You may have noticed, that things are looking a bit different around here. That might be a surprise to you, especially when things didn’t go so well the last time I tried this.
So I pulled out my big guns, and got Rafal Tomal involved.
I know, you might be calling that an unfair advantage, but this was one of those times where I really needed his help. And now I’ll go into detail why it was a necessary thing.
It’s Time to Move On
It feels like I’ve spent the better part of the past few years churning out redesigns here on my site. While I really love the process, I also really don’t love the process.
You see, I’m a perfectionist and a refiner.
This means that everything needs to line up and be perfect, but also that I want to keep changing things. I don’t know what you think, but this is a recipe for getting burnt out.
And that’s exactly what I’ve become with my site, and probably why I had to 86 myself a few weeks ago. So instead of becoming the designer, I became the client.
Rafal and I sat down at Starbucks for a few hours, and really went through what it was I wanted to achieve. We talked about my identity and branding, to site layout and beyond.
Being in continual redesign mode isn’t a very efficient use of my time, and I wanted to focus that energy on some other great things we are working on over at Copyblogger.
Welcome to my New Digs
Take your shoes off, and stay a while — mi casa es su casa.
Unlike the previous design I had, my new one has a custom homepage. I really wanted to portray the many sides to who I am, and hopefully we pulled that off in a creative way.
Check out my homepage, and tell me what you think.
Originally I had broken the four sections down to Personal, Lifestyle, Business and WordPress. Something about those didn’t jive with me, and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to focus on those properly.
So I jumped ship and took things in a direction that is more about what I want this site to be about: me, my writing, my code and my themes.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably experience the same resonating feeling about those topics as I did when they finally came to me.
Let’s Take a Tour
Now that I’ve shown you the homepage, I want to walk through the house and point some of the main points of the redesign. And more importantly, why I made the choices I did.
I’ll start at the top of the design, which is the header and navigation. As you can see, I have a very simple logo being used as focal point, with two sets of links to each side.
This worked out perfectly because, as previously mentioned, I wanted to have four main points of entry which lead deeper into the site.
Because the header is relatively tall, I wanted to use an effect called sticky menus to replace it once you scroll down a bit. Not only does this provide more screen real estate, it also gave way to a few things which I’ll discuss below.
The Single Page Design
More than likely you came to this post directly — whether it be via my email newsletter or by way someone link to it on social media. These are two of my biggest traffic sources, with organic search engine traffic being the other.
I’m in the camp, that when people land on a single post, there’s a pretty good chance that you want them to read the content. For me and my site, that’s most definitely the case.
With that said, I’ve chosen to place a featured image at the very top of the content. This was a decision that I insisted on implementing so that it could serve as the focal point.
I wanted to grab my visitors attention, and send them down through the content.
At the bottom of the content, you’ll see a very prominent email newsletter box. That isn’t there by accident, and after reading the content, my hope is that it appealed enough to the reader to make them want to sign up for more.
After that is the typical comments section, which I’ll hope you use to give me feedback or share what your thoughts are on the new design. Hint, hint.
The Lack of a Sidebar
You might be scratching your head on this one, or are thinking you want to privately email me to tell me I forgot to add one.
I’ve chosen not to display a sidebar, and this might have been one of the toughest decisions that I made with the new design.
There are times where I’m really not a fan of sidebars, and with this new design came one of them. My previous sidebar had a picture of me, link to my about page, newsletter signup box and a list of my recent posts.
In my opinion, not only was it distracting from the content, it also duplicated efforts that were in theory being displayed on the single posts and page already.
The Rest of the House
Other things of note with the new layout, is that I’ve kept a search function for those of you trying to find things in particular. In the sticky menu, you’ll see a search icon that you can click and a search form will drop down.
Also note that next to the search icon is a Follow Me menu item, which you can click to find links to my popular social media accounts.
I decided to make use of @2X retina images primarily on the homepage where you’ll see the section icons, but also being used in the header and footer as well.
I’ve also chose to bring back my Stream page, as I love being able to drop simple bits and links to things I find interesting. I consider it my own personal Twitter feed.
What Else is Going On
Now that I’ve finally settled on a design that I plan to keep for a while, I’m sure you guys are wondering what my plans are. Well for starters, the answers to the questions that are burning inside your mind are 1) maybe and 2) yes.
I made the decision with my previous theme design to make it available on Github, and then we released it officially over on StudioPress. I’m pleased to say that Metro is currently (and by a large amount) the most popular selling theme of ours.
With that said, I haven’t decided if (or when) I’ll make this new design available on GitHub, but you can pretty much count on the fact that in some fashion, it’ll make it’s way over StudioPress as a theme you can purchase.
Other really cool things that we have going on at Copyblogger include the upcoming live event in March for real estate agents called AgentPress, the re-welcoming of Brian Clark’s Entreproducer and more from Demian Farnworth on Google Authority.
Last But Not Least
It wouldn’t be a party unless I put on a sparkly top hat and blew $0.99 horns, right?
I’m very pleased to announce that the entire network of Tsh Oxenreider’s Simple Living Media sites are now running Genesis. Her flagship site, Simple Mom, was the first to get onboard, and we moved the rest over as well.
She’s been extremely fun to work with, and we’re looking forward to doing some great things with her network in the upcoming months.
Last, but certainly not least, I’m very happy to announce that early last week, Rae Hoffman (better known as Sugarrae) also launched her site on Genesis. You can read her post on Genesis vs. Thesis, why she made the switch and her Genesis theme review.
Good stuff, eh?
Well Happy Monday to you, and may the odds be ever in your favor …