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Site Redesign Pre-Launch

SO… Welcome to the new design! Well, sort of.. What you’re seeing now is the “Quantify Theme”, a new WordPress theme designed for the technical/web-design writer with an eye for detail. This theme serves as the starting point for the new Perishable Press redesign and site overhaul. I was going to keep everything private during development, but the strangest things can happen..

The original plan

The original plan was as follows:

  1. Build new Quantify theme
  2. Release Quantify at
  3. Privately customize/develop Quantify for the new Perishable Press design
  4. Finish the site overhaul/redesign and launch publicly

Unfortunately, the existing structure of the site requires a bit of htaccess & PHP trickery to get everything working as desired. Instead of trying to update the labyrinthine maze of themes, plugins, mods, & hacks, it seemed better to just archive the old site and start fresh with a brand new installation of WordPress. It sounded too easy..

Subdirectories & WordPress

The WordPress installation running the “old” Perishable Press is located in a subdirectory named /press/. It’s an old version of WordPress that is running 20+ plugins & 20+ alternate themes, and has been modified & customized beyond recognition. The thought of upgrading that old subdirectory install is a scary, scary thing. So that /press/ subdirectory is now considered a closed archive that will remain online “as-is” – with all of the themes, examples and content available indefinitely.

Moving forward, I wanted to liberate myself from the burden of so many plugins, themes, and custom hacks. So I’m completely starting fresh with a new installation of WordPress, which is now located in a subdirectory named /perish/. So now the domain employs the following structure:      - archived old site     - new site

During development, everything was working fine with this setup. The home page was the only thing that required some engineering to ensure that everyone was seeing what they were supposed to be seeing; everything else was in place and working great. But for that root index.php file that served as the home page, I needed to account for the following scenarios:

  • During development, serve the new WP install for my IP address
  • During development, serve the old WP install for everyone else

Then, after development, everyone gets the new stuff on the home page. Everything was working great with this plan until I noticed that my traffic had suddenly took a nosedive a couple days after implementing the IP-detection/redirection. At first I could not figure out why traffic took such a sudden nosedive. It just didn’t occur to me that Google might actually penalize my trusty, well-established domain for something as trivial as this:

if ($_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'] == '') {
	define('WP_USE_THEMES', true);
} else {
	define('WP_USE_THEMES', true);

Apparently, Google considers that type of logic “cloaking”, which is typically associated with black-hat SEO shenaniganz. Although I was using my PHP powers for good, Google considers it evil and will deliver swift punishment.

The new & modified plan

And that brings us to why you’re reading this in the first place. Thanks to Google’s hypersensitive paranoia, I needed to remove that IP-detection asap and make Google love my site again. So I’ve been literally scrambling behind the scenes trying to get the Quantify theme finished and rolled out. Honestly, the theme isn’t yet complete, but it’s close enough that nobody should notice me fine-tuning and tweaking the details.

Thanks to Google, the new plan is as follows:

  1. Build new Quantify theme
  2. Release Quantify at
  3. Publicly customize/develop Quantify for the new Perishable Press design
  4. Finish the site overhaul/redesign and announce publicly

The new Quantify theme will be available at Digging into WordPress soon. And, for the next week or so, Quantify will be customized specifically for the New Perishable Press, on which I’ll elaborate in an upcoming post.

Until then

I know there are easier ways of developing a site, but the constraining variables for this site leave me with few options. I’ve got much planned for the future, and am working as quickly as possible to make it all happen. Until then, thanks for your patience and please contact me if something just completely breaks or doesn’t work. That shouldn’t happen, but you never know..

About the Author
Jeff Starr = Web Developer. Security Specialist. WordPress Buff.
Banhammer: Protect your WordPress site against threats.

14 responses to “Site Redesign Pre-Launch”

  1. Like a commenter said in the other post, how could Google notice your IP detection if it’s only affecting your personal IP? Makes no sense to me either.

    Now about the private vs public customizing of WordPress, I think that both strategies are bad. Why aren’t you developing locally, and then pushing your work into the production server when you’re done? You should be using some sort of SVN or management strategy in my opinion. That way you would push changes securely to the production server, without compromising the security of your installation.

    Finally, the design reminds me of Angela from The Office. Kind of a grey, frigid design you got there Jeff. Please bring back some life in here! :p

    • As mentioned somewhere before, this particular site is a mess, and there are redirects and custom scripts lurking around every corner. After analyzing my options, I decided to work on the server to eliminate potential issues. It’s a long story, now made even longer with the happenings of this post.

      As for the design, thanks for the feedback but keep in mind it’s not yet finished. I’ll be sneaking a little color in there before it’s done :)

  2. John_Betong 2011/01/29 8:28 am

    Your article was alarming and I was wondering if my site is considered Cloaking.

    In order to reduce the initial load speed I test for a PHP Session counter. First time visitors see hard-code links to other pages. Subsequent page views load a third-party external JavaScript which shows dynamic most popular pages and the last ten visitors.

    I would be grateful for your comments and advice.

    • Jeff Starr 2011/01/29 2:23 pm

      I’m pretty sure that sort of thing is completely fine. I work with many sites that do all sorts of fancy jQuery/Ajax content/link loading and have never had a problem.

  3. Dominic Giglio 2011/01/29 10:39 am

    This new design is gorgeous. I love how the comments and post navigation background falls behind the content. It’s a small touch but really makes the site feel like it’s floating above my screen!

    Please keep up the great work, it’s always exciting when your articles pop up in my RSS reader.

    • Jeff Starr 2011/01/29 2:33 pm

      Thank you, it’s great to hear positive feedback for the design. At this point, the theme is finished, but the visual part of the design is just getting started!

      Thanks for reading, I’ll keep it going.

  4. weeeeeeeall. Couldnt you bind that “private eyes only”-feature on the “is_user_logged_in” state? Yeah, I know I’m simplifying this, but .. kind of a cookie / ultra-simple login for this?

    Or .. what about simply uhm .. seperating both old and new installs using the magic hosts file? Maybe just (ab)use a domain for old, and another for the new – yet-to-be-revealed – site? etc. pp.

    Subdomain development is another choice – ie. /press/ is the old, but working one? Fine, let it run along. /new/ is the new one? Well, let it sit at eg. and just switch it over to the main domain name after you’re done.

    cu, w0lf.

    • Jeff Starr 2011/01/31 9:55 am

      Yeh, I tried a few of those ideas, but the complexity of the previous site just wouldn’t allow it. If this were a typical site, then I probably would have just developed locally and avoided the fuss.

      It does give me some ideas for a post on things not to do when setting up WordPress – things that would’ve been SO helpful to know back in 2005.

  5. Gert Ooms 2011/01/31 4:48 am


    What about for testing your new layout ? It only show the new layout for the Admin (must be logged in), while normal users still get the old site. If I recall correctly you can even serve up multiple wordpress installations with the same DB.

  6. I have always been a huge fan of your themes; and looking forward to see this one completed also. On a side note…still waiting for a reply on my last email….

    • Jeff Starr 2011/01/31 9:46 am

      Thank you Donace! It’s always great to hear from you. Btw, I just found that email and will send a reply soon. Sorry for the delay, things have been hectic lately..

  7. Clive Walker 2012/03/12 2:22 pm

    Just a heads-up that I’m seeing an inline style with background-color black on links in the main content area. Should that be there? It’s obscuring the links when I view on Chrome/Windows 7

  8. Jeff Starr 2012/03/12 2:46 pm

    Yes thanks for the heads up! Working on ironing out the 404 errors and then will be fixing the weird link thing.. Here is the best post to comment on for any other bugs or issues:

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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