This morning I finished some long-overdue housecleaning around here. I'm always tinkering with the site, but it's been five years since my last full-on redesign. This latest round wasn't quite that drastic--some of the changes aren't all that obvious, and there's still some work to be done--but hopefully the result is a slightly cleaner, livelier and easier-to-use site.
Just for my own record-keeping, here's what's changed:
- Nav Bar, Search Box and Banner
- No more separate "Home" link in the nav bar, as I think people are sufficiently aware that a blog's banner image serves that purpose.
- A larger search box, relocated to the lower right corner of the banner, to make it easier to locate and capable of handling longer queries without scrolling.
- Resized the banner to accommodate these changes and provide some empty space to set off the search box.
- Feeds, Tweets and Pix
- No more separate link for email subscriptions--it didn't seem to justify the high-profile real estate, and I reconfigured my Feedburner landing page to continue to provide a link to that service.
- Links to my social networks clustered below my feed link on the left-hand sidebar, along with a Twitter feed that displays my most recent tweet. This recognizes Twitter's unique role among my networking tools, provides a connection to the range of topics I tweet about, and brings some energy to the site during periods when I take a break from regular posting. (The Twitter feed appears to be a little buggy, so you may or may not see a tweet.)
- A thumbnail of the most recent pic I've uploaded to Flickr and a link to my photostream. This provides a connection to my physical world and brings a little more life and color to the site. (I'm using the Flickr uploader on my laptop and PhotoSync on my phone. I'm still sorting out the photo-sharing connections among my various networks, so bear with me if something looks amiss.)
- Archives, Categories and Thanks
- A link to my full archives and list of categories moved to the top of the right-hand sidebar, just below the search box.
- A drop-down menu linking to my "main categories," the topics that are currently of greatest interest to me.
- Behind the scenes, a streamlined list of categories--I removed 10 or so that no longer served a meaningful purpose.
- I created a separate "Thanks To..." page and linked to it, rather than maintain separate links in the right-hand sidebar. I want to continue to express my appreciation to various people, but this seemed like a better way of doing it.
And here's what remains to be done, the next time I'm so motivated:
- While I'm happy with the visible results, a lot of the underlying code is pretty ugly. I'm not a web designer, I just play one in my spare time, and I'm certain that I'm violating all sorts of sound coding and design principles. Hopefully no one who knows what they're doing will peek behind the curtain.
- I'd love to smarten up the "Main Categories" drop box and make it a little more stylish.
- While I remain a huge fan of TypePad and a very loyal user, I'm not thrilled with the comment functionality, and I'd prefer to implement something like Disqus that's more social-media oriented. I gave it a shot, but couldn't make it work--maybe sometime in the future.
- I'm ambivalent about my home-grown banner, which I stitched together myself over 5 years ago when I formally launched my coaching practice. OTOH, it feels like me--colorful, engaging, a little quirky--and I've grown attached to it. OTOH, who knows? I just may be ready for a change.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. Some day I'm sure I'll need to grow up and bring in the professionals, but nearly 7 years after getting started with TypePad, I'm still having fun rolling my own.
Photo by U.S. Army Environmental Command (Really!) Yay Flickr and Creative Commons