A website with a bunch of text and links might be good for search engines to pick apart, but it is sure to drive traffic away as far as possible. That is why adding “pieces of flair” – a reference to the 1999 movie Office Space, directed by Mike Judge – is important.
In Office Space, Jennifer Aniston’s character works at a chain-like restaurant, and her manager, played by Judge himself, pushes her to wear buttons to show she is having a good time.
When it comes to websites, developers might want to show the visitors they enjoy what they created, but at the same time, they want to keep people on the site so they potentially submit a form or purchase a product.
This week, I toyed around with adding a few features to my master’s blog – www.gregorywehner.com.
Before getting started with my tasks, I switched away from a homepage that consisted of my “About” page and moved toward a page that shows off what I can do. Keep in mind, the site is still a work in progress, but here is what it looks like currently.
The Word Press template I am using had a homepage that pulled elements into a slider toward the top. Finding where this was took a bit of time, but I was able to find it when I chose to edit the page using the WPBaker Page Builder. The builder uses containers that can be edited and moved around.
Once I discovered where the containers were that I needed to modify, I changed the images in the slider, modified the text in the slider, and moved my way down the page to make appropriate modifications to fit my style.
Toward the bottom, I setup a container within another container that embedded a YouTube video I shot when visiting the Painted Desert in June.
After embedding the video, I modified the top menu by shortening the titles of the navigation bar items and added several social media buttons by modifying the theme in Word Press. This theme has a section under “Theme Options” that allows the developer to add buttons for nearly every social media platform. These buttons are nice for showing visitors other ways to keep track of what I am working on.
Keeping with the social media buttons, I added my Twitter feed to the side bar by installing the “Custom Twitter Feeds” plugin, which included a widget that can be used in the side bar. The nice thing about the plugin is once the developer logs into twitter through the application, a token pulls into the plugin allowing the feed to remain updated.
One of the more difficult tasks of the day came when I added a “Contact” form page and navigation bar item. The form is created through the Contact Form 7 plugin. Creating the form was simple. Where I ran into problems was directing the form submissions to my email address. By default, the form was setup to go to my administrative email account, which was not setup. Using the backend tools for the domain, I created the email address and forwarded all submissions to go to my Gmail account.
In addition to the Twitter feed, contact form, Social Media buttons and YouTube video, I played around with the side bar and found a way through the theme to display recent posts.
I am still on the fence with whether I like the side bar or not. I feel it creates clutter and takes up too much space. What I may do is eliminate the side bar and create a slider at the top of the homepage for recent posts, and a ticker for my Twitter feed.
The goal of the work I did today was to create “flair,” and I accomplished that. Now it is time to mold the clay a bit more.