I can’t help myself”¦
If you are reading this blog post on PhoenixRealEstateGuy.com and not in a feed reader, and assuming you’ve been here before, and you remember what it looked like, then you’re well aware that we’ve changed the look and feel of the blog.
If you’ve been around very long, you also know this happens on a semi-regular basis.
TPREG is still running on the fabulous Thesis Theme by Chris Pearson. It also uses the Print is Dead Thesis skin by Adam Barber over at ThesisReady.com. Yours truly modified the skin pretty extensively, but Adam did an amazing job with the framework, functions and CSS. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say he provides world-class tech support. Like fixing a bunch of Internet Explorer styling issues in just a couple of hours. If you’re looking to spice up a Thesis install, check him out!
I would LOVE to get some reader feedback ”“ Good, Bad, and Ugly. You won’t hurt my feelings, let me have it!
Here are some before and after screen shots. Below them you’ll find my thoughts and rational for what I’m trying to accomplish”¦
I had to cut out the middle two-thirds of this screen shot because it just went on and on forever (one of the biggest problems with the old design in my opinion). The full size screen shot is over 7000 pixels tall. That’s a LOT of scrolling.
That’s the entire screen shot, 2300 pixels tall. A mere one-third of the length of the original design.
I’m keeping the old header as I’ve grown fond of it. Social Media icons are next to that and navigation tabs are below the header graphic.
The most recent post will always be at the top, spanning the width of the content area. Below that is a new addition — “Home Info” pages — which will be updated regularly and contain market stats, new listings, and other info on different areas of the Phoenix and Tucson real estate market (there is data there, I’m still working on the layout of these pages).
Below the Home Info area are snippets of the next four most recent posts. Below that are some buttons that will take the visitor to different home searches. Then comes a video section that will have the most recent episode of Streets of Phoenix embedded and links to other episodes (I can’t begin to describe the pain of creating this section).
Below the content area is a widgetized footer area that will let me easily highlight posts of topical interest.
Over in the sidebar is pretty standard stuff. Buttons leading to our Phoenix and Tucson home search solutions and the Ask The Broker button. “Sliders” highlighting current listings for Thompson’s Realty, and a Google Custom Search area to help folks find the 1400ish articles here.
Below that is a “tabber” (another PITA to install) that highlights more recent posts, recent comments and has a nifty “random” tab that pulls up random posts from the last 6 months on each screen refresh. Under the tabber are links to our agents blogs and an ad block.
The single post pages are different as well. The primary difference is the content column is significantly wider than the old design, requiring the reader to scroll less and making my sometimes ridiculously long articles appear shorter. A “Contact Us” block will always be top right on single post pages because, well, we want people to contact us. I also stripped out a bunch of superfluous crap from the old single post pages so they load much faster and have more white-space ”“ in theory that makes them more pleasing to the eye.
I’m undecided at this time if I’m going to add the Disqus commenting system back in. It had lots of bells and whistles, but they were rarely used and provided more clutter.
I suspect I’ll be tinkering with things for quite some time, but the nuts and bolts of it are here. Let me know if you see anything wonky and again I’d love your constructive criticism! Let me know what you think! Honestly.