Perishable Press 2012 Redesign

Welcome to the new site! So many changes I don’t even know where to begin.. I think for now the design is beta so I’ll hold off on a big lengthy explanation and just keep an eye on things for awhile.. I guess this post is a good place to mention anything weird or broken that’s happened after the new design went live..

Definitely more on the way :)

Updates

Rather than create a new post, I’m just going to update this post with notes and stuff about the new site design..

Structural changes

Before, Perishable Press existed on two separate installations of WordPress. The old site (2005-2011) was located at http://perishablepress.com/press/ and hosted over 700 articles, demos, plugins, and so on. LOTS of files in the /press/ directory, including over 20 custom themes for skinning the site — each update was a major chore, and so in 2011 (when time was short), I decided to just lock that old /press/ site down and start afresh with entirely new WP installation. So the “new” site went into a subdirectory named /perish/, and then served the site from the root directory, so URLs didn’t show the subdirectory name. I knew splitting things up was a crazy strategy, but I really wanted to update the site and get on with it. I also knew that I would have to bite the bullet someday and merge these two sites together, and let me tell you it was no picnic.

Goal #1: simplify site structure — check.

Permalink changes

The old site’s permalinks remained the same since 2005 when the site was created. Back then honestly the “year-month-day” permalink format was considered optimal, so that’s what I went with. Here are a few examples of how crazy some of these URLs get:

http://perishablepress.com/press/2008/03/03/perishable-news-site-upgrades-upcoming-interview-and-pagerank-update/
http://perishablepress.com/press/2010/03/01/digging-into-wordpress-version-2-new-chapters-free-themes-and-site-redesign/
http://perishablepress.com/press/2008/10/13/wordpress-feedburner-htaccess-redirect-default-feeds/

With the subdirectory in there and the full dates, some of the URLs for this site were just ridiculous. So with the new design, permalinks are much cleaner and consistent throughout the site, with basically just post/page-name format, which really helps with the longer URLs:

http://perishablepress.com/perishable-news-site-upgrades-upcoming-interview-and-pagerank-update/
http://perishablepress.com/digging-into-wordpress-version-2-new-chapters-free-themes-and-site-redesign/
http://perishablepress.com/wordpress-feedburner-htaccess-redirect-default-feeds/

If I had time I would shorten the slugs on some of the longer posts, but actually most are quite reasonable and look great pretty much across the site (imo). In general changing URLs is not advised, but there are times when shorter links are worth the extra processing required for htaccess redirection.

Goal #2: clean up permalinks — check.

Category/Tag changes

Another part of the redesign involved restructuring the categories and cleaning up/reorganizing the tags for posts across the site. In 2005, the site had nearly 25 categories, including everything from websites and multimedia to nonsense and site news. The original categories made sense back in 2005, but no longer make sense given how things have gone for me online.

So now that I’m pretty much focused on web-design and not so much the other stuff (audio, video, etc.), I wanted the new categories to reflect this and thus reorganized/restructured things to better reflect the contents and direction of the site. Here are some examples of category changes:

  • Presentation → CSS
  • Structure → HTML
  • Behavior → JavaScript

..and so on, such that the web-design stuff is now organized primarily by the “featured” categories (seen in the main navigation menu), while other categories have been renamed and sort of relegated to their own downplayed existence. To see the new category structure, visit the the archives and scroll down a bit.

Cleaning up tags was also a big part of the redesign.. I had many weird, one-off tags that never really went anywhere, so those have been eliminated or merged in with other, healthier tags. Overall, the new tag cloud is better focused and indicative of the content here at Perishable Press. Yes it takes a lot of .htaccess work to keep the traffic flowing smoothly, but so far it’s been totally worth it.

..(working on 404 stuffz, will post more soon)