New design New site

I first started working on my website nearly twenty years ago, having taught myself HTML from a book and the then relatively few websites on the topic. When I discovered Javascript, a few changes were made. In particular, the country and author boxes were originally written in Javascript. I then discovered CSS, which made it easier for me to set an overall design and allowed me to write the country and author boxes in CSS. Apart from a few minor tweaks and this blog, that was the situation when the site finally moved from my computer onto the web some five years ago. I have never been particularly happy with the design and recognise that I have very limited design skills. My nearest and dearest, in particular, both said that the site needed a better design.

My technical expert said that I should move to WordPress. This had an advantage, as this blog is WordPress and I was therefore familiar with some of its advantages (and some of its peculiarities). My technical expert, who is both technologically and politically attuned, said that WordPress was like democracy – a terrible system but the only one we have. I initially shied away from WordPress, as it is a completely different system and would mean that every page would have to be converted manually which would have meant, with some 4000 pages, a lot of work, so I did nothing. However, it was also becoming apparent to me that the site was not responsive. (For those who do not know the term, it means able to resize when used on different screens. This is particularly important with the rise of tablets and mobile/cell phones.) This was bad for the user. It also meant lower Google rankings as Google now ranks responsive sites higher than non-responsive ones.

I finally contacted a local web designer to assist me but they were, unfortunately, less than helpful, wanting a lot of money without any clear idea of what they could do. Fortunately, I soon found Apple Green and Stephanie Boucher was able to design a far better WordPress-based site. I anticipated that transferring the data would take a month or so but, unfortunately it has taken much longer, with the usual distractions that life brings, such as lawns to be mown, places to be visited and books to be read. However, finally the new site is finished and up and running.

Apart from the effort in transferring the data and WordPress’ occasional annoying quirks, the other disadvantage is that it is a PHP-based system and not an HTML-based system, though, of course, PHP uses HTML. That means that the URLs all change. I hate sites that change their URLs so I am very sorry to have to do it. My apologies to anyone who has the old site linked or bookmarked. Forwarding individual pages to their equivalent on the new site would have had to be done by hand and I certainly am not not going to do that. Another disadvantage of WordPress is that if you load it into the root of a directory, it deletes everything else in that directory. This means that you either have to load it into a sub-domain (and then later transfer it) or find a new domain. Fortunately, I own a couple of other themodernnovel domains. Given that the URLs were going to change anyway, changing the domain did not seem to pose any additional burden for me or for users.

The old site is still up but with a warning to go to the new site. The old site will not be updated and will quietly disappear in a week or two, with a redirect to the new site. I hope you enjoy the new site. With so much cutting and pasting there may well be a few glitches but I shall iron them out over time. Navigation should be fairly self-evident and, if it is not, please refer to the FAQ. BTW, this blog will keep the same URL.

Thanks for reading my blog and website.

Oh, by the way, you will find the new site at themodernnovel.org.

7 Replies to “New design New site”

  1. Congrats on your move! But, to tell the truth, I found the old design very cool: those bubbles with the names of the countries and the authors held a lot of aesthetic appeal to me. Anyway, Happy Housewarming!

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