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Ben E

Panbo News+ design discussion please

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So I've realized that almost every day interesting marine electronics news comes across my screens and I'm not sharing them at all well. Sure, sometimes I Tweet an interesting item, or put it on Facebook, or cook up a single Panbo entry stew of multiple news bits... but there has to be a better way.

What I'm thinking of is a separate Panbo page called News+ that would only be short entries, typically an image or two and a few pithy words (hopefully). It would mostly be news, but I'd enjoy some latitude for "+" fun.

Building a new blog page and integrating it into the site will take some time, and so in the meantime I plan to use Facebook more and I've added an FB widget to the main Panbo page with a bigger one on the About page.

When the Panbo News+ page debuts, the Facebook and Twitter entries can simply reference them, and the widgets can come down.

That's what I'm thinking, but I know there are some good Web designers out there who may have better ideas. Heck, any reader might have a good idea. Please don't hesitate.

13 Replies

  • Hi Ben - seems like a distraction, but keeping up with two "Panbo" pages isn't all that hard, I guess :)

    Most "News" items will not attract a lot of commentary, but it is noticeable how every once in a while a seemingly simple news item will trip off an intense discussion. Sometimes the commentary is more revealing/interesting than the news item itself!

  • Why the split / what problem are you looking to solve?

    You don't want to injure the Panbo brand by including industry announcements in the main feed with reviews of equipment tested on the water?

    A new revenue stream?

    A thinking question - Hypothetically, if Engadget, did such a split, how would it benefit them?

  • I think one Ben's reasons is that the main Panbo blog is syndicated by various sites that may not want to cover just-news-releases.

  • As a reader I would like to see more entries on the Panbo blog, rather than an effort to launch a new section, including entries from you Kees.

    I do think it is a worthy idea to launch a news link, I would certainly take the time to read it and check out the the advertiser sites. Perhaps it would even drive some traffic to the forum? I like how in engadget when you read and entry, other entries are suggested. Perhaps in a news site, readers could be given a list of relevant Panbo entries and Forum entries either driven by tags (AIS), company (Mastervolt), and find a way to include former product names (e.g. Airmar WS-150 entry would reference a Airmar PB-200 entry)

  • So I ask for discussion and then don't participate! Sorry, gents.

    The News+ idea is mainly about design and organization, not so much income or brand. Consider how magazines typically have short bits in front pages and features in a middle "well". Panbo's main page has evolved from short bits to features, and I'm looking for a way to bring the short bits back in a distinct way.

    TPM is a website that's vaguely analogous to what I'm envisioning. The main news features (middle column) and Editor's Blog are essentially separate blogs (I think) and can be accessed and looked at that way. News+ would get a little space like Editor's Blog on Panbo main page, but also a top menu tab and direct panbo/news page link.

    One goal is to do all my reporting on Panbo, where I own it and it's more accessible/searchable to readers. Posting original stuff on Facebook or Twitter isn't good practise, though I'm happy to make stuff accessible there.

    Another goal is use to make better use of my resources. I often see interesting electronics news often, and want an efficient way (like FB) to post about it and other non-feature bits. Plus, as Kees notes, the magazine sites might not like to see a lot of new short entries appearing in the syndication stream, just like I don't want to dilute the main page that way.

    Plus I would like to increase site visits, largely for the sake of Panbo advertisers. It's not that we're looking for more, but we have had a surprising surge lately and they all share the same space. I could change that pretty quickly by going back to writing shorter entries more frequently, but I'm looking for a more flexible shorts/features design.

  • I had to search the internet for that TPM reference -- Ben is referring to

  • That seems good, Ben - just a request, if the "news+" shorts had a commment count bar, then we could see if an interesting discussion had broken out there.

    Whatever you do, stay out of TPM-style politics :)

  • Thanks, Kees; I meant to insert link.

  • Thanks, Hartley, and no worries, this is pretty much a politics free zone.

    "I would like to see more entries on the Panbo blog, rather than an effort to launch a new section" -- It's not an either/or situation, Dan.

  • Having gone through each of the entries in the Twitter Feed, and some FB entries, some thoughts come to mind.

    * I like the super short content and links to follow for more. It was compelling to read them all.
    * I like that I can reply, but mechanism isn't a good as Panbo's.

    Your web-site developer (Mihai, right ?) could both (i) create a similar visual experience for users where the content is stored on your platform and the Panbo commenting system is used (would be nice if users could edit or delete their comment, like on FB) (ii) Mihai could create an experience for you Ben, where creating each entry is as easy as writing a facebook or Twitter entry. While he is at it, maybe build in functionality so Kees and others can make entries, and you approve.

  • Thanks, Dan. That is the idea and I'm making notes for Mihai now. I'm not sure that a Movable Type blog entry will ever be as easy as Facebook, but when you start a thread on this Forum, for instance, you are creating a MT blog entry.

  • It's more expensive, but Mihai can do things outside MT including build browser based forms that feel like easy to use mobile apps (just don't need to install them).

    Another thought, ask Mihai to create a robot to watch your Facebook account, sync new or changed entries into MT. If not then a sheet in Google docs, perhaps allow different files per author, so nobody can fat finger anothers spreadsheet.

  • I'd love to see more news, but if the only way to access it is facebook, I will never see it.

    Do not assume all your loyal readers will follow you to facebook. Most I am sure are already there, but some of us just "say no" to facebook.