Back in the autumn of last year I did a partial redesign of this blog. Since then the blog has sprouted all kinds of buttons, and looks a bit of a mess. In the meantime WordPress has evolved to version 3.2 and offers a whole bunch of new features. So what, I wonder, are the criteria for the ultimate personal blog in the summer of 2011, and how am I going to change this blog to achieve those aims? Here are my first thoughts.
Feel free to comment on / improve upon the list below!
- Sharing on social media – quick buttons to share content on Twitter, Facebook, Google +1, LinkedIn. The emphasis here is to make sure the design is neat and consistent – the buttons to the left of a post at Mashable are the best I’ve seen. Question is how to make this happen – some combination of plugins and coding from the sites’ own widget systems is going to be the solution I think. E-mail to a friend will be added alongside these buttons.
- Social Media integration – tweets referencing a post will appear below comments on a post (probably using Topsy), and tweets will be referenced in posts using the excellent Twitter Blackbird Pie.
- Publishing to social media – not a blog feature as such, but new blog posts will be auto-tweeted using TwitterFeed, imported into Facebook as Notes, and posted to LinkedIn.
- Mobile and iPad friendly – easy to understand why, perhaps harder to make it work! The simple and free way is to use WPTouch (free version) to create a mobile site, and OnSwipe (free) for an iPad version. The problem is that neither of these plugins gives a very configurable design – worth forking out for WPTouch Pro? Or just stick to the regular site for the iPad?
- E-mail integration – all too easy to overlook in the social media world, but subscribe to post comments and a notification every time something new is posted will be added. This will be done with plugins Post Notification and Subscribe to Comments.
- Design – for the main site this is delicate. The main column of text needs to be 640px wide so as to accommodate Youtube videos, but wider images breaking out of the grid (Wu-Wei style) would also be desirable. Meanwhile a right sidebar design, with a total width of no more than 960px is a must.
- Topics – I have three main topics: EU politics, UK politics and tech Politics. I need to find a way – in a sidebar perhaps? – to draw attention to these issues more closely. Yet I want to keep a traditional blog style homepage, not completely change that in the way Mark Pack has. Some differentiation of sidebars (for blogrolls, links to Twitter lists, perhaps even a link to Google+ Circles?) is also necessary here.
- What I’m writing elsewhere, and what I’m reading – I’m writing more and more for other sites, so the blog needs a way to gather this content in one place. I also read masses of brilliant stuff everyday, and a simple way to present this would be excellent. WordPress 3.2′s Post Formats are probably the best way to accomplish this, although using Delicious would be another option.
- Other odds and ends – an import of where I am currently from Dopplr, latest pics from Flickr, current Klout and PeerIndex status, and clearer pages about what I do also need to be included.