travelpodpreview

TravelPod's new look will be revealed in stages

After sifting through feedback from hundreds of TravelPod bloggers, we made TP travel blogs more attractive and easier to navigate, while still keeping with time-honoured TravelPod blogging traditions.

We think you’ll like it.

We’ve worked very hard to maintain all the existing features on TravelPod that you love. We’re sure that you will feel right at home with the new look of your travel blog.

Look for these changes towards the middle of October, 2009.

The main differences between the old and the new look:

(To get this out as soon as possible and start collecting your opinions, we’ll be introducing the new design in phases. Some of these features might not be available on the first day)

  • A cleaner, professionally designed look for your blogs
  • Improved navigation for your visitors
  • An additional world map clearly displaying your trip in the right-hand sidebar
  • An interactive timeline at the top of the screen, making it easier to navigate between entries
  • A larger and more attractive travel map, with bigger map pins and speedy navigation inside the map
  • Blog comments can be left by non-members, and they will have the option to receive email updates of further blog comments
  • A simple “thumbs up” voting system
  • “Embedability” of your interactive travel map. You’ll be able to post your map on other websites like Facebook and Myspace
  • Easier access to the “Support My Travels” option. You’ll collect more donations from visitors

In order to change the site to suit your needs, the TravelPod team has also been ultra-busy behind the scenes updating our website technology. This will allow us to easily change the site, adapting to your demands faster than ever before.

We’re constantly looking for ways to help you blog better and as always, your feedback shapes TravelPod.

Let us know what you think about the new design in the comment section below

  • A cleaner professionally designed look for your blogs
  • Improved navigation for your visitors
  • Add something regarding the fact that the trip map is going back in.
  • 46 comments

    1. Hi there!

      I absolutely love the redesign of the TP blog pages and the fact that non-members can now add comments and receive e-mail updates. However, to take the more pessimistic view of things, will their be an option for the blogger to “ban” comments from certain people? I say this because I think eventually there will the case where someone could harbour a grudge or negative sentiment to a TP blogger and leave nasty comments on that person’s blog. Will the blogger be able to delete such comments him/herself and somehow “ban” that person from commenting further? Will non-members be required to post some info about themselves in order to post a comment? I know this is a negative view of things but I could see it happening.

      What do you think?

    2. Hi Brian, glad you like the design! It’s going to be hard to please everyone but so far the response has been very positive.

      We plan on rolling out the anonymous commenting shortly after the new design goes up. When we do that, we’ll be looking into more advance comment management to make it easier for all of you to keep control over the conversation on your blogs.

      Lot’s more great stuff to come!

    3. Wow! I am so impressed. It looks so nice and pleasing to the eye. I can’t wait for it to go live. I especially like the timeline at the top–what a great visual! You guys work very hard, and it shows. Keep up the great work!

    4. I very much like what you’ve done. I hadn’t looked at the memories in a long time. Since I’m back in the U.S. 5 years now and given the economics we face – I’m doubtful if I can afford a return trip to see my peeps – makes me tooo sad.

    5. Looks really good. My only complaint about TravelPod is that there isn’t a url for folks to go directly to the site. If there is and I am wrong please let me know. I don’t want folks to have to go into Facebook to find my blog. Thanks.-r

      1. Ruby, what is your user ID?

        Your personal URL would be: “http://www.travelpod.com/members/USERID”

        For example, mine is: “http://www.travelpod.com/members/starlagurl”

    6. I just wanted to add to Brian’s concern. One of my blogs was about the Iditarod and for some time advocates against dog sled racing got through to my blog with long tirades about their views. I felt quite annoyed in that my I try to stay away from political statements in my blog.

      Keep up the great work.

      Brenda Young

    7. 3 big hearty CHEERS to Starlagurl and company involved in making TP go from excellent to awesome over the past few years… I’m glad to be on the journey with you all…

    8. Like it – the main improvement for me is that the photos are at the bottom of the page, meaning you can start reading straight away without waiting for the photos to load.

    9. Great work, and so timely. I am off next week for a big trip and hope to add it to my blog! It looks so much easier to navigate.
      Thank you
      Sue

    10. Great changes and long overdue! Planning a new trip soon and was thinking of setting up our own website. Won’t bother now!

    11. Looks cool – especially the timeline, excellent idea!

      I always worry about changes because I went to a whole lot of effort and endless tweakage to get my photos placed exactly where I want them within the text (different browsers make that a pain of course, so I just optimized for IE, though I haven’t yet mentioned that in the journal.) I’m hoping this upgrade won’t require a complete redo of the photo placement. Call it anal, but I didn’t use the auto-weave function because I want the pix to show up as close to where the relevant narrative happens as possible.

      I’m liking the fact that you’ve moved the photo album to the bottom of the page rather than the top though. I want the pix to have impact, and when they were at the top… it’s like a spoiler right at the top of a story.

      I have the same concerns about comment control that others have mentioned here. The simple vote thing was nice because it was just 1-5 positive, and commenting could be disabled. It’s my travel journal, and if people want to comment on it they can email me – but the journal is *my* paper-jam, thanks. The last thing I want is for someone with a beef about something I’ve written to try to gum up my pages with a lot of garbage, in the way of graffiti or random vandalism.

      The same goes for voting. There’s always a hazard that that will turn into that idiotic “Helpful/Unhelpful” thing at Amazon – a kind of juvenile “nyah-nyah” thing for, again, people to disparage your work for whatever personal reasons. In short, voting or commenting approval or disapproval are an inherent prospect for abuse, and useful from my POV only as an unlikely means to get placement in the “Featured” lists on the T-Pod main page. As for the thumbs – the writeup only mentions “thumbs-up,” and I’m hoping that’s literally the case. Please tell me you’re not including a “thumbs down” option. If people want to compliment a journal, fine, but like the old expression goes, “If you don’t have anything good to say…” I don’t need or want heavy negativity on my journal pages.

      But…let’s see how it works. ‘Definitely need comment disable as an option though – else you’ve got people intentionally blandifying their journals to avoid random backlash (some have already mentioned doing this, above,) => with the upshot being less-interesting travel journals.

      Not the desired outcome, I assume.

      My $.02.

      Anynow, thanks for this great site above all – this is high on my list of exemplary websites, and I don’t think that’ll change. Bravo! I owe you all beer.

    12. I’ll take that beer once you’re satisfied with the results, Bahtman!

      We’re trying to get something out as soon as possible and, as always, plan on iterating quickly over issues/features that you guys bring up.

      So make sure to stay part of the conversation!
      We love hearing from you, in brief or in epic-tome. πŸ˜‰

    13. Thanks “Bhatman” — from one anal picure placer to another. I think I spent more time on thta than on the writing.

      Fingers crossed they’re all where I put them!!

    14. Hey everyone!

      Just a quick heads up that we’re a few more weeks away from putting the new design online. The devil is in the details and we want to make sure that your blog looks as good as possible.

      bahtman and cindyloohhoo (great username), don’t worry about picture placement. If you have any problems we’ll take the time to get things right.

    15. WOW, looks awesome!!! I spent a lot of time researching the best travel blog sites before I picked this one, and I have never been disappointed.

      Will these changes take effect on old blogs too, or only new ones created after the live date?

      Can’t wait! πŸ™‚

    16. While you are updating, could you please make the customized placing of photos into the blog text a little easier? I can never get my photos to stay where I’ve copied and pasted the photo’s address/link. I have to end up letting Travelpod distribute the photos throughout my blog, which isn’t ideal. Thanks. Faith

    17. Heather,

      We’re really glad to have you on the site and that you like the changes!
      This will apply to old blog entries as well.

      Faith,

      This update only affects the outside view of your blog, but we’re always looking for ways to improve the tools that you guys use to craft your entries. Glad you like the design!

    18. I am interested in how various bloggers (such as Bahtman) got their photos where they wanted. I have always wished you could click and drag the photos to where you wanted them in the journal entry as the auto-weave left them in locations unrelated to the text. I definitely support the other photos being at the end.

    19. The new look seems to be OK. One thing that has stopped me growing my blog at this site has been the usability issue. I couldn’t upload the photos. So, I gave up after trying it for several times in a couple of days.

      I hope such issues are eliminated at Travelpod so that I can come back and take it more seriously.

      1. Hi Destination Iran… We’ve completely updated our blog editing tools in the last few months to make it easy to use. Please try the site again and if you’re still having problems email our support to find out what the problem is. We try very hard to make TravelPod as easy as possible for our members to use.

        Thanks!

    20. Sorry for not responding earlier, although sent to me weeks ago.
      I just found it in my trash can.
      It seems fine, however I noticed that the photos of the other blogs are not shown but instead one can see the titles on the right hand margin.
      Thanks for this new look, and the work you are doing.
      Popi

    21. LOVE IT!! When will it roll out??? I have just returned from a short trip and want to do an entry… I may wait for the new look! My friends and family are also eager for the upgrade. I’m sure they will give some good feedback.. I take pride in my blog but I do it for my friends and family so it is important to me that THEY like it as well. Do you have a date?
      Thank you for all you do!
      The Skinners.

    22. Oh, there’s a “Dear Santa” I forgot in my previous:

      I’ve been consistently disappointed in the size of the photos when you click on them to enlarge, especially those in landscape orientation. There’s that vertical row of ads at the right side, which automatically truncates the X-axis sizing of photos – which means that aside from being smaller than they could be, the landscape orientation photos are comparatively smaller than the portrait orientation ones. And that’s just annoying.

      I’m fully (enthusiastically) on board with the importance of advertising, but couldn’t they be put somewhere on the photo pages that doesn’t adversely affect the content of the page itself? In general, the bigger the photo size, the better – currently it’s disappointing at best.

      Oh, and I’ve been good. Sorta.

    23. To respond to fifoota’s query, above – I got photos to stay where I wanted them by: lots and lots of tweakage. You have to take the image tag for the photo you’re working with and just play around with its positioning within the text. Sometimes moving it even a single character space can be the difference between the photo appearing where you want it and having it spaz out right in the middle of everything. It’s kinda fun, actually, but then I don’t have a life. 8^)

      I’m not a coder so I don’t know if there’s any quick & dirty way of making photo placement more convenient, but it would be cool if it were possible (temperature is important.)

    24. So far, I am unable to post an update on my Blog. It will not allow me to type in the City (as you type, the letters keep disappearing). Hence, no update can be published because I’m reminded that a city must be noted – it’s a vicious circle of going nowhere. Please advise another way to post a blog.

    25. Hi Jim,

      Sorry to hear you’re having troubles. Can you please send a note to support (at) travelpod (dot) com and we’ll see if we can’t get this sorted out for you.

      1. Hi Bahtman,

        We’ve just pushed up a fix and your photos are back!

        Just to be clear:
        Your data had NOT been altered in any way during the update yesterday.

        This is only an issue with the way your entries are presented. All of your hard work is safe.

        Sorry for the mixup.

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