Design Float Server Migration

I wanted to give everyone a head’s up that I will be migrating Design Float to a more powerful server that will allow us to scale easier moving forward. The past couple of months, traffic and demand on the databases has continued to increase and we have outgrown the specs of the current solution. Despite all the updates from the recent redesign, things still aren’t fast enough, so this upgrade should also speed things up even more. My apologies for any downtime over the next couple of days.

Design Float "Refreshes"

It’s been about a month since my last update, and as you can see I’ve been hard at work. I launched a completely refreshed layout last night in an attempt to make Design Float a cleaner and more usable website. The new two column layout makes more room for content and eases the cluttered feeling that the previous three column design created. I’ve removed almost all of the Adsense and we’re on our way to taking all advertising in house. You’ll also notice that entry summaries now default to hidden allowing me to fit more entries per page and putting more weight on quality written headlines.

Finally, many of you may have experienced horribly slow load times at certain times during the last month or two. Our traffic continues to grow steadily and the site has been receiving huge bombardments of Stumbleupon visitors recently. I’ve made some small database tweaks that should help ease the loads on the server, so hopefully you’ll find this version a little quicker as well.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, love and hate for the refreshed layout and the various new features in place and, as always, don’t hesitate to make suggestions!

Updates Around Design Float

Well it’s been a while since my last blog posting. I have since gotten married, visited beautiful Spain on my honeymoon, and settled into a nice little domesticated lifestyle. In addition, I’ve also made a lot of improvements around Design Float. Some you may have noticed, other’s not, but here’s a list of what has been going on around here lately:

  • Private Messages Work: I have finally resolved the long outstanding issue with private messages, so feel free to start adding friends and sending them messages.
  • Related Links: The related links tab located on every entry page now functions and actually pulls related links. Imagine that!
  • Cleaned Up Profile Page: I spent some time reorganizing and cleaning up the profile page. Also coming soon will be the ability to add your usernames to other popular social networking and bookmarking sites right to your profile.

I’ll continue to try and make improvements around the site wherever I can so feel free to keep the feedback and suggestions coming. Until next time.

Blog Rush Launches

As many of you have probably seen, the much (or so I hear) anticipated Blog Rush has finally launched.

In their words:

BlogRush is a free service that was created to help bloggers solve their #1 need:
More Readers For Their Blog.

By adding the BlogRush Widget to a blog, a blogger can get instant distribution for their latest blog post titles across a network of related blogs.

BlogRush users earn “syndication credits” (the right to have their blog post titles shown inside a widget on another related blog) based on their own traffic (loads of the widget) as well as the traffic of other users they refer to BlogRush. Users can automatically refer others to BlogRush via special links on the widget, as well as through the promotion of a special referral URL they are given.”

I figured it was worth a shot. I’ll do an update in a few weeks to let everyone know how it does. In the meantime:

Feel Free to Sign UpВ 

It's Been a While: An Update

It’s been a while since my last post so I figured it was time for a general update. A few big things have happened over the past couple of weeks. I accepted a new day job working on an exciting new web startup, so I’ve been trying to prepare for a departure from my current day job. The end of my two weeks notice is this Friday, so once the transition goes though, things will run a little more smoothly for me.

In addition to accepting a new day job, I decided to move Design Float over to a new host that I feel can better handle current and projected bandwidth demands. I decided on Media Temple’s Grid Server and couldn’t be happier. The transfer went much smoother than I expected and took only a few hours with no downtown and no data loss. I feel good about our new home and look forward to settling in with Media Temple as Design Floats permanent home.

The site is still steadily growing, we are approaching 500 members and should hit 600 by the end of the month. Feed subscriptions have surpassed the 1,000 mark and continues to increase (1,389 at last glance). I expect over 40,000 unique visitors this month and am hoping to break the 100,000 page views a month mark.

Advertising
In an attempt to lighten the burden of my student loan debt, I have opened up some sponsorship sections throughout the site. My intent is not to cover the site in ads and the majority of the banners that display in the sidebar currently are banner exchanges with other respected and relevant projects and I will only accept sponsors that I feel our users will find useful and relevant.

Learn about advertising opportunities on Design Float.

Thank you to everyone who continues to visit and support Design Float and remember, your praise, complaints, suggestions, and ideas are always appreciated!

Vote for Design Float!

Design Float was featured on Killer Startups (a startup about startups, go figure) a few weeks ago. It’s actually a pretty neat Digg style website and they’re currently adding about 30 new startups a day. Anyway, if you have some free time, head over there and give Design Float a vote!

Design "Float It" Button on Your Website

I’m sure you have all been waiting on the edge of your chairs for the ability to integrate Design Float with your websites and blogs. Well now you can! The below options should allow you to easily integrate a “Float It” button to your website pages and blog posts both manually and dynamically. The first time the button is click for an article, it will bring the user to the submit entry page. After the entry has been submitted, all future clicks will count as floats which will be displayed to the left of the float button. See this blog for a working example and enjoy!

Website & Blog Integration

Do you want to give your website or blog visitors the option to submit your stories to Design Float and “Float” them? Make it easy for them by including the the link and icons below next to each piece of content allowing your visitors to easily “Float” your articles and blog posts!

“Float It” Button With Submit Capability
<script type=”text/javascript”>submit_url = ‘Your URL Here‘;</script>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.designfloat.com/evb/button.php”></script>
  • Looks Like:
  • Float This on Design Float
Easy WordPress Integration
<script type=”text/javascript”>submit_url = ‘<?php the_permalink() ?>’;</script>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.designfloat.com/evb/button.php”></script>
Submit Buttons Only
<a href=”http://www.designfloat.com/submit.php?url=Your Article URL“>Float This</a>
  • Buttons:
  • Float This on Design Float
  • Float This on Design Float
  • Float This on Design Float

300 in 30 Days

Design Float has passed the 300 member mark and in only 30 days. This is far faster than I expected. I hope that everyone is continuing to find the site helpful and useful. Our repeat visitors is still increasing by about 25% a day which is a great sign. I also listen to the feedback I receive, so please feel free to use the contact form to send me any thoughts, suggestions, complaints, etc.

The Design Float Dashboard Widget (v1)

I spent some time this weekend learning about Dashboard Widgets and was able to successfully create version 1.0 of the Design Float Dashboard Widget. When installed, the widget allows you to choose from any of the Design Float categories and display the latest 10 published entries along with a brief description and the number of floats they have received. Enjoy!

» Download the Widget

Design Float Dashboard Widget

So I added some Adsense Ads…

Well I was trying to avoid adding Google Adsense to the site, but I’m not confident in the server setup that is currently powering Design Float. My email has been intermittent over the past couple of days and with the boost in traffic the site has received from the Smashing Magazine article, response and load times have increased more than I’d like. I’ve never really experimented with ads on a site so I’m giving them a shot to see whether or not they could potentially offset the cost of a dedicated or semi-dedicated server. I can’t currently afford the monthly bill for one, so I either need to offset the potential cost with advertising, or find someone to sponsor the site and donate more solid hosting.

If I don’t think the Google Ads will do enough to help, I’ll take them down and in the meantime if anyone knows of any kickass deals on reliable dedicated or semi-dedicated hosting, please let me know. I apologize to anyone who finds the ads particularly annoying, I tried to make them as subtle and tasteful as possible and, like I said, if I don’t think it’ll help they’ll be coming down.