New Design Coming This Week

August 27, 2012

This version of the blog (i.e., this look) is about two years old now, which is plenty old enough in blog terms. After months of delay, this week I’ll finally put up the new look. Mostly this post is a heads-up (i.e., if you see anything amiss, please let me know), but I also wanted to explain my thought process in coming up with this new design. As many of you are trying to learn the behind-the-scenes steps and mentality in creating a Web site, I hope this will be of use to you.

Web sites are organic things, which means they should change and be improved over time (a point often lost on clients, who want to buy it once and forget about it). Eventually, you discover something a site is missing, or something that it does wrong. In my case, there was one example of each.

In the two years since I created this new blog, I have finally (finally, and only recently) begun doing social media: mostly Twitter, but also getting going with Facebook and Google+. But it turns out that no one connects with you through these avenues if they don’t know you’re on them. Hence, one goal in the new layout is to make the social media connections easy and obvious.

My second, and more important, goal was to give more focus to the content. People come to blogs for the content, with everything else being a distant second. Too often, though, we lose site of that fact. I don’t think the first version of the site was too bad in this regard, but certainly the content will be better served if given the full width of the browser (i.e., be presented without the sidebar). Similarly, I wanted to make it easier to see more of the most recent posts on the home page (right now you have to scroll down too far to see older posts).

Those changes, along with possibly making the whole look a bit more stylish and sharp, were my goals. With this in mind, back in February, I choose a new WordPress theme (Fave Business, which is a variant of the original theme). Then, after having [intlink id=”3176″ type=”post”]my business card and logo professionally designed[/intlink], I had another designer (with whom I have previously worked) update the new theme’s stylesheet accordingly.

Then I did nothing, for many months.

Mostly this was because I was writing another book,[intlink id=”3215″ type=”post”]speaking[/intlink],[intlink id=”3230″ type=”post”]training[/intlink], and[intlink id=”3212″ type=”post”]traveling[/intlink].

Just this month I had the time again to finish this site up, and in doing so, decided that the WordPress theme I was going to use wasn’t right. That theme, despite being a commercial product, was poorly documented, poorly supported, and was far too complicated for my needs. So I went back to the drawing board.

After a fair amount of research, I think I found a great solution in the Standard theme, created by 8BIT. As they say on their Web site, the Standard theme is for professional publishers (and everyone else), so it does a great job of focusing on the content. It has a lot of good built-in features, such as support for social media tools and the ability to put ads in widgets. Basically, Standard provides some common, useful functionality without having to install a plug-in.

From a technical perspective, Standard uses HTML5, which is what I want, and, is built upon Bootstrap 2. With the Bootstrap 2 components, I can easily add lots of good features, styles, and formats to pages as I need. An added bonus is that the site is responsive, meaning it should look good on all devices.

All in all, I’m hoping the Standard theme (customized a tad to my liking, of course) will serve this blog well for a couple of years to come.

Until I think of something new, that is.