Changes done – for now

Well, it took a monumental effort, but I finished the site redesign a few min ago.

Whoa, I wasn’t expecting to do any changes, but one thing led to another and here we are. So why did I change things? Sometimes you have to re-evaluate designs and what you want from a website. As I said in an earlier post, I started to feel the site was feeling dowdy and outdated. I started with designing the new Tech Support part promoting Catpaw Computer Consulting services. I wanted a clean, separate identity for it. Once that was done, I started looking at the rest of the site and felt, now was the time.

New banners, new organisation and most of all continuity throughout the entire site, right down to the individual post page. I was unhappy with certain aspects for awhile. I’m rather pleased with the changes. Sigh, now I guess I have to start posting a lot of new content to justify all the work I put into the design.

Ok, so I changed my mind

Quick update: Yea, the small tidy up and design tweaking has turned into a full-blown makeover. I’m redesigning each page from the ground up so you’ll see changes occur throughout the coming week. The site felt so dowdy lately. Part of it reflects my mind set shift and the other part reflects the extra time I have to consider things.

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Ok, I changed my mind. After sitting down a couple weeks ago, evaluating the site, I decided it was time to make some big changes.
Change one: I’ve finally added a section about Catpaw Computer Consulting. Long overdue, but I figured it’s time to put it up. Given the difficulties so many have with Covid, I thought I’d advertise my online support. Check it out. Take a look up there ↑. A new section is now happily nested in the navigation bar.

Change two: One change always begets another. 🙄 I know, I know. I was so pleased with the new section, I kept thinking the magazine just looked … well … dowdy in comparison. It was time to shake off old thinking and start a bit of redesign.

Originally, I was going to tweak a few things on a test page to see how it looked. One thing led to another and I’m fussing in real time. Some of that is to test how the speed improves with small changes. Along the way, I’m fine tuning all the SEO details behind the scenes. It’s been fun. A bit risky, but fun. Make a mistake and see how quickly I can fix it. LOL. Keeps me of the streets.

I’m also going to bump up the subscription/donation section. To date, I’ve been very shy in promoting it. Time to get aggressive (in a nice Canadian way) about funding the magazine costs. Haven’t made a lot of changes yet, but they are coming. Since I’ve started working on some video content, I’ll be able to tie into Patreon a little better. Ah yes, I’ve taken the time to learn more about video editing and found a perfect piece of software for it. I’ll write about it later on.

SO, bear with me. Enjoy the ride and see where this all goes.

 

Summer update – design changes

Haven’t made a lot of design changes to the structure of the site in the past year or so. I’m happy with the category changes and removal of a few posts that no longer interest me. I have made a major change to the old diary part. It’s relabelled “I’m getting too old for this shit” to reflect a few thoughts I’ve been mulling over the past year. It also reflects my sentiments about the world at the moment.

One huge change is coming – a new addition. I’m preparing a web portion for my computer consulting business. With so many people looking for on line support, I thought it was time to bump things up a bit. I’ve also diversified what services I offer and the site will reflect that. When it’s ready, I’ll add a line to the navigation bar.

I’ve also removed the Onesignal notifications. Drop down and popup notifications have increasingly ticked me off when I look at websites. I’m thinking of creating a chimp mail style notification when new stuff is posted. That way there’s no nagging “JOIN US” message. It will be opt in only.

I am playing with a new design idea. I’m not sure yet, but something a little less retro feeling. The current design has worked for me, but my mind set has shifted. Might make changes to reflect that. I’ll keep you posted.

 

More fussing

Tweaking a few things again. Not happy with the original graffiti style footer so switched it up a bit last week.  The new black and white silhouette footer still needs a bit of work to make it more readable, but I’m much happier with it. 

The new section Mapping Toronto is now up and running.  Don’t forget to check it out the intro. I’ve created a spreadsheet table of contents so I can quickly add content without a lot of fuss. 

Quick note on new follow features

Tap the One Signal icon to recieve push notificationsI’ve added a new way of following the website – OneSignal. You’ll see a small red bell pop up in the lower right corner asking if you want to follow the site. This will push notifications to your device or desktop when a new article is posted.  I like OneSignal because I don’t have to collect email address/names etc. Some data is collected, but the user remains anonymous so – tap the bell.

 

Spring cleaning the website

Just indulged in a complete overhaul of the site. Still a ton of work to do. I debated about how long to keep the site off line and decided I’d get the bulk of the work done, put it back on line and then finish up editing the old content live. I’m also madly setting up a couple hundred 404 redirects because I also restructured the website. I had to get rid of all sorts of legacy categories and references that dated back 4 or 5 years and caused an immense amount of confusion.

What’s gone|changed?

  • All remnants of the old “they asked what?” have been removed. Content is being redirected to Memoirs.  A few have been deleted because link backs are no longer working, I’ll work on a 404 page explaining it later. Not too many hits on a few of the pages, so no urgency.
  • Streamlined the photo category to purge old references to outdated ideas/software
  • Sorted the tech section. More content is where it belongs, in the tech | software area. Also relabeled to reflect the content better.
  • Deleted old articles dealing with very outdated tech, software.
  • Deleted very old content from early days when I was still casting around for a focus. The content was ok, just no longer fits the magazine format.  I’ll keep the articles, just for nostalgia and might periodically dig deep and repost them as a retrospective look at the changes
  • installed a plugin so my Instagram feed now runs on the photo section
  • preparing the Mapping TO page, link isn’t active yet. Will be in about a month (June 2018)
  • The biggy – completely changed to look of the site. Finally able to breath a new life into the format so it has a more magazine feel and flows much better.

A lot of the changes were made to make it easier to create content. I was tired of struggling with Joomla. I loved the software, but had grown increasingly tense everytime an update came through. I test things offline and was concerned about how often an update blew away my child theme (not supposed to, but the updates often did) or created a pig’s breakfast of a mess with the database.  Many thanks to Corey for his tip off re: Divi themes for WordPress. Has completely changed the way I’m working behind the scenes.