Content: In general, we try to lean to the positive side of things. DUIs, people dying, etc, not so much. When it comes to vehicular abominations (that purple thing from the other day), they’re fair game, but you can’t just do a big cranky rant. Get creative…the general goal is to be a nexus of automotive awesomeness.
Hooniverse Posting Guidelines
In general, we don’t cover news. But if there’s a news story out there that’s just too good to pass up, and (most important) it hasn’t already run on a bunch of other sites (autoblog, jalopnik, ridelust, webrides, etc) then go for it. If you found it on one of those, best to just skip it.
But, in general, stuff directly about cars is preferable. Original content about cars is most preferable. This means get out there and find some cool stuff to shoot or work on or whatever. Those of you with project cars: everything’s fair game for posts. Go for a drive, go to a car show, find cars in the wild, take pictures, talk to owners.
Lead picture: Lead images should run 650 pix wide as a maximum. Alternately, you can run 2 300 pix wide Craigslist shots. Either way it should be centered. You have two options for setting the click-through URL on the picture: Not linked at all, or linked to the URL of the post. No linking to the image file or the image as its own page. (more on picture mechanics below)
Intro/Excerpt above the “next”: The goal on these is to give enough info to get someone interested enough to go click the “read more”. Too much and they won’t bother to click through, too little and they seem not to care. If all you’ve got is a quick picture, you can do the whole post above the jump.
Formatting Pictures in an article: Again, max width of 650 pix. If you’ve got smaller onces (again, Craigslist 300pix wide) feel free to put two side-by-side and center them. For some stupid reason, WP won’t let you center two pictures on the same line. The trick is to just format them as “none” for alignment, then go in and put the following around them:
<p style=”text-align: center;”>[picture code here]</p>
When it comes to setting click-throughs on pictures, typically “none” is the best bet. If there’s some reason someone would like the full-size version of a picture, then feel free to put the click-through to the image file (not a page).
If you want to run pictures left or right justified, it seems to work best to keep them small (~240pix wide or smaller) and kinda far apart in the article. When you have two nearly-overlapping pictures taking up nearly 1/2 of the available page width each and 3 words of text squeezed in between, it’s not so good on the eyes. There’s also some trickiness when it comes to making sure they’re tied to the right line of text to line up with a paragraph. This takes some fiddling. When in doubt, just center them on their own lines in between paragraphs.
I shouldn’t need to say this, but under no circumstances should you hotlink anyone else’s picture. Dowload it to your machine and upload it to our servers. Of course, don’t just go swiping copyrighted pictures without permission, either. At the very least, link back to the site you got it from, cited as an image source. If it’s someone else’s photo set, it’s generally acceptable to grab 1 or 2 pics in smaller sizes, then point people over to the original source.
Picture Metadata and the like:
In the same dialog box where you set the size, links, and formatting on the pictures, there are 4 other text boxes. “Title” and “Description” are generally only seen by search engines. These can help our traffic a lot, so just put in something descriptive, e.g.:”1972 Dodge Dart for sale” (or whatever it is). You can do the same for the alternate text, or you can use that to make a clever joke that people only see when they hover the mouse over it. The caption is the text shown below the picture. Totally optional.
Post Metadata and the like (“Atahaulpa Post Options” box):
Just like pictures, the posts have a bunch of stuff that only machines see
The two “Body Title” boxes are what show up for the title when people click-through, as opposed to the main page. Sometimes these end up screwed up if you change the title in the main title box. Double-check them.
The meta title is seen in the top bar of the browser when they click through. It’s also seen by search engines. Again, I’ll put in “1972 Dodge dart for sale”. The Meta keywords and description are where you can just copy that same meta title and maybe tack on a few more related things (“craigslist, 4x4s, mopar, muscle car”). I usually put the same thing in both of these.
Formatting a link in an article
Do not just copy/paste links into the text of a post as “http://www.thewholestupidurl.com/stupidurl”. Instead, pick select an appropriate bit of text and make that the link. When using the link dialog box in WP, select “open in new window” and add a little description as to what you’re linking to, e.g. “dodge dart for sale”.
Tags and Categories
We’re trying to keep the number of categories down, and significantly less random. Pick one or more that fits what you’ve got going, but please don’t make any more.
Tags are more of a free-for-all. These are another good search engine/traffic tools, so at the very least do something like ” dodge, dart, dodge dart, for sale, craigslist, too cheap to pass up, muscle cars”. Brands and models are singular “dodge”, types of things are plural; “muscle cars” “car shows”.
Lots of pictures
Let’s say you go to a car show and take a lot of pictures. You can use the wordpress picture uploader, then include the gallery after the post. It’s a little clunky, but it works.
Another option is to upload them to flickr. Go to flickr.com.
login is “thehooniverse”
Upload the pictures to a set and add some tags. If it’s something you’d rather people didn’t know about ahead of time (like a review), set the privacy settings to “private” until just before the post goes live.
This is cool b/c you can upload the pictures at full humongous resolution, then link to them in different sizes as needed. This is how the Cars and Coffee posts are usually done. To get at a URL in flickr, click the “all sizes” link above the picture. Select the size that’s what you want, and then copy either the linked-picture text or the image URL text.
We do still have NextGenGallery installed. If you know how to use it already, go ahead and use it…but it’s kind of a server hog and we might end up getting rid of it. The preferred methods these days are flickr or the WP photo tools.
Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation
For a good style guide reference, check out
We’re not too picky when it comes to writing style and usage and the like, but here are a few screw-ups for which the punishment will be having to write a report on the comments from an Autoblog Mustang or GTR post:
It’s means it is. If it has something, then use its
Other than it, apostrophes are used for possession or as a contraction with “is”, but never to pluralize. Even if it’s an abbreviation: CDs, IOUs, etc
Then refers to time: I went to the garage, then I turned on the compressor.
Than is used for comparison: My compressor makes more noise than my car.
Quotes are never to be used for emphasis, bold or italics are the proper tools.
Car specific stuff
Cars have brakes, not breaks
RPM means revolutions per minute; i.e. it’s already plural. RPMs is bad. Same with MPG: miles per gallon.