Keep it Simple Stupid is far from an original mantra, but one I digested last night. If you haven’t noticed, I’m in the midst of revamping my little garrison of websites. They had all gone somewhat stale and my motivation to change that was fleeting. Part of that was the desire to change the domain name for my art blog. I kept holding out hope that the .art top level domains would come out soon. So far, no luck on that end and delaying just let more grass grow under my feet and kept me from getting moving with that project.
I’ll post more on that later, but I finally came up with a new domain name, and am working on a new look and feel for my art Blog. Here’s a hint, it’s much like this one. That may change down the line, but right now, it was much more simple to use the same theme both places. But that’s not my keep it simple moment, either!
For several years now, my art blog has been linked to my growing mailing list. Some messages to the mailing list are individually written, but many are recent posts to my blog. Ironically as my mailing list grew, I felt less encouraged to write. Most posts went in full straight to my mailing list. I prefer sending the full text because I myself prefer full text messages that don’t require me to click through to read them elsewhere. As well, years ago when I experimented on the subject, my open rate went up when people didn’t have to click through. Time will tell if that’s changed, but my posting schedule went from multiple times a week down to quarterly if I was lucky. Very simple, yes, but not ideal!
My new strategy is two pronged. I’m going to send a weekly digest with brief excerpts and links to however many articles I might actually post in that span of time. We shall see on that point, but the second prong was that I wanted a simple way to select only certain messages to go out to the list. The simplest way seemed at first to be to create a hidden category for me only. Every category in WordPress has its own feed, so I proceeded to find out how to hide a category from view on my site. That part was actually dead simple. A few minutes of searching and even less time adding the code and bingo-bango, an internal category for which posts would still appear but no one could see listed in the categories…
Until I discovered that it was still included in the list of categories in the RSS feed itself! Arggh! And on this subject, I could find little help. I searched and searched and all I ever found was instructions to omit a category from appearing in the feed. Precisely not what I wanted to do… And that internal category name I had written just for my eyes glared at me from the RSS feed late last night. Some people who read my blog through RSS would see that ugly internal category name… Sigh.. My plans seemed scuttled.
And then, yes, we’re finally getting to the Keep It Simple Stupid moment, it hit me. Name the Category what it really is – highlights! I still omitted it from the site layout, but I may revisit that at some point. But it was such an darned obvious answer. It still performs as I wanted and it has a pleasing look in the feed.