Hey all – From time to time, it’s nice to talk about some of the changes that are being made on the website and the reasons behind them. The astute amongst you may have noticed our front page banner has been updated; it now finally says GeekOut UK. But along with that, if you’re a regular visitor to the website, you’ll have likely seen a couple of changes – Not just to the front page. If you’re not a regular visitor and wondering what changes have been made, then look no further. Today I’m going to talk about some of the behind-the-scenes and what changes we’ve made and why.
The Front Page
Let’s get this one out of the way with – I was fed up of manually editing that page every damn day. Oh sure, I could get one of the many WordPress theme front pages, but that’s not my style. I think a front page should be a landing page; it should be a place to gather to understand what the website is about, perhaps even as a basic sitemap? As such, I didn’t want to just make it so our blog posts became these huge visuals. That works for some websites, but not us. So then navigation has changed, because no more am I posting up the articles for each day (when I remember).
Instead now, all articles can be found by clicking the menu button “Articles” (or Archives, which actually goes to the same place). If you’re interested in a particular subject, you hover over Articles and you can click on one of our many topics. This was done to clean the front page up, remind people of who we are and hopefully bring some much needed clarity to the direction of our little site. We’re a community; we want to grow – and one of the best ways to help us do just that is to submit articles that you find interesting. We’ll find it interesting too, no doubt – and I’ll always provide feedback on articles I receive.
Finally, at the bottom of the page there’s a link which is a black and white image with some red words over it. This was an asset that would have been on that other new website I was working on. Fortunately, this asset can still be used, so hey, I figured why not? Besides, it’s nice to have a button to view all GeekOut Meetup articles.
Right, let’s move on…
The side panel and bottom panels
On the right hand side of the main body of text, you can likely see a bunch of different widgets saying different things. There’s a few quick ads and there’s useful stuff like a search bar, latest article per author and more. In the side panel now, we have added some countdown panels for our next Meetups. I love these, they stand out and I think they fit our theme really quite nicely. However, the unfortunate side to them is the lack of being able to add any customisable links to them. However these panels should serve as a quick n simple reminder of what’s to come. So, if you’re wondering what the next GeekOut for your area is, then look on the side panel!
The bottom panel has been gutted and there are now just a few simple widgets. We have a panel so you can like us on social media, in case you’re into your Facebooks and what not. Then we have an Affiliate link. I’m going to be taking affiliate links fairly seriously, as personally, I’ve always wanted to share things I actually care about. Affiliate links allows us to earn a commission off anything you may click through and purchase, so if you read something interesting here and we say to click on a link to buy it, please consider using that link! There’s a chance you could get what you’re looking for and help us at the same time.
Next to that is our calendar widget, showing each article every day – and finally next to that is a button I have yet to fully test. This button works in £1 increments, allowing you to donate directly to us. Wanted to ever show your support for what we do? If you have just £1 or more, we wouldn’t say no to a kind donation. Of course if I get feedback that the donation system doesn’t work well enough or what not, then so be it, I’ll do what I can to fix it.
So, rather than just pleading for money for no reason, here’s why we’ve put in affiliate links and a donate button. Every month, the website costs a good chunk. The Meetup groups also cost a good chunk. There is also Facebook, which, you’ve guessed it, also likes to charge for adverts. So, in order to keep things going, I’ve been fronting all the costs for the past six years. Now, I’d hope we’re respected enough to warrant the use of these methods. Thanks for putting up with the monetisation – We’re hoping that one day, GeekOut might pay for itself. In the mean time, we’re going to keep going as we are, but any donations or purchases through affiliate links are super welcome.
I’d wager a lot of you read our website on your mobile. We now have a mobile-ready website, which looks quite different to the main site. There are still ads, but there are barely any widgets for you to look through. There’s also a super handy search button right at the top of the website, so seriously go check it out. It took me a while to decide to push it, but I’m glad we have to support those who use mobile.
With that said, those are our changes. They were all implemented last weekend and I decided to keep relatively quiet about them until now. Tell us what you think of the changes in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.