Tuesday, June 05, 2007

[General Temple Central] I want a Recipe Index!

Hello all -
My site, vanesscipes.com, is a year old now (hurrah!) and I'd love to have a nifty Recipe Index. 95% of my posts are recipes and I'd live to create an easy-to-read and visually appealing index where visitors could quickly scan for recipes that fit a certain criteria. Or just browse.

I use Wordpress.

I'd like to include the fields: photo, recipe name, recipe type (soup, dessert, etc.), cooking time, and season.

Here is a trial index that I made with a wordpress table with code and help (thanks!) from the author of trial index is only a test blog that I made for these purposes. My real blog looks similar but has actual content.]

So, here are my questions:
1. what do other wordpress users do for a recipe index?
2. does anyone have a blog or know of a blog with a beautiful recipe index for inspiration?
3. any comments on my trial index? Do the thumbnail photos make the page take too long to load?
4. Do any wordpress geniuses out there have an easy way to workflow one my standard recipe posts into a single entry into a compendium of fab vegetarian recipes?

Thanks in advance for your help. I love this forum.

This Post was written by Vanessa from vanesscipes.com


Janet said...

I think your trial index looks and works great. I especially like that you can sort the entries according to the column headings (although you might consider adding text to make that more evident). I think the key is in thinking about how a user might browse for a recipe, and it's likely to be by the categories you use--season, type of dish, time to prepare. The one other category you might consider (although maybe it would be easier just with a search function) is main ingredient(s). Good job!

Janet said...

p.s. The page loaded quickly. Thumbnails not a problem.

McAuliflower said...

your version of 'quick' may vary.

It took awhile for all the images to download on my end. Looking at your properties, I see why- one thumbnail sample was 40kb! Your thumbnails are way to big.I'd suggest compressing this size of image to be no larger than 10kb. Really. They should be around 5-8kb.(My large images, largest dimension being ~400px aren't even this big!).

Until you get the image size problem sorted, perhaps breaking your index by category will help your downloaders? Ex: an index of winter dishes, an index of desserts.

Good start though! I've been meaning to wrangle an index with my next site redesign. I'll try to remember to post my inspiration.

Are you importing your data by hand? Are your category names (spring for example), synonymous with recipe? -Are all spring's recipes?

Vanessa said...

Janet – thank you for looking! I totally agree with adding an explanation on how to use the headers. It’s not obvious, I think, unless it’s pointed out.

McAuliflower – thank you for the input. Firstly, yes, all of this data is imported by hand. (Which is why I wanted to be certain that I was going about this the best possible way!) Please let me know if you have any suggestions on making this a more automated process – perhaps using the wordpress “categories” feature?

Apparently I am not tech-literate enough to understand the concept of a thumbnail. Do I need to save and upload my photos in two separate sizes (regular size and thumbnail) or is there a way to automatically make a thumbnail from a larger file? Right now I’m taking a 500px photo and just changing the html (width=”80”) to make the photo appear smaller. If there is another way please let me know – I suspect this is a very basic concept that I just haven’t grasped yet.

Vanessa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kalyn said...

Vanessa, you need to change the file size of your photos as well as the size of the picture to get them to load more quickly. I recommend googling "how to optimize photos for the web" and you'll get lots of suggestions. There are a lot of free programs that can do this.

Vanessa said...

Kalyn: I'm a little embarassed I haven't done that. Thank you.

Kalyn said...

Vanessa, no need to be embarassed at all! Lots of bloggers don't know about optimizing photos. If you care more about photo quality than loading time, you might not want to optimize, but if you're wanting to encourage people to visit your site, having big file sizes will discourage lots of people. I have high-speed cable internet and I still sometimes have sites that load slowly for me.

(And thanks to the brilliant Elise for helping me learn about this at the Blogher conference last year!)

Madeline said...

Elise is always telling us Sacramento Food Bloggers to optimize our photos too! With a little finger wagging, I might add. Her rule is to keep them under 15k. I use Photoshop Elements, which has a Save for the Web feature to help me out to compress and resize them.

SusanV said...

Oh, I agree about optimizing them, but 15K? My image quality starts to break down around 40-60K, so that's where most of mine are. I'll reduce it further, but only if reducing it won't make a crappy photo. My theory is "Why use it at all if it doesn't look beautiful?"

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