What’s new at Honey Bee Suite?

As many of you know I’ve been working on several upgrades to this site with the goal of having them in place for the 2013 bee season. Upgrades to my server package were completed in November and now the site is loading faster than ever.

It took me a long time to decide on a new WordPress theme. I finally decided on this one—creatively named “Website”—for several reasons. Most importantly, it is fully responsive to mobile devices which are being used by a large percentage of my readers. The old theme, although I liked it, was only partially responsive. But in addition, my old theme did not support some of the new WordPress features such as “post formats” which are a cool idea.

By using post formats, posts can be sorted and searched by type (quotes, videos, asides, etc) as well as categories and tags. In-house search is important to me because a lot of the content in Honey Bee Suite is buried. Quite frankly, even I have trouble finding it, and I hope this change will help. Since this theme has only two columns on the front page, I will be using the right column exclusively for search tools and subscriptions.

All the other information that was in the left and right columns has been moved to the footer or to separate pages. Nothing is gone, it’s just rearranged.

Other changes include the following:[list icon=”check”]

  • The front page is now a static page, not a blog page. However, the three most recent posts will still be on the front page for your convenience. To see older posts, you have to go to the blog. There are links to it in several places.
  • Just below the header photos, breadcrumbs point out where you’ve been so you can go back there if you want.
  • A new section called “featured columns” appears just below the breadcrumbs. Featured columns will point to new information published in the pages, rather than in posts. When pages like “bee forage” or “beekeeper’s calendar” contain new items, the featured columns will alert you to that.
  • Below the featured columns is a “notice board.”  Once you close the notice board it won’t reappear on your computer until I change the notice. It won’t appear at all on mobile devices.
  • Below the notice board is the most current blog post, followed by the two previous posts.
  • Below the three recent blog posts is something called “featured posts.” These are old posts resurrected because they are timely, relevant to a current discussion, or just due to come out of storage.
[/list] It will take some time to get all the bugs worked out. Already I lost many of the captions to the “reader hives” photos and I had to go back into old e-mails to reconstruct them. Bear with me and let me know if something is amiss.

The last thing: why green? First and foremost, I like green. It is often used to symbolize nature, spring, fertility, growth, health, renewal, environment, and tranquility. It is also supposed to be easier on the eyes, especially in bright sunlight where you may be using your iPhone. I may tone it down if it gets overwhelming. Basically, it’s a “try-it.”

The changes are not complete; I still haven’t formatted the pages the way I want them, and I haven’t added all the galleries, portfolios, and sliders. Nevertheless, you should be able to find what you’re looking for while I continue to tweak the details.



    • Pedro,

      When I put the full content in feeds, I lose valuable information such as which articles are being read and which are not. I like to keep on track of what people are reading so I can deliver the kind of content they want. I understand your point of view as well, but for the moment at least, I will not be changing it.

  • This will be nice when we get used to it, 🙂 I am also hoping that I have figured out how to put in my own picture for my comments.

  • I would love to see you turn the static list of Plants that Attract Pollinators turned into a list of hotlinks to images of the plants.

    Love reading your blog… Bill

  • Very nice, Rusty. You put so much into this site, and we get to benefit greatly from your knowledge. Thank you. Oh, and I like Bill’s idea about the hotlinks also.


    • Rusty,

      If you need help with photographing the flower/plants for the links… Could I suggest allowing submissions from your readers and then the best could be voted on! Just an idea! If not, I am willing to help take photos for you.

      I know the link isn’t about bees, but it a sample of my photos. http://flic.kr/s/aHsjsYma1U


      • Bill,

        Awesome photos! Yes, I would love your help. I think your idea is good; I will start asking for photos and then, if I get duplicates, we can vote. I will write up something as soon as I can . . . sort of swamped right now, but I’ll try to squeeze it in.

        • Rusty,

          How does one get photos to you? I am assuming email and will you have a size requirement? I live in NW Minnesota with plenty of springtime and summer flowering plants! I have my camera’s at ready, now to get rid of the snow.


  • >When I put the full content in feeds, I lose valuable information such as which articles are being read and which are not. I like to keep on track of what people are reading so I can deliver the kind of content they want. I understand your point of view as well, but for the moment at least, I will not be changing it.

    Your call of course. My experience is that you’ll also lose readers. All the blogs I used to read that didn’t have full feeds I ended up dropping. It’s just a much bigger investment of time to go to the site. If it’s the analytics you’re missing I’m pretty sure you can embed tracking in the feed, so that whenever someone opens a post in a feed reader you get a call back.

    • Pedro,

      Perhaps I would feel differently if I were trying to make money with my blog, but I am not. I write primarily for myself because I enjoy writing and I enjoy bees. If someone doesn’t want to read my blog because it is too much trouble, so be it.

  • And that is what makes your blog and web content so useful and valuable to many of us, you doing what you love for the benefit of all!

    Thank you.

  • I think Recent Comments in the side bar instead of the footer might be more convenient and perhaps more likely to invite discussion. It’s the first thing I check whenever I’m here. I’m always interested to see what other beekeepers are talking about. I value the discussions here probably as much as the original content. No biggy, though. I have no problem pressing Crtl-End to view the footer.

    Other than that, all the changes look pretty good from here. Friendly, informative, yet not too busy. Good job.

    • Thanks, Phillip. I moved the recent comments up and increased the number to ten. I could move it up higher if I move my photo down. Not sure. Many folks want a photo, others don’t care . . . I’ll just keep tweaking. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Very nice Rusty.

    Green is also a very calming colour. So I like the changes, but will still miss the old design as it was very different.


    • Mark,

      I miss the old design as well. I really didn’t want to switch but I felt I had to upgrade for various reasons. I put it off for as long as I could.

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