May 26 2018 Editor Assistance Newsletter
Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I hope you're having a delightfully relaxing weekend. I wanted to give everyone a heads-up about the updates I'm planning for BellaOnline. Please take a moment to read this, as it'll impact how the site works in the coming week.
STEP 1: UPGRADE FORUM
There's a minor update in the forum, from 7.6.0 to 188.8.131.52 which I'll aim to do tonight. The forum will be down for a few hours while this happens. This is a minor tweak to the forums. They're already mobile-friendly. I'll email before and after I do this, so you can test your area. This should be fairly straightforward. I've already updated my other 3 forums and they are fine.
STEP 2: SECURE SERVER
It's time to make BellaOnline a secure server. That is, we'll visit it at https://bellaonline.com rather than just http://bellaonline.com. We don't really "need" to be secure - we don't process orders or anything - but Google is rewarding secure sites with better traffic. We want better traffic :).
The challenge here is that for a page to be secure ALL IMAGES on that page must be secure. So all the articles which display images sourced from other websites will need to now refer to the secure (https) version of those images in order for the "green lock" to show up. We have hundreds of thousands of pages. I can simply code the articles to automatically change every image it finds to use the https version - but this will then cause problems if anybody does NOT have a secure version available. I.e. if an editor has images at http://MyImages.com/ and that site simply doesn't have a secure version available, the image would break.
So what I'm going to do is make us secure. I'll put in the code to auto-convert all image references to be secure. Then we can each check our sites. If an editor finds a lot of their images broke, I'll add code so they are temporarily excluded from that auto-convert while we figure out a solution. Their pages just won't have the green lock in that time.
I'll send a specific email on this topic once I get to it, probably Sunday, but I wanted to give you a heads up that it's coming.
STEP 3: MOBILE FRIENDLY / RESPONSIVE
This is the big one. The one I've been avoiding because of the massive scope of it. We haven't changed our webdesign since our launch, pretty much, back in 2002. We get a lot of compliments from visitors about how reliable we are. But clearly in our modern world half the visitors use mobile and the site just isn't mobile friendly. It's time to take a deep breath and become mobile friendly.
What I'm going to do is install a WordPress blog on our site for template testing. I'll set it up in a rough approximation of a homepage and article or two. I'll have you guys take a look and offer comments. We'll tweak and test it. When we have a version that we're reasonably happy with, I'll then manually use that template for our entire public site. So our admin interface WILL NOT CHANGE. It would be impossible to move all our admin functionality into WordPress. We're just changing how our articles are seen by end users. We're aiming to ensure all the users with tablets and mobile phones can read our content more easily.
Again, when I tackle this one, probably Sunday night or Monday I'll send you specific emails about it. You'll all have a chance to play with and comment on our test blog area before any sort of actual change takes place.
I had hoped to get all of these changes done by last Friday to coincide with the big European privacy date rule change, but clearly I didn't make that deadline. Converting my other sites, which I wanted to do first to figure out any kinks or problems, took longer than I thought it would. But now I'm nearly done with LisaShea.com and that only leaves BellaOnline as the last and final site. It's time to take the deep breath and get us updated. It'll be a learning curve for our visitors, who have used the same site layout for nearly 20 years, but it'll be worth it!
Ask with any questions! I'll send emails as I approach each stage so you always know what's going on.
Have a great weekend!
Lisa Shea, owner
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