The New Beginning: An Update From The Backend Administration Panel

If you have been following us on our old blog, you might be aware that what you are reading right now would have marked our 1st post from this new site! In which case, we warmly welcome you to the board! For our other readers, well, we would do just the same. 🙂


And if you are highly detail-oriented, it might occur to you to wonder why we haven’t been pulling out new content from the backend since late February. In that case, please allow us to explain a bit what has been going on these days behind the curtain.

Layout Breakdown During Migration

Blog Stat Widget 1

The Blog Stat widget counts among one of our most cherished widgets which was gone for good…

It turns out that when we imported the old content into this site, not everything was transferred smoothly. For the record, we were able to retain the content of all posts, the theme setting, the user setting, the categories/tags, and all our WordPress.com followers (we made an application to WordPress asking them to transfer the followers), but not the images, our stats, and our other followers. The migration process also left out some widgets available only to the WordPress.com bloggers, and we had to find new plugins which perform similar tasks to fill in the vacuum. Also, since we had to re-upload the images anyway, we thought that we might just as well start anew with new featured images all over again.

Blog Stat Widget 2

No more simple stats like on this site anymore. Until we figure something out…

However, what ultimately tripped us is actually not quite related to this migration effort. After we have imported the majority of the content, we discovered the power of custom CSS and started tweaking around it in the editor itself. The next thing you know, we would start solve one font color issue while creating another unwanted color scheme, or we would change the size of the meta tags only to discover — much later — that other parts of the site were impacted as well. At one point, we ended up creating an excessive amount of layout issues which — because we were complacent in backing up our codes — could no longer be reversed.

On the other hand, since we were contemplating about redesigning the website anyway, we decided to go cold turkey and change the theme and restart all over again altogether. Looking back, this was a most amazing feat which, surprisingly, turned out rather smoothly — one which still gives us a great sense of pride (as of now).

Implementation of New Features and Setting

Once we were on the new theme, we made a serious attempt to incorporate a myriad of new features and setting into the site, and so far, the effort has been pretty successful — after some extensive research on coding and lots of tutorial cramming.

Presentation Page

After having studied the layout of some websites which we aspire to become, we decided that it was necessary to have a proper front page and another separate area for the blog. With that in mind, we proceed to create the presentation page (i.e., the home page) with the help of sliders, frames, columns, lots of images and a bit of HTML. In doing so, we also clarify the aim and the direction of this website — Something which we failed to articulate in the past.

As usual, writing the content of the front page is always a daunting task, but thankfully, we were able to recycle some of the materials from our About page and put them to good use. Good grief!

Social Media Menu

Whereas we used the Image widget (and the Link widget) to direct you to our social media sites, we now have incorporated the same features into a tiny, sleek social media menu. For the record, we have seen similar-but-more-sophisticated social media menu with stats display, but we are fairly satisfied with our current menu as of now.

Social Media Menu

Now a question to you: how many social media menus are there?

New Color Scheme for the Headings

Every single post we publish adheres to a single, specific sectional structure, and this structure defines, in particular, our color and font scheme for the headings. In the past, we have been sticking to the following scheme:


Section (Heading 1)

Subsection (Heading 5)

Subsubsection (Heading 6, Indented)


In search for more organicity, we consulted some sample colour palettes and came up with a new scheme:


Section (Heading 1)

Subsection (Heading 2)

Subsubsection (Heading 3)


Also, since we get tired of implementing the font and colour schemes manually every time we write a post, we came up with the following CSS script which would specify the fonts and colours of the 3 headings — once and for all:

#content .entry-content h1 {
font-size: 34px;
color: #556b2f;
}
#content .entry-content h2 {
font-size: 29px;
color: #b07235;
}
#content .entry-content h3 {
font-size: 25px;
color: #ff9214;
}

With this, we just need to crank up the headings and let the codes take care of the rest!

Drop Cap Automation

All our standard posts start with a decorated initial letter known as drop cap. In the past, we implemented this manually by copying a certain HTML code into the post.

We thought that there must be a better way, and went on a journey to search for a plugin that does exactly that. Unfortunately, all plugins we have tried ended up displaying drop caps in places where they were not supposed to appear. 🙁

Disillusioned, we went back to CSS and created the following dropcap class:

.dropcap:first-letter {
float: left;
padding: 10px 4px 6px 6px;
font-size: 55px;
color: #a30000;
font-weight: bold;
line-height: 90%;
}

With this, we can then dropcap a paragraph, simply by embedding class="dropcap" inside the <p> tag associated with the paragraph in question. This trick provides us with a slightly quicker way to enable drop cap at our will, manually.

While it might seem that not much is gained in the process, in practice, all we really have to do is to start a post by copying from the first paragraph of our template and… just sit back and write! In that spirit, we claim having practically achieved automation with our drop cap codes!

Signature Automation

Back in the old days, each of our standard posts has a signature at its bottom, and we had to copy the signature into the post manually.

Dissatisfied, we went on doing our usual searching for better solutions again. This time though, we found a plugin called Bottom of Every Post which allows us to automate this process once and for all. However, since this plugin only works for posts, we modified a line in its PHP so that it also works for the pages:

if( ( is_single( ) || is_page( ) )  && file_exists( $fileName )){

And now, life is good and everything is automatic!

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AdSense

For the record, this is not an ad — Just a picture of what we see on our end!

Our ultimate wish is to earn a living running a research blog — an online thinktank designed for mankind. For that to happen, however, we need to have some kind of monetization model to ensure that the project is financially sustainable in the long run. At this point, running Google Adsense ads on our website seems like a relatively-simple and budget-friendly option.

Depending on the outcome of this experiment, we might consider exploring alternative monetization models in the upcoming years. However, whichever the decision we will be uptaking in the future, we require that the monetization model adhere to our moral standards and that all relevant information be found in the disclosure statement at the bottom of our homepage —- Being a whistleblowing-minded website, the last thing we need is a whistleblower revealing our dirty little secrets. 😉

Afterwords

Ouf! We hope that our journey hasn’t been too overwhelming for you (but remember that we are a research blog after all!). For the record, we are actually learning about email marketing these days, and although we do have a platform set up for that specific purpose, at this stage we are only using it for our own experimental purposes — and judiciously so.

(on that note, this has always been the stance we take when it comes to any form of mass production and distribution)

In any case, we do wish that you enjoy your stay here, more than ever in fact — for the journey has only begun!


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About Tom @ The Sustainabilitist

An earthling interested in keeping the system alive so that it can thrive in prosperity. An organic by-product with an intense desire to learn, promote, denounce and criticize via a non-organic platform.

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