Website Redesign: Going Simpler

May 12, 2020 Updated: 5/14/2020

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any updates on what’s new around here. There’s a pretty good reason for that: not much is new.

But there are a few things.

TIL category love

For one, I decided to ditch a category template for TIL posts. I had been using a custom template part to distinguish between TIL and all other posts so that my category.php file in WordPress would output a different layout for each. My initial strategy was to show full posts in the TIL category. They’re meant to be brief little posts and clicking through to a post single seemed unnecessary at first.

I’ve built up a number of TIL posts since then and I started to see how poor of an experience it is to scroll through a bunch of full posts. Plus, I wasn’t providing a path to the post single for any of them (again, I thought it’d be unnecessary) which is bad for a number of reasons, like SEO (at least that’s what I’m told). So farewell, custom category template! The TIL archive is now a clone of the general post archive.

Pagination

Other than a bunch of minor sale refinements, the next noticeable change is kinda embarrassing… my blog archive now has pagination. Yep, that’s right. I totally forgot to provide a way to navigate through the posts loop. 🤦‍♂️

Markdown in comments

I’d be remiss to not comment on comments. I decided to flip Jetpack on so I can use the feature that allows Markdown in comments. Seriously, that’s the only setting I’m using in the entire dang plugin out the dozens (hundreds?) in there.

Jetpack can be so gosh-dang useful for other things, so I may spend some time seeing if I can leverage anything else it offers. If I can’t find anything else, then I might search for a plugin that only adds Markdown support for comments so I have less admin bloat.

Webmentions

I’m totally down with the IndieWeb thing. While I can’t fully wrap my head around the IndieWeb community as a whole, I love the idea of owning my own content, whether that’s blog posts, saved links, social media posts, images, videos, or whatever. I’ve long been weary of third-party platforms treating me as the product rather than the customer, so I’ve largely rid myself of things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.

Webmentions are a piece of the IndieWeb puzzle. The idea is that my site can consume any activity related to my content (say a like on Twitter, or a blog post that’s written in response to one of my posts) and display it on the post. That’s a nice way to stay engaged with social media without having to be on social media.

I’ve still got a way to go here to get it working the way I think it needs to. The IndieWeb community has a number of WordPress plugins that I’ve installed to get that going. We’ll see how it goes.

What’s next?

I dunno. I’m starting to get bored with some of my aesthetics. For example, I’ve been using Times New Roman for headings simply because it’s performant. I might trade it in for something nicer and take the performance hit.

I also have a love-hate relationship with the brown color palette. At least I used CSS custom properties to define my colors, so it would be relatively easy to swap things out if I decide to.

Other than that, it’s just another day in the neighborhood. This site has become a sort of worry stone for me while we’re living in these uncertain pandemic times.