Last night I took a break from all the regularly scheduled programming to get back to updating one of my own websites for a change. This time, it was updates to the Maui Photo Day Calendar website.
Now, the website itself isn’t that large since it’s really just a homepage for all the different uses of my daily Maui photos (you can find a complete list here). But still, having it just be mostly static and not updated in over a year didn’t feel good enough. That, and I was looking for a better way to associate the site with the RSS feed associated with my photo a day on Facebook integration. So, I had a pair of birds in my sight and time for only one stone.
Front and Center
The first change I wanted to make as to add a larger version of the photo and calendar date directly on the home page, and do so front and center. For that, I leveraged almost all of the same code I put together for Daily Photo tab on the Maui by Photo page on Facebook. All that was really needed was a few style tweaks and integration into the rest of the site template.
As far as the existing homepage of the site, I moved that over to an About page, which is really what it was built to be anyway.
RSS Link Page
For the other bird in my metaphor, I wanted something to update the target URL for each item in the RSS feed for my daily Maui photos so it would point back to the site and not to the photo on Flickr as it was previously. It turns out this was very easy to implement as well by just using a redirect script and .htaccess settings to read in the photo values from the page URL and bring up the content that way.
This is also helpful because now I can loop in Google Analytics for any page views per photo – either from the RSS feed, the published posts on Facebook, or anytime I want to include a specific reference to a particular photo. Kind of like I just did with those previous two links in this post. Before, I was relying on the Views count on Flickr, but could only do that one photo at at time. 🙁
Having an individual URL and dynamic page content for each photo in the calendar also opens up a lot of doors that I didn’t have time for last night. I could incorporate the Facebook Like button, add the Twitter and FB share button equivalents, bring in a Stumbleupon widget, you get the idea.
Since I’m following a tagging convention on Flickr for these photos, I can also leverage the Flickr API to pull in other details about the photo, including comments and views. With the meta data associated with each photo – including geolocation, place names, and coast details – I could also bring in related photos and even references to other pages and posts on my different Maui sites or even my photography blog if that same image was featured there, too.
Basically, the sky is now the limit with this relatively minor change for custom page URLs per photo. I could ask myself why I haven’t thought of it sooner, but I already know the answer. Just not enough hours in the day.