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Review Request for Website - XtremelySocial.com (7 posts)

  1. Tim Nicholson
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    I just stumbled on this forum while browsing the WordPress Codex and thought it would be great to get some feedback on my new website. Users don't typically comment about those types of things, unless something is horribly broken like user registration.

    Here is a little background on the purpose of the site:
    I have run a couple of websites for many years and have now moved into writing Facebook applications. I wanted to pull together a site that was somewhat of a branding effort to pull all of my stuff together. I want the focus to be on "Our News" and applications, but also want to offer curated social-networking articles. I plan to write articles about WordPress and maybe even incorporate curated technology news into the site (Palm, iPhone, Blackberry, etc) as that is where my "roots" are from with PalmZone.net.

    In running past websites, I have found it hard to get users to engage in conversations about the articles, even with over 5,000 users on PalmZone.net, the forums were active, but people hardly commented on articles. So I wanted to place comments inline with the articles on the main page.

    I also wanted to keep the social-networking news from drowning out "Our News". So the news is limited to just my stuff with other news only in a "Recent News" plugin.

    I spent a great deal of time editing a free theme where I liked the color scheme and graphic accents. I changed the theme to be what I call "semi-fluid". At a minimum, it fits in 800px and at a maximum it fits easily in 1024px. I suspect there may be cross-browser issues as a result.

    What I'm looking for from the review:
    I'm open to any constructive criticism, but here are a few things I'm concerned about:

    1. Cross-browser compatibility, especially when viewed from various monitor resolutions

    2. Typography. Are the fonts OK and the sizes? Is the main article text font too small? Is there enough whitespace considering all the information that I'm trying to cram into a small space?

    3. Effective layout. I like displaying only post excerpts and per above showing comments inline on the home, category, etc. pages. Does that work well with what I'm trying to accomplish with the site? Does the layout of the site let you see quickly what the site is about, what I offer, and the fact that I offer other curated news as well?

    4. Speed. This one's always an issue. How is the speed of the site in general, both when logged out and logged in. I know the Facebook Connect stuff slows the site down a lot as Facebook has to parse "the DOM tree" looking for Facebook Markup Language (FBML). I'm showing average 3 second load times with WP-Tuner, but occassionally there are serious lags. I'm hosting a couple of other websites and several Facebook apps on a small dedicated server (1.7GHz, 512MB RAM). I have gzip compression on via .htaccess and all of my plugins are cached. I wrote some of the plugins myself just so that they would be cached.

    Thanks in advance! The direct link to my website is http://xtremelysocial.com.

  2. bestofblogger
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Your site so fast load. Typography: not good i think, so small fonts, it could be good 12 font. Theme is great. what is the name of this theme? I use mozilla, i did not see any browser problem.

  3. Tim Nicholson
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Thanks, bestofblogger. The original theme is by N Design Studio. http://www.ndesign-studio.com/. The original was fixed width and I changed it to be variable width. I also changed it to display excerpts rather than full posts and inserted the comments inline. I added a number of small touches to it and a bunch of plugins.

    I'm glad it worked well in Mozilla. My laptop is 1024x768 and the small font looks OK, but I was worried it would be too small in higher-resolution monitors. I might actually change the scale to em's instead of pixels as that should render even more consistently across various monitor resolutions. What's a pain is that all the other fonts are defined as relative to the base font, so if I increase the base font size then I'll have to adjust all the other font sizes as they will be too large. Thanks for confirming that this was an issue and worth the time to change it all.

  4. vaibhavkanwal
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    You need a good header. The typography is normal. Actually, the blog does not stand out in my opinion. The domain name is really nice. It can work great if you have a good design. Its fine but its like a normal run-of-the-mill blog.

    I am sure, you can do better here.

  5. Tim Nicholson
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Thanks for the feedback, vaibhavkanwal. I did start with a pretty popular theme and while I made a TON of changes to it, the overall look is pretty much the same as the original. I spent most of my time getting it variable width, tweaking the home page with custom top and bottom widgets, 404 page, search pages, tweaking plugins, enhancing the Facebook connect functionality, etc.

    I did change out the header graphic, but its very similar to the original (blue, abstract). I would like to get a header that plays up the social aspects of the site, I'm just more of a programmer at heart than an artist. Which leads me to ask in general if folks have found some good sites that have headers that you can use for free where I might find something suitable to start from.

    As for typography, I did increase the base font size earlier today per bestofblogger's suggestion. So you probably were looking at the new version.

    As for being run-of-the-mill in general, was it mostly the header that you thought should be souped up or did the layout and combination of plugins, etc. not seem right to you? I wasn't really trying to showcase a new killer theme as I've used a stock one, but was wanting to know if the overall site layout, content, plugins, etc. all seemed to work well together and accomplish what I was trying to accomplish with the site (focus on my Facebook apps, but mention my other websites, provide curated social networking news that users of my Facebook apps might be interested in).

    One thing I've been toying with is the home page design. I've played with featured article sliders, grouping articles by category, including thumbnails, etc. I have been able to make all that work, but in the end feel like having an excerpt and the related comments shown inline was most suitable for a new site still trying to get the word out about what the site is for and what I do. If you have some home page layout or even full website you think I should look at trying to mirror on my site, let me know.

    Thanks again!

  6. vaibhavkanwal
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    Have a loot at my Blog. It runs on Thesis and I have used a minimalistic Design. Read any post and you'll know what I mean.

  7. Tim Nicholson
    Member
    Posted 4 years ago #

    vaibhavkanwal, I do like your author bio on the articles. I have an about us in the footer throughout the site and have gone back and forth on showing my ugly mug versus a site logo.

    The funny thing is that your header that says ProgrammingKid in blue and green is almost identical to the colors I used in my initial logo. I only show a small logo in the footer, though. I should try to work the logo into the header.

    Also, I found a really nice website with a ton of great-looking website header images. http://www.freewebpageheaders.com/. None of them have a "social" theme for my website, but there are some great graphics there.

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