Surfski.info Takes Off!

Friday, 18 June 2010 19:05 | Written by 
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Surfski.info Takes Off!

2010 started off on a bleak note for surfski.info.  After five years, we finally upgraded the website software, full of hope that the site would be faster and would offer us more opportunity to get creative with the look and feel.  But...

 

Slow, slower, slowest...

...as our readers know, the upgrade was an absolute disaster.  Not only did an already slow site become even more snail-like, but on January 21 we were attacked by hackers.

We watched the pageviews decline as the pages became slower and more painful to load – and the site maintenance become such a pain to do...  and the site came close to being shut down for good.

But, however, with the encouragement of our friends out there (and you know who you are – in Australia, the USA, Dubai, SA, Hong Kong, Tahiti...) who sent emails telling us to keep trying...  Thanks guys!

The site – reborn...

Finally I found some professional joomla experts to help us – Matthew Philogene at raramuridesign.com.   Professional in more than one sense – the guys know Joomla backwards and have been a joy to work with.

Compromises

We’ve had to make some compromises to achieve what we’ve wanted – for one thing we’ve lost the comments on the articles...  I’m really sorry about that – but the new commenting engine is integrated into the back-end which means much better performance.

We’ve been able to keep perhaps the most important component in the site though – the forum – as well as all the 1,000-odd articles that we’ve built up over the years!

What do we have now?

Well, one of the things I really wanted to achieve was an easier way of finding information – we have over 1,000 articles on Surfski.info and in the old site it was pretty difficult to find the older content.  No longer!  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll see something called a “tag cloud”.  This displays key words that have been tagged in the articles on the site – so if you click on the word “Molokai” you’ll get a list of articles that are related in some way to the Molokai Challenge.

tag cloud

The search functionality has moved to the right hand column – it’s a much more powerful search engine than we had before – give it a go.

Search here!

Search here!

The menus have been tweaked too – if we’ve got it right, you should find it much more logically laid out and you should be able to find the information you want...

But the thing that is really blowing me away is the speed – the site is so much faster and more pleasant to use.

Feedback

I want you... to give me feedback

  • Is the site fast enough?
  • Do you like the look & feel?
  • What suggestions do you have to make the site better, more informative, more relevant to you as a paddler?

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