Dec
06
2010

Our New Design

How’s this a Sunday for you: I redesigned the family blog. If you’re a frequent visitor, you can definitely see the difference. Please let me indulge you on the details.

Jeub Famly in 2007

We've grown quite a bit since 2007, which is how old our previous design was.

Wendy and I want to keep this blog going strong, and for good reason. We want to encourage couples to keep love growing in their families. We’ve been blogging for five years about topics that impact families. We want to keep this momentum going!

Here’s a peak under the hood of our website: 3 elements of this site that, we hope, will keep you coming back for more.

1. WordPress Design: Standard Theme

WordPress is the blogging technology we use. It is free, open source and fairly easy to use (though initial setup may be cumbersome to novices). There are other blog technologies that are easier to set up, but none are as extensible as WordPress. Their plugins are incredibly vast (last count at 12,248 plugins and over 13 million downloads), and the development community of WordPress is widespread.

There’s one catch with open source software: standardization is a bit chaotic. Our previous design didn’t fare nearly as well as it should have on search engines, and not all the plugins would work. So, I forked up $99 and purchased the Standard Theme design template. Now our site is updated to industry standards and screams along fine. If you are a WordPress blogger, make sure you get the Standard Theme.

2. Conversation Enhancements

We love the conversations that stir up on our blog. The “comments” field was always easy to use, but the information didn’t load smoothly. So, we implemented the following:

  1. Gravatars. You have the option to set up a picture of yourself that will display next to your comment. This is optional, but we love it when we can put a face to the opinion. Please set up a Gravatar!
  2. Reply to individual comments. It was annoying that a reply became a general comment in the previous design. Now everyone can reply to specific commentators. It’s easy and enhances the conversation.
  3. Open comments. I actually implemented this a month ago, but it’s worth noting here: Wendy and I don’t screen the comments any longer. Some snarky ones have gotten through, but they actually add to the conversation. We’ll only delete comments if they are vulgar or profane. If you disagree with us, you are welcome! But be advised: You may be persuaded by others.

3. Monetize

Sounds so capitalistic, doesn’t it? It doesn’t make sense to let a frequently trafficked site go without ways to generate revenue. The two Google ads on the right will lead you to whatever, and we’ll get a few cents for every referral. We hope you don’t mind the advertising, but we’re looking forward to keeping this ministry rolling with the funds from monetizing the site.

Go ahead and give it a try. Click on those links. Get all your friends to do the same! =)

We’ve also created an online store with the plugin PHPurchase. There exists free plugins that would have done the trick, but PHPurchase gave us the ability to control design. We have only 5 products, so our store isn’t too complicated, but we found the free plugins tried too hard to extend their features, making it difficult to control the store experience. I suppose you get what you pay for, and this plugin appears to be doing the trick. Visit their website for a list of features, and of course, visit our store.

There are several other little odds and ends that changed, but I’m not going to bore you any longer. We’ll be implementing more changes over the holidays, every one an attempt to make the site easier to use and helpful to you.

We’re excited for this new website. Thank you for your help in getting the word out!

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • http://smockityfrocks.com Smockity Frocks

    I love the new look! Nice and clean.

    … but… what about the kitchen timer?! :o)

  • Beth

    Looks great! :)

  • Janelle C.

    Yahoo looks good and I love that you are blogging more! Love to hear what is going on in the land of Jeub. So what’s up with the kitchen timer? I can always use more of those!

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

    We added a little clearer detail at the bottom of the article.

  • http://john.do John Saddington

    love the look and customization! thanks for choosing Standard Theme!

  • http://www.swtangel79.blogspot Dana Lambert

    Love the new look. So easy to use, streamlined but full of wonderful information! Great job!

  • http://stephsoundoff.blogspot.com Steph T

    Cool that you are adding the google monetize thing. I have thought about doing that, but couldn’t decide if it would “feel weird” or not. Thank you for sharing your opinion!! For now I have really enjoyed joining various publisher’s blogger programs (tyndale, waterbrook, etc)–I get free copies of books to read and review on my blog. It doesn’t make us any extra money, but it certainly enriches our lives (and we get to keep the books)! It’s been a fun way to extend my blog. :)

  • Abby

    Hehe I thought you guys hated coupons and you’re giving one away? :) lol I have so many timers already but can I ever find one when I need one? nope :)

    I’ve been meaning to say this from a couple posts back, but I’m really happy you don’t “screen” comments anymore, though I never knew you used too. There are some blogs I’ve looked at before who literally remove anything that even slightly questions what the family does or offers the slightest alternative view, and some who actually change what you say. It can make them look like they are idolizing themselves even if not on purpose. (I can obviously understanding removing bad language or downright rudeness and unconstructive critisism). I’m glad you don’t. I’m what many on the right would call a “liberal lefty whacko” which I’m not apologetic for (and Im not a total whacko), but I’m a Christian, against abortion and semi homeschooler (2 at public school, 3 homeschooled)but I enjoy your blog, agree with many points and disagree with some and enjoy the debate on the comments. You may not persuade all of us on every issue, but keep going. And don’t feel offended that I probably won’t put my icture up I don’t really share my picture on the net :)

    I like your new design

    • Ashley Ellis

      I like the layout of the page better, and don’t mind the ads, as long as they aren’t immoral ones! However, this comments field is very confusing to me ( a nonblogger) to figure out, as it displays code and responses that I do not understand.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

      Thanks for posting, Abby! Now, now, we never said we “hated” coupons. We just call it what it is: They are used to encourage the buyers to SPEND money, not SAVE it. So, we proudly hand out coupons with the dislosure: We want you to buy the product! =)

      • Abby

        ahhhh ok I get it :)

  • Amy Pederson

    I love the new design. It looks brighter and more high tech. I appreciate the attention to detail and the new added features. Well done, Jeubs, as usual!!

  • http://mybigfamily@cox.net Kathy

    I like it. It looks great:)

  • Beth

    Keep up the great work. Love your site.

  • http://www.thegapgirl.blogspot.com Amy

    I LOVE the look of the new blog and am excited about the new features for commenting. Can’t wait to see it all in progress. Who drew the picture???

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

      The picture was drawn by the daughter of some good friends of ours. She was only 12 at the time…quite an artist!

  • Colleen

    Thanks for all you do for the homeschool community! I enjoy popping into your blog now and then. Also have enjoyed several of your speech/debate books, and a couple of your family books.

  • hsmominmo

    Hello Jeub Family! I’m just discovering your blog and website. Very nice! I’m especially enjoying reading some of your blog posts. Your book “Love in the House” has been recommended to me and I look forward to reading it soon. Thanks for the encouragement you offer to all us ‘Parents of Many’!