You’ve probably noticed that things look a little different around the old iBard digs. As much as I liked my old theme, and as much positive feedback as I got about it (from the vaunted James Chartrand of Men with Pens, no less!) there were a few problems. So in honor of James’ visit, I’m going to do a little “Drive By Shooting” of my own previous theme. 😉
Another thing is, as much as I loved the fresh, clean, summery look of the old theme, nothing about it really said “internet bard.” The brand it presented was very “internet marketing” and honestly, that’s not the direction I really want to go with this blog. And that leads me, quite neatly, to the next problem, which was an editorial one.
My writing was sort of “following the theme,” leaning more towards social media insider stuff and internet marketing stuff. The problem with that is I’m already writing a good bit of that type of content with Jason Falls on Social Media Explorer. The net result of which was less posting here, because most of my best posts on those topics really needed to go elsewhere.
The old theme wasn’t bad, in fact it was very good–and that was part of the problem. It’s hard to part with a very good theme, especially knowing how much work is involved even in minor customization of an existing theme. Unfortunately, it was a very good theme that wasn’t supporting and promoting the editorial vision I had for this blog.
So since I clearly need to state it again (mostly to get it into my own thick head), this is my personal blog, about the part of my life where I’m wrestling with human connection and community, the power of story, and how the internet and new technology fits into all that.
So now, about the new theme. I chose German designer Michael Oeser‘s Branford Magazine theme as a base, because it’s overall structure and way of organizing content was a perfect fit for what I want to do here. The left column contains the most recent posts from the main category, which is now “Bard’s Tales” — stories, thoughts and ramblings from my personal life. The middle column contains the most recent single post from each of the other categories, which are topics I probably won’t be covering on SME. The right column is standard “sidebar” stuff, pared down to elminate clutter and encourage exploring the rest of the content on the site.
The tabbed feature at the top (which loads considerably faster than the old featured posts carousel) offers up the most recent post in “Bards Tales” on the first tab, the headlines of the most recent 7 posts in any category in the second tab, and my most recent YouTube vlog post in the third tab. (Yup–I’m moving into vlogging. Podcasting is so 2006.)
The standard “About Me” stuff is now in the much-shorter main navigation bar (now with nifty drop downs!)
From an aesthetic perspective, I added some design elements that had a subtle “Medieval/Renaissance” feel, consistent with the idea of being an “internet bard” and “renaissance woman.” I didn’t want to get too baroque, cluttered or ornamental, since I liked the clean aspect of my previous theme. I may push this a tiny bit farther with custom bullets that are more ornamental, but we’re not going full-on Goth. I look awful in white makeup. 😉
I had to make some additional hacks to the theme to get it to do what I wanted it to do, but they were fairly minor and mostly boring “behind the curtain” stuff that I’ll spare you the details on.
So I hope you enjoy the new theme, but more than that, I hope that you enjoy getting more posts, that are more interesting, more often. Because that’s my goal with the whole project.