New Look, New URL, Same Old Blog

Hey gang, I’ve decided to make a few changes that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I felt like they were big enough to comment on.

First of all, I’ve finally moved away from a WordPress URL and gone with http://findingtruth.info. I would have loved .com or .net, but apparently the title of my blog is pretty catchy. The old one (findingtruth.wordpress.com) will still work, but you’ll be redirected to the .info address.

Secondly, I’ve moved to a new theme. I really liked the old one, but this one caught my eye — feel free to let me know what you think about it.

Finally, based on a friend’s suggestion, I’ve decided to use a static homepage for the site, so new visitors can get an idea of who I am and what the blog is about before they’re dropped in front of my latest post. This means the blog articles will now reside at https://findingtruth.info/blog.

These are definitely the biggest changes I’ve made to the blog since I switched it from a Christian to an atheist perspective. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which change was more impactful. πŸ™‚

Feel free to weigh in on these changes — I’m curious to see how they affect the user experience.

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58 thoughts on “New Look, New URL, Same Old Blog”

  1. Curious — why the felt need to change URL?
    As for me, generic nature scenes don’t do much for blog interest.
    I think a static front page is a bad idea. Instead having an ABOUT page is better.
    Just my humble opinions.

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  2. So, do this is NOT a WordPress blog? Then it shouldn’t suffer from the same WP malfunctions, YAY!

    Does the same HTML still apply? Can I underline now?

    (Shut up, Victoria! No comments from the peanut gallery!)

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  3. Thanks for the feedback!

    @arch — it’s still hosted on WordPress. I’ve thought about moving it to another server, but I’m pretty sure I would lose out on the traffic that I currently get from WordPress. And that’s a bigger deal to me right now. I haven’t tried underline yet, so I don’t know about it…

    @sabio — I just updated the image to something a bit more abstract, but that I also think ties into the idea of “finding truth.” Let me know if you think that’s a bit better. I went with the new URL, mostly so I could lock it down. I’m pretty sure that findingtruth.com and findingtruth.net were both available (maybe even findingtruth.org) when I first started up the blog, and looking back, I wish I had snagged at least one of them. When I saw that .info was available (and at a good price), I decided to pull the trigger.

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  4. @ Nate,
    Yeah, I like that pic better, but I prefer self-designed images — but it is hard with your title, I guess.

    Just curious WHY leave the old URL at all — especially since it is free?

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  5. So what’s the code? If you leave a space between characters (), it should deactivate it so you can pass the info onto others.

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  6. @sabio

    I feel like it gives me options down the road. Not that I have any intentions of leaving WordPress, but just in case…

    Also, I’ve always thought about trying to write an actual book about my deconversion and what I see as the problems in religion (I know those are a dime a dozen, and I hate to even voice this desire since it may never happen), and if I ever get around to that, I’d like to refer to the blog in a standalone URL instead of a WordPress subdomain. Nothing wrong with doing it the other way — just personal preference, I guess.

    Btw, I agree with you about personally designing sites. I actually work as a web developer and do a lot of work using WordPress. But while I’m a good WP developer and can do front-end development work as well as anyone, I’m not a great designer. I’d have a hard time improving on these out-of-the-box themes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, nested comments…

    Yeah, it’s a great question, and I know a lot of people like them. I just don’t, to be honest. I like the concept, and I like the way they work on sites like Facebook. But on WordPress, the “reply” button often disappears after a certain number of replies, which causes people to start a new chain somewhere else in the thread. It can get confusing.

    Plus, there’s no way to turn them on for individual posts. And I tried turning them on once here, and my old posts just got all jumbled up. Turns out that some people had been commenting through the WordPress reader or via email, while others had just used the normal form on the page. The result was simply unreadable.

    So, for better or worse, I’ve just decided to stay away from nesting altogether. It can be a little aggravating, but it’s usually not too hard to tell who’s replying to whom. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Maybe it only lets me do it. 😦

    It’s stupid. I think they strip the underline tags to cut down on people thinking that some text is a link when it’s not. But I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to remove the capability altogether. Sucks.

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  9. This is dumb, but if you ever really need something underlined to make the point, let me know, and I’ll edit your comment and add it.

    Sorry, arch

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  10. I think we had this conversation before…so I was mostly kidding. πŸ˜‰

    My preferences differ, but your gripes are legit; I understand the wonkiness. My personal workaround is to usually reply in the app, or type a custom URL with replytocom if there’s no reply button. But that’s not for everyone, and it doesn’t solve it for everyone. It gives me the best shot at reaching my intended recipient, though.

    Ironically, since I didn’t subscribe to this post, I almost didn’t see your reply to my first comment, except that I went back to post a second.

    OTOH, as you pointed out, even if you were inclined to switch, your history complicates matters.

    So… 😐

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  11. I like! I DEFINITELY need to update mine… It looks childish and terrible. I was hoping you could work your magic as a web developer and help with the design, but I guess I read my answer above.

    There’s a girl named aubrey kinch that does a lot of design for a decent price, maybe I’ll splurge one day.

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  12. I’m with Nate. I don’t like nested comments. It makes it too hard to keep track of which comments are the most recent. Also the deeper the nesting goes the more narrow the comments become
    and eventually
    they start
    to look
    like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nate, I have an idea for a conversation starter. Not sure where to post it, so feel free to move it if you want.
    – – –

    I’m almost finished reading a book called Joker One and part way through the book the author (a former marine lieutenant who served in Iraq) starts to talk about God. He is recounting his time in Iraq and just described the first loss of life that occurred within his own platoon. He decides that it is better to believe in God and his logic goes something like this:

    If there is no God then there is no hope for his dead comrade. He is gone forever and has served and died for no ultimate purpose.

    If there is a God then there is hope that this man is still alive in Heaven and has sacrificed himself for the greater good serving a higher purpose.

    I think the point he makes brings up a good question: Would we be better off having hope in an afterlife from a pragmatic point of view? Would we be happier and less prone to become depressed if we at least clung to some *hope* that there is a better life waiting for us after we die? Would this hope do us any harm in the here and now or is it possible that holding on to this hope could make us a better person?

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  14. If we’re intelligent enough to know there’s no afterlife, then living the lie wouldn’t solve anything.

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  15. IMHO , belief in an afterlife tends to keep people from living this life 110% . If they don’t achieve much here, they will have eternity to make up for it.

    That why I posted this saying on my blogsite title.

    β€œLife is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming…Wow! What a ride!”

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks, Susane! I actually like your blog’s theme. Background images don’t always work well, but I think it does in your case. Been following your recent series, btw. I’m happy for you! πŸ™‚ Hope things continue to go well.

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  17. Dave, I see no harm in people believing in a god or in an afterlife, necessarily. If it helps people cope with the loss of loved ones as well as deal with their own mortality, or even if it helps give them a bit of courage in dangerous or desperate situation, then I would not fault them.

    It would be nice. I once held those same views. In some ways I envy them, but in others, I do not as I prefer the truth whether I like it or not, and since I think Christianity is not the truth, and that the truth is also that no god has been revealed (and certainly no real promise of an afterlife) then I’d prefer to personally be done with that view.

    But can it be good? I think so, but we have also seen where it can also be bad. I know, that whether I like something or not, or regardless of how much or how little something gives me comfort, that those things in no way validate a belief or speak to reality.

    Soldiers and Marines believing their close comrades are being taken care of in an afterlife, or grieving parents believing that they’ll see their deceased children again at some point… I could not criticize people like this. I feel badly for them and often wish I could get lost in their fantasy. I wish it were so, I am just very doubtful that it is any more than wishful thinking, as sad as that may be.

    For good or bad, people die. There’s nothing we can do about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Yes Arch, whenever I hear of Atwell, a term like crackpot or the like is usually also applied, and I am referring to atheist commentators here.

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  19. Hi Nate,

    FWIW (but you did ask for comments) I’ll give you 4 thumbs up out of 5.

    1. I think having your own URL has all sorts of benefits, one of which is that I think Google takes you more seriously.

    2. I think a static home page is good. regular readers subscribe, and don’t see either static home page or the old blog home page, so it doesn’t matter for them. But new people are probably better served by a static home page.

    3. I like the use of the info subdomain – I use it myself – though that depends a little on whether you see your blog as providing factual, researched info, or more opinion and personal ideas.

    4. I agree about nested comments. They sound like a good idea, but generally end up difficult to read and difficult (for me) to follow.

    5. My only personal preference different to yours is the picture at the top. I think they look good the first time someone comes to the blog, but after that they get in the way a little – you sometimes even have to scroll down to see the post title. I prefer a new picture for each post (if the theme uses featured image, that can be useful in other ways too).

    Since you are a web developer, may I ask you a question please. My self hosted website has a HTML home page in the root, 100+ HTML pages in folders and the blog in a /blog folder. But now I want to move all the pages into the blog as WP pages. Trouble is, they will then have the URL sitename/blog/category/pagename and so won’t be continuous with the present URLs.

    There is a complicated way to shift my present blog to the root directory, but I am scared I would stuff it up and lose connection to my database (I have had that happen in some trials on a dummy site). Do you know any way in the PHP code to strip out the folder the blog is located in (/blog in this case) and then put the /blog back into the blog posts only using permalinks?

    I have asked on forums and not got good answers. Please don’t worry too much about this, but if you know it can be done, a brief pointer would help. Thanks.

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  20. Re Joseph Atwill, obviously I have my bias (like everyone else, though opposite to most people here), but a quick search shows the negative comments above are justified.

    One of the embarrassments of being a christian is the “interesting individuals” (I am trying not to use a more pejorative term) who regularly appear to predict the end of the world. Obviously none so far has been right, but there will be another one any day I suppose, and the “proof” will be different again to all the others who were wrong.

    I think one of the embarrassments of being an atheist would be the regular appearance of people able to prove some alternative beginning to christianity which makes Jesus the person a myth. You can have a fair idea that they are all “interesting individuals” because every one has a different story, generally a different conspiracy. Virtually every new story is by a person with no real qualifications to make any such statements. And most of them have a book to sell.

    Atwill conforms to this. He has no qualifications to speak of, and apart from the bio he wrote himself, the only bio I found was (appropriately?) on IMDb. And not only his fellow atheists (Bart Ehrman, JT Eberhard, PZ Myers and others) are embarrassed by his unfounded claims, but so are mythicists and ex-Mythicists like Tom Verenna, Richard Carrier and David Fitzgerald.

    You can Google more references if you really want to! πŸ™‚

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  21. Hi unkleE,

    Thanks for all the input!

    So with the site you’re talking about, it was built with WordPress, right? If so, the file structure you’re describing sounds a little unusual. First of all, I suppose the files you’re talking about are actually PHP files, not HTML, right? In other words, they have a .php extension. Also, WordPress doesn’t usually keep a blog folder in its directory, because each blog post uses the single.php template file, which is usually in the theme’s root directory. If you have a blog folder, then that would make me think that you might have two separate WordPress sites on the same server: one at root and one in a blog directory.

    The simple answer to your question is that routing can usually be handled one of two ways: either in a .htaccess file, or in the database. WordPress sites use the database to store the blog_home() and site_url() values. Those are functions used in the code to tell your files what the root directory is. It’s possible that “/blog” is attached at the end of those URLs in your database. Removing that would probably keep you from having any db issues if you moved the files around. However, without seeing the actual FTP setup, it’s hard for me to weigh in too much.

    If you want, feel free to email me, and I might be able to help you out a bit more. πŸ™‚

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  22. Nate,

    Looking at UnkleE’s site, it looks like the root folder does not have wordpress on it. He probably wants to convert those static pages into wordpress pages so that they can be easily edited.

    UnkleE,

    I think you can achieve what you are trying to accomplish using mod_rewrite. It can essentially take a request for “domain.com/page.htm” and map it to request a different file on your server like “/blog/whatever”. It does all of the file mapping on the server and the client browser thinks it is reading from “domain.com/page.htm”.

    You’ll have to find out from your web host if you have access to use mod_rewrite.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hi Nate & Dave,

    Yeah Dave’s right. It’s currently a HTML website with a WP blog attached, and I’m planning to convert the HTML pages to WP pages – to better allow automatic links to similar pages, etc. I won’t take up too much space here (after all, we wouldn’t want to go off topic would we? πŸ™‚ ), but briefly ….

    Dave, I presume the mod_rewrite goes in the .htaccess file, and that means the “real” URL of the pages contains the /blog but it appears to have a different URL to visitors who use the abbreviated address? But when copying and pasting a URL link it would still have the longer URL. That is certainly a solution, but I feel it is a bit awkward. But thanks, it is at least a possibility.

    Nate, do you know where in the DB that info is stored? And do you know if I can change the PHP somewhere to change the URL and eliminate the /blog? There is a function “get_site _URL()” that may be relevant, and I’m wondering whether I can modify this in some way to eliminate the /blog. I’ll email you, thanks.

    But maybe it’s all too hard. Thanks heaps for helping me out.

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  24. Dave, I presume the mod_rewrite goes in the .htaccess file, and that means the β€œreal” URL of the pages contains the /blog but it appears to have a different URL to visitors who use the abbreviated address? But when copying and pasting a URL link it would still have the longer URL. That is certainly a solution, but I feel it is a bit awkward. But thanks, it is at least a possibility.

    Yes, the trick would be to never use the unwanted URLs and always use the abbreviated form.

    Ideally, you would move WordPress to your root directory and have it controlling the entire website. However, if you do this you may run into some issues. Especially if you want to keep all of your URLs exactly the same as they are now. It looks like your static pages end in .shtml and I’m not sure if you could get WordPress to mirror that. I think you would end up having to change a lot of your URLs which means you’ll want to make sure and use 301 redirects from all of the old URLS so you don’t leave Google wondering where all of your content has disappeared to.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thanks guys, this is looking more and more difficult! I think I’d forgotten about the .shtml files. However I go, this could be messy. It’s sounding more and more like I’ll just have to accept significant changes to my URLs and just cope with it. I’ll think a bit more and send an email thanks Nate.

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