I decided late last week to revise a website that I had lying around for some time and more or less finished it today. Years ago, I had created LunarLog to be the LunarStudio blog. Instead of blogging on-topic, I found myself over time writing miscellaneous pieces and posts. I decided that I needed a new blog, MightyFunk to handle some of my more off-color topics. But with main architectural rendering business running the show, I didn’t have much time to jump from work to blog to blog. MightyFunk was mostly just standing still without any new content. Keeping in touch with my friends via Facebook in some ways put the proverbial “final nail in the coffin.”
This complete website revision will hopefully bring new life to an older stagnant blog without completely alienating my previous audience. I’m really excited because MightyFunk now serves design-related news excerpts from some of the best design-related websites and blogs I could find on the Internet. I wanted my own comprehensive place instead of a RSS reader that I could go visit, and quickly skim the headlines for new, interesting design-related articles. I felt that sharing my own personal list (which numbers close to a hundred) would be beneficial to the entire community.
My new aggregator is working much better than expected. I kept the overall website design simple because I wanted it to be primarily a news source for readers, and didn’t want flashy graphics and backgrounds to interrupt their reading. Instead, the articles would do most of the talking for them.
I think it’s a win-win situation for all the websites involved. A common misconception is that Google penalizes websites for duplicate content from a spam perspective. It actually doesn’t. In fact, having these excerpts on MightyFunk lead back to the original author websites helps promote their work, adds a significant amount of backlinks which can improve search engine rankings, increases their readership, and can also lead to increased revenue (if that’s part of their goal.)
From a technological perspective, the website is very plain. All the text and images are pulled from RSS feeds which can be found throughout the web. The images themselves are off-loaded onto a Content Delivery Network (CDN) so that traffic spikes will not impact the original author websites. Plus the CDN (I’m currently using MaxCDN) also works to help spread the loads throughout the country which ends up speeding up the website which Google has hinted at improving search engine results.
My main concern right now is to prevent duplicate feeds coming into MightyFunk. I’ve set up some macros and cron jobs to help eliminate these duplicate posts, but a few always manage to still get through. While I’m not (nor anyone else) is going to get penalized for these duplicate excerpts, it still remains somewhat unsightly from a readership perspective. I think I have it currently set up to remove duplicate feeds every 1/2 hour and it will need to be tweaked more over time. On the other hand, it would be even better if someone could come up with a plugin which would filter out duplicates even before they went to post. If I was capable of writing such a thing, I would.
Last but not least, I hope that posting 50 excerpts per page is a reasonable figure for most people. Because the list is fairly large, I didn’t want people to have to jump from page to page constantly. Most of us are on decent Internet connections. I’m privileged with a 50 mb/s stream here so the load time is minimal, which makes my testing page load-time more difficult for others.
If you have any comments or advice regarding the new MightyFunk Design News website, I’d be happy to hear from you. As always, links back are always greatly appreciated.