I thought a quick tour might be in order as everyone gets the hang of the new site.
The Right-hand Side
If we move over to the right-hand side, you’ll find a big button. Right now it says Site Feedback; we thought there might be a lot of that for awhile! Pretty soon, though, that will likely say Pet Calendar and will takes us to the call for photos, instructions for submitting the, how to order, when to order, etc. If we had a time machine and could go back a year or so, when our friend was in need, it would have said Leto GoFundMe.
The search box. Once the new site is indexed, we’ll be able to search for things in the comments as well as in the original posts. It takes hours and hours and hours to index, so indexing has not even started at this point. We’ll need to fine-tune some things once we start using it – we can choose how heavily to weigh finds in comments vs. front page posts. So not to worry if search results aren’t exactly what we want right out of the gate.
Not much to say about Recent Comments, except to say they are back.
Balloon Juice Posts gives you 3 different windows to BJ posts since the beginning of time. Every post is assigned to at least one Topic; if a post was assigned to Politics, Open Thread and Climate Change, you will find that post under three boxes in the grid. The author page speaks for itself, I think, and the rest is self-explanatory. Who am I kidding, there will be questions!
Featuring is a fun one. The 5 links under Featuring will change regularly, maybe not like clockwork, but typically about once a month. Except for John Cole, of course. I am making him stay there forever. (Translation: I told John that as blog lord, he should stay in that slot forever, and he grudgingly agreed. Or, alternatively, John wasn’t paying any attention to what I was saying, which might mean that he has no idea that he agreed to that!) But I digress. Any author, current or past, and any category or subcategory or sub-sub-category can be featured over time. By popular demand, our first change will surely be the addition of duck blogging, which means that one of the existing items will be swapped out. But hey, it’s Penelope, we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good.
What’s the thinking behind featuring? For one thing, we want it to be timely. During ACA Open Enrollment, David Anderson will be under Featuring. When Tom Levenson’s next book comes out, he will be featured. We can feature TaMara’s Recipe posts when her new cookbook comes out. Right now, we want everyone to be able to easily find their beloved On the Road posts. Once you get the hang of the new site, you will know that it’s always at your fingertips under Photo Blogging on the View by Topics page, and something else will be featured. Featuring will almost never include a top-level category; it’s intended to call attention to particular authors or to subcategories the would never see the light of day otherwise, unless you happened upon it in a front page post.
Enough about Featuring. (Two paragraphs!) Hmm. I guess this one makes three!
Calling All Jackals! I’ll say more about this in a separate thread but you will be able to see upcoming meetups and see meetups that have already happened. I put 3 past meetups in there as quick examples, but any past meetup can be included in there if anyone wants to send details and photos. I think John was kind of excited at the thought of an archive of all our past meetups, but it will be up to you guys to supply information if we want to do that. We’ll have to see how it goes with Balloon Juice News – it could be a big hit or land with a dull thud. If you want to know about an upcoming Writer’s Chat, or about upcoming Guest Posts or if you missed the news when Subaru Diane broke her wrist (stop doing that, SD!) you could find it there. Any front-pager can add information to Balloon Juice News, if they are willing. Oh, and Site Feedback is here in addition to up top. This is its permanent home; the top button is only a temporary home for Site Feedback for a few weeks.
The last stop on the right is John’s twitter feed. Just think how much better that will look when front-pagers start adding featured images to their posts!
Let’s not forget the Header and Footer
Balloon Man is back, baby! I missed you, Balloon Man! Rotating tags are back where they belong, in the header. Oh, and if you click on balloon guy from anywhere, you go straight to the front page. Not much more to say about the header, but the footer gets a shoutout. That’s where the blogroll lives. The blogroll is bracketed by lists of published Balloon Juice authors and Balloon Juice artists and artisans who have websites. You can see that work has already started on the author file. Cole will be putting out a call for artists and artisans.
We will be pleased to add your blog, your books and your artist websites to the appropriate lists – more details on how to do that will follow later, because we want information in a certain format so we don’t have to make creating these files our life’s work.
Please read the Comment Policy for the Rules of the Road at Balloon Juice. (As soon as John finishes it.)
Edit: I thought you guys would get tired or ask for cookies if I gave you the whole tour at once. Additional tours this weekend or next week.