AS WE BEGAN THE 2010 GARDEN SEASON, OUR THIRD, A Way to Garden encountered the challenge so many blogs-verging-on-website-scale do: how to make navigation easier and bubble up all the great archived material? A tour of the enhancements:
To move the latest stories front-and-center, the header, or logo, is slimmer than it was before designer Kenneth B. Smith and the programmers of WebDevStudios helped me revise it, using Brian Gardner’s hot new Genesis framework for WordPress. (Besides botanical Latin, I also talk some geek. You’ll get used to the fusion.)
ABOVE THE LOGO, left to right:
ABOUT will take you to the About page. (Sneaky, huh?)
TOPICS will show you—at a glance, in thumbnail-sized photos and links—what subjects “we” cover.
SEARCH is what you think it is.
NEWSLETTER SIGNUP will take your email address, subscribing you to the newsletter I do weekly or so. More about that, and samples, here.
THE GREEN SQUARES at top right (in turn) allow you to:
- follow @margaretroach on Twitter
- visit or join our Facebook page
- subscribe to the RSS news feed (updates sent to your feed reader whenever I post)
- contact me (at awaytogarden [at] gmail [dot] com)
THE HEADER (LOGO AREA) ITSELF also includes four “buttons” at the top right:
- My new book (“And I Shall Have Some Peace There,” a dropout memoir, due out February 2011; updates to come later this year)
- Forum (a community of readers, with Q&A’s and other sharing; go join and participate)
- Site tour (like this post, but with more detail about me and my mission and such)
- Garden humor: the doodles of beloved Andre Jordan, appearing weekly since October 2008
THE FAR-LEFT NARROW COLUMN
In an age of giant, flashing dropdown menus and tabs on websites—things that remind me more of a shopping site than the sanctuary of a garden—I decided to go low-tech. Hope that’s OK.
The intention is to tell you what topics I cover, and let you dig in. Get acquainted with this index, and you will find the site easier to use. Note that “Jack the Demon Cat” got his own cat(egory). (Get it? )
I added a section called “most popular” into which I will continue to place posts that either my stats meters or your comments tell me you like. Sometimes I may sneak one in that’s simply most popular with me. Tough noogies; it’s my garden. But this “most popular” section is a good place to start if you’re new.
I added one called “for beginners,” into which I have placed stories I think everyone starting out will need for inspiration. However, be aware that I don’t think garden beginners should only grow impatiens and forsythia. It takes the same work to dig a hole for a really good plant as for the commonplace and overused.
Exhibit B: Rather than a boring long list, the results will usually be displayed so that you can navigate visually among all the trees and shrubs, for instance, or annuals and perennials. (Or doodles by Andre, example below.)
THE SECOND NARROW COLUMN
Here’s where you can quickly get to some other features, like my gardening FAQs, all my Slideshows (also reached by clicking the green link below the mini-slideshow in the far-right column), our “press clips” of stories about the blog, etc.
Below that, I’ll showcase little teasers about some of the juiciest things on the site, as I always have in my sidebars. Have a read…maybe something appeals?
THE WIDE COLUMN IN THE MIDDLE
This one’s easy: It’s the latest blog post up top, and consecutively older ones below. At the bottom of the page, you can click to older and older posts (“older posts”). Generally, the front page will show off at least the last week of entries without any clicking.
COMMENTS are welcome on any post, anytime. Longtime readers will tell you that I try to be responsive, and I always personally welcome first-time commenters to the fold. A lot of questions get asked and answered in the comments (or you can go to the Forums).
THE FAR-RIGHT TINTED COLUMN
New! A mini-slideshow of some favorite images, and a link to all my slideshows.
A short version of my “About” page is under “Who’s Gardening Here?”
The monthly Garden Chores will also appear in this column (I post them on the blog, too, and you can find all of them under “Chores by Month” among the Topics (left-hand column).
THE FAT FOOTER
Yes, that’s what the area at the bottom of the page with the photo of me in it is called on blogs (I actually have rather skinny feet). You will also find my recent Twitter “Tweets” here and links to the “social network” sites and my other blogs.
I know it will take some getting used to; I am already on Dramamine from dizziness while getting re-acclimated. :) But click around, and enjoy. And be patient if there are hiccups. Gardeners are patient types, right?