As some of you know, developing websites is what I do for a living. If you saw the straight-laced, boring, “professional” sites I have to work on each day, you would understand why I made the design theme here at SKOS so… I think “interesting” is a good word.
However, while the world-renowned “message board” design theme has been in place since March, I have been slow in incorporating functional aspects every blog should have in some way, shape or form. I kept putting them off, and then I completely forgot about them.
And then Friday, after having finally incorporated a “blogroll” at SKOS (discussed below), I asked my good friend Angi if she could think of anything else the site needed.
And so began my weekend of website modifications. I would just let the results speak for themselves, but that just isn’t my style.
Plus, if I don’t blog about it, how are you all supposed to tell me what a good job I did? I’m needy, people. Needy people need praise.
The Polaroid Blogroll
For six months, Special Kind of Stupid has lived without a blogroll.
In the blogging world, such a thing is pretty much blasphemy. Oh sure, I had a few photo links in the sidebar of my subpages, but it didn’t appear on my homepage — which is where you really need a blogroll.
Why didn’t I have one? Well, because I couldn’t figure out a good way of incorporating a blogroll into my design theme. Most blogrolls are boring. I didn’t want to be boring.
Long story short, I had the idea of using the “polaroid” thing in my site’s banner for my blogroll. I would “take pictures” of the blogs/sites that leave me the most comments and/or refer the most visitors to me, “write” their names on the polaroid, and then make it look like I had thumbtacked or taped their photo onto my message board design. And I would put the “Polaroid Blogroll” at the bottom of every single page — homepage included.
It is, I do believe, extremely awesome.
Apparently, according to Angi, readers might actually like to contact me from time to time. I do have an image in the footer of every page with my e-mail address for users who want to “propose marriage,” but it isn’t a hyperlink. A user would have to look at it, write down my address, and then type it if they wanted to shoot me an e-mail asking for my hand in marriage.
“Not good,” said Angi. Apparently, she is under the impression lots of people are wanting to propose to me.
I reluctantly agreed and added a “contact” icon to the navigation area.
Rather than have the contact icon simply take the users to a page that lists my e-mail address, Angi asked if it was possible for me to add a contact form. It was a wonderful idea. However…
Some web hosts make adding forms to your site easy. They even give you simple instructions on how to go about adding them. My web host does not. In short, there is a certain piece of code I need in order to turn a HTML form, which is easy to create, into something that will actually work when the user clicks the submit button.
My host provides no such code. So…
I had to do a little research and write a contact form in PHP from scratch. It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be, and now users can contact me simply by filling out a form on the site and clicking submit.
This will make it a hundred times easier for users to contact me saying I “rock” or “suck.” That right there is what technology is all about.
Every blog has a search feature where users can type in a phrase and see a list of matching results. Good blogs, average blogs and bad blogs have it. Humor blogs, soccer mom blogs and blogs about cats have it. Every single blog on the Internet has it.
Except for SKOS.
Because back in March, I couldn’t decide where I wanted to put the stupid thing. Every idea I could think of made the design theme less appealing to me. So, I just skipped it. Angi recommended I have it, and I (again) reluctantly agreed.
However, I came up with an idea that hadn’t occurred to me in March. Rather than add a search field at the top of the site where users could enter a phrase, I added a “search” icon to the navigation area…
The “Magic” Search Window
…and once the user clicked it a window would “magically” appear. In this window would be the search field for the user to enter their phrase and a button for them to receive the matching results. A “close” button is provided so the users can make this magic window disappear if it scares them.
Searching capability that doesn’t take away from the site’s design.
Link to Guest Blog Form
With Angi’s suggestions implemented, I decided to do more since I was on a roll. Until recently, users had the ability to register to SKOS and become a member, login and write guest blogs that I would then either approve or disapprove.
Spammers figured out a way to register fake accounts, so I had to disable this feature and replace it with a simple, “hey… if you want to write a guest blog just e-mail it to me and stuff” sort of thing.
Contact Form for Submitting a Guest Blog to SKOS
So, since I’d done the work already and figured out how to add contact forms, I decided such a thing would be perfect for users who wanted to submit a guest blog to SKOS.
A simple “Write Guest Blog” link with a pencil icon was added to the navigation area. When users click it, they are taken to a page with a contact form.
The contact form has every field needed for submitting a guest blog. The name, e-mail address, and website URL of the user can be entered (so I can give credit where credit is due), the title and summary of the submitted blog (which I will leave as is so long as nothing is wrong with it), and (of course) the blog itself.
Once submitted, an autoresponse e-mail will be sent to the user at the address they provided letting them know I have received it. It will also let you know if one of your friends pretended to be you and used your e-mail address to send me his story about the time he went to a Bon Jovi concert and Jon pointed at him something really, really boring.
It Is Finished
And there you have it.
I realize there isn’t anything funny about this blog post. My apologies. I just figured, one, all of you might be interested on SKOS-related news such as this.
Two, again, I knew the best way for me to receive “kudos” and “looks great” feedback was to blog about it. Positive feedback nourishes me and gives me the strength to continue being awesome.
And three, since it’s a Monday, I figured most of you are too sleepy to even notice the unfunny.
The funny will be back tomorrow.