Another Round of Updates to Rain City Guide

You might have noticed that I’ve done some updating here at Rain City Guide… (Didn’t I just do that?).

What inspired me? WordPress came out with another major update (from version 1.5 to 2.0), and I decided to upgrade. Then, while I was making those changes, I just kept going until I had implemented a few more ideas I’ve been thinking about for a while…

The big changes are that I got rid of the third column and moved a lot of that content onto separate pages. I’ve wanted to do this for a while because (1) I noticed that the main blog page was taking way too long to load, and (2) the layout didn’t look good on some monitors.

For those interested, here are some details of the changes I’ve made:

  • I did a slash-and-burn operation to my side-panel in order to get it down to the basics. Only things I kept was a tips link, the frequent contributors section, an expanded comments section (the comments have been a highlight of the site recently!), some buttons, and a “Meta” section that makes it easy to register and log-in with the site.
  • I moved the About section to it’s own page where I’m able to go into much more detail about Rain City Guide and blogging in general.
  • I broke out the Agent Recommendation page into For Buyers and For Sellers pages.
  • Moved the Worth Noting column to its own page where it has gone from being the ten most recent entries to the 100 most recent!
  • Moved my blogroll to a new page (appropriately title linkation) where I have a TON more flexibility. I’m using a new feature of that makes updating this page extremely simple! And now each of the real estate sites that I link to include a description on what makes the site special! I have a bunch more ideas on new link sections to add and new ways of formatting the page, but I really like the general layout.
  • Added an archive page using a very cool SmartArchive plugin
  • Upgraded to WordPress 2.01, which has an updated backend that should make it easier for contributors to post!
  • Throw some Google Ads on the individual posts. This is really just a test and unless they are extremely lucrative, they probably won’t last long.
  • Added some more red to the layout… (Is it too much?)
  • Added Grier Smith as a Frequent Contributor
  • Fixed the problem that was causing the footer to not show up in Safari browsers.
  • Added the author’s name in bold under each post.

So, I’ve done some testing, and it seems like everything is working to me. However, if something about the new layout is not working for you, please let me know!


I got an email letting me know that some of the navigational links on my photos broke, so I spent some time upgrading my photo plugin… This one thing lead to another, and before I realized it, I’d blown a whole evening organizing photos. By my evening of organization is your gain… I’ve added categorization to the photos and fixed up a bunch of titles and descriptions. The upgraded photo plug-in also makes it easier than ever to include photos in posts, so hopefully more of the contributors will take advantage of this feature!

12 thoughts on “Another Round of Updates to Rain City Guide

  1. The Worth Noting feature is as simple as tagging articles/websites with a specific tag in delicious, and then displaying that tag via this tool. It is very easy and more convenient than posting a full blog entry on small, but interesting, stuff…

  2. I’ve found the Yahoo Publishing Network to be much more profitable then Google’s offering. Plus they allow you to target your ads. It’s in beta now so you have to get approved, but most do. Especially nicer blogs like yours.

    Definitely give it a shot…

  3. Dustin,
    I’ve been meaning to comment ever since you did the tweak. Nice layout…much less cluttered…I like the concept of mini blogs. I definitely need to do something with mine to make it more “consumer” friendly. Those of us that are into blogging sometimes forget we don’t do this for other bloggers…we do it for consumers hungry for good, easy to find information.


  4. Merv,

    I think you picked up on an interesting aspect to the new design. In thinking through what was important about the site, the three things that I value the most on Rain City Guide are the posts, the contributors and the comments. Hence, the redesigned puts the most focus (or at least tries to) on those aspects and moves all the other information to other parts of the site where people can get if they want!

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