Sourcerer Redesign. Feedback Encouraged.

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This is a mock-up of the new Sourcerer. If you have an open channel to me anywhere on social media, I would appreciate feedback. I do not care which channel you choose. Private communication is just fine.sourcerer_image

I’ve decided to go with Twenty-Eleven for Sourcerer because it’s the best free theme I’ve discovered in a year of searching. I love both the look-and-feel and the functionality I get with it. I will explain my reasoning, then ask you questions.

A proper blogroll is as much trouble to maintain as an index page. I don’t believe blogrolls are worth the effort anymore, so Sourcerer will not have one. Here is what I will do instead. There is a whole strategy of sidebar construction.

The purpose of sidebars is to give interested readers other options. Once the redesign is done, Sourcerer will only allow  three options.

  1. Follow us somewhere on social media.
  2. Visit a friend’s blog.
  3. Find something else you like in the archives.

If you look at the sidebar, you’ll see  a lot of “Recent Posts” alternated with ways to follow and ways to dig into the archives. There are a couple of Easter Eggs for you here. The order of the social media widgets tells you my priorities and the “Recent Posts”  feature a few contributors we’ve not announced yet. The widgets work like this:

  • Follow this WordPress blog, and here’s a contributor. By the way, we have archives.
  • Follow on Twitter, and here’s a contributor. By the way, we have archives.
  • Check out our categories (which I must straighten out very soon) and here’s a contributor.

Get the idea? The Facebook widget is at the bottom because it’s the most exclusive, and that means it is the least likely to be followed. It is there so REALLY interested bloggers can find it. I am watching the Like notifications from Sourcerer’s fanpage carefully.

The final version will also have footers. I did not bother with them here, but they’ll be set up for the most part like the ones at Just Gene’O. Important widgets:

Blogs I Follow. I don’t like and comment from the Sourcerer account much, so I will unfollow everyone from this reader and then follow bloggers I am keeping up with on three or more networks. If you blog and we Tweet together, you don’t need to be personal friends with me on Facebook to get into the Sourcerer reader. But you do need a Facebook page.

Or else you need to follow me on a third network and let me know you did. You can find me on G+, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and Pinterest if you look. I don’t engage on those networks, but I have accounts. I check them from time to time and pay attention to who is adding them. If you are a friend, I am happy to follow you back on any of those networks eventually. I don’t mind you using this thread to tell me where you followed me and drop a link. That makes my life easier.

My Community: So we can all see who stopped by recently.

Meta : It’s convenient. It allows contributors to sign in easily.

Other Stuff: Things like category clouds, image carousels, etc. to give the footers interest.

Now questions.Emanuel_Wynne

  • Is this a better blog than the one we have now? More reader-friendly? More strategically sound?
  • As a reader, how do you find this blog? Does anything about it interfere with your enjoyment of the content?
  • Do I need to mute the color of the front page a little? Is it so white it hurts your eyes?
  • Should the sidebar be on the right or on the left? I put it on the right here so you can easily compare it to Sourcerer and Just Gene’O.
  • Is there any other feedback you would like to give me?

Taylor, David, Sheena, Lizard. Pinging you with this because I think you will be interested, and pings are the best way to be sure you see. Taylor: you ping me so often, and one good turn deserves another 🙂 David and Sheena: you are just awesome! Lizard: We had a conversation about this WEEKS ago on one of my  threads and that conversation was so helpful to me, so I want you to see this.

Note: This is a reblog site I set up over the summer and tested for a few weeks, then mothballed it. I am using it for development right now, but I can connect it to the social media and start slinging links into the ecosystem from here any time I want.

Under Construction

This is a side project of Sourcerer. It will take a month or so to get it up to speed. The idea is simple. This blog posts one reblog per day, without comment. Usually to a post from the day before. Here’s how I came up with this idea:

Sourcerer did a lot of reblogging when I started it up. Now it has too much content to do much reblogging. I like to reblog because I know how it makes me feel when someone reblogs one of my posts. It’s a good feeling. And I am all about finding ways to help bloggers feel good. It only takes a few minutes to reblog a post, and I’m visiting 50 blogs per week anyway. So this is a bit of a no-brainer. The reason they’ll always be reblogged without comment is because I want the post to be front-and-center.

I only reblog one post per day because that gives whatever I reblog the front page for 24 hours. I’ll rarely reblog posts written by Diana and I, once we get rolling. This is about promoting other bloggers.

I named it Trebuchet 42 because the value of this blog is that it allows me to take a post that’s done all it’s ever going to do in the WordPress tag feeds and fling it back to the tops of the feeds that I choose for it. “Trebuchet” is just a cooler word that “catapult,” and all the standard versions of that name are registered already. I added the 42 because it’s the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

Hi-jinks will ensue as soon as I find time to get the design right and figure out which social media to connect it to. That’s why we’re looking at a month. Development requires thought, first of all, and this idea is only 20 minutes old at this point. This blog will never be a high-engagement, large-following site, but I think it’s too valuable a tool to not make use of.

In the meantime, feedback is welcome.