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I've Made Some Changes Recently

Published: 24/01/2009
By: larry

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:

  1. 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 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

6 comments on “I've Made Some Changes Recently”

  1. The Captcha program built into phpBB isn't real great, and has recently been compromised. You could try installing something better like ReCaptcha and I bet your spammers would mostly disappear.

    I wish the phpBB forum was getting more activity. I prefer it over the flickr group myself.

    I'm surprised you've had that much DNS trouble with BlueHost. Aren't they the same as HostMonster? To date, they are the best I've ever used myself.

  2. PFRE server reliability has been much better this week. I just got the monitoring report and downtime this week was only 5 min. That's an acceptable level.

  3. The reason why the phpBBboard wasn't used is, that it was
    never promoted.

    Not rocket science.

    Burying one link amongst many, hoping people are going to click on it, is not the way to do it.

    How often do we read about the importance of promoting your photography business here?
    And yet, the phpBB forum (which is much more capable than the dumbed down Flickr offering, aimed at teenagers, something I refuse to bother with anymore) was not promoted or teased in anyway.

    After running a discussion forum myself for 5 years, you have to make it easy for people to find and use.

    Hey, that's a bit like running a business, isn't it?

    So, I find it quite extradorinary, and I suspect Larry never wanted to grow beyond Flickr in the first place.
    It was doomed to fail.

  4. If you decide to look elsewhere for hosting, I wholeheartedly recommend Never had a single problem not of my own creation in the 3 years I have had my sites there.

  5. Adam- Perhaps there were ways I could of promoted the phpBB board more but I haven't done anything to speak of to promote the flickr group either. Other than the flickr photo widget along the right side-bar the flickr group has the same promotion (a link on the side-bar).

  6. I've seen lots of attempts to move activity from Flickr forums to phpBB boards. Never seen one that made it.

    The reason is that we're photographers first, and the image is king. And I've never seen a traditional forum that was photo-friendly like Flickr is. For me , the PFRE forum is all about the photos, and if I can't see the pool, and make notes directly on the images, and see the exif, and embed them easily in the discussion topics, then I'm not interested.

    To insinuate that it's somehow Larry's fault that a bad idea didn't flourish is just juvenile.

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