ChristianBlog.Com is happy to announce that we have just finished up the final aspects of our new Blog Publishing System.
Our goal was to create an easier to use system that better integrated with the rest of our website.
Here are some of the new features we have added:
Website Integration. Full encapsulation within our existing template/design. Many people have noted to us how the old design did not allow them the ability to access other sections of the website while they were publishing blogs. This can be useful for opening in a new tab/window your previous blogs, your friends list, groups, discussions, etc. in order to hunt down something you want to link to within your blog.
Custom Blog Categories. A few weeks ago we gave a quick insight into the ability for our members to define their own Blog Categories. As has been communicated to us over the last few years, having pre-defined Blog Categories is highly imitated in purpose. While we feel having a set of specific Blog Categories from which to select from actually simplifies the process of Blog Publishing for those new to blogging, we do realize that most people have come to expect the ability to create custom blog categories - and as such, we have decided to open-up our Blog Category System to a 100% removal of pre-defined Blog Categories and allow our members to build and use Blog Categories that suit their own needs.
Blog Privacy. We have decided to create an additional Blog Privacy Setting called "Only Members Can See It". This new Blog Privacy Setting will allow you to have a Published Blog that is only viewable to members of the ChristianBlog.Com website - and who are logged into the website. This is a nice complement to our two existing Blog Privacy Settings.
Blog Preview. We have redesigned the "Preview" page to allow you access to a greater set of features, presented in a more logical manner. It has been divided into three sections: Preview, Edit, Publish. The "Preview" section is much nicer now in that we will show a preview of the blog you are working on, exactly like it would be displayed on your actual Published Blog page. On the right-side you will now see the same details we show on the main blog, including information about yourself, your blog calendar (if you are a pledge partner and have it turned on) and your biography. This presents a much nicer preview of exactly how your blog will look once you have Published it.
Helpful Tips. On the right side of the "Preview" page we have no added some helpful tips for our new members to understand how the Blog Publication System works.
Blog Photograph. We have redesigned the process of Publishing a Blog to better highlight the "Blog Photograph" feature that we introduced some time back. The Blog Photograph feature has become fairly popular with many of our members, and we would love to see even more members using it. As we reflected about how to better integrate the Blog Photograph feature into the Blog Publishing process, the best solution was to actually create a whole new page just for the Blog Photograph - yet instead of having it just be an optional button, we decided to actually migrate it into the Blog Publishing System. The result we feel is very nice. Right after you enter your Blog Subject a new page will be displayed giving you the option to upload a Blog Photograph or to skip the option. This will eliminate the hunt for the option to include a Blog Photograph during the process - and, we hope, encourage more members to utilize this great feature!
Blog Category Page. We the advent of custom blog categories we have now created a new blog category page that will display all of the Blog Categories a member has created, along with the Published Blogs available within each custom blog category.
Blog Tags. With the creation of the Custom Blog Categories we have come to realize that having "blog tags" is a 'duplication of features' - as many have come to realize throughout the blogosphere over the last few years. The reason we initial introduced the Blog Tags feature here at ChristianBlog.Com was to allow our members the ability to have a quasi-custom-category system. While it worked for many people, more often than not, Blog Tags just caused confusion to those new to blogging. In the future we made decide to re-introduce Blog Tags to our Pledge Partners who are looking for advanced blogging features.
At this time we have not released any method for removing custom blog categories, once they have been created. (something to be aware of)
The reason we have not is because in our initial trials we were able to conceive multiple ways of dealing with the removal of blog categories that had existing blogs within them, yet we were unable to fully agree upon which method was the easiest to use.
The feedback we are looking for has to do with this:
Let's say you have a blog category that you have assigned three blogs to, but you want to delete the given blog category because you feel it is no longer relevent (or whatever the case might be).
The existing argument is whether we should:
(a) have the member to go into their "My Blogs", visit the individual "edit blog" page, and update the Blog Category therein to a new Blog Category.
(b) have an entire "Blog Category Management" system where you create, edit, and delete Blog Categories. Within this "Blog Category Management" System would be a tool that would migrate all blogs from one category to another category, should you desire to delete a given blog category.
We hope that the ChristianBlog.Com Community enjoys the ability to create their own custom blog categories - and the newly designed blog publishing system. This is one of the last major updates to the website we will be releasing for the foreseeable future - due to a development freeze on the software that runs the website. By adding the custom blog categories, ChristianBlog.Com has now fully integrated all of the major features of other Blog Service Providers - plus the dozens of others that we offer that nobody else does.
As always we welcome feedback and if you encounter any issues with it we would ask that you use the bug reporting system (just be sure to look through the existing bug reports over the last 24-48 hours... duplicated bug reports are annoying to deal with.)
The ability to edit and delete your Blog Categories has now been activated for all members.
You can access this new section from within your "My Blogs" or your "Account" page.
Up next will be the ability to update the Blog Category from within your Blog Edit page.
Thank you and sorry for the delay in rolling this feature out to all of our members.
We have just passed 575 custom blog categories created by our members.
Here are some of the more interesting categories we have seen created:
He Weeps With Us
Life in the Blah Lane
Genesis and Creation
Lessons from History
Gospel of John
Together In Our Journey
Living in Victory
Why I hate blogging [i](ok, that one made us giggle)[/i]
These are just some of the custom blog categories that we have seen created that caught our eye!
We are very happy to see this new custom blog category system working without any issues [i](at least, nobody has reported any issues)[/i] and it excites us to be able to know that our members are coming up with some very creative categories!
We know that this ability to create custom categories adds one additional step in the blog creation process, but the freedom it offers our members to not have to use pre-defined blog categories (defined by ChristianBlog.Com) we feel is well worth the extra step! We hope all of you feel the same way.