Hey, friends! You may have noticed that our site is looking a little different this weekend. What gives? For the last year (yes, a whole year! crazy, right?), we’ve been working to update our site in a LOT of ways. There are a lot of things we’ve changed, we hope for the better, and I’m excited to walk you through a mini tour. First let’s look at some of things you can see, and then I’ll tell you a little more about improvements we’ve made “under the hood” too. 🙂
When you visit dianesbeautyspell.com, you are landing on our homepage. That’s right, we have two main views on our site. We call them the homepage and the blog view. The blog view can be seen by clicking “skip to the blog view” or by bookmarking dianesbeautyspell.com/blog.
So what’s the difference + why did we want to add this homepage view? A couple reasons. First, we wanted to create some better tools and resources for you guys in case you were looking for a certain DIY or might’ve missed a particular post we’ve done in the past. And second, we realized our site might not be as “new user-friendly”. While many of you check in on our blog regularly and are able to keep up with the chronological feed, we also get a whole lot of new or more casual visitors that found us from Pinterest or a Google search. We will have created 10 years’ worth of content this year, so we wanted to give those new readers quicker access to the breadth of content we’ve done over time.
However, we didn’t want to transition the site into a whole new homepage-style structure when so many of you, our core audience (hi, friends!), were just fine with the OG blog view. So we left that entirely in tact with dianesbeautyspell.com/blog. The latest post is up top and you scroll to see everything. We had considered adding jumps (read more) to this page but decided not to for now, although that’s a tricky one. Here’s why. Our site is extremely photo-heavy. We like it this way and have a feeling you do too. But the problem with this is it can lead to really long load times, which tends to turn readers off a site. We’ve heard from many of you that our site takes a long time to load, and we knew that adding jumps would cut down on this. But ultimately we decided that for now, we are OK with longer load times so that our site can feel more like an old-school blog. We’re exploring other solutions for cutting back on load time, and I’ll talk about that more at the end of the post.We kept our newsletter sign up in the side bar and added a freebie! When you sign up, you will get an article called ’10 Tips for Growing Your Audience Organically’. Fun, right? We hope to update the freebie every now and again so that you will be getting something extra just for signing up. And if you are already signed up for our newsletter, check your inbox later today, as we’ll be sending it out to all our subscribers shortly.
On the homepage, if you scroll just a little, you’ll see this area called ‘What are you looking for?’ Our goal here is to keep some of the most trafficked posts on our site easily accessible, again, in case a reader lands on our site from something that may not have been linked correctly, and they want to find the project or recipe they are looking for FAST. We hope this area helps! If you’re curious what some of our most popular posts of all time have been, you’ll probably find them in this area. We’re actually still updating this section, as I write this. 🙂
We’ve also added a ‘DIY Destination’ area on the homepage. We are still tweaking this area some, so right now you can experience the beta version. The main idea here is to highlight tutorial videos and other DIY content by certain categories (budget, difficulty, purpose, etc.). We hope that anyone looking to make something will be able to quickly find a great resource in this area. But again, you may see some changes to this area over the next few weeks as we finalize things.
And the last thing I’ll mention for now is something that you can’t really SEE. It’s under the hood. We have moved our site to WordPress! For the last ten years we were blogging on Typepad, which we really enjoyed. But as we’ve watched WordPress grow and grow, we felt the resources available on the platform suited our needs at ABM better. So, we’ve made the switch. With well over 5,000 posts and lots of needs and users to consider, this has been a MASSIVE undertaking for us. To be honest, it was really scary and still is.
But, we felt that making this switch would allow us to have a faster load time, a better experience for our readers, and more tools available for our blogging needs. So we held our breath and took the jump into the deep end of trying to move a massive site to a new platform. I am sure we will have more tweaks and things to fix in the coming days/weeks, and we’d love your help! We’d also LOVE to hear from all you fellow WP users what your favorite tools and plugins are. We are new here, and we’d love to learn more as we’re excited and a bit overwhelmed by everything the platform seems to offer.
OK, that’s the new site in a nutshell. We hope you love it as much as we do—we’re excited to continue doing what we love most here on the new A Beautiful Mess. Hooray! xo. Emma + The ABM Team