For gardeners, the “off” season is the best time to do housecleaning. The most likely time to do housecleaning, however, is when you know company’s coming. In my case the company arrived unexpectedly, and I had to clean around them, so to speak. I’m talking about this blog, in case you didn’t get it, and the company arrived in the form of a mention in the Spring Bonus issue of Horticulture. I had no idea the magazine had plans to include me until I read a comment on this post, and by then the visitor stats were already climbing, and I had already gotten one email from a new reader.
In addition to that, People, Places, Plants, a regional gardening magazine covering New England and New York, decided to run a small profile of me in their “Success Stories” section. (I almost turned the interview down until I understood it was the website that was the success, and not my garden.)
The design of my website had been bothering me almost from the second I uploaded it in April 2003. Navigation through the site wasn’t consistent. Rundy, my least diplomatic critic, called it “utterly confusing. . . . The thing works like a maze which one enters and then doesn’t return from.” Gulp. I had attempted a kludgy fix at one point but wasn’t at all sure it helped matters. Finally, sometime after the Horticulture mention but before PPP hit the newstands, I had one of those “light bulb” moments where I suddenly realized what needed to be done, and it was so simple. I moved some navigation links from a page within the site to the sidebar. Duh!
As any amateur webmaster knows, it’s never that simple. You change one thing, and because of that another thing has to be modified, and then that makes something else not look right. I guess I’ve been working on this “tweak” for over a month now, stealing time from plenty of other worthy projects, and I’m thoroughly sick of it by now.
Hey, thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad you could make it. Say, I just finished remodeling the place, would you like a tour? Great!
Let’s begin at the front door, also known as the home page. I think this door functions like the front door of my house. People come this way the first time they visit, but after that, they use the side door (the blog) most often. You’ll get the most pleasure out of my modifications if you have the Shelldon font installed on your computer. And because this was only a remodel and not a complete renovation, some things don’t work quite the way I intended. Ironically, they work best in Internet Explorer, which is my least favorite browser, and work worst in Opera, my favorite browser. Lachlan tells me that’s because Opera most strictly interprets the code, and IE cuts you the most slack. (Firefox comes in between, in case you’re wondering.) For the most part, it’s just colors that aren’t rendered correctly, but Opera renders the link formatting very erratically. If you’re looking at this with Opera and you think a word should be a link, but it doesn’t look like a link, hover your mouse over it. If the pointer turns to a hand, it really is a link.
Let’s look at the Links section. Hopefully it’s now easier for people to find the information they need. And do you know, I have over a hundred items bookmarked for inclusion here that I haven’t added yet! I really wanted to name the next section “The Best of the Hardiest,” but there’s already a book by that name. I’d really like to have more contributions to this part. The next section, Garden Weblogs, is a pet project of mine. Do you see the long list of blogs in the sidebar (also in the blog’s sidebar)? Those are all the garden blogs I have syndication feeds for. Eventually I want to have all of them profiled in my directory. An ambitious project for a woman who’s already got plenty on her plate, but I guess I’m usually biting off more than I can chew. Finally, I tidied up the Contributors page. It provides a little background info on the various people writing on the weblog. And that brings us to the side door, also known as the blog. The biggest improvement here is that the archive pages are now in the same design as the main blog page. That lack of inconsistency always used to irk me.
There’s plenty of work left to be done, and believe it or not, I’d like to put on several additions. But for now, I’ve got to do some physical (real world) housecleaning, because–guess what! company’s coming!