Would you prefer posting from Facebook/Twitter accounts?

You may have noticed that, for several months, blogs hosted on WordPress.com (like Burke’s Brainwork or the Legacy Five blog) have had the option to comment from your Facebook or Twitter accounts. A recent plugin upgrade has made that available to sites like this one—Wordpress sites that aren’t hosted on WordPress.com. Do you like the simplicity of having one option – posting with name/email – or would you like to see Facebook/Twitter options added?

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Site Update: New Responsive Design

Last month, changes made by our former host killed our mobile version and forced us to leave for a different host. Instead of building another mobile version, we decided to move to a responsive design. (Responsive designs are the future of web design; instead of building apps or separate websites for each tablet and smartphone platform, a responsive design uses one code base that scales down to fit any screen.)

A few of you may have seen this up briefly over the last month, during testing. We’ve officially flipped the switch now. How does it display on your phones and tablets?

(Also, who can name the group featured in silhouette on the masthead? Bonus points if you can name the specific lineup!)

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Another Hosting Change Coming

On Monday, HostGator shut down this site for several hours, violating both their unlimited bandwidth and their 99.9% uptime guarantees. They said the site was getting too much traffic, an odd claim for a slow holiday weekend (and a claim not borne out by statistics)!

Earlier this week, we tried transferring to MediaTemple. Several of you commented about how quickly the site loaded on their servers. (We liked it, too.) But even though that was a huge plus, there was a slight problem; due to quirks of the database transfer process, we couldn’t add new posts. We figured that minus counterbalanced how fast the site loaded, so we’re temporarily back to HostGator. We’ll be trying out a new host within the next 24 hours (A Small Orange). As the dust settles, please post any oddities in this thread. (We’ll also be posting updates here.)

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Site Downtime

This morning, our host, HostGator.com, shut down the site for several hours, supposedly due to traffic / load on the server. This is quite odd; December was, as usual for Decembers, a slower month than most. (And it was in spite of their 99.9% uptime guarantee and their unlimited bandwidth guarantee!)

Though they re-enabled the site mid-morning, reports have been trickling in throughout the day of portions of the site not displaying correctly. Is everything working correctly for you, or is there anything that is not?

Meanwhile, this violation of their guarantees has me looking. Have any of you had good or bad experiences with DreamHost or MediaTemple?

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Site Maintenance Alert: Possible Downtime

SouthernGospelBlog.com may go down for several hours some time over the next two or three days.

We’re moving domain registrars, leaving GoDaddy and going to NameCheap. I started using GoDaddy several years ago, simply because I had heard of it and knew it was the biggest. To this day, most of our contributors watch little to no TV, so we simply weren’t aware of their disgustingly suggestive and prurient advertising until recently. Once I realized how bad it was, I knew I had to leave.

I began transferring domains in August; this is the final batch. After over four months using NameCheap, I highly recommend it, especially for anyone leaving GoDaddy. GoDaddy’s user experience brings back memories of the worst of Web 1.0, maximizing profits at the expense of delivering what the user wants. Upsells and hidden charges appear at every turn, adding countless extra steps to the process of simply registering or renewing a domain. NameCheap’s user experience was built to be user-friendly; their menus, admin areas, and ordering processes are laid out in a far more easy-to-use and user-friendly fashion. (They are even slightly less expensive.) 

Could you do us a favor? If you notice that the site is down, could you post a comment on our Facebook or Google+ pages, or tag us in a tweet (@sogospelblog) on Twitter? That way we’ll know the change is under way and flip the switches to get it back up under the new registrar sooner. (Thank you!)

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Blog Update: Visual Re-design

We have just launched a visual re-design of the site. (It has been nearly three years since the last re-design.) Here’s the place to post feedback, particularly if you notice anything broken.

Over time, this has become more a news website than a typical blog. We’re keeping “blog” in the domain name and brand, for now, but this design more accurately reflects the broader nature of our content.

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Site Update: How to Use the new Tweet, Like, +1, and Share Buttons

As you may have noticed, there are now four buttons appearing at the end of each post:

You may have wondered why they were there, and what happens when you click them. Here is what happens:

1. Tweet (Twitter)

If you have a Twitter account, and you’re logged into it, clicking the “Tweet” button will open a window that looks something like this:

If you think the story is interesting enough that your followers on Twitter would enjoy reading it, you can post a Twitter update from that window. The link to the article is automatically there, as is the post title. But since the post title is what you’re most likely to want to change, it is automatically highlighted. So if you just start typing something else, that will automatically replace the post title.

Either way, once you click the “Tweet” button in the lower right-hand corner, the status update goes out to your friends.

2. Like (Facebook)

Unlike #1, the Facebook Like button doesn’t automatically post a status update. (See #4 for that!) This one is actually used in several different places around the Internet as a vote of support, indicating you liked a page. One of the most prominent examples is Bing/Yahoo search results:

All you do is click the like button, and the vote is registered.

3. +1 (Google)

This one has a fairly similar functionality to #2, except that here it impacts Google’s search results. If you +1 a story, and someone searches for that story on Google, the search results will display a +1, indicating that someone thought the story was worth sharing. Here are two search results in Google, one +1ed and the other not:

Just like #2, all you have to do with this one is to click it. Once you’ve clicked it, when people search for that story, it will show someone looking through search results that one or more people thought the page was worth reading.

4. Share (Facebook)

This one functions just like #1. If you have and are logged into a Facebook account, clicking the link brings up a window that looks something like this:

In the box highlighted by the red arrow, you can offer your thoughts on the story. Clicking the blue “Share Link” button in the lower right-hand corner shares the link with your Facebook friends.

Summary

Hopefully this post helps you understand what these and similar buttons do—not only here, but around the Internet as well. Whenever you find one of our news or commentary stories to be particularly interesting or newsworthy, we’d love it if you would pass it along to your friends (#1 and #4) or like/+1 it so that people on search engines know it’s valuable (#2 and #3). Thank you as always for coming back to read, for commenting here, and for passing these stories along to your friends!

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