You’ve probably noticed a few changes around here. Welcome to a redesigned and renamed aBlogtoRead.com, which will from here on out be known as “aBlogtoWatch.com.” I’d like to tell you a bit about some of the new features, and what we feel is a great new way to enjoy your favorite watch website.
Five years ago in 2007 when I started aBlogtoRead.com I didn’t know that it was going to be an “all watch” website – which might explain the original name of the site. A few weeks after I started the blog it became clear to me that it was going to focus on watches, perhaps exclusively. For a while I toyed with the idea of changing the name, but it never happened. I even went so far as to register a few possible new domain names. One, that was an obvious choice (as even indicated by early readers and friends of the site) was “aBlogtoWatch.” I don’t need to explain why the new name makes sense, and hope you welcome it.
The reason for my long-standing hesitation in changing the name has a lot to do with the site’s relationship with search engines and social media websites. As a favor to us (because aBlogtoWatch is now a dedicated team effort), we’d like to ask you to become a new fan/friend/follower of possible new social media accounts such as the aBlogtoWatch Facebook page (which is live but still being developed out). Over the next few days and weeks we will attempt to transition social media accounts, etc.. to reflect the new aBlogtoWatch name (let me know if we miss anything, and stay posted on that).
With the new name comes a brand new look and feel in the visual redesign. Allow me to help explain how to use the new aBlogtoWatch website. We’ve really changed the core aBlogtoWatch/aBlogtoRead experience in a big way along with the new look. One of the most important new features for me is the “persistent” navigation bar. No matter where you are on the site the navigation bar is right there at the top giving you easy access to browse watch brands, search article archives, or easily send us a note via the contact page. Related to persistent top navigation bar is a persistent social media bar and search bar on the right side of the site.
The right-hand bar starts with a “click-to-pull-out” aBlogtoWatch site-wide search bar. You then have access to a range of handy social media sharing, liking, exploring, and subscribing features for major social media tools and websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google +, Pinterest, and more. It ends with a link to the aBlogtoWatch RSS feed for your reader of choice. It was our hope to offer each of these features in a convenient, but not obstructive manner. You also have the more traditional social media sharing buttons located on single post pages in the “Share This Post” section. You can even share individual pictures via Pinterest with ease. I’ve found that social media sharing and discussion has been an integral part of the aBlogtoWatch experience for myself and many readers – so it was my desire to build that in to the core functionality of the new site.
We’ve created a more simple and attractive way to search for brands on the Watch Brands page, as well as a new archives section called All Articles. All Articles is your all-purpose archives page, which people can use in tandem with aBlogtoWatch’s search bar on the top right of the site to find anything they are looking for. The All Articles page will allow new readers to cycle back in time one article at a time, or allow people to search by month or author. Which leads me to the new aBlogtoWatch home page.
Our goal for the homepage was to design it less like “page 1” of a blog, and more like a portal to articles and other media that we produce. Under the header, aBlogtoWatch starts with a carousel of the five newest articles. Under that you can go a bit back more in time or visit the All Articles pages to see what new articles you’ve missed. Further down is the new Media Showcase section that highlights related media produced by aBlogtoWatch – such as on YouTube, or my watch-related content on other sites such as Forbes.com or the HourTime Show podcast. There you’ll have easy access to new videos, Instagram pictures, and more. Closer to the bottom of the site is an interesting new feature that shows you the top 10 aBlogtoWatch articles of the last month as measured by traffic.
When reading article pages on aBlogtoWatch you’ll probably notice other features such as polls and a place where you can see recent reader comments. Reader (‘watcher’) interaction is important in furthering the aBlogtoWatch community, so we want to encourage it where possible. Change is always difficult, even for us, so give aBlogtoWatch a chance, and please feel free to contact us with suggestions, ideas, or most importantly, bug issues and needed fixes. While the aBlogtoWatch and the new site are now officially launched, we will be tweaking and adjusting the site where necessary until we are happy with it. Let us know if you found something we missed via the Contact page.
Let me last take an important moment to thank not only aBlogtoWatch’s growing team of writers and contributors, but also the people who helped design and build the new site. It wasn’t easy, and development on the new site required months of planning and work in between all the other things we normally do (like write about watches) and the efforts my developer – Kristin Kramer from Kramer Publishing Interactive, designers, and other talented supplemental developers and designers. And thanks again to all the veteran (and rookie) aBlogtoRead – now aBlogtoWatch – readers and fans.