Bitter Grounds Magazine

espresso fueled ramblings

Written by catpaw

May 06, 2018

Old blog | new design – Cheers!

The site has been off line for a couple of weeks, as I rethought what I want from it. I’m pleased with the content, just needed a few tweaks here and there.  But if you’ve followed my change log, you’ll know how unhappy I’ve been with the basic design. Most of the discontent stems from 2 areas. The first is my ideas about the website have evolved a great deal over the last year. The emphasis has moved more towards a Toronto centric and photo heavy site.  It’s been an interesting transformation and the old design suddenly felt generic and dated. The old blog just wasn’t cutting it.

The second reason is the continuous struggle with the software. I sat down in April and re-evaluated my website and realised I  spend far too much time struggling to make the site do what I want it to do, and not enough time actually writing. I’m a bit of a fusspot when it comes to my site. The problem is, I know what I want the site to look like, I just couldn’t seem to get there.  Joomla filled a bit of the gap, but it was becoming a bit clumsy.  I wanted a fresh site to help emphasis my change of focus and leave room for the Mapping Toronto project to come to life.

A friend tipped me off to a wonderful piece of software that works with WordPress called Divi from Elegant Themes. It pushes WP into a different stratosphere when it comes to design control. I really need to tip my hat to Corey. If it wasn’t for him, I’d still be mooning over the old design.  I played with Divi for a week and decided to just do it – tear the old site down and build it up from scratch.

All the old content transferred into WP with a few issues that were quickly sorted out. Alas, there will be 404 errors because I’ve also reorganised the content. I have a plugin that will help me redirect, but it will take a long time to get a handle on it. I’m still reconnecting some photos to articles, the import was a bit haphazard when it came to this. No fears though, I have all the photos, it’ll just take time.

I haven’t finished checking all the old content, but over the next week, I’ll tackle every article and fix it up. A scatterings of some of the oldest articles didn’t make the cut because the content was too dated or they simply didn’t fit into the format any longer. Oh and I’ve been spell checking everything. OMG the typos. Oh dear, oh dear. I’ll have to be far more careful. Mind you, that was one thing that started to drive me bonkers with Joomla – spell check worked sometimes.  Not that it’s Joomla’s responsibility to do my work, but you know what I mean.

Over the next few weeks, there will be a handful of changes to the design, most you likely won’t even notice. But, pages like the Index of articles may change substantially, I haven’t decided yet.

I’ve removed all the ads. They were more an experiment than anything, but they slow the site down and detract from the content. From here on, I’m going to push for subscriptions, donations and sponsorships. I already have 2 donations and a subscriber (who’s awful lonely over at Patreon). I’m working through some new donation and subscriber perks, they’ll be coming over the next 2 months. Finish the site first; then sort the perks. I’m now taking Brave donations for anyone using Brave browser, plus PayPal and of course Patreon. You can find out more on the support page

All in all, the change has gone a bit better than anticipated. Hopefully I can tie up all the little loose ends in the next two weeks and move on to focus on the subscription benefits and kick off the Mapping TO project.


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