Looking for feedback on my maker blog

(Daniel Hollands) #1

Hey folks, I hope you don’t mind, but I’m looking for some general feedback on my maker blog:

I’ve just moved from Digital Ocean to Heroku, updating the version of Ghost in doing so, and have had to change the theme I was using (the old theme was incompatible with the new version, and I’m too lazy to try fixing it).

I’m interested in three mains areas of feedback:

  1. content
  2. design
  3. general usability

I don’t need anything in-depth, just your general thoughts on the content posted, the current theme, and what could be done to improve things.

Thanks folks

(Jon) #2

I’ve probably just caught you doing a system upgrade, getting:

The currently active theme “mapache-2.1.3” is missing.

It was working when I clicked it a few hours ago.

(Alex Russell) #3

Also getting mapache error, but it was also working for me when you first posted the link. Initial quick skim thoughts are it looks nice and works well. No obvious issues I could see.

(Daniel Hollands) #4

Turns out I’ve discovered the main issue with hosting Ghost blog on Heroku - no permanent file storage. I was hoping that uploading the theme would be immune to this issue, somehow (maybe via the S3 bucket I had set-up), but I guess not.

I’ll have to check the repo I used to set it up and see what it says about custom themes.

Thanks for the heads up, I’m not sure I would have known about the issue this soon otherwise. For now I’ve reverted to the default theme.

(Daniel Hollands) #5

I’ve taken a deeper look into this, and it appears I can use a custom theme if I add it to the repo. The problem is I don’t have a copy of the repo because I used the Deploy to Heroku button contained within the repo’s readme.

Not a problem, I thought, I’ll just clone down what heroku have in their copy of the repo, so I found the instructions:

$ heroku git:clone -a maker-limeblast-co-uk

… but got the message that I had just cloned an empty repo.

I’m fairly new to the way Heroku do things, so I’m thinking the next thing to try would be to clone down a fork the original repo, clone it down, set it’s heroku origin using their CLI tool, and pray that pushing to it won’t kill what I’ve already done.

Watch this space!

(Daniel Hollands) #6

Fixed it.

The above turned out to be true, so after some magic to use package.json to pull in the theme, and a sym link to put it in the right place, I’m now back up and running.

I’m still interested in any feedback anyone might have :slight_smile:

(Jon) #7

Well, the first bit of feedback is that the blog is working again :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, I like it. The presentation is clean and readable, and the writing is fresh and interesting. That leaves room only for some trivial tweaks:

  • It looks like the excerpts in list mode are automatically generated. I’ve been playing around with excerpts in Jekyll, and I’ve found that while automatic ones are sometimes OK, it’s worth adding a manual excerpt for readability. Sometimes the cut is mid-sentence, or the paragraph is missing some context, and the best solution is just to write it yourself.
  • Tags are generally to group related posts together, but it looks like you’ve got project-specific tags (e.g. project-6-pir-zombie-detector). I’d expect that to relate to only one post (and thus be somewhat redundant) but it looks like that tag relates to three articles, for projects 3, 4 and 6. I wonder if that’s not intentional?
  • I’m also in favour of leaving theme author links in place (in the footer) but readers sometimes don’t like shortlinks, since they obscure the final target of the link. Can the author’s actual link target be used? I doubt it would be likely to change.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Do ask if there’s anything specific you’d like feedback on.

(Daniel Hollands) #8

Good point, well made.

TBH, the focus of the blog has changed a bit since I first set it up. Originally it was going to be only for projects built from the book, but the steam for that somewhat run out at the same time as I started playing with other things which I wanted to write about, and I didn’t see the point in creating another blog.

I think the tagging system I had worked pretty well for the old design and idea, but since I swapped to this new one it’s lost its way. Maybe now’s a good time to go in and re-tag all the zombie book posts using a single tag.

As for that tag in particular - all three posts on that page do in fact use that tag, it’s just not obvious from that list view as it only shows the first tag assigned to each post.

I guess that’s a choice made by the theme author, as it isn’t something that I’ve changed. It seems they’ve put some effort into that short link (http://bit.ly/GodoFredoNinja-Mapache) and are probably using it for stats (to see how many clicks they get from theme shortcuts, etc…)

Thank you for the feedback, I’ll look at re-tagging the relevant posts, and probably updating the about this site bits and bobs while I’m at it.

(Daveyon Mayne) #9

May be it’s me but that subscribe button does not tell me why I should click it. It’s at the very top so I see no reason to subscribe. See where I am getting? I’ve only looked from a mobile design.