What's New, November 2018

Greetings Christian Bloggers!

Yesterday, November 01, 2018, the ChristianBlog.Com ministry released three newly designed sections of our website!

  1.  A new home page.
  2.  A new blog publisher.
  3.  A new messaging system.

Here are some details on these three updates to the ChristianBlog.Com website.

New Home Page.

We are excited to announce that our new home page design has finally been finished.

Development of our new home page started back in May of this year, so a 7 month duration from the time we got started on it until release. A month or so ago we made a demo of it available for our bloggers to try. It was very limited in features, of course.

Our new home page features a massively different design than our previous home page. We have switched back to using a three column design, much like two generations ago of our home page. This time around, however, the three column design actually plays nice with mobile devices, which make up the vast majority of the people who visit the ChristianBlog.Com website. While focus was given to those on desktops, equally so was focus given to those on mobile devices, both smart phones and tablets. Each of those three devices, phones, tablets, and desktops/laptops, will see less, or more, information on their screens. Desktops/laptops, of course, getting to see the most information, avatars, pictures, etc.

The home page now display blog snippets that are 3x longer than our previous home page. The larger should snippet leads to folks to have a higher chance of wanting to read individual blogs, and not just skim over them. As the saying goes these days, "people do not read, they glance" and as a website, we need to do whatever we can to get folks to read the blogs that all of you, our bloggers, publish at our website.

We have now introduced the "community" aspect of the website onto the home page. We have taken to renaming "community" to "Life Moments", as these type of short messages are more life-related than blog related. Regardless of what you want to call them, the introduction of them onto the home page will further help engage your friends, by them not having to specifically and intentionally visiting another section of the website.

A huge aspect of the new home page is that you can now post comments directly to blogs and Life Moments from the home page. That is just wonderful as it allows your friends and others to very quickly post their thoughts on your postings!

Additionally, most newly published blogs are getting audio files attached to them. This is something we have offered for our Gold Members for the last month or two. On our new home page, you can now listen to blogs directly from the home page!

Stars! Everybody has been asking for "likes/stars" for, well, forever. Our new home page now has the ability to star both blogs and Life Moments!

Quick View. This was a feature introduced in our demo home page. It allows you to view a blog without actually visiting the individual blog page. This 'quick view' does remove a bit of formatting and other aspects, but it retained all of the text of the blog. And, do not worry about your blog views analytics, as all quick views does increase your blog count, just as if the blog was viewed on the individual blog page.

There are numerous other new aspects to our home page that we look forward to our bloggers discovering and using, with the above mentioned features being some of our favorite!

 

New Blog Publisher.

We are equally exited to announce a new blog publisher!

We have received a lot of feedback since our last blog publisher was released back in October of 2016.

It served us all well, but it had some short comings, especially with the new design of the website, picture requirements, blog licensing, attributions/credits and such things.

The first page of our new blog editor presents three aspects of your blog:

  1. The blog license, which has now been changed to default of "I will handle this myself", instead of a Creative Commons license. It should be noted that if you select the default option, you really should include some kind of copyright notice, within the "attributions/copyright" section of the blog creation process. More on that below.
  2. The blog subject. This is the title of your blog. A very exciting part of our new blog publisher is that your blog subjects can new be identical to other blog subjects you have published in the past. Why you would want to do that, we are not entirely sure, but hey, if you want too now, go for it.
  3. The blog slug. The slug is the part of your blog that is used/seen in the website address of your blog (i.e.: christianblog.com/blog/usersname/this-is-the-slug-part-of-your-blog/). Like always, your slug has to be unique. You cannot have two blogs with the same slug.

 

Next is a brand new page of the blog publisher: "Featured Image".

This new page, the "Featured Image" is a page dedicated to allowing you to upload a picture that will be added to the top of your blog. This step will help you having to manually do that each time you create a blog.

Featured Images must meet a size requirement.

Featured Images must be at least 600px in width and 300px in height.

If they do not meet those size requirements the Featured Image will not be displayed on the home page and elsewhere on the website.

If you are looking for really good pictures for your blogs, that are free to use, so long as you include the required attribution/copyright, we recommend unsplash.

You can, of course, choose not to have a Featured Image attached to your blog.

 

On the next page of the new blog publisher you will see a number of new options, including:

  1. A dedicated section to upload and attach additional pictures.
  2. A new, and super useful, button called "Save for later". We love this new feature because it allows you to periodically save your blog, if you are typing out your blog on our website, just to make sure that things are being saved. It can also be used, of course, if you are in the process of writing your blog, than need to go do something else, and having to leave the CB website.
  3. A new section called "Attributions & Credits". This new, super useful feature, is where bloggers should be placing attributions/credits for any images that they use, for any Biblical Citations (bible credit), and citations for other quotes that you might use within your blogs. Anything you place within this section will be displayed below the content of your blog content. By moving the attributions & credits outside of the primary blog content, it will allow us to not have the audio of your blog have all of that included within it, as well as clean up the visual aspects of your blog.

 

There are also some new things happening being the scene that are worth mentioning. One that we really like is that if you have your twitter account added to your social networking options, when we post a tweet to our official twitter account, we will include an (at)mention of your twitter account within the tweet of your new blog. How cool is that. We have also integrated our "mentions" feature into the new blog publisher, so if you (at)mention another ChristianBlog.Com blogger, they will be notified of you mentioning them. These are just two of the great new features that we have added to our new blog publisher, we hope you like it.

 

New Messaging System.

We live in a time when internet privacy is becoming more and more of an issue. Our "Private Message" feature of our website has served us well for many years, but it was time to drastically increase the security of it, and give it a lot more attention and love.

To begin with, we have decided to change the name from "Private Messages" to "Direct Messages". This falls in line with a trend that most other website are doing, and felt we should make the change as well.

On the security side of things, we have now started using what is called "end to end encryption" for all Direct Messages. This is the same as other services such as Apple iMessage, and Facebook WhatsApp messages. They are, to put it simply, pretty much impossible for anybody to view but the two people involved in the Direct Message. If the ChristianBlog.Com database were to be compromised, it would not matter because your Direct Messages would not be viewable. If ChristianBlog.Com were to receive a governmental subpoena, it would not matter, as we could not private the Direct Message data to them, because of the high level of encryption.

On a quick note of things: when you are sending a new Direct Message to a friend, there should be an "auto-complete" (dropdown) once you start typing the person you want to send to, and please be aware that it uses @ usersnames, and not real names.

 

Other quick notes:

It should be obvious that all bloggers profiles have been updated to our new design. The profile pages are sadly not really finished yet. That is priority #1 over the next few weeks.

Likewise, we have updated all blogs to our new design as well. We have been working hard to work out the bugs and get things looking and working great.

We will be working on updating the rest of the website to our new design, section by section, over the months ahead.

Thank you everybody.