If you are a common visitor to my weblog, then you may have just noticed a thing diverse: I have a brand new web site design and style!
It is been in improvement for several months now, so I’m stoked to ultimately have it reside. Soon after far more than five years of blogging, it felt time to ditch the normal template I was making use of and ultimately move to a fully custom design and style.
This wasn’t just about providing the weblog a nicer appear. It was also an chance to restructure the weblog and choose exactly where I want to take it subsequent.
In this post, I’ll speak a bit about the redesign approach, as properly as share with you my ambitions for Indie Traveller.
Restructuring the weblog
I have to confess I’ve lengthy been a bit frustrated with how blogs function these days. This new design and style is an work to address at least some of my frustrations.
What am I speaking about? Nicely, most targeted traffic comes from search engines today. More than time, that has brought on bloggers like myself to optimize the content material and web site structure just about completely for search engine guests. Whilst this does not have to be undesirable in itself, this strategy can generally come at the expense of other essential factors. (I’ve written about this ahead of.)
It is typical for readers to just come in by means of Google, study one particular post, and then leave. That is a actual bummer — mainly because I’d like for far more readers to engage with far more than just one particular post!
Travel blogs also generally cover wildly diverse subjects in order to capture as a great deal search targeted traffic as doable. That, in turn, implies that several travel blogs do not let you just browse their archives any longer — most likely mainly because a lot of posts in there cover fully unconnected subjects or are sponsored posts you are not meant to essentially see.
When I began creating web sites like 20 years ago — hi, I’m old! — this wasn’t the way factors had been performed. Blogs had been generally far more like editorial web-sites that let you browse their whole archives if you wanted. They felt a bit far more like magazines and much less like a set of search engine funnels.
So I believed it’d be cool to go back to the old approaches a bit. My new weblog design and style is all about advertising discovery and letting you effortlessly discover the complete web site. If you click about, you may notice how we’ve attempted to make it pretty accessible and navigable, and how to web site provides lots of suggestions for other posts to study.
There had been several other folks causes for wanting to redesign the web site, but tackling this certain challenge was at least a essential one particular for me.
Making the custom template
More than the previous couple of months, I worked with a improvement group to redesign the web site and develop a new custom template for it.
I’ve generally utilized an off-the-shelf WordPress theme ahead of. This was a theme named Voyager that I licensed for about $50 a couple of year back. That worked OK for a whilst, but the limitations at some point became a bit frustrating.
Having your personal one of a kind templates created is not specifically straightforward or absolutely free (it can effortlessly price 100 occasions far more than just acquiring a normal template) but for me it was properly worth the investment.
Above: the blog’s old appear (a modified WordPress theme)
Making use of a normal template is a bit like renting a property rather of owning it. You can perhaps place up some new shelves or place in diverse furnishings, but you can not go breaking down any walls or upgrade the kitchen. With this custom template, I could ultimately structure all the things just the way I wanted to.
A further trouble with normal themes is that they are utilized by thousands of web-sites for several diverse purposes, so they generally consist of a complete kitchen’s sink worth of (largely useless) selections. All this gets loaded no matter whether they’re utilized or not. I also had to use a lot of hacks and plug-ins to function about specific limitations, creating the web site even slower. The new template let us get rid of all of that.
The custom template also adds far more structure than what WordPress (the program I use to run the weblog) offers you out of the box. As an alternative of obtaining just posts with categories, the program now has a quantity of custom post kinds (like Travel Guides, Nations, Regions, or Gear Testimonials). These can all have their personal layouts, functionality, and relationships involving every other.
The group initially produced greyscale wireframes for the design and style. These let us choose exactly where all the things ought to go. Then, they produced complete styles with colour, photos, and kind, which went by means of various iterations. I wanted a thing vibrant and optimistic and I think they managed to capture just the appropriate vibe.
Above: a prototype design and style for the mobile version
My new ambitions for the weblog
In addition to providing the weblog a new appear, I’m also making use of this as a fresh commence for the content material!
My primary motivator for the weblog is fairly a great deal this: I want to publish articles that are exciting or useful — and not just ones that get the search engine clicks.
So, rather than just targeting the most common subjects, I’ll be maintaining offbeat or niche ones in the mix. This does not generally make great industrial sense, but I consider it is what tends to make a web site exciting and great.
I’m now also saying for the initially time that this is a sponsorship-absolutely free weblog. I’ve only dabbled in sponsored content material ahead of, so this is not that large of a modify for me, but I guess it is a modify in how I speak about Indie Traveller. Whilst I nevertheless have advertisements and affiliate hyperlinks, I’ll be focusing solely on generating non-sponsored content material.
(I know there are other blogs that are performing a excellent job with sponsorships, but this is just an straightforward way for me to differentiate. If I say “no sponsored posts here”, you instantly know what to anticipate.)
Lastly, to make this weblog the ideal it can be, I’m going to work a lot far more guest authors from now on. I’m genuinely excited about this! Whilst you will nevertheless see loads of posts from me, I’ll be component writer and component editor from now on.
You see, I want Indie Traveller to be a location with far more than just one particular point of view. And I consider the ideal insights generally come from nomads, expats, or locals who know the locations greater than the typical tourist. I’ve currently been functioning with a couple of correspondents from about the globe and I can not wait to share their writing with you — in addition to, of course, the articles that I’m currently writing myself.
P.S. If you want to remain in the loop, contemplate subscribing to my newsletter. I know, emails are kinda old college, but you can study them in your personal time, and there are no clickbait-pushing algorithms involved (hooray!). Possibly e mail, like vinyl, will have a comeback quickly.