Defrosting Cold Cases.com
Vidocq is a pretty smart fellow – as a lawyer he worked for Amnesty International and several police forces. For years he had a problem though: many of the cold cases he was involved with needed more exposure, but with tight budgets and lack of manpower, how do you reach a wider audience? And worse, not being tech-savvy, where do you start online? Your own website? Facebook? A first try at WordPress.com was a bummer: although a great platform for beginners, it was still intimidating – and, a bit restrictive – they do not provide ‘total freedom’ (for good reasons – it’s a free service, and they want to control their environment). Vidocq kept on searching and contacted me: it was his challenge (read: frustration) to get his years of experience and cold cases out to the public!
After discussing both the technical aspects and the dynamics of blogging (getting your blog noticed via Twitter, Feedburner & Facebook, SEO), we decided on his own domain name for complete flexibility, future expansion and WordPress: he needs to be able to publish articles fast and easily, without the hassle of maintenance, styling etc. After some more research, we decided to use this theme: Misty Look – clean, focused on content, feature-rich and yes, free – Vidocq doesn’t need a logo and house-style yet – just online publishing. This ‘education’ and research took a while, but it pays of, as he now has a better understanding of blogging in general and a site that suits his current needs, but which can grow as desired. And that is what he has been doing since November 2009 – after a near fatal crash in December (a host without a working back-up…), he wrote more than 200 serious (and some not so….) posts! Impressive, my friend!
Now, what was my role? After taking care of the set up, I installed the theme and plugins – still feeling jinxed after that crash, I now use 3 plugins for back ups and they are mailed to external addresses. The theme itself I modified in code: the sidebar now displays more ‘blocks’ (recent comments, book reviews, tagcloud etc.). The tabs at the top were altered, post-pages look better plus the home-page now displays 10 posts (excerpts). These are details the average reader doesn’t even notice, but we thought them relevant as to provide the best possible way for accessing the vast amount of information that has been published already – easy navigation is key.
Thanks to WordPress, those cold cases are now being defrosted – with the public already assisting in different ways (which can not be disclosed here)!
Thanks to the great StatCounter we are able to track visits, pages that are best visited and many other stats – Vidocq was pleased to send me the following data for the first 6 months of his blog (29 November 2009 – 29 May 2010):
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