In a separate Post, my blog yelled, “Hello World” as I launched its redesign. The amount of time it took me to make that announcement was less than 1% of the time it took me to recreate my website.
Rather than taking my old site and upgrading it to use new themes and plugins, I went with the more favorable approach of nuking it all and re-implementing from scratch.
I could have performed an upgrade on my existing blog, but going forward with a re-implementation provided me with far more advantages than drawbacks. The former include:
- I now have a true blank slate. No more clutter of half-finished posts and spit-and-waddle code patches distracting Ol’ Captain OCD here
- My speed to publish has been improved. In addition to taking advantage of the New Post panel in the latest WordPress release, I’ve also been able to setup custom widgets to enter associated data from my custom Taxonomies (more on this later)
- WordPress core file updates can be performed Day One. My previous mess of custom code would have surely been broken by a major WordPress upgrade, so I am safe (for now)
- Security has been improved. For example, I no longer have a WordPress account called “admin”, which was a vulnerability that required an unexpected security release. Database tables now have a custom prefix
- I can integrate more easily with social media. My old site format was heavily centered around writing long-form non-fiction instead of smaller, more-frequent posts. Thanks to my design shift, my shorter posts can cross-post more easily to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc.
In the end, I’ve come away with a leaner, quicker blog, capable of supporting a variety of material, not just a few types. For you stats hounds, here’s a rundown of the numbers:
|Object/Element||Old Site Design||New Site Design||Details|
|Days in Development||Unknown||3 total work days (24 hours)||All work was performed in 30-60 minute chunks over the course of several lunch breaks and late-night DVR viewings|
|Posts||80||0||Remember the blank slate part? I may migrate some content from the old site, but overall I plan to proceed from scratch|
|Pages||41||3||One Page supports a Contact form, just like on the old design. The other two support my custom Taxonomies (more on this later)|
|Categories||49||2||Categories drove a book layout on my old design, complete with multiple Chapters. Book tructure is now handled using the delivered WordPress Page hierarchy|
|Tags||238||0||I went insane with Tags on the old design, making them useless for searching. On the new design, I will hopefully be more prudent and manage them better|
|Custom Taxonomies||0||3||Custom taxonomies are key to driving my Stories framework (more on this later)|
|Plugins||10||24||This number increased so dramatically because I am using plugins to handle minor tasks I had previously done via custom code. This allows me to leverage code (within the plugins) which has been road-tested by others|
In future posts, I’ll deep-dive into some details on my design, including:
- Thoughts on the Carrington Theme I am using, and why I chose it over other worthy candidates
- A detailed compare/contrast between my old and current use of Categories and Pages
- A walk-through of my custom Taxonomies and how they are driving user-friendly workflow in my new design
- Quick-hits regarding the Plugins I am using
- How I created a migration plan that walked me through the dangers of converting a live production site from one design to another
- Future plans for this blog, mostly centered around what I’ll be writing but also touching upon some fun development I will also tinker with