Editor’s Note: as those of you who follow me on social media may already be aware – I have a long time friend and associate who periodically helps me with advice on marketing my writing and maintaining this website; assistance I am most certainly grateful for because I’m functionally fucking terrible at both of these things.
Recently, he has begun to relentlessly harass me about cleaning up the site’s menu structure, taking better advantage of the tag system I originally created for posts here and creating a Facebook promotional page for ninaillingworth.com. Naturally, I have done virtually everything in my power to avoid taking his advice until now because reclassifying essentially every post on the website alone is a tedious, soul destroying task that only benefits anyone in an extremely long-term sense.
Unfortunately for me however, several readers have now reached out to me on social media to express frustration with being unable to find posts and as a result, I’ve ultimately been forced to concede that it’s no good having a backlog of quality investigative journalism ready for new readers if they have no idea what they’re looking for or how to find it. So, after literally two and a half days of fiddling with menus and options, I present to you a brief look at ninaillingworth.com site updates for March 2017:
Improved Menu Structure & Post Tagging System
The biggest change in this site update isn’t all that noticeable from the outside, but will make it significantly easier for people browsing ninaillingworth.com to see more, well organized posts based on both format and subject matter.
First, virtually all posts now have a format tag which allows users to brows by length and post style; these format tags include long form Deep Dives, regular-sized essays, short but insightful editorials, our new Brief Thoughts blog posts, Info Memes, link lists for Recommended Reading, humorous meme collections, posts containing videos and finally, reviews of works created by someone else.
Additionally, wherever possible all posts on this site now have relevant category tags, often replacing less useful and far more general descriptive tags like say “politics” or the nigh-ubiquitous “news” for example. While I am indeed very fond of the frame used on ninaillingworth.com, one of the few constraints it enforces on me is a limit of between 3 and 5 tags per post before the galleries start to look like complete crap because of broken tag buttons spread across multiple lines. With limited space available, I have often tried to simply fit as many relevant tags as possible on each post; freely switching back and forth between category tags and generic descriptive tags as space allowed.
The downside of course is that it makes posts extremely difficult to search up for the reader; after all on one post about a journalist telling big fat whopping lies you might find the Fantastic Lies category tag, while a similar article might simply be tagged with the word “media” because I was running out of room for tags that day. This has been addressed by giving our already-existing category tags top priority and reclassifying all the old articles that didn’t already have a category tag properly; now all stories concerning media malfeasance have the Fantastic Lies tag even if there’s no room for “media” as well. These categories currently include: Observations from Beyond the Death Star (OODS), Tales from the American DMZ (TADMZ), Fantastic Lies, It’s the Economy Stupid (Econ), Rants, Take Downs and the always popular Wall of Shame. For more information on what these categories mean, see the note about our updated Features page below.
Finally, the overall menu structure at the top of the page has been cleaned up a little bit. Our most popular sections and categories now occupy the always-visible top menu bar while greater care has been taken to properly group the sub-menu items more appropriately by placing like categories together in the same drop-down bar. Categories that were too general to be of much use during a search were also eliminated entirely – leaving a cleaner, more functional menu structure.
Updated & Improved Features Page
When I first put together the Features page during a previous website update, I spent several hours editing images & laying out links in the hopes that it would make navigating this website easier; only to find myself disappointment that after some initial curiosity, hardly anyone ever seemed to visit the page.
In retrospect, it seems fair to say that part of the problem was almost certainly my haphazard use of proper category tags; after all, why get in the habit of using a website features page to find posts if half the posts about say imperialism are still missing when you click on Observations from Beyond the Death Star? Additionally however, I also managed to screw things up by creating a Features page that somehow didn’t list all of the regular features here on ninaillingworth.com.
This problem has now been rectified by the inclusion of a updated and expanded Features page; adding It’s the Economy Stupid, Brief Thoughts, Recommended Reading and the Wall of Shame. Additionally, the Rants and Take Downs section has been split into two separate buttons to make it easier to find the most popular articles in each category. Finally, each category page has been set to display a whopping twenty-one previous posts in order to make it easy to quickly browse months worth of content without having to load an additional page.
Together, these changes should allow readers to leisurely access virtually every single important article on the entire site from just the Features page; with the notable exception of less important posts like comedy meme collections or site update notices like this one.
New Facebook Page & Updated Contacts
Lastly, despite the fact that I genuinely hate everything Facebook has come to be and I strongly object to the extreme censorship the website has begun to engage in as a result of the “Fake News” controversy – I have finally caved and created a Facebook page for ninaillingworth.com; please add me to your friends list (if you so desire) and feel free to share my posts on your Facebook wall.
Naturally, I’ve also updated the Contact page to reflect this new development as well as adding a Google Plus contact and noting that I’ve largely stopped using Blogger (too clunky) and Medium (censoring comments.)
Well, there you have it – site update notes for March 2017; let’s definitely not do this again for at least several months.
- Nina Illingworth
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