Reboot: Taking Stock

In which I take stock of the pages I’ve gathered over the years.

19:00 · 19th Feb 2020 - 684 words about creative

Before doing anything else, I will take stock and reflect on the lessons from the last design, otherwise, I run the risk of making the same mistakes again.

There’s always debt, whether that’s technical or user experience.

Over the past 13 years, I’ve written 347 entries across 9 themes and 220 topics.

I’ve removed Google Analytics now and haven’t decided how to deal with tracking and analytics moving forward. I wasn’t using it to make many informed decisions so it brought little value to me.

But I have data from six or so years—since the last redesign, before this it was hosted on Blogger—and I’ll be using a list of the 250 top-visited pages to help lead what content I focus on first.

It used to take 1.6 minutes to generate the site locally with Jekyll. This is so slow that it’s gone from sad, back to hilarious.

Let’s take a moment to focus on just the 10 top-visited pages, which gets us this list:

  • /
  • /blog/a-scary-hairy-beard-story
  • /blog/
  • /about/
  • /topics/
  • /blog/the-joys-of-living-on-joylent
  • /blog/how-not-to-be-a-boy
  • /archive/
  • /blog/setting-the-number-of-decimals-in-sublime-and-emmet
  • /blog/beating-the-bullies-of-banking

We’ll return to individual entries later but for now, let’s look at these from a more systemic point of view.

  • / – home page
  • /blog/{title} – journal entry
  • /blog/ – journal landing and listing page
  • /about/ – about me page
  • /topics/ – listing page, all 220 topics
  • /archive/ – archive landing page, listing each year

Home page

The home page getting most traffic is hardly surprising as it’s also the page I link to in many other places. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a unique landing page whose purpose will become clearer as other pages evolve so for now, I’m ignoring it.

Journal entry details page

I write a blog. Go figure that entries get the most traffic. But also a nice reminder that content always comes first and that this should be my first focus.

I think the end of the page ended up getting too cluttered though and I will look at stripping it right back.

Journal landing/listing page

Archived version of the Journal page

The landing/listing page for the latest entries serves its purpose well enough I suppose even linking to the Archive should someone find themselves curious to explore more.

But considering this was one of only two main navigation links it’s always felt a little lacklustre.

About me page

Archived version of the About page

What can be said about an About page?

A lot, I think. Mine always bored me to tears and I could never get the right tone.

It also links to the Speaking and Writing pages, which rank 17th and 20th respectively so probably warrant a big overhaul to make them, well, less shit.

Topic listing page

Archived version of the Topics page

By far the most problematic page for two reasons. One, it lists every topic on one single page and links to them by way of anchor links. Anchor links aren’t sent to the server so any traffic to this page becomes a black box. Because of this, I also can’t implement redirects to any future structure either.

Two, because of the whole, “all the shit on one page” it’s 103005 pixels long. No, that’s not a typo. I know, I’ll flog myself now.

I tried taking a screenshot of the whole page but all my tools ran out of memory and crashed.

This one will need a lot of rethinking.

Archive landing page

No archived version. Ironic isn’t it?

I’ve always liked this page. Every year I curate the year that’s been and link to my favourite entries from it.

Each year gets their own page as well, 2017 for instance, ranks in 32nd place and is the highest-ranked one.

I want to include these, but maybe I need to rethink their form?


Theme: creative

Topics: web design, behind the scenes