Published on April 26th, 2010 | by Jules Yap


Hacking my template

Firstly I want to thank you for your feedback and help when I asked for it. In many ways, your comments gave me a clearer view of how to improve Ikeahacker as well as chart a direction for it. Thank you, thank you! I feel re-inspired.

In response to that (I wouldn’t want you to think that I wasn’t listening!) I have made a few tweaks to the current site. Mind you, this is not the big redesign I was talking about (which I am now seriously considering WordPress. Any thoughts?). I don’t want to do too much on this template since I won’t be using it in the redesign. But I do want to make sure that your experience on this site, while I work on the new design for the next coupla months, is a lot more useful and friendly. So here goes:

Many of you asked for:
1. Better navigation
- I’ve added the “older” and “newer” posts links at the bottom of the page. Hope that takes away the frustration of browsing the archives.
- Related posts complete with thumbnails are now under each post.  

2. Better search
- Under the existing categories section, I’ve added a drop down menu of all available Labels.
- I’ve also begun adding the Ikea names of the items hacked into the Labels. I do still forget some times. So do bear with me while I get the hang of it.

3. Less clutter
- I’ve increased the size of the left content area, as some of you mentioned, to give it space to breathe. This lets me include bigger photos too.
- Removed the Recent Comments (which many didn’t find useful), moved the Friends Link List to a dedicated page. Tidied up things in general.
- Used images for the Top Hacks instead of text. I kinda like this alot myself! :)

Little tweaks. But it’s an improvement, don’t you think?

More hacks on IKEAHackers.net

Convert 2 Vikare beds into a bunk
How to change an old "ODDA" into fine art piece

The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

19 Responses to Hacking my template

  1. Diana says:

    I use self-hosted WordPress, and I love it! It lets me tweak my blog until I have it looking exactly the way I want it. It takes a little CSS knowledge to really make it shine, but it’s not too hard.

  2. I agree on making the header image a link to the main page. It’s pretty much a web standard, and I keep clicking on it expecting it to take me there.

    There are many great webhosts out there for about $5/mo. That plus WordPress would really give you a lot more creative control over your site, and allow for an easier experience for users. On Blogger, even when I’m signed in to my Blogger account, trying to post a comment is a an overly-long process. I type a comment, click Post, and then it refreshes and I have to type in a code to make my comment appear. Spam is bad and all, but I bet many people are turned off by the long commenting process and just don’t bother.

  3. majeral says:

    I like this site it is one of my favorite .. I want to do some “ikeahacking” but have no store close and no help. Some day I will make something in the mean time I just enjoy your site thanks..

  4. Switch to WordPress. You won’t be disappointed, and there’s no looking back. WordPress makes everything much easier.

  5. Mymac4ever says:

    Probably just a minor thing but the poll-tool is still available and usable on the “Best of 2006″ and “Best of 2009″ pages.

    Great look otherwise

  6. Phil says:

    The last anonymous poster is spot on with the header link. I’ve clicked on it many a time expecting it to take me back to the front page!

    BTW sorry Jules for my long posts full of annoying suggestions, I just really like the site and want it to be the best it can be!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree with most of the praise for what you’ve done so far, but like others have said, and you are aware of, there is still more to go.

    Phil made a ton of great points I second as well as anonymous regarding that slipcover ad.

    Two small things that have always bugged me are that clicking the header doesn’t lead you back to the home page, you have to click the teeny home tab, and that the header graphics appear pixelated. It looks like it was scanned off a napkin and touched up in Microsoft Paint.

  8. Andrew says:

    I’m going to be honest, I don’t really use most of the navigation features since I’m coming in via an RSS feed whenever the site is updated.

    WordPress is great these days, and I highly recommend hosting it yourself. The administration interface has come a long ways since the early 2.0 days, and works rather well.

  9. joana says:

    i’ll have part of the information you put in the right white column in the grey left column. for example, the facebook and twitter part, the flags translation part and the archives too.
    or, if the grey columns are non-writing ones, then think about shading them a little darker, not too much, just a shade/tone or two, and slimmer.

    you may also evaluate the possibility of create a kind of a damier on the right column, that will give the site some order at first sight.
    my two cents

  10. Will says:

    Have you considered Square Space for the blog hosting? I realize it’s not free, but still a great platform if you are looking for more wysiwyg features.

    If you need any tech help, I’m happy to help, I love the site and have a great depth of technical knowledge. photinus @ gmail.com

  11. Margaret Perry says:

    looks great!

  12. Phil says:

    Great improvements!

    A switch to WordPress does sound like a good idea.

    A lot of people do seem to be bothered by the ads on the site but I think that’s largely because the site looks quite cluttered (as is very common in blog type websites). The slipcover advert doesn’t bother me too much since it looks the most integrated one. The adverts under articles, however, seem quite cut-and-pasted and don’t match up with the style as it stands. A easy improvement would be to migrate from a square advert there to a banner/strip type advert or if you keep an advert there then have some borders to make it clear where an article ends and an advert begins.

    The cluttered look of the site is very apparent on the navigation bar too since it’s got loads of different styled items, different fonts, different image sizes etc. Some of the stuff just doesn’t need to be there in my opinion. The Friends section, translate section, CC logo, shout outs bit etc. The shout outs don’t appear to use links that earn you any revenue so maybe giving people free advertising at the cost of site clutter may not be ideal.

    A cleaner look would be a real plus in your new site design and features such as optional notifications for comments will increase your page views and regular visitors. I’d also suggest you consider a no-ads version of your site for a small yearly fee. A few people paying a small amount direct could mean that you have more money to spend on running the site/getting help/reducing advertising on the free site.

    A cleaner look doesn’t have to mean less information though. A site that I frequent with an efficient design is http://www.macrumors.com. Articles are clearly separated and never have adverts inside the article body. It’s clear where articles, sections or adverts begin and end. There’s an incredible amount of information given in the two columns on each side yet it doesn’t look de-cluttered since the font and general styling is highly consistent. They also have a paid version (which I subscribe to) which removes all adverts (as well as several other bonuses). Since this isn’t an active forum site I don’t think the subscription could be as high but I would definitely be willing to part with say $10 a year for zero adverts.

  13. Jonathan says:

    Much cleaner! More soothing to look at! :)

  14. prue says:

    actually I mind the “click if you want to read more” and the ads below that much more than the slipcover one…..
    the ads in the “article-side” of the website are really an eyesore, and I don’t seem to be able to get used to them either (which I had hoped for)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Definitely a big improvement, but there really is no excuse for having the giant slipcover ad as the first thing you see on the page. You are actually hurting yourself by doing that. User experience has to come before ad placement if you want a blog to be successful. The reason for this is because it will lead to more users, and thus more ad revenue. No one wants to work to look through a site and even despite your fantastic improvements you are still hiding the important navigation in between ads and too far down on the page. This blog has so much potential! It just needs better organization and visual hierarchy to make it really sing. Take a look at how other incredibly successful blogs set up their navigation, I would suggest using that as inspiration. Organizing the flow of a blog is so important.

  16. Very nice improvements!

    I’m loving the images for the Top Hacks! Adding the names of Ikea items being hacked to the labels is a great idea.

    My vote is that you should try out WordPress and see if you like it, and if you do, go ahead and switch. I love WP, personally, and you’ll have better control over your site if you’re hosting it yourself anyway. :D

  17. April says:

    This is definitely better than before, though I’m still looking forward to the overhaul.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I still think there are too many ads, but I appreciate everything you’ve done, it looks much better.

  19. Jake says:

    This is looking relly good! I am trying to get my blog to work the way I want it to, it is a great learning experience.

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