If you have ever visited this site before, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “what happened?!” right about now. The answer, in plain wording, is that I was looking for a change of scenery as well as to simplify your browsing experience. As such, I have made some cosmetic changes to the layout of my blog!
The most obvious, of course, is the wider body and the additional sidebar on the left side. I did this for two reasons. First of all, I had a lot of content on my right-hand sidebar, and was concerned that the significance of some of the content was being lost by it not being visible at first glance on the page. To combat this, I have gone to a wider body for the whole site (1024 pixels from the original 800, for those of you keeping score at home). This has allowed me to add a second sidebar on the left to balance out the page!
After moving some of my “widgets” around in the sidebars, though, I realized that if I were to keep only the “widgets” that I had initially, the two-sidebar idea would look very empty. This brings me to my second change; I have added some new widgets to the sidebar! On the left hand side, you will now see a “Categories” area that will allow you to browse any of my posts by the categories I use. The right hand sidebar is now also equipped with links to the three most recent comments on my posts, so you can see what people are saying to me! Finally, I separated my links (lower right) into two categories-Music Education Links and My Favorite Links, and added a few of my favorite bloggers to my list. Finally, I consolidated the archives widget in the left sidebar by turning it into a drop-down box.
The final major change is both practical and aesthetic. If you notice, I now have a random orange and white icon my right hand sidebar. This is a link to my impoved RSS feed, and is part of an effort to gain a more specific “reader base” for my blog. By clicking on this link, you can subscribe to the news feed of my posts (using your favorite feed reader) and get updated any time I make a new post here, instead of having to manually check the site yourself! For more information on this, check out the Wikipedia articles on RSS and on the different Aggregators (feed readers) available. For a list of aggregators, scroll to the bottom of the wiki article. My personal favorite is Google Reader. Anyway, this new feed (located at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/andyzweibel if you’re keeping track), will allow me to track the number of subscribers I have, and see how many click-throughs these subscribers make. Long story short-I’ll be able to see what you are all interested in reading, and hopefully tailor my posts more towards those trends!
What do you think of the new layout? Do you like the two sidebars? What about the new widgets? Have you had any good/bad experiences with RSS feeds? Let me know what you think about these changes by leaving a comment; I do this for you, so let me know what you think!