Although it’s always fun to design a brand new site from the ground up, I also enjoy doing redesigns of existing sites. I describe it as putting up a new coat of paint (funny, that’s another thing I enjoy doing, which may be why I’ve painted every room in our house even though we haven’t been here for a full year yet). The great thing about WordPress is that it is usually a fairly simple matter to do it–some furniture may need to be rearranged, but the underlying structure and content of the site stays the same.
This is the case with Tim’s site, Faith and Doubt. He’s been blogging regularly already and has a body of work built up. He wanted some things cleaned up on the site, but because he was using an old theme which was itself no longer supported, and it didn’t support many of the cool new things WordPress can do, we discussed and decided on the new coat of paint instead.
Overall, this was a quick and fun project. It’s built on the Genesis Framework (affiliate link)–a customization of one of their premium WordPress themes, which can be a great starting point. Because he was already using WordPress, none of Tim’s content was affected, but we were able to really tighten some things up both visually and technically, and build in some new bells and whistles. The header was already done by a local graphic artist, so the design complements that.
Some of the custom work was in the widget areas: Tim’s published an ebook, which is available to all of his subscribers, so it was important to him to have the subscription form at the end of every post, as well as on the page about the book itself, but not on other pages. So we added in a conditional widget area to handle that, as well as one for his About page, to give some quick links to recent posts in each category. Because we’re running Genesis now, we’re able to take advantage of some great plugins that depend on it–Simple Social Icons (oh, apparently anyone can use this one!) for Tim’s social media presence, Genesis eNews Extended for his MailChimp subscription setup, and Genesis Twitter Widget, which I like because it’s subtle.
We also cleaned house a bit and eliminated 10-12 plugins, either because they were no longer needed, or their functionality was duplicating something else, or because we installed Jetpack, which combined the functionality of several plugins into one–sharing, publicizing posts, a simple contact form.
This was a fun project; I really enjoy redecorating, so to speak. The added customizations provided just a bit of extra fun as well.
If you’d like to chat about a fresh coat of paint for your website, let me know!