Welcome to LKL v4

by Philip Gowman on 17 August, 2008

in Geek stuff

LKL LogoIt may not look like a big change, but it’s been exercising my mind for a few weeks.

The underlying change is an upgrade of my blog templates to take advantage of all the latest functionality of WP2.6. LKL’s look and feel is based on Scott Wallick’s plaintxt templates. Scott faithfully upgrades his templates to keep up with WordPress upgrades, and he’s now on v 4.6.1. Until today, LKL was based on Scott’s v3.0.2. So my task for the past week or so was to transport all my existing tweaks and check that they still work on the latest version, which by and large they do.

While I’ve been getting into the code, I’ve been making a few other changes

  1. I changed the archive pages so that instead of seeing the full article you only see an excerpt. That way, hopefully, readers can find the articles they want more quickly. It also gives me better information as to what people are actually reading (because people will have to click on the article itself rather than reviewing the full text on a page which contains a whole load of other articles). And as part of this change I’ve amended my SEO options so that archive pages aren’t crawled any more. I’m expecting a falling-off in traffic as a result, but we’ll see how it goes.
  2. I’ve been experimenting with post thumbnails. So in the archives, for the more recent posts, you will see little pictures alongside the article summaries. Here’s how I did it. Here’s an example of the results of 1 and 2
  3. I’ve added a list of Related Posts at the bottom of each article, using Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. I’m aiming to increase the number of page views per visit.
  4. I’ve installed Super Cache. If it’s good enough for the Prime Minister, it’s good enough for me. Hopefully things will run a bit faster now.
  5. You’ll see I’ve had fun temporarily putting an Olympics medal table in the sidebar. When I put it there, Korea was 4th and UK was about 7th. To be honest, I couldn’t believe either country was doing so well, but as I write the positions are now reversed. Now removed as it wasn’t written in valid xhtml.
  6. As the new templates have built-in gravatar support for leaving comments, I thought it was about time I loaded up one of my own (top right) which will appear alongside my comments (generally responses to YOUR comments) on the site. (Thanks to James at the Grand Narrative for instructions how to do this)
  7. I’ve rearranged the page hierarchy to make it easier for me to manage. Blogwatch pages are now grouped together, as are my “introductory info” pages. The URI structure has therefore changed, but the wonders of WordPress mean that I don’t seem to need to amend the .htaccess file to redirect visitors to the new location. It seemed to work just fine on my test site. [Update - while WordPress can find the new location, it uses an awful lot of brainpower to do so. So I'm now using a redirection plugin]
  8. I’m spending a lot of time trying to aggregate content from my site into “zones” or “channels”. I’ve just released a trial “Film Zone”, with others to follow soon after. The main body of the page is getting there; I now need to work on more tailored sidebars.

Please report any bugs or grouches below.

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