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Changes on APW


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Hello All!

So, normally I like to write a nice long post for you, every week, just to let you know what’s going on in my life, and what I’m thinking about. The thing is, this week the post would have read a bit like, “Ack! Ack! I’m writing a book and oh my god I’m writing a book, and I think I’m going to really have to turn in this book in in three months and I want it to be good, oh God. Must write book!” Next week, my goal is to have more coherent thoughts, but we’ll see. So, I’m going to spare you a more extensive update as to the contents of my brain, and instead tell you about the changes I’ve been making to APW, that I’m pretty excited about.

More Conversations: Those of you paying close attention will have noticed that at the end of most posts these days, you’ll see a purple band that says “More Conversations,” with links to a few other posts. This isn’t one of those link-within widgets, that automatically creates links to a bunch of posts with similar titles. Nope! This is a tool that we built so we could suggest other posts from way back in the archives on similar subjects. We pick the links ourselves, and sometimes I get all excited when I find a post in the archives I’d forgotten about (because, um, APW has a lot of archives these days). So if a post on any given day hits a nerve, and you want more conversations on the topic… well… we picked out a few that we thought you might like.

Share This: At the end of every post these days, you’ll see three icons: the Facebook “like” button, the Twitter button, and the Stumble Upon button. This means if you really like a post, it’s really easy to share it (For serious! I’ve been sharing all the APW posts on Twitter this way, and it’s awesome.) Lately, I’ve been being asked by readers what they can to do support APW (Which always sort of shocks me. It somehow doesn’t occur to me that people want to help. I’m a little dim.) And one of the simplest ways to help us out is to share a link, if you particularly like a post one day. Like it on Facebook, or Twitter it. Or if you really love us? Stumble it. That matters to us in a huge, huge, way.

Comments: We did some general fixing up of comments, trying to incorporate all your requests. Now, when you respond to a comment, your comment box pops up right below the comment you’re responding to, instead of at the end of the page (thank God). But more importantly, for those of you who are spelling impaired like I am, the comment box now has its own spell check feature, plus you can edit your comment after you submit it, or request for it to be deleted, which should make you look smarter.

Editz: First up, let me be really clear: I’m dyslexic, so spelling is a problem for me. Assistant Editor Lauren tries to make everything pretty for you, but sometimes she makes a mistake. So! Now, at the end of every post, you’ll see an Editz button. If you catch us making a mistake, hit the button, mark the mistake, and we can easily make the change. Wheeee!

Sponsored Posts & How To Posts: You may have noticed that Sponsored Posts and How-To Posts now have a pretty little splash of color across the top, with a bit of explanation. This allows us to run How-To posts while reminding you that DIY is not necessarily *better* or cheaper (easy traps to fall into). Plus, it makes sure that you always understand that sponsored posts are paid slots, and that you know a little bit about how I pick advertisers, and what APW’s business model is. Because I’m all about full disclosure, always.

How You Can Help APW (But only because you asked…)
As I mentioned, I’ve been getting asked recently about ways that y’all can help APW. I’m not joking that I’ve been baffled that people wanted to know these things. I’m dense enough that it never occurred to me that people actually wanted to know how they could help. So, I thought I’d give you a really clear list of things you can do to help, other then read and comment and tell us what you love and what you want to see more of (because those are by far the most important things).

  • You can shop on Amazon by clicking through our Books section of the Blogs & Books page (that way we get almost 6% of every penny you spend. What? Easy).
  • You can share APW links that you particularly like through the Share-This feature I explained in the post.
  • You can shop APW sponsors for your wedding (but you knew that).
  • And you can always give money anytime. Think of it as the price you pay for a magazine subscription, and know that every penny of that money goes to Alyssa & Lauren‘s salaries.

But mostly, you can keep on being your awesome selves: reading, commenting, sharing stories, and generally making me think I have the best job in the world.

Now, um, back to writing that book.

Smooches,

Meg

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • http://www.missgiggles.com Giggles

    Yea! I love all the new little things. I’m always tinkering with my own blog and I’m pretty sure that most of the small things I do are only noticed by me. But these are no small things you’ve been tinkering with. I think they’re great. Good job!

  • Lauren

    Eeee! Editz makes me really happy. Probably too happy. I like/respect/don’t hate you and your blog, so I never, never wanted to send douchy, “Umm, you used the wrong homophone there” emails. But, spelling errors make me twitchy. So, is it weird that I’m so into “helping” with Editz? Probably, but I’m still excited.

    Everything else is fabulous, too. It’s hard to believe APW can keep getting better, but it does!

    • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia kahlia

      Exactly. I’ve been wondering about that Editz logo. I’ve always felt bad sending the “you made a mistake” emails (especially knowing that Meg’s dyslexic/”spelling impaired”)… so this is a great solution!

      • http://betterinrealife.com Lauren

        It’s a lot easier to see mistakes when you’re not in the mix of it all.

  • Jillian

    I totally just geeked out over the “Editz” feature since I love copyediting…

  • Emma

    Kudos on undoubtedly being an inspiration to aspiring bloggers/writers/authors with dyslexia. VERY excited about all of the ideas highlighted here!

  • Murdock

    YEAH! Go Team Practical!! And thanks for posting the giving button again, I’ve been waiting for that one to reappear.

    • Amy

      Meg- just a testament to the community that you’ve built here that people are *excited* when a giving button pops up, and not sending you loads of hateful email and comments about how dare you think your work deserves compensation. Yay team practical!

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      It’s permanently here, up at the top. It’s the Team Practical link.

      • Murdock

        Ahhhh all the way at the top – saw it. Thanks Kimberly!

  • http://offbeatempire.com Ariel

    Ooh, lookit that placement of the “Notify me of replies via email” checkbox. *scurries off to talk to my dev*

    • meg

      It’s the best. People were complaining that in 300 comment threads, you couldn’t figure out if someone replied to you or not.

      • Hypothetical Sarah

        I love the changes :) I’ve been particularly enjoying how everything is linked and cross-linked and the “more conversations” links, because that’s basically how my brain works.

        Could we maybe get email notification for replies to nested threads — so I’d get an email if someone replies directly to my post, or if someone replies to a reply to my post (i.e. Ariel and Meg would both get emails about this post)? Is that something other people would like?

        • meg

          That’s been built into the blog for almost a year, silly! If you check “notify me of replies via email” when you leave a comment, you’ll get emails when people chat with you.

          Ta-da! Done! I like when you make my job easy :)

      • Melodious

        This is great! Sometimes I’m late to the party and really want to contribute to the conversation, but I know the person I’m replying to probably won’t sift thru the hundreds of comments to find mine.

        And the Editz…ooooh, I’m in geek heaven!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    You’re rad. (you plural.)

  • mere…

    I love that you signed this “smooches” – it just makes me happy!

  • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

    I love all the new changes! :)

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

    yayy! I love watching this site evolve. I think I may have squealed out loud the first time I noticed the option to edit or request deletion of my comment.

    is it you or Firefox 4 that’s giving me the option to shrink and expand this text box I’m writing in? that is kind of blowing my mind at the moment..

    • meg

      That’s me!

  • http://sherwoodspecialists.com kayla

    I love that the more conversations links are hand picked!

    I also love the DIY banner and the sponsered post banner, any chance you can get more banners? Such as one for the Ask Team Practical.

    • meg

      See I’ve been thinking about it (it’s easy to do), I just don’t want to banner you guys out. Like, it would really be over kill if wedding grads had a banner, because it’s self explanatory. And I don’t want every damn post to have a banner, because then that’s just annoying. But I’m totally open to suggestions.

      You guys might like an ATP banner, with an explanation of how to get in touch with Alyssa, and such? Other ideas, or stuff you DON’T want?

      • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

        I can see the getting-bannered-out potential. but I think an ATP one would be good!

      • Aurélie

        +1 on an ATP banner with contact information.
        In your weekly updates, I’d love to know what chapter you’re currently writing, it would give us a sense of seeing your book come to life under our eyes…
        You’re doing a great job! Keep going!

        • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

          While I think that would be a cool feature, I could understand why that might make Meg uncomfortable. My husband is also writing a book and self-promoting it, and while he’ll talk about his progress on his facebook page (and post photographs as well), he’s reluctant to talk too much about what he’s specifically writing, because he wants people to buy the book when it’s all done.

  • http://made-of-sun.blogspot.com/ Trisha

    I love being able to edit a post for a few minutes after I post it. I’ve already used this one. Thanks Meg!

  • Abbie

    I’m really excited about the “more conversations” link. I’m relatively new to APW and I think it’s going to be a great way to explore the archive. Thanks for all you do.

  • RachelLyn

    You can shop APW sponsors for your wedding (but you knew that).

    Umm, yea. Emily Stearn Photography. Check. Bario-Neal Jewelry. Check.
    I luv the sponsors- it makes my planning so much easier to just know someone is going to be legit. Cuz if you like it, clearly it’s legit.

    I do sometimes think that there are too many sponsored posts though….

    • meg

      I totally understand that feeling, but that’s not going to change. We have two sponsored posts a week (Tuesdays and Fridays). That’s the way it’s always been and will be for the foreseeable future.

      Here is the deal: one, sponsored posts pay the bills (mine and the blogs). I support two people thanks to this lovely economy, and I need to pay rent and medical insurance, not to mention salaries for staffers and hosting, etc. For me to cut back to one sponsored post a week, that means I’d need to double the cost of a sponsored posts, which would mean small emerging businesses (like, say, the amazing Emily Sterne) couldn’t afford them anymore. And I really don’t like that idea.

      So, that’s where we’re at. Two sponsored posts a week, coming ‘atcha.

      • Aurélie

        Personally, I’m absolutely fine with the number of sponsored posts since they’re never “alone”: we still have another “content post” the same day, to quench our reading thirst. To me, that’s a really good deal.

        However, I almost never read the sponsored posts since I’ll never be able to use them anytime soon (I live in France…). But I love to check the online services (like the printable stationery) when they get a sponsored post: please, give us more! I’ll definitely use them someday!

        I don’t know if you’d be comfortable giving us this kind of details but I’d love to know more about your finances: how much do APW get paid for those posts, how much a month can you make with Amazon links, how much costs your rent, the medical insurance, etc. It would be a great example for entrepreneurs-to-be. But I’d totally understand if you don’t want to talk figures!

        PS: just used the spell-check feature, it works wonders.

        • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

          I agree with this. I have APW on my Google Reader feed, and because I know it helps you to click through, I usually do, especially if it is a post I am interested in. I click through on the sponsored posts that I will use or am interested in. (I usually click through the jewelry posts, for example, because I’m always on the lookout for great gifts for the fabulous women in my life.)

          I also know that those sponsors are vetted by you, and while you’re receiving ad revenue from them, you wouldn’t be putting them out there unless you thought they were worthwhile to a good portion of your readership. I had most of my vendors lined up prior to finding this site (which I discovered shortly before you changed over from Blogger), however I tell friends about the sponsored posts and to consider them as they plan their weddings. And, of course, I consider using them when buying non-wedding stuff (like, for example, the kick*ss address labels from Up Up Creative – LOVE that site! I wish I had found it before I bought my invitations!)

        • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

          is Up Up Creative still a sponsor? I want to check out these address labels, but maybe I’m blind, I don’t see their link in the side bar..!

  • http://koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate

    I hadn’t even noticed all the updates! I love the option to share on FB & Twitter. I’m constantly trying to point my Brides & engaged friends to APW!!

    • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

      Me, too. I have done that before, but manually. This makes it sooooo much easier. :)

  • Class of 1980

    “Editz”

    I suddenly feel so powerful. ;)

  • http://snippets.of.school.blogspot.com Brenna

    The changes look great. Happy book writing!

  • clampers

    As an unabashed member of the Grammar Police, I love the Editz button and think that every blog in the world should have one!

  • http://militantbarbie.tumblr.com/ Harri

    I’m pretty sure that APW is my favourite blog of all the blogs I read. And I read a lot of blogs. And they’re not all (or even nearly all) about weddings. And (as if this matters) I’m a boy!

    All the new little (or not-so-little) changes you’ve made are supergoodstuffs :)

  • Fiorentina

    May I just say, I just discovered a nice little feature that made my day.

    I excerpted a quote from an APW post to insert in an email to someone I thought would appreciate it. Of course, I fully intended to provide proper attribution and a link-back so the recipient could read the rest of it, but guess what? I didn’t have to!!! When I pasted the excerpt, it came along with “read more at (link)”. AWESOMESAUCE!!!

  • Anon

    Since we are talking about changes, can Lauren and Alyssa get their own awesome comment colours? It would be great to be able to scan through and hear their voices a bit more.

    Love love the changes., Keep up the good work.

  • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

    The editz button! Love!