Overhaulin' the "buzz" - mybeerbuzz 2.0

14 January 2010

It’s been an amazing 20-months since the very beginning of mybeerbuzz.com. From the live launch on April 1st 2008 up to today, it’s been quite a ride. About 6-months ago, it became apparent that our beer community had outgrown the original mybeerbuzz.com playing field, so I set out to create a new design. I wanted a design that allowed my readers to see everything important without scrolling or searching and one that allowed us room to grow as a community of beer lovers. With all of that in mind, I now present to you mybeerbuzz 2.0.

As you can see I’ve widened the playing field to give us more real estate. I realize some readers don’t use the highest graphics settings, but most users are at least 1024 pixels wide which will work well with the new page. Within our new playing field I’ve added quite a bit of new functionality:
• Blog posts remain large and in the center of the blog. This is the content most readers want, so it gets the largest section. Links to member pages remain prominent on the right side also to make it easier to find your favorite beers.
• A link bar has been added at the top under my logo to allow quick access to important links like my Facebook page, my Twiter feed, my faq, and of course my swag stores ;)
• The New NEPA Beer Calendar has been moved up to the top. Now you can easily find all of our local beer events.
• A mybeerbuzz Search Bar has been added to allow you to search ALL mybeerbuzz pages. This includes all mybeerbuzz member pages. This will allow you to more easily find content (or beers) on any of our pages without searching each individually.
• A Recent Comments section that highlights any comments posted recently under ALL posts on the main mybeerbuzz.com page. This will allow readers to quickly see what posts have new comments and quickly link to that post to add comments if they wish.
• A Facebook Status & Links feed to display my most recent Facebook status and link updates. This area is a work in progress, but so far it has been useful so it will remain active.
• I have improved Post Comments to make it easier for readers to participate. Most readers didn’t even know they can add comments to each post. I’ve now made the comment link a brighter color and embedded the comments into the page below the post when you click on comments. Comments are still moderated (damn SPAMmers) by me.
• Each post has a 1-click Share on Facebook button, and Re-Tweet button to allow you to share one of my posts with your Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Also note the ReTweet counter I’m experimenting with that actually tells you how many times another user has retweeted that post.
• A more robust Contact Me section allowing you to e-Mail me or chat with me live if I’m on-line.
• A Read More post option allowing long posts to be summarized and expanded as needed. In fact if you’re reading this you’ve already experienced that.
• An extended Twitter Feed section displaying all of my Tweets and links to corresponding posts.
• A Photo feed to display my most recent Photos. This will allow readers to stay up-to-the-minute on mybeerbuzz photo activity.
• Expanded counters allowing you to see page hits AND current visitors/readers on the site. As a bonus you can click on the current visitors button to map where those visitors are!
• A Tell Your Friends box allowing you to quickly tell your friends (Facebook) or followers (Twitter) to check out mybeerbuzz.com. This is in addition to individual Facebook & Twitter links in each post allowing you to share specific post content.
• Simplified RSS Feeds allowing you to feed post content and/or post comment content.
• A Green Options section allowing you to share mybeerbuzz content without wasting paper.
• Expanded Sponsorship Options and categories. In the past I have run one random Google adsense ad to try to offset the cost of maintaining mybeerbuzz.com. I have expanded my adsense campaign to several blocks in the lower portions of the page. Over the last year, I’ve also been approached by local beer-business wanting to have advertising blocks on mybeerbuzz.com. To accommodate these requests, I have established a robust set of sponsorship options, sizes and categories. This will give interested parties many different avenues to advertise their product. Yes the blog continues to be FREE, and no it is not my intent to profit in this venture…I simply want to cover my costs and perhaps enjoy a beer.
• A Wilkes-Barre Brewing History page. This page will contain a rag-tag collection of images, documents and items from our local Wilkes-Barre brewers, Lion & Stegmaier. Stay tuned as this section grows.

So there you have it boys and girls…..mybeerbuzz 2.0…feel free to play in our new playing field, and let me know what you think. Who knows…maybe I’ll have enough brain cells remaining for mybeerbuzz 3.0 someday.


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