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This is the list of ideas the new catonmat should implement.
I had them originally on paper, now I rewrote them here with more comments so
that everyone had access to them from the start and could comment on them.
I wrote them down very quickly, sorry if some of the ideas seem fuzzy.
Just ask me if something is not clear.
I also published the first 50 to catonmat.net:
http://www.catonmat.net/blog/50-ideas-for-the-new-catonmat-website/
Here they are in a random order:
1. 301 Redirect Table.
The idea is to maintain a table that will be checked against the request URLs.
If the request URL is in the table, it gets redirected to a new destination
URL with the 301 HTTP header, which forwards the link juice from one URL to
another.
This is necessary because some forums break URLs in multiple lines and the
resulting clickable URL is 404. If I didn't do a 301 to the new location, this
link would be lost. Anyone who clicked it, would end up on the 404 error page.
Another example is if someone links to a mistyped URL. Anyone who clicks it
ends up being unsatisfied, at 404 page. With a 301 table I can quickly fix
these problems.
Here is a concrete example: Someone links to www.catonmat.net/artikle when
they wanted to link to www.catonmat/article. I'd simply insert an entry to 301
redirect /artikle to /article and everyone's happy.
2. 404 Error Log.
I absolutely have to know what pages trigger 404 errors so that I can fix them
ASAP with the 301 redirect table. There may be many false alarms, therefore I
have to add filters to the 404 error log to ignore some spammy patterns.
3. A Great 404 Page.
If someone ends up on a non-existing page, log it as described in #2 and then
explain to the visitor why the page he visited was not found. Suggest him or
her or it to view 5 latest post titles, or 5 most popular posts, or most
popular downloads, or something else (still have to think about it when I
implement it).
4. A Separate Trackback/Pingback/Linkback/Refback Page With Moderation.
Tracebacks are usually displayed among comments. This is very messy. There is
no place for them among comments. The idea is to have them on a separate page
like www.catonmat.net/post-title/trackbacks. Also add bulk moderation as
spammers love to exploit trackback. (Perhaps drop trackbacks altogether as
they are of very little value.)
5. A Page With Last Comments.
Currently I am displaying only the 10 last comments on the right sidebar. This
is insufficient. I want to see all the comments (like www.reddit.com/comments)
on a single page, so that even if I am away from computer for several days, I
can easily navigate through them and reply/hide/edit/delete in-place.
Perhaps add a RSS feed for comments page.
6. Comment Statistics.
I need to tell my blog readers who are the most active people on my website.
This will stimulate people to be more active. Therefore I should add a comment
statistics with most popular commentators, link to their pages without
nofollow to give them link juice.
Also add statistics of the most commented articles.
7. Add Incoming Search Term Statistics On All Pages.
When people come from Google or Yahoo, save the query they used and display it
on the page. This way I will always know what terms were searched for on each
of the pages, without having to write complex queries.
8. Add Download Statistics.
Currently I have sloppy download statistics. I want nice graphs and want to
see the most popular downloads by day, month, etc. This should be written as
a statistics framework as traffic statistics, article statistics, delicious
statistics and download statistics will all have more or less same graphs.
9. Public Statistics Section For del.icio.us Bookmarks.
I want to see how often my posts get bookmarked on del.icio.us. I also want
nice graphs for them by day, week, month, etc.
I also want a list of people who bookmarked my posts the most often, and tags
they used. Make this public and also very modular so other people can reuse
the code and put it on their sites. Reward the most frequent bookmarkers with
links to their sites.
10. Insert Beautiful Images To Give Rest To The Eyes.
Insert some beautiful landscape images after serveral paragraphs of text to
give rest to the eyes and give the reader some positive emotions.
Example of this:
http://www.catonmat.net/blog/50-ideas-for-the-new-catonmat-website/
11. Public Traffic Statistics.
I want the super statistics for my website. And make them public. I want to
see which is the most popular article today, which was yesterday. I want nice
traffic graphs and trends.
12. Public Twitter Statistics.
Find who's tweeting about catonmat and put all these tweets on a separate
page. Find who's the most active catonmat tweeter and make this person stand
out. Link to twitter profiles.
13. Integrate GitHub Directly In Catonmat
Integrate GitHub with status updates, friend count, directly in catonmat.
Would have to write some kind of a scraper or use their API, if it's usable
for this purpose.
14. Implement Threaded Comments.
Currently I have linear comments, which are no good. To find whom someone
replied to I have to scroll through the comments. This doesn't make any sense.
I have to add threaded comments. This will also engage users is more
conversations.
15. Have Individual Links To Comments Like On Reddit.
I don't like links to comments in a form www.catonmat.net/article/#comment-55.
I want them to be in form www.catonmat.net/article/comment-55 so that each
comment (or thread of comments) is on its own page. This way, if linked to a
comment, person will precisely have that comment loaded. Browsers can
misbehave in case of anchor links like #comment-55 and I don't like that.
16. Lightweight Syntax For Comments.
There are just a few things comments need:
* Quote someone.
* Emphesize part of a comment in bold or italic.
* Link to some page.
* Share code fragment (auto syntax highlight it).
That's it. Nothing else is necessary, no stupid HTML comments.
17. Filter Comments By Language.
My website is getting a lot of spam from Russia with comments in Russian. I am
sure no one would write comments in Russian on my site. Add a filter to leave
just the English comments. All other are spam.
18. Add Gravatar Icons To Comments.
Gravatar is at www.gravatar.com. It's a map from emails to jpegs of user
icons. This will make people stand out. Also display the gravatar user icons
on comment statistics (point above). Having gravatars will emotionally
associates you with commentators and the next time you see a gravatar you can
predict the nature of the comment (depending if you had positive emotions or
negative before).
19. Add More "Contact Me" Options Near "About me" on The Right Sidebar.
You want to get yourself out. If you don't do it, no one will come after you.
Add links to Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Plurk, GitHub, FriendFeed, perhaps
some other sites. Show the email as an image and add a link to my IRC channel
#catonmat on irc.freenode.net. Initially show only Twitter, Facebook and
GitHub. Add an arrow down clickable image. After clicked displays all contact
options.
20. Snippets Page.
I have been writing and collecting various programming snippets. I want to
have them in a central database on my site. Instead of putting them on some
foreign service like GitHub's Gist or Pastebin of some kind, I want to keep
them on my website in my database so that I can easily modify them in a single
place and integrate within posts.
21. Add Revision Control For All The Pages.
Currently if I edit a page, the previous page is lost and I can't see the
changes. It's crucial to keep the changes as sometimes I need to get something
from a year ago. I have to add revision control like wikipedia does.
The URL scheme could be www.catonmat.net/article/revisions - displays all
available revisions, and www.catonmat.net/article/revisions/r1/r2 displays
changes between r1 and r2, but I have to think about it a bit more.
22. Create Tiny URLs For Articles On My Own Site
I don't want to depend on some service that may go down. Make short urls like
http://catonmat.net/abc, where abc is [a-zA-Z0-9] this will give me 238328
URLs, more than enough.
23. Optimize Catonmat Load Speed To Maximum.
Use the page-speed FireBug plugin to optimize site loading speed.
Page-speed is at http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/.
Things to be optimized include minified javascript, minified html, gzip
compressed content, maximizing caching, use asynchronous js loading of google
analytics and others.
24. Make The Posts More Available
Currently the posts are only available as HTML documents. I should try to
convert them to PDF and put them to Scribd. I have to think about consequences
as Scribd may show up on search engines at a higher ranking position than
catonmat iself, which would have drastic impact on the traffic.
Saving to PDF has a benefit that it's a single file. If saved as HTML, the
browser creates a folder with tons of images. Can't be shared easily and is
clutter. Perhaps offer a PDF download for all articles.
25. Make Posts Printer Friendly.
Create a nice CSS template for printing articles. At the end of the article
include URLs to all the mentioned resources. Add an option to choose whether
to print comments or not.
URL structure could be www.catonmat.net/article/print
26. Add A "Share this" Widget.
Add "Share this" widget and perhaps "Reddit this", "Digg this", "Stumble
this", etc., buttons. This should be based on referrer as I don't want to show
"Reddit this" to a Digg visitor as there is a holy war between Reddit and
Digg.
Also add "Tweet this" button somewhere.
27. Utilize The New Google Feature Of Displaying Named Anchors In Search Results.
See this post:
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/jump-to-information-you-want-right-from.html
Some of my posts utilize this (10 Awk Tips, Tricks and Pitfalls), but I need
to utilize it more.
28. Highlight The Python Code As In SQLalchemy Documentation.
I like how the code is highlighted in SQLalchemy documentation. I am not sure
if they are using Pygments or not, but I'll try to make mine exactly the same.
Example: http://www.sqlalchemy.org/docs/05/ormtutorial.html
29. Create Pagination For Posts/Categories/Tags As In Flickr.com
I like the style of Flickr's pagination. Got to implement the same on
catonmat. Example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frijole/
-30. Have Pages Open In A New Window By Default.
I feel that opening links in a new window would keep visitors on the website
longer. I haven't tested but I will A/B this.
This is not a good idea. Won't implement it.
31. Investigate What Do Various <a rel="..."> Do.
There are a bunch of different relations like rel="bookmark", rel="prev",
rel="next". This could improve the website navigation greatly.
More info here: http://www.w3schools.com/TAGS/att_a_rel.asp
32. Perhaps Remove The Article Date Altogether.
I have noticed myself that if I search for something and I find an article
from 2004, I want to look for something fresher. Got to A/B test this and see
how long do people stay on the site.
33. Add An IP Ban List.
Sometimes spammers use the same IPs. Rather than `iptables -I INPUT --src IP
-j REJECT` them, just block them at application level, 404 all pages,
or redirect them elsewhere.
34. Automatically Translate All Pages To All Languages Via Google Translate
Sometimes people search for something in their own language and can't find it.
Perhaps they don't know English term and therefore can't find what they
wanted. If I automatically translate all pages to all languages, people would
end up on my website and find what they were looking for. The URL scheme for
this could be:
www.catonmat.net/xx/..., where xx is two letter international language code.
35. Try Out Dustin Curtis' Advice On Best Performing Link Texts.
Dustin Curtis did an experiment where he tried various link texts to invite
readers to follow him on Twitter. The first version was "I'm on Twitter", this got
4.70% click through rate. The last version was "You Should follow me on
Twitter <here>". This had 12.81% CTR, which is a massive improvement.
Read the whole article here:
http://dustincurtis.com/you_should_follow_me_on_twitter.html
36. Add "Ask Peteris Krumins" Section Where People Can Ask Me Various Questions.
People ask me a lot of questions over email. I could answer all the questions
on my website instead of email. This way everyone could always find all my
answers.
37. Add A "FAQ" section.
I get asked the same questions over and over again over email. For example,
What do I have to know for Google interview?
What books do I read?
How to learn C++/C/Python/Algorithms?
etc.
Instead of copy pasting the answer, I could send these people to FAQ page
where they could get my latest answer.
38. Add Knowledge Database.
This idea has the highest priority. A knowledge database is a section on my
website where I can write everything that I learned each day.
This should be accompanied with a desktop application that has a hotkey that
instantly brings up input dialog and I can type what I just learned.
I had a database like this in 2002-2004 and my knowledge literally went
exponential. I wrote out key facts that I learned each day and could easily
locate as necessary.
39. Add A Miniblog For Quick Articles.
Sometimes I have some cool idea or quick hack that I want to share, but as I
am used to writing large and well thought out articles, I can't post the quick
hacks and my thoughts don't get shared. A miniblog would allow me to share
even the smallest thoughts that I have.
40. Add More Programming Quotes.
I love various smart programming quotes. I should make them more accessible,
make them searchable by author/text.
41. Integrate LaTeX In My Posts.
As I am sometimes writing about maths, I need to integrate LaTeX directly in
my posts. I should not forget to do SEO on images it generates - instead of
having some ridiculous <img
src="latex-generator?q=$\begin{bmatrix}1&2\\3&4\end{bmatrix}$>" I should have
it generate an image "<img src="matrix.jpg" title="Matrix">". This way people
will be able to find my posts via image search if they search for some
mathematical terms like "Matrix".
42. Try Out How The Articles Look With Text-Align: Justify.
I currently have the default left-aligned text. Books and journals have it
justified. Not sure how it would look on my website. Have to try it out. A/B.
I read somewhere that this may feel confusing to dyslexic users.
43. Have In-Line Code Snippets And Variables Stand Out From Rest Of The Text.
A nice example of this is Github's blog. They have gray background for
constant-width things. See this:
http://github.com/blog/530-how-we-made-github-fast
44. Have <a> Links Change Background Color On Hover.
I love how mattt.me has done it: http://mattt.me/articles/
I want this.
45. Have Only One Category Per Post But Multiple Tags.
A post should have only one single category. The category must strictly define
the main theme of the article.
A post can have multiple tags. Tags define topics discussed in the post.
46. Add Crazyegg Tracking For The First Month.
Must add crazyegg to track how the users navigate the site, where they click
and what they visit. Optimize based on the results.
http://crazyegg.com/
47. Add A Job Board.
As my site is getting more popular and popular among programmers, it may be a
good idea to add a job board. Joel Spolsky made a million $ in a year with job
boards. As the popularity of my site increases, I might make a few dollars out
of it as well.
48. Use Statcounter and Google Analytics.
This is obvious. Statcounter is for real-time data. The free version is
limited to statistics of last 500 visits. Google Analytics is for keeping long
term statistics with a day of delay in updates.
Load them asynchronously:
http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2009/12/google-analytics-launches-asynchronous.html
49. Form Input Fields And Text Fields Should Change Border Color On Focus.
Users should know what field they are focused to without trying to find the
cursor.
50. Mandatory Alt Attributes For Images, Title Attributes For Links.
The rationale of this feature is that if images don't get loaded or if blind
people are listening to the content of my posts via text-to-speech engine,
they should know what the image displays. Alt tags also help the search
engines to classify images. The same goes for title attributes for links.
51. Optimize Meta Description For Categories And Tags.
Category and tag pages usually have meta description as "Posts in <category>".
This is unsatisfactory. I want a description of category and if it's missing
or is too short, I want it to have some post titles in it, to make it unique.
The same for tags, make meta tags "Posts in <tag>: post title1, post title2,
..." not exceeding 20 words or so.
52. Preview Comments.
People want to see what they have typed and how it will look. Are the URLs
correct? Is the formating right, etc?
53. Subscribe To Comments By Email.
People who have commented what to know about if someone replies to them or
someone else expresses their opinion about the topic. I should add an option
to allow commentators subscribe to comments by email.
54. Auto-Generated TOC For Multi-Part Articles.
Many of my articles are multi-part. I need to group them together somehow and
show a box of all the previous/next articles in the series.
It could be then inserted before or after the article as a list of items:
* Part One
* /Part Two/ (you're reading this, for example)
* Part Three
High priority.
No, this is not good. This is better:
A special post header for multi part articles:
Part 3 of a series on "Foo" | Prev | Contents | Next | Subscribe
And a special post footer:
"Part 3 of n -- Prev | Contents | Next"
55. Use Open ID/Twitter Auth/Facebook Auth For Comments.
I should try to use OpenID or Twitter authentication or Facebook
authentication for comments.
56. A Twitter Feed For Latest Posts.
Post updates about new posts to twitter automatically.
57. Weekly Summary Of Changes Across Catonmat.
Post the weekly summary of everything that has been added to catonmat.
58. Add Guest Post Section.
Several people have contacted me with a wish to post their articles on my
blog. I should make a guest post section where I can publish them.
59. Allow Users To Translate The Articles On The Fly
Provide a user interface to #34 to allow them to translate articles right on
catonmat.
60. Remember Form Data For Comments
Store the comment form data in the cookie so that the user doesn't have to
enter it every time.
61. Default RSS Feed With 50 Items
Wordpress and other blog platforms publish a really small feed with something
like 15 items. This hides a lot of old great posts, therefore it should be
made much larger. I will make it 50 items.
62. Place RSS Subscribe Link In 99% Visibility
http://browsersize.googlelabs.com/
63. Skribit Add Suggestions What To Write About
Add skribit widget to the site so that people can suggest articles to write
about.
64. Send Me Emails On New Comments
Send me email when a new comment gets posted on catonmat.
65. Comments And Other Forms Must Work Even If JavaScript Is Disabled
Can't let Ajax trick me. All forms must be submittable without Ajax the
web 1.0 way. Error checking should also be done the web 1.0 way.
66. Make Catonmat Lynx Accessible
Some people are using lynx to read catonmat. Simplify the reading for them and
provide lynx-friendly version of catonmat.
67. Resizable TextArea For Comments
Quite often the default <textarea> size is too small for comments. Make it
resizable like in stackoverflow.com comments.
68. A link to "More Related Articles"
Add a link to "more related articles" after the list of 10 related articles
after each article.