Since I’ve recently rethemed this site, I thought I’d give a briefish rundown on how things are set up, because I’ve finally hit on an overall structure where I think the restoration project makes sense without being overbearing.
The front page
The front page now begins with an linked excerpt of the most recent post, followed by a list of the next fourteen posts. It used to be the next ten, but I wanted to slightly bulk up the leading set of my own posts for reasons I’ll get to shortly.
Beneath my recent posts is a series of three italicized areas: first, a list of any of my posts from the same calendar day in previous years; second, a list of the ten most recent blog posts by other people that I’ve read; and third, a list of sites where you can find other blogs.
That middle bit is my solution to the blogroll problem. The problem being that I can’t handle the anxiety I feel whenever I try to maintain a blogroll these days. I’ve had them before, in my early blogging years, and I don’t think I had this problem back then, but I also have memory issues, so who knows.
What you get, then, is a look at what I’m actually reading, rather than a list of blogs that might be more aspirational or somehow for show. This list is powered the RSS feed for a folder of mine on Instapaper where I save links to the posts I read, and that folder is linked in case you want to see more than the most recent ten.
In the list of places to find other blogs, I’ve continued to list Blog Surf despite it being offline, in the hopes that it will return, and I’ve recently added Bring Back Blogging despite the fact that I never got listed. Actually, I’m still not on Ooh! Directory, either.
The archive (posts) page
The archive page serves a number of purposes all at once: defines my blog restoration project and provides an overview of my progress; offers a search function; links the archive pages for post sources which under the hood are just categories; and then begins the paginated list of all posts, showing one hundred posts per page.
Just this week, I’ve added to the overview at the top of the archive page an indicator showing what source currently is being worked on.
The source pages
Any given source archive page functions exactly like the main archive page itself: a brief overview of the source and its timeframe; then the paginated list of posts from that source.
Earlier incarnations of the blog during the restoration project have had a separate sources page that lists all the sources and their overview text, but I’d never become satisfied with how it looked. In the end, I think having a a sort of multi-function main archive page serves the purpose better.
The blog posts
As for the posts themselves, they’re fairly straightforward: the title (absent on untitled posts, of which there are many although I don’t do them anymore); the post meta, including date, source, and a link to reply to that post via email (the only form of interaction on the blog); the post itself; and then the display of any backlinks the post might have, linking back to posts which link to it.
Due to the blog restoration project, posts older than ten years also get a disclaimer (although the format and process has changed since that post) indicating that it might not reflect my current views. This disclaimer appears between the post meta and the post itself.
Finally, posts do have “previous” and “next” navigation underneath, although I’ve not yet decided if that’s going to remain in place. It’s something that was actually used by readers back in the day, but I feel like maybe might not be used much today.
The other stuff
My navigation corner only includes two things: a link to my archive page, and one to my homepage. Nothing else is needed.
There are only two other pages on the site: the search results page, which again functions just like the main archive page and the source archive pages; and the “page not found” error page, which is self-explanatory should you happen to end up there.
Finally, because I did want to have this but didn’t want it to be obtrusive, like by putting it in the navigation corner, the footer across the entire site includes a way to tip me. Specifically, it’s a link to a really basic site hosted on Carrd that links to the four different ways to shoot me some money.
I’m hoping that this will be the last “meta”/“process” post for awhile, since this latest retheme in fact has jumpstarted the somewhat moribund restoration project itself. It had been languishing for a few months, and I’d like to keep focused on that instead of finding myself once again dissatisfied with the actual structure and design.
I’m hoping, too, that I’m right that this new layout and compact structure make that epic restoration project simpler to see and understand.