Those with a sharp eye may have noticed a few changes on John Chow dot Com. The changes were made so the blog can perform better and provider a better user experience. One thing I have learn over the years is to never settle. You should always be tweaking and refining. With that in mind, I present two additions that I’m sure you’ll be seeing on many other blogs in the next little while.
Google Custom Search
I removed the Lijit search that powered the blog’s search feature and replaced it with the Google Custom Search Engine. I found Lijit to be very slow at times and some users complained about browser incompatibility.
Google CSE is just that, a customized search engine for your blog. It works much like the normal WordPress search feature but it’s faster and more relevant. If you’re an AdSense publisher, Google gives you the option to add Google Ads to the search results and share in the revenue. If you have decent search volume, Google Custom Search can be a nice money maker as well allowing your readers to search your blog posts. Search results can be displayed at Google.com or within your own blog for better branding. Give it a try and tell me what you think.
Connect To This Blog with Facebook Connect
Facebook Connect lets your readers log in and comment on your WordPress blog with their Facebook profile. If they are already logged into Facebook when they visit, then they don’t even have to enter their information on your blog to comment.
The advantage of Facebook Connect is the comments can show up in the users Facebook newsfeed so all their friends will see it. Depending on how many friends the user have, this can result in quite a bit of traffic. Those new Facebook users visiting your blog can connect with Facebook Connect as well. Facebook Connect is a good way to expose your blog to more Facebook users.
Setting up Facebook Connect maybe beyond the skills of the average blogger. Fortunately, there is a free WordPress Plugin for this. I didn’t use the Plugin. Instead, I had Nate Whitehill from Unique Blog Design coded up both Facebook Connect and the Google Custom Search Engine to the blog.
Your feedback on the new additions are welcome. I’ll be interested to know how many readers planned to add Facebook Connect and/or Google CSE to their blogs.