Well, the big reveal and new website design is finally complete. My cruise ship of a blog, with a great deal of help, is now moving in the direction we desire. It has been quite a journey. Now it’s time to board the new and improved “Finding Our Way Now.”
But before I show you around our big reveal, let me tell you about who helped get this ship of a blog on course.
First there’s David Sutoyo. He is an overall tech guru who manages not one, but two of my websites. He was the one that did all the heavy lifting and truly made both websites function the way they should. The best part is our new look is totally his theme and design. What that means is he did all the coding that now gives the website the look, feel and function it has. It’s like building a new ship. The stuff you don’t see is where all the time was spent.
Now let me introduce you to Kristi Morgan, my assistant, and overall support. Kristi helps me stay on track with all the details of my projects, proofing, editing, researching, book formatting, coordinating guest posts (and at times submitting a few of her own) and so much more. You name it, and she had her hand in it. I would have/would be lost without her.
For more information on David and Kristi, including services they provide and contact information, see the “Contributor” page.
Our New Web Host: FlyWheel
Hi! This is David. The old site was starting to outgrow our previous host, MediaTemple (we were on their (gs) plan). When we first started experiencing slowness we put the site on a CDN, and it worked wonders. However, we couldn’t do this in our admin area, and soon writing posts and upgrading plugins became a chore as the server struggled to keep pace. We knew it was time to switch hosts or upgrade our hosting plan.
After some intensive research, we narrowed the field down to three companies: WPEngine, Pagely, and Flywheel. All are what we call managed WordPress hosts, which means they specialize in WordPress hosting and provide certain services not included with your average shared hosting plan. These services do come at a higher price, and we eventually settled on Flywheel for their combination of pricing and features. Flywheel takes care of our site’s security, speed, and backups. In fact, they have a list of plugins that are not allowed! In addition to these services, they also migrated the site for free, and put it on a temporary address for us to switch at our convenience.
After we switched to Flywheel we noticed the site performed much better, especially in the admin area. Currently we don’t have the CDN on, but we may consider adding the CDN to make it even faster for our readers!
Now, on with a tour.
The Big Reveal
The Homepage Layouts – Before & After
The old familiar theme has been replaced with a more streamlined look with many more options for you to use to search and peruse the site. We encourage you to meander through the new options available. If you find an issue or something we may have overlooked, please let us know.
As you can see in the new menu, I consolidated my blog posts into four categories — Stories, Food, Wine, and a new one called Products. My posts about kitchen products, art, books, tutorials, and tools will now all fall under this new category. The other categories will also have submenus that help users find past posts more easily.
As I mentioned, the new menu sports some pull-downs that further filter blog posts into specific categories.
The search function is still there but in a different place. Look at the upper right-hand corner just after the Hire Me menu item; you will see an eyeglass symbol.
The search entry pops up by the logo. Just do what it says.
Subtle Changes That Might Be Missed
If you’re viewing this site on a mobile device or a smaller screen, you’ll notice that the top menu bar is replaced by a hamburger icon. This means that on a mobile device, you’ll get a nifty sliding menu that pops in when you hit the icon.
In the sliding menu, the submenus are hidden by default. You’ll notice the triangles near the items with submenus. Tap (or click) on the triangles to reveal submenus, and tap on them again to hide them.
Finally, you’ll notice that there are posts from three categories on the home page: Food, Wine, and Books. The category headers themselves are also links that take you to the archive pages of their respective categories.
What do you think of our Big Reveal?
As we set sail into the future, we hope you’ll enjoy what “Finding Our Way Now” has become. We have room to grow and many more things in the works.
Some of our future coming attractions will include Interactive Drawing Tutorials for all to enjoy, a cool new kitchen tool that is in the design stages as we speak, and more new books of stories based on my life experiences that so many enjoy. Last but not least there is my upcoming cookbook. Keep an eye out as we reveal all these various projects along the way.
Life’s journey continues…
We would love to hear your thoughts about our new look. Please, don’t be shy and share your thoughts.