest thing to do is probably pull the titles from them and display them somewhere as a “Latest Posts”. It would be nice to showcase some of these posts.

  • I’d like to have some kind of quick introduction to the website somewhere. That’s most likely in the subtitle and the graphic area, which I can rework.


p>I sketched a first pass that seems like it might work.

Nothing Fancy Each of these sub-blogs will need a way of getting back to the main page, and they should LOOK like subpages too. In the meantime I can probably get away with the existing SeahTwentyTen theme I have. I’ll have a better sense of what I need once I get some content moved.

Last night I looked at the difficulty of writing a plugin for WordPress to navigate selected content to sub blogs. There isn’t anything that exists, in plugin form anyway, that does exactly what I want. The biggest hurdles in my mind are:

  • tagging which posts to move to a particular sub blog
  • exporting the posts with comments
  • redirecting the moved posts to the new blog

The most promising plugins that I can modify are called Batch Cat, Quick Page/Post Redirect, and the good ole’ WordPress WXR Import/Export. I trust WXR import/export about as much as I trust my cats to not lick anything within 10 feet of them (which isn’t much), but I think the workflow will be something like this:

  1. Modify Batch Cat with a “one-click” category assignment to a pre-determined export category
  2. Modify WXR Export (this is in export.php) to also output .htaccess redirect rules. I will end up with hundreds of redirect rules, but from what I’ve read this isn’t a problem for Apache to handle. I may just redirect the important articles that have some incoming linkjuice.
  3. Delete the affected posts that are in the export category to slim down the database. Here’s a query I can test.

The biggest time sink, other than verifying that this will work on my test server, is manually cataloging all the posts. However, I can do this a little bit at a time and bring each subblog online one at a time, as it becomes populated.

Next Steps

There are two steps:

  1. Update Theme for Main Page
  2. Bring Subblogs Online, one at a time, as they are populated with content moved from the main blog.

Ok, I guess that’s the next thing I need to do. Updating Wunderlist.