I've been making some "under the hood" blog changes lately that you may or may not have noticed. Some of these things are as a result of the reader survey I did a while ago and some are just messes that needed cleaning up. The blog has now been in it's current design and hosting location since Nov of 2007 and my intent is to continually improve it so it works better and is more effective so don't hesitate to let me know if you have ideas for improving it or you see problems that need fixing. Here are some things I've been working on:
- Polls are now continuous: You can see at the blog poll page, that all the polls I've done in the past are on the page and are continuously live. I use to run polls for a fixed time and then turn them off. Given the way polldaddy.com works there's no need to do that. Anyone can still vote in a past poll so this will allow the polls to over time get many more votes.
- Making past blog posts more visible: Someone pointed out on the survey that old blog posts were hard to find so I've added a total blog Archive, by month index on the bottom right. So now all blog posts are indexed by category and by date.
- Real Estate Photographer Directory in now alphabetized: Since the directory has evolved over many years in several forms and I've not been diligent about keeping it in alphabetical order it was getting out of control. I've now fixed it and it is in alphabetical order by city and then by last name of the photographer. I promise to keep it this way.
- I'm discontinuing the phpBB forum: At the suggestion of several readers I've been trying out a phpBB type forum in addition to the flickr groups. I've removed the link on the blog to it and I'm going to pull the plug on it since in the last month or so there hasn't been much usage of it except for the Spammers. Keeping the spammers out of it takes much more time than the flickr group or the blog combined.
- PFRE Blog reliability: I'm not happy with the amount of time the blog has been down in Jan. Some of the problems have been DNS server issues at bluehost where the blog is hosted and some have been because the blog database is getting big and needs optimization regularly, which I now have fixed. I've also started monitoring the blog 24 hours a day so I know how much it is down and what the response time is. If bluehost doesn't improve their reliability I will change hosting companies.
- Updated to WordPress 2.7: In the survey some readers suggested changes in the blog design that I'm using. Since until just recently, I've not updated the version version of WordPress that the blog uses since Nov of 2007, I couldn't use some of the latest and greatest blog themes and plug-ins. I'm now on the latest and greatest version of WordPress and am considering other themes. At this point I'm not committing to change but at least that's an option now.
One of my next projects is to reogranize and improve the tutorial section of the blog. More on that later.