I’ve been trying a few new things ever since completely redoing the site layout and I’m sure many of you that visit regularly have noticed them. I thought I would go ahead and point out a few things I’ve done recently that you may or may not want to know about. Basically, this post only exists to try one of those things out, so hopefully after I tell you about it, it actually works!
First of all, I’d like to point out the new Affiliate Search that is located in the right-hand sidebar. I’m still working on it, but it is functional. Using that search will automatically run a query of your keyword(s) against over 50 popular online stores. Some of these stores include Wal-Mart, TigerDirect, Smarthome, Buy.com, CompUSA, EBGames, GameStop, Microsoft Store, where you already can find Windows 10 Pro Edition, Office Depot, Tech Depot and more. Practically everything for your HTPC needs (including home theater furnishings) can be searched for and I will be adding new affiliates all the time. The search results are limited to 100 and I don’t have any filtering in place yet, but I’ve been getting some help from Derek Semmler with the PHP code, so hopefully a more powerful search solution will be in place soon. Just keep in mind that using my affiliate search helps support the site by giving me necessary funds to purchase review material. Same goes for the eShop linked in the top menu bar. The eShop is an Amazon Associates aShop, so if you shop Amazon.com at all, use my eShop. The prices are the same and you support theHTPC.net! A HUGE thanks to all of you who have already used the affiliate services to shop with!
I have also been working on socializing theHTPC.net as much as possible. This has been quite overwhelming, however. There are so many popular social networking sites and services out there, there is no way to include them all. Choosing which ones to include is equally as difficult. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find a way to tie most services into one another so that they can update each other automatically with no interaction on my behalf necessary. Most recently, I changed the way post updates to Twitter and the official Facebook fan page by using integrated applications and the RSS feed provided via FeedBurner. No more plugins required there, which is good due to my anemic PHP memory allotment woes. I do have a plugin installed that allows posts to be shared using additional social networking services though, so there are other available options. Please use them…sharing is contagious :)
Today I set up an additional kind of social network option on Blogger. I have no intentions of maintaining an additional site, but many people stick to Blogger blogs because they are easily accessible and there is tons of reading material. I see it as an opportunity to toss my content into the ring. So, what I have created (if it all works) is a very basic skeleton site that will receive post updates via Ping.fm and create a post with title and link to the original post. Hopefully this will make me somewhat relevant in Blogger circles while driving a few more readers to this site. We’ll see. If you’re a Blogger user, please add my Blogger site to the ones you follow (or, preferably, theHTPC.net main site). I will do the same for you!
Lastly, I have enabled theHTPC.net for mobile browsing. I’ve decided to go with mippin as they are free and appear to be the easiest to use. Hopefully those of you that do a lot of handheld browsing will find it accommodating. If you don’t like it and know any other free mobile offerings (I’ve tried most), leave a comment and I will definitely look into it.
That’s about it for now. Let me know what you think!