Over the weekend I made some tweaks to Philtered and integrated a few new features.

I started by updating the UI, particularly the title of each post. I think the dark grey background and yellow images really distinguish one post from another.

Second, the left nav is all new. I got rid of the built in ‘section’ navigation, replacing it with the Google Co-op CSE. Google’s CSE has spread like wildfire since the launch last week — and I wanted to try it out myself. However, I took it a step further and integrated the results into my site, which only took an extra 10-15 minutes of coding. Try a search on the left — it’s pretty seamless and well worth the time to integrate it.

Third, I signed up for a couple of blog gadgets: MyBlogLog, and Last.fm MyBlogLog was really easy to setup, but I haven’t bothered to customize the colors yet. Last.fm was a little more difficult to customize as I ran into problems on their site when trying to save my modifications.

To top off all these changes, I finally got around to setting up a Google Sitemapfor philtered.com — and I was really impressed with the immediate results. I submitted the sitemap at 5:50pm and the googlebot was systematically crawling each url in no time. Here is a quick snapshot from my logs to demonstrate:

10/29 5:54 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=15
10/29 5:54 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=16
10/29 5:54 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=17
10/29 5:54 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=18
10/29 5:52 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=19
10/29 5:52 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=20
10/29 5:51 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=22
10/29 5:51 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=24
10/29 5:51 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=23
10/29 5:51 pm crawl-66-249-66-40.googlebot.com index.php?id=21

It was a great exercise to setup Google Sitemaps and the Co-op CSE. When partners inquire about them, now I can share my first-hand experience as a user too.