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New CB4 site features

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So of you may have noticed we made a few changes around this place late last night. The most apparent is the new look of CelticsBlog. The new look as you are currently experiencing is not a new design, but rather five new designs. We have ten we will eventually implement. You will most likely see one of those in conjunction with a new site section later this evening. Two more will most likely be introduced later this week.

The new designs were not just important for looks sake. They provide better usability for all our members and site visitors even now. They will also make it possible for us to improve on that in the future and also do some new things with regard to site layout and functionality we've never been able to do before. There are many new features already here. You can see some of them and some you can't. I want to talk about some of the ones you can a bit more, but first I want to give out a special thanks to Brad Howard and GoFetch Marketing & Design.

Brad helped us develop our new logo icons for CB. Our approach was to create distinct branding for CelticsBlog. This was part of a larger overall strategy that we hope will insure the future growth and health of this community for a long time. From our very first collaboration, Brad was a joy to work with and understood exactly the direction we were headed. We didn't have to explain anything to him. We are looking forward to working with Brad and GoFetch much more in the not too distant future. Stay tuned for that. I think it is going to be a blast.

Now, let's move on to some of the new site features on CB. There are some, such as the new "Buy Me A Beer" function in our forums I'm sure most of you will not want to miss. Read More...

Aside from the new look, one of the first thing many of you will notice is the absence of the Login module in the left column. I moved that to the "Control Panel" you see at the top of our pages. Click on the CP and it opens. Log in and it closes, and then you will see your familiar Members Menu at the top of the left side column. What is the Control Panel and why did move the login there? The Control Panel can hold pretty much anything we want to put in there. Over time, we may add some additional member features in it. I may even remove it if it proves to be unnecessary. For right now we just stuck the login module up there to clean up the left column some for people who are not logged into the site.

Let me see, what else is there? Oh yeah. We now have separate RSS feeds for each forum on CelticsBlog. The reason that is possible is because we have a new forums design I built from scratch. I did so in order for us to do new things in there we couldn't do in the past. The RSS feeds are one example.

Another example would be the new Welcome function we have in the forums. Now each time a new person joins CB, they will be received with a Welcome post in the Community board. That should help build a better community by helping us get to know new people better. Of course that won't be applicable to people who don't care about new members, but the rest of us should be able to enjoy it and I imagine most of the new members will as well. The Welcome setup will also make it easier for the forums moderators to keep an eye on nutjobs who sign up around here. Nothing is ever just "nicey-nicey".

Another new doodad we have in the forums is a "Users Logged In Today" function that show who all has dropped by and logged in to CB on any given day. Our hope is that it will provide a bit more sense of scope as to what goes on around this place on a daily basis. It's just sort of fun to look at too.

Another new forum feature is "Buy Me A Beer". It is why you are starting to see little beer mugs in the profile info area of forum posts some are making. This is one that the entire CelticsBlog staff seems especially excited about. Essentially it is sort of a step up from Tommy Points. Not to knock Tommy Points, but what the BMAB function does is make it possible for members to show their affection or appreciation for other members in a new way by buying them a beer...figuratively. It is not actually a real beer but rather a sports-centric metaphor. We are not promoting boozing. What it does is allow other members to send you a $5 USD payment via PayPal.

To use it to recieve payments, you just need to start by getting yourself a free PayPal account if you don't already have one you can use. PayPal accounts are based on the email address that you use to signup for the account. Once you have your PayPal account email addy, just enter it into the new Buy Me A Beer field you'll find in your Forum Profile Information and save the new info. A little beer mug will then show up in the profile area of your posts and folks will be able to buy you a beer.

I think CelticsBlog staff persons are figuring that having that little beer mug is probably as close as they'll ever venture to seeing anything resembling income from their tireless efforts here. Embarassed Frankly, I think everyone of you should buy them a beer apiece.  As for me, I think everyone of you should send me five dollars today, and then every day afterward for working so hard, being so gentle and sweet toward you all and looking after you. Oh, and at least one of you should buy Jeff a beer also. He's doing a terrific job around this joint. Cool

Well, let's see. What else do we have? Oh, there are really all sorts of things for all of us. Some of it is immediately noticable, a lot of it is subtle and much is foundation for things to come. We'll talk more about it all as it unfolds. Every ounce of it though is designed to promote one very important concept we have at CelticsBlog: empowering people. That includes everyone from the casual visitor, to our fantastic membership, our authors, our staff and our friends elsewhere. Empowering of course means putting the power into your hands. That is one of the most basic reasons this place is so wonderful and we are going to keep building upon it.

More coming...soon. Much more...enjoy!