Whoah, three months in and things are flowing nicely!
Monday Mail Call will be back next week as I wanted to get a quick update out about the improvements I've been able to make to the site. Don't be fooled though, I actually received a handful of things last week that are pretty awesome -- the extra time between posts will give me a chance to add some extra info!
Speaking of Monday Mail Call, I also kicked off a new feature called The Road to Recovery that goes into some of my performances that have gone... well, not quite right. If you're a magician who's ever made a mistake or had a spectator who has, you'll likely find some common-ground in these posts. Maybe you'll know of better recovery methods and can help me out too!
I've been sticking with a fairly solid Monday & Thursday posting schedule for blog posts and I've also been able to add new library entries almost all of the other days so far. There's still so much left to enter in though, it'll take me a while before I get everything done. I'm considering moving to a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule but I don't know if I can fully commit to the extra day yet so I'll be sticking to Monday & Thursday for now.
Free Facebook Ads
Some of you may have come here from Facebook or Instagram ads, and if so I sincerely say "Welcome!". Facebook gave me a free ad credit so I figured why not give it a try. It kind of feels dirty using it though since I'm not a "business" but just a blog. But hey, free money! Or, free ads rather. I don't actually get any money (though that would be nice =P).
I have to say, their tooling is actually really cool. By accepting the credit I gained access to their "Business Suite" which linked my Facebook Page to my Instagram account and now I have full access to post scheduling and even more insights than are available through Instagram itself. Like, there's a calendar that legit says "Thursday at 10am is the best time to post on IG" -- how cool is that?! I've been using IG for almost 3 years (this coming Saturday is my account's 3-year bday!!!) and haven't fully figured that out yet, the fact that they have a tool to for it is crazy.
UI Changes & Related Content
I've been steadily updating the site's UI (User Interface) to make things look better and, in some cases, more accessible. If you've been visiting for a while, you'll have noticed the right sidebar on content pages has changed a bit. That's the largest of the UI changes, the rest are fairly minimal.
Ah but one, per reader suggestion, was actually on library pages (like Books). For every book, or video, I list the full contents of the material. Like, the entire table of contents. For some books like The 80's Called... that's not terribly long. For others, like Revolutionary Card Technique, it's ridiculously long. To make the page more easily consumable I've made it where individual chapters (or sections) are collapsed and can be expanded per your desire! Honestly, it looks a lot better - really happy to have added that!
Another change that came in was Related Content. I mentioned this as being a desired widget in the previous Site Update #1 and I was waiting for more content before working on it. Well, I think I'm there! I've added it for books right now, so after the book's contents you'll find a new "you might also like" section that lists a few items that are related. Either reviews, other books or tricks or videos, or general posts. It's still a work in progress and will be coming soon for the other content throughout the site, but it's available on book pages now if you want to check it out!
Hmm, what's next indeed...
Well, first things first I want to finish the Related Content stuff. To me, and sure this is entirely personal opinion but hey -- my blog =P, but to me having an easy to find list of related stuff right there for you will make it much more interactive. If you've read about a book or video and want to know more on the topic, it's so much nicer to have it curated for you already rather than have to search for it yourself. Granted, if you're really interested in the topic you definitely should search more on it yourself too, but at least I'll be providing a starting point =]
Data entry, data entry, data entry. Wow there's a lot of data entry. Who knew typing a book's table of contents would take so long... and then coming up with descriptions of the books and all of that fun stuff. Wowzas! But, and I'm really excited for this, but I've thought of something else I really want to add. I haven't built the requirements into the site's framework for this yet so it'll be a larger effort, but I really want to make a way to track the different sleights used in different books, tricks, and videos. Not just "this book has a trick with a double lift", but "trick X uses a double lift" and "trick X is in book Y". My library is getting... big. Having an easy-to-access way to find out what books to grab when I'm looking for work with a lateral palm would be very beneficial. And, when trying to find references for different moves or origins of sleights it will help a lot too. The Conjuring Archive has a lot of this information already cataloged so I might look to see if they have an API I can leverage. Otherwise, I'll have to figure things out on my own (and maybe even more data entry =P).
Plenty to do, and it'll all come in time. If there's anything you'd like to see on the site (i.e. more reviews, more photos, a different feature or two, etc), please feel free to let me know and I can see about adding it to my queue!