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Back in 2009 I commissioned what I thought was a really cutting edge website.
The designers I had picked jerked me around, left some gaping holes on the site which were later exploited by hackers, and it wasn’t long after that I was starting to regret my decision.
The black background of the site really turned people off (although I did eventually sort of fix that) and it reminded people of either a heavy metal or porn website. The load time wasn’t nearly as fast as it should have been and I have been plagued with SEO issues since I launched it.
I vowed I’d get around to getting a new site eventually.
However, traveling around the world takes up a lot of time. One year turned into two which eventually turned into SIX! Last year I made the decision to cut back on my travels so I could restore some balance in my life.
Part of that was getting around to projects I had been putting off. At the top of my list was getting a new website. In November at TBEX Athens I spoke to Mitch Canter who does WordPress development. We spoke and things got put into motion.
After many revisions, the site is finally live.
1. No Black Background
It is gone. Let’s just leave it at that.
2. Responsive Design
My previous site launched when most people really weren’t thinking too much about mobile design. As such, I really had to hack together a solution to make my previous site work on mobile browsers. The site works great on smartphones and tablets. If you are reading this on a desktop browser, try adjusting the size of the window. No matter how skinny or wide you make it, the site will respond and format things properly.
3. Bigger Photos
When it comes to posting images online, my rule is “bigger is better”.
The evolution of my site has been a constant movement towards bigger photos. When I first started posting daily photos, they were 500px wide. I old them then allowed me to post 600px wide images and several years ago I hacked the site to allow for 1000px wide images.
This site will let me post images which are 1200px wide, which have a full 40% more area than the 1000px wide images. I can easily notice the increase in detail and resolution in the images. I’m not sure if images larger than 1200px make sense, but I could easily integrate those into the site if I should ever want to do that.
4. More photo information
I’ve now started posting the camera settings for each image as well as a brief background/story/description of the image. You can check out an example here.
Camera settings will include ISO, focal length, aperture and shutter speed.
5. Daily Photo Bankruptcy
I have posted over 2,500 daily photos since November 2007. I’ve made it a policy never to repeat an image (although it has accidently happened a few times). There are two problems with this:
- The images I showcase tend to be from recent trips because I’ve exhausted all my good, older photos. I haven’t been posting many images from Asia just because I haven’t been there in a while and I used all my good photos several years ago.
- New readers probably haven’t seen any of my older photos. Granted, my photography has gotten better over time, but there were a few good shots from early in my travels that most people probably haven’t seen.
The solution is that I am going to declare bankruptcy on my daily photos. Starting now I’ll be reusing some of my older, better photos so newer readers can see them. I’ll still probably always have a bias towards recent images, but I think throwing some older photos back into the mix will be a good change.
6. More Immersive Article Layout
I’m a big believer in the idea that an article is a combination of both text and images. Especially in travel where being able actually see what is being talked about can make such a huge difference.
When I launched my last site, I think print has a decisive advantage over the web in terms of layout and design. I think that has changed considerably since then.
The new site design will give me the ability to integrate larger images and do more interesting things with article layout.
I’m really excited about the new website and I hope you like it too. It has given me a renewed zeal for writing and blogging.
Let me know what you think of the new design in the comments!