New Blog Theme

Day LilyI’ve been working on a different look and feel for the blog, based on a new WordPress theme called CutLine. The designer (Chris Pearson) has created a very clean look with some excellent page layout features, especially image handling and pull quotes.

I’m still in the process of thinking through how best to handle archived posts. One of the big downsides of the blogging medium–especially for essay-oriented sites like this–is improving access to earlier materials which many newer readers may not have seen. I have handled this in the past with periodic reposts of older material, especially during light blogging times, as I have been doing lately. But it would be nice to have older material more accessible and categorized more clearly, perhaps with short excerpts rather than simply titles.

Any thoughts you might have on this–or tips on other sites which have addressed this dilemma in a creative and useful way–would be appreciated.

For a sneak peak at the new look, mosey over here and take a gander.

Thanks, and hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful one.

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9 thoughts on “New Blog Theme

  1. I would recommend making references in your current posts to older posts. So if you are say, writing about elbow surgery, you can make a quick, related reference to knee surgery and highlight the words “knee surgery” without specifically saying ‘Read my old post on knee surgery.’ That way, if the reader wants to know more, they can click on the words and then you have folks reading your older posts. Also, you might try categorizing some older posts by gathering several similar posts and putting a catchy title on them and put them in your sidebar and leave them there.

  2. i am one who loves to rearrange furniture and am actually a blogger who is looking forward (now) to going beta – only on blogger, you have to be asked, especially if you have a large blog (which i guess i do now…)

    referencing like rhea suggested is a good way; i am just wondering how to be quoted on your sidebar? the only thing profound i’d say about dr. bob is “he is a really cool guy.”

    :)

  3. Your current sidebar is over long. Since you now have an archives page linked from the title bar you could cut out your generic archives listing on the sidebar.

    There are wordpress plugins for posting snippets of old material on the sidebar with links to full posts. This snippet can change from day to day. I haven’t used the plugin myself, so I can’t give you its name, but I have seen it used on other WP blogs.

    Another option for organizing old material is to create WP pages organizing your better old material. For example, you could create a WP page titled “Series” it would go up on your title bar beside “About” and on the page you could list all your essays in your different series.

    With WP pages you can do whatever custom organization you want, but it is all manual page creation so obviously it can become too much work. For quick and dirty highlighting of old material I suggest looking for the right sidebar plugin.

  4. Thanks Rundy, good suggestions. I’ve eliminated the archive listing on the sidebar, and I do plan a master “Series” page with subpages for each series, and perhaps a “Favorites” or “Best of” page as well. I know WordPress can subselect posts (still have to refresh my memory just how this works) which hopefully will make this less labor-intensive.

  5. Dr. Bob, I love your new theme! I’ve had a Theme Blog going for a number of months now – just to try out new themes, and a get a feel for what can be done with them.

    I’m going to have to see what you’ve done for your graphic borders … I really like it!

    When I want to have a space for special information, I use Pages. Have you considered an Index page on which you can sort your categories? It could be as long as you need it to be … or even a page with child pages for each category.

  6. Hi Moof,

    My plan is to have several archive pages (rather than everything on one archive page), as well as a Favorites page and perhaps a Series page. Have to figure out WordPress’ loop & post selection code a bit (it doesn’t look too hard at first glance) — not to mention getting the time to play with it.

    Good to hear from you again.

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