Cold Climate Gardening has gotten a makeover! I’ve changed the wallpaper and rearranged the furniture again. Why can’t I leave well enough alone? Well, why does anyone redecorate a room? To address problems and to make it look better–and because it’s fun! And I figured out some ways to make it more enjoyable for you, dear reader. Read on for nine reasons why I changed my website’s design. Which one will make the biggest difference for you? In addition, Duluth Trading is helping me celebrate by giving away three $50 gift cards to lucky commenters. Details after my list!
#1 Looks better on smartphones and tablets
This is the biggest reason why I wanted (needed) to change my design. More and more of you are catching up on your blog reading using tablets and smartphones. My old design didn’t adapt to these new devices. The new design will change its format depending on what you’re using to view it.
#2 Easier to read
Bigger type and better spacing make it easier to read, yes?
#3 Bigger pictures
The pictures are bigger, too. See?
#4 Upgrade the software
I use The Thesis Theme for WordPress(affiliate link). My old design used Thesis 1.8.5. The current version of Thesis is 2.1.8. Besides making it easier to accomplish #1, it also had many other improvements, so it made sense to upgrade. But there was no easy upgrade path using my old design; I had to start over from scratch. So why not change it up?
#5 Include my RebelMouse page
I know a lot of my readers are not on other forms of social media, so I’ve been wanting to include my RebelMouse page on this website. RebelMouse collects what I’ve posted on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and displays it in one central location.Unlike my blog posts, it’s not all about gardening, so I relegate it to the back page. Still, if you find it interesting and want to keep up with it, hover your cursor over Follow Kathy Purdy and it will give you a place to get updates by email.
#6 Make older content more accessible from the menus
I’ve been writing on Cold Climate Gardening for over ten years. There’s more than 1,200 posts in the archives! I doubt anyone but me has read them all, and even I sometimes forget what I’ve written. I’ve created a double menu to help you find interesting stuff you might have overlooked. (See screenshot below) The top menu is devoted to Cold Climate Gardening’s main mission: the blog, the blog directory, cold climate everything, and local (Upstate NY) gardening support. But the menu below that is organized along more topical lines. Hover your cursor over the main items and see what drops down. I bet you’ll find something that piques your interest. And there’s always the traditional Archives, organized by date, category, and tag.
#7 Feature seasonal content and photos on the front page
Another way to help you find overlooked goodies is the newly created front page (Home on the menu–see screenshot above). At the top are some seasonally appropriate pretty pictures, eye candy plain and simple. But they are all taken somewhere at the Old House or the New House, even if they’ve never been used for a blog post, so they are all bona fide cold climate photos. You can scroll through them using those dots at the bottom. After a brief introduction and the most recent post, you’ll find three seasonal posts from the archives displayed for your perusal.
#8 You can read all the quotations in one place
Many of you have told me you enjoy the quotations. The plugin I formerly used to display them was ancient and with every upgrade to WordPress I was afraid it would no longer work. Now I have implemented a new way of storing and displaying the quotations that should be compatible with future upgrades to WordPress. And since the quotations are displayed randomly, there’s a good chance you’ve never seen them all–until now. Once I get them all moved over, the entire collection will be viewable here, for those of you who want to browse, or to re-read a quotation you found particularly compelling.
#9 Intellectual and creative challenge
I really enjoy the process of creating a new look for my website, but I don’t think I could have managed it without help from Rick Anderson and his Build Your Own Business Website. I watched many of his instructional videos, and installed and adapted his Carta skin for Cold Climate Gardening’s new look. Paying the membership fee to take advantage of the many resources on BYOBW saved me a lot of aggravation and hair-pulling. I’ve been so impressed with the help from his videos that I’ve become an affiliate. If you click on the link and join I will get a commission. But there are plenty of free videos you can view first, so you know what you will be getting for your membership fee.
Duluth Trading Giveaway
Thanks to the generosity of the Duluth Trading Company, three lucky commenters chosen at random will receive a $50 gift card good towards purchasing anything from the Duluth Trading Company website. If you’ve read my reviews, you know I think they make durable work clothes that allow you to move freely. I’m very happy to give you the chance to try some of their gear for yourself. Just comment below to have a chance to win. Tell me what you like most about the new design, suggest improvements, or mention what you’d like to try from Duluth. Or I’d love to know your favorite CCG post of all time. But you can just say you’d like to win, if you’re short on time or at a loss for words. The giveaway is limited to postal addresses in the United States and Canada. (Duluth ships internationally, but I am mailing the gift cards and am limiting my postage expense.) The giveaway will end at midnight Pacific Time on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 11, 2014.