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How can I optimise my photo/history blog without much pain

  1. Hi 1
    I'd like to get started with an ambitious task of a history/photo blog about my city, possibly with others to follow. I have some basic idea of how to approach it but I'm a bit weary of reading manuals each time I start with a new software, so I'd be grateful if you could suggest some shortcuts :)
    1. I need a proper theme and widgets for such a blog (WordPress.com) I have a tendency to overload blogs with stuff...
    2. Heard of CSS - customising a blog is a cool thing - guess it's paid, isn't it ?
    3. I'm thinking about opening a FB page to make a version of the blog, but there's something like integrating a blog with FB, which I guess is different, but I don,t know if better or more precise.
    4. In my blog Categories should match pages with district descriptions. Is it possible to for the reader to see The main page exposed when they enter the blog (not just the recent entry) and when they open a category, they can see, for example the relevant sub-page description above the searched entry?
    Thanks for all help !)

    The blog I need help with is dariospace.wordpress.com.

  2. Hello there,
    Right off the top I recommend becoming familiar with the information at these links:

    Learn WordPress.com tutorial
    support documentation

    1. Theme selection > http://theme.wordpress.com/
    2. Custom design upgrade > http://en.support.wordpress.com/custom-design/
    3. Facebook integration > http://en.support.wordpress.com/facebook-integration/

  3. 4. (a) collapsed comments front page
    the way the comments function is coded into the core of WordPress and we cannot change this. Unless you use P2, a twitter-like theme, comments are collapsed on the front page of your blog where our posts are "showcased". By clicking the post title or the comments link the posts on the front page open on their own page where all comments display.

    The reason for this structure is that in a new blog one does not have many posts or comments. In an established blog if the comments did not collapse on the front page it would become a mile long in no time flat and page loading time is a page ranking factor. We have only seconds before visitors refuse to wait and click out.

    4. (b) full posts on Categories and Archives pages
    Whether or not full posts are displayed on Categories Pages and Archives pages is theme dependent ie. it's coded into the template and we cannot edit templates or themes. http://en.support.wordpress.com/themes/editing-themes/

    In the majority of themes, posts on category or other archive pages show up just as they do on the main posts page in the blog and the number displayed is also the same. (See this page > Settings > Reading and note how many posts you choose there sets it for all). But in some themes only the beginnings of posts are shown, and in a few themes you only get titles or thumbnails. See here for a theme list of themes that may display the way you want > Category/archive pages: full posts or not http://wpbtips.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/full-posts-in-archive-pages/

  4. 1. I need a proper theme and widgets for such a blog (WordPress.com) I have a tendency to overload blogs with stuff...

    I think most any of the WordPress.com themes would work. I think Minmum and Ideation and Intent would both be pretty cool for a history/photo blog.

    2. Heard of CSS - customising a blog is a cool thing - guess it's paid, isn't it ?

    Yep, WordPress.com doesn't charge any monthly hosting fees but we do charge for upgrades such as Custom Design upgrade for a yearly fee. The Custom Design upgrade contains a CSS editor where you can add your own custom CSS.

    3. I'm thinking about opening a FB page to make a version of the blog, but there's something like integrating a blog with FB, which I guess is different, but I don,t know if better or more precise.

    It's partly a matter of knowing your audience. A blog is an excellent way to encapsulate a history of photos like you've mentioned, and a lot of people use Facebook too. There is a simple way to connect a WordPress.com to Facebook so new posts automatically show up there, so start with that.

  5. My maybe $0.025 advice adjusted for inflation - skip the CSS it will drive you batty for starters - you have 200 themes to choose from - several do photos very well - maybe 20 ones I would consider - optimize your pictures before you upload - don't blow out your 3 GB space the first week and don't plug up your visitors bandwidth - if it is too long to load people don't come back - use the "More Tag" aggressively - don't make visitors load tons of pictures every time they visit - one to three thumbnails then cut things with the More Tag -

    Facebook I am told is good to get the word out but scrolls too fast for me - don't duplicate the blog on Facebook - use it to get the word out - blogs here work great for history stuff - I am working on a history blog also (not linked to my name) - lots of pictures not a lot of text -

    Make sure you identify the pictures properly to help search engines find your site

  6. @auxclass Your tips sound reasonable :) Could you be more specific about:
    1. Themes you recommend for a history/photo blog (in my case photos vs text balance is going to be a bit more balanced, yet pictures is a priority.
    2. Could I have a look at your blog and the way you get the word out on FB - I plan to make a simpler version of the blog on FB through a FB page plus post and like button integration - I don't think I'm now able to fully integrate both to duplicate them - I think in FB photos won't land in initial blog categories - I would have to put them to category albums, which would mean additional work and concentration.
    3. What do you mean by More Tags and aggressive policy with them?
    4. For copyright reasons and loading time, I won't put full size photos - I still haven't decided about an optimal size to consider. Any ideas?

  7. @auxclass - two thumbs up!

  8. @auxclass Ok - I was in a hurry reading your advice - things are npretty obvious if you give yourself time to think and act :) Thanks !

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