In Case You’re Curious… (Some Subtle ZFb Changes)

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[It just so happened when I published this post, I uncovered a big problem. It’s just about 2 AM now and I only just got it fixed. See my bracketed area below about what happened.]

Hey all! I’ve been making a few tiny updates to the ZFb page and I thought you might be curious about the little ways it is becoming more user-friendly!

Email Subscription

I mentioned this change a few weeks ago on Facebook, but thought I’d reiterate it here. You can now subscribe to receive posts and/or comments via daily email digests. I know there are folks who prefer email updates over using RSS, so I hope you will take advantage of this option. Click here to subscribe to posts or click here to subscribe to comments. (ProTip: FeedBurner Email Subscription service.)

Comments

There are a number of changes to comments!

Those of you who were commenting this week may have noticed I changed out the comment form. As fancy as the MCE input box was, it had this habit of not putting spaces between folks’ paragraphs. This really started to drive me crazy, so I simply did away with it. Kudos to Hemant Mehta for tipping me to which plug-in he used to help you with some code. Even though this change is—I think—a visual set back, it will help ensure that comments look the way you all want them to, which I think is important. And for any of you who aren’t html-savvy, it’ll give you a little opportunity to practice! (ProTip: Comment Form Quicktags Plugin. The former plugin was TinyMCEComments.)

Just in case your comments aren’t turning out right, there is now a comment Preview button! This will give you the opportunity to see how your comment will look and proof it before you submit it. Since it now uses code, this will be a great way to double check you closed all your tags and such. Please make sure that if you do Preview your comment, you still remember to click post so it is submitted! (ProTip: Filosofo Comments Preview Plugin.)

I hope you’ll notice that the input buttons are now color coordinated with the theme, which should make them more user-friendly.

Also, some people had trouble with the old CAPTCHA system. I was distressed to learn some wonderful comments had been lost to the void because the CAPTCHA times out. I’ve got a great new system that’s just a simple Check Box. It never times out, and even if you forget to check it, it’ll save your comment for you. I love when smart people offer simple solutions! (ProTip: amcaptcha Plugin.)

By the way, it’s easier to subscribe to comments now! When you post a comment, just check the box to subscribe automatically. Also, if you want to subscribe without commenting, there is a simple form at the VERY bottom of posts (below the comment input form). That way everyone can follow the great discussions that we get going here on ZFb! (ProTip: Subscribe to Comments and Subscribe to Comments Now! Plugins.)

Design Tweaks

Some new visitors to the site had trouble finding the comments, so I added a link to the comment section in the header of posts. I also revamped how the date looks and added the time. (That way, you can tell how uncool I am, like when I post about blog tweaks after 11 PM on a Friday night.)

I also moved the ad that was formerly at the top of single posts. It’s now at the bottom near the comments section. This should make single posts more accessible, which is great, because more people get to the site through a link to a post as opposed to arriving at the main index.

I’ve been playing around with the logos again too, just because I can and it’s fun. Right now we’re tracing the blog’s Iowa roots with some summer sunshine and knee-high corn. You may have missed the Pride Month and 4th of July logos. (The 4th of July one made the site look more like one of those conservative propaganda sites!) There will, of course, be a special one for Netroots Nation later this month.

Facebook Integration

A while back, I went through and tried to manually integrate Facebook with ZFb. It kind of looked like it worked, but it didn’t. If anybody saw the “Like” box at the bottom of posts, I’d never know, because I don’t think the feature worked right anyway. Now it does, and is neatly integrated into the top of posts. Please feel free to Like posts! (Facebook iLike Plugin.)

[Let’s hope the third time’s the charm! After publishing this post, I spent a couple hours dealing with some RSS problems that were ultimately caused by that Facebook Plugin. I’ve got a new one and now we’re up and running again. For all the trouble this Facebook integration has been, please Like posts when you like them! (ProTip: WP Facebook Like Plugin.)]

To help remove clutter with the new Like button, the Bookmarks bar is now only at the bottom of posts. Please feel free to Tweet, Reddit, Stumble, Digg, and Seed my posts!

Share Your Feedback

I want to make this little site easy to read and interact with. If you have any ideas or suggestions for how to make ZackFord Blogs a better site, let me know!! Leave a comment on this post or shoot me an email. I’ll gladly do anything I can to help my readers!

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