Yes, it was well overdue. I got so busy with work that I started to forget about my own site, which I put together pretty quickly in the first place. I finally found the time and energy to revamp it. Now that it’s here, I wonder why I didn’t do it earlier.
I couldn’t be more pleased. I feel like I finally have a site that not only presents me well, but is also a good demonstration of how my skills as a humble Sydney WordPress developer have progressed.
One thing is missing though – updated content for my badly neglected blog. Which I promise I’ll not neglect. For a while. Probably.
I thought I’d write a post about how I developed this site. Let’s jump in.
First I chose a theme. There are lots of great free WordPress themes around but the premium WordPress themes are really where it’s at – and great value for money. Yes, I could do it all myself. But why reinvent round rolling things?
I really like the current trend of single-page sites with nice parallax scrolling background images. I think single-page sites are great because it’s much harder to get someone to click than it is to get them to scroll. Once you’re scrolling you’ll keep doing it, and if there’s enough to engage a viewer, they’ll view your content.
After a bit of searching I found “X” by Theme.co. I think the name is a poor choice in terms of being able to Google it, but everything else is great! Have a look at it at http://theme.co/x/.
Then I went about looking at the existing content on my site and how I’d convert it to a one-page site. The little intro about what I do had to stay.
I used to have clients pages detailing what I did, but I didn’t think they added too much to the site. It’s better to show rather than tell, so now I just link to the sites I’ve worked on.
I think it’s important to keep a blog for SEO. I wanted to keep that separate, which the X theme supports.
On the previous site I had a contact form on every page. I think it really helped people contact me, so I wanted to keep something like that. I settled on a “content dock” form that pops up when the user is about half way down the page. In case that didn’t work, or got closed by the user, I also have a contact form its own page.
With the information architecture decided, I then needed to present that information in an engaging way. I’m still really impressed with HTML5 video so wanted to use that (The picture! It’s moving!).
The main X demo used it very effectively as a full screen (window) when the site loads. I spent some time looking through stock photography and video sites to find a nice video of Sydney. I like the time-lapse, and I think the tilt-angle shots are wonderful. It took a while but I finally settled on a time-lapse of the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay.
The theme supports Google Fonts, and there are now a lot of fonts to choose from. The title font is the same on I used in titles on my old site – “Nunito” and while I’m not in love with the body font, it’s pretty good. The logo font is “Homemade Apple” and coincidentally looks like my signature. But much neater. So don’t try to forge any cheques with it.
I then looked at more demos, other sites I liked, and took elements from those to use in my site. I picked a colour I really liked (the blue/teal colour) and based the rest of the palette on that.
A couple more stock photography/image purchases and it was really coming together!
A little fiddling with CSS and the responsive elements look great on all devices.
After a lot of tweaking, some feedback from my very intelligent and experienced girlfriend, and it’s now something that I’m truly proud of. If I’m honest with myself, I know it’s not going to get updated for a while – who has time!? – so I’m glad it looks as professional and contemporary as it does – I should get a good few years out it.