It’s been a few years since I changed the look and feel of my website in any meaningful way, six years in fact. I applied my current WordPress theme, HighLight, in July 2011 and haven’t changed much about it since. Today I’m introducing not only a fresh new look but a new domain name and a new philosophy.
So what’s different?
- Theme – the site is using the TwentySeventeen theme from WordPress. I’m aware that there are probably a million other blogs out there using the same theme but that’s fine. I just want something clean and responsive. Mission accomplished. My site shouldn’t look terrible on mobile anymore either, which is a bonus.
- Domain Name – For the first time ever I have a real domain name, one you can actually remember: http://jasontaylor.blog. It’s like jasontaylor.com but it’s a blog (and it doesn’t have anything to do with the football player or the North Texas video business). No more jasontaylor.dyndns.org to worry about.
- Freshened Content – I touched up various pages that have been neglected – about, auto biography, photography. The about page hadn’t been updated in 7 years – no boys, Hannah was still alive, etc.
- No More Flash – My old site had a beautiful image gallery built using SlideshowPro but it relied on Flash to provide all of that beauty. It never worked on mobile and the company is now out of business so I didn’t have a replacement. I’ve removed it and will be replacing it with a native WordPress gallery or Flickr.
In addition this update marks a change in philosophy. I built the first version of this site my Freshman year of college and I’ve been proud to host it out of my home for the past 13 years. During that time I’ve graduated college, married, built a career, and had children. Life is much busier than it was in the past and I no longer have the time or desire to maintain all of the software that runs the server.
The move to WordPress seven years ago marked the end of my custom website development and gave me a consistent, modern, and supported platform for content. It still didn’t solve the need to update the software on the machine – operating system, PHP, database, web server, utilities, WordPress and its plugins. The hardware it ran on is from 2006 and hasn’t received an OS or security update since 2011. The site goes offline every time I bump the machine and is constantly inundated with attempts by bots to crack it.
This site is truly new because it is not hosted on my own machines anymore. It is hosted on WordPress.com (just look at the footer) and I pay a monthly fee for it. Overall the experience is very similar to what I have with my current site, except the software is always up-to-date and secure. I can’t install plug-ins but I can otherwise customize the site the way I need to. The import process was extremely simple and worked perfectly. It only took a couple days of tweaking to get it right (mostly custom CSS due to the theme change).
So there you have it, a new look, feel, philosophy. Will the added convenience of a hosted site allow me to post more often? Probably not, but I like to tell myself that it will.