I’m contemplating a variety of improvements to our blog, though given that we’re parents first and everything else second, time is always scarce. So I’m seeking input from you all on what you’d like to see more of, what you think would make the site more enjoyable and easier to use, and whatever else you can think of.
The good news is that we have a good chance at 2,000 pageviews for the month. Considering that just coming to the site and reading the many articles on the insanely long front page counts as only 1 pageview, this ain’t bad. Given that we’ve only been at this four months and haven’t done squat to publicize the site, I feel good about how that’s going. Word-of-mouth and Google have been good to us. Thanks!
We have some brilliant, regular commenters and some great people who haven’t commented but have e-mailed us directly. We’ve met some fantastic people, and I hope we’ve provided some useful information to our readers in return. We’ve definitely discovered some helpful resources from you all. We’ve even had a guest poster. How cool is that!
All that is to say, we’re growing, and with a growing readership comes a sense that we need to – you know – actually find out what our readers want. Please leave your suggestions as comments here or you can e-mail us at info [(at)] bothandsandaflashlight $dot% com. (pseudo-spam-inhibiting format – obviously format it as a real address)
Here’s what I know I’m going to do as soon as I have some time.
- Create a comprehensive list of helpful links, categorized in some way. (autism, speech, sensory issues, technology, etc.) The blogroll will become the place for kindred blogs and sites, so if you have a site related to the kinds of things we discuss here and you want to exchange links, just e-mail and ask.
- Create a suggested reading list that will cover the helpful resources we’ve discovered, and we read a LOT so this should be a useful list.
- Put together an actual description, with photos, of the home classroom we put together and the rationale behind the design.
- I plan to remove the categories list (on the right) in favor of the tag cloud, which is way more comprehensive in scope. I could be talked out of this though if people use the categories.
Here’s what I’m debating about. This is where you come in. We’d love your input on these.
- Straightforward vote – Are posts too long, about right, or too short?
- Changing the front page (and the archive pages) to where what you see are article summaries (first three paragraphs or so) with a link to the full article. This hopefully will make the site easier to scan, especially since the articles are typically long. If people like reading everything straight through without clicking off to read a full article, I may not do this.
- Making it easier to find specific topics. There are a zillion ways to do this. The “Most Popular Posts” area has been a hit. The problem is that it’s self-fulling – the posts listed there will get visited more often, so they stay on the list forever. I have some ideas, but would love any comments you have, especially if you run your own blog.
- Finding more guest posters. Gigi’s IEP post came out very well in my opinion, and a good number of people read it. Since our revenue (ha!) is less than zero, the only reward you would get for an article is the warm, fuzzy feeling of bettering humanity or something (well, you could pimp your own site too). If you’re interested in writing something, please let us know.
- Blogging more about what’s going on in the autism world outside of the four walls of our house. We talk about ourselves a lot and little about what’s happening in the rest of the autisti-verse, which we do keep up on quite religiously. I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time so we’ll try to do both.
Also, are there topics you’d like to see us do more of? It’s been very interesting reading through the search terms people use to get here. (Don’t worry. We don’t – and can’t – get any personal information about you at all.) That’s given us ideas for what people are looking for.
However, there are topics we won’t discuss any time soon, if ever. Vaccines and ‘cures’ are two of them, and we will only venture into causes with extreme care. These discussions are covered at great length elsewhere and frankly are outside the scope of our plans for this site. We’ll discuss treatments we use, but take it as a given that we’ll talk about what does and doesn’t work for us and only us. You have to research and figure out what works best for you and your child.
OK, that was a lot of meta stuff, but the point is that we really want to provide a resource that’s helpful for people and fun for us to do. If you have suggestions on how we can do that better, let us know. Thanks!