I’ve found that one of the best parts of putting my site live in May earlier this year, was being able to start again and use what I had learnt to improve my site. Today I have launched my new design and I couldn’t be happier with it.
I think as a web developer/designer it’s easy procrastinate to much over your own site. When we work on a site for a client we have a specification and deadline to meet so the process is much simpler as you know what you need to deliver and when.
With your own site it’s much harder, you don’t really have any specific targets or deadline. Also I don’t have as much time to dedicate to working on my own site, which usually means I may leave it for a couple of weeks/months come back to it and decide I want to go in a different direction.
This is the problem I faced when working on my site v1.0 I kept changing my mind about the design, layout and content. Which is the main reason why it took over 2 years to get the site live. In the end I wasn’t particularly happy with the end result but I decided enough was enough and launched the site. I had some good advice from a good friend and great designer Ed Vinicombe about how I could improve the design. Instead of using his advice before I launched, I decided it would be better to use this advice to get started on v2.0.
I’m really glad I did this as I learnt a lot from launching the site. I learnt how I wanted the site to work, from the analytics I learnt how people were using the site and I had a much clearer vision in my head of what I wanted from the site. So I used this knowledge to start again.
I was surprised about the amount of traffic that was coming from the search engines looking for answers that were contained in my few blog posts, before launching my site I had mainly thought about my site as my online presence. To mention to friends, family or other industry professionals to show them what I had been up to. This was one of the main reasons to drop to “about me” from the home page, along with Ed’s advice.
I had also noticed I was getting a very high bounce rate (around 80%) which I didn’t like. I’m pretty sure this is cause mainly people were looking for a quick answer to their problem. So to try and combat this I made use of both categories and tags, previously I had only been using categories. The idea being I could use categories at the top of the page and then tags at the bottom, trying to entice readers to carry on reading more of my articles.
One of my other goals was to go responsive, this had been a goal from before I had even launched the site, mobile is growing massively and I wan’t to make sure everyone was getting the best experience possible, and it was also the “in” thing in web.
To construct the new site I have used Bones a responsive boiler plate, which I have used in conjunction which Sass and Compass. I have also now switched over to appfog for hosting using their free tier, as I’ve been very interested in how PasS has been developing over the past couple of years and of cause it’s Free!