You’ve probably noticed my blog has a changed look. The part you see is superficial. Beneath the surface these changes make my site friendlier to you and especially to Google.
Geofffox.com runs on a CMS, a content management system. The one I use is WordPress. It powers around 1/3 of the Internet!
WordPress divides a site into content and look. If you change one the other should accommodate the changes. It should. It mostly does. Not always.
My site’s look is decided by a theme. I used a very simple pre-built theme which I spent most of a day customizing. The fonts have been changed. Images are framed with shadow. Some unnecessary clutter is gone. I work slowly. I don’t do it often enough.
I wanted the blog plain, functional and easy to read. I didn’t know how many of you were having just that trouble. Not a clue. It looked fine on my phone, but Apple’s finicky Safari browser and my fakakta coding didn’t mix well in the iCommunity.
It is fixed, by accident.
I freshened the sidebar content moving my blog-by-mail sign-up to a more prominent position. If you want to get every post as published by email this is for you. At last check 764 of you do. Thank you.
It’s over there —-> (Not really I’ve been told. If you’re looking on a phone it’s way down there ▼▼▼!)
Behind the scenes I’ve gone to a new method of caching. This should make my pages load much more quickly. Every day every post back to July 3, 2003 is rendered to an individual ‘flat’ file. That’s 7,000+ every 1440 minutes. It allows me to serve pages from my disk without having to call a database first. Freshening every day keeps the sidebar material current.
The caching program has allowed me to integrate a neat plug-in that reformats the blog for your phone or tablet. “Responsive design” is the goal. No matter your screen’s dimensions or aspect ratio everything should format cleanly.
Responsive design wasn’t a thing when I last remodeled. It is now. And Google exacts a penalty if you don’t support it.
It adds an extra layer of complexity to the process. Not terrible. It is necessary considering how dominant mobile has become.
Take your phone (if you’re reading that way) and turn it 90 degrees. What you’re reading should reformat itself to the new dimensions and look just fine. That’s responsive design at work. The same page also works on large desktop screens.
Finally, I’ve handed my images to a CDN, content delivery network. They copy all images for the blog, somewhere over 6,000, and serve them faster than I can myself.
Did I mention all of this, except the cost of actually renting part of a server, is free!
I take pride knowing I’m a
little lot older than folks you expect to write code. I’m no pro, but I can hack my way around most problems or at least know whom to ask for help.
Installing this theme and the extras was scary. Some of the code in the blog is old. Is it all upgradeable? Only one way to know.
There’s always the possibility of ‘breaking’ the website… which I did. One file restored from my daily back-up fixed the problem, but I didn’t like seeing the error message until then.
It is possible to have a blog without knowing the technical part. My natural curiosity wouldn’t let that happen. I enjoy understanding how things work and then mastering the craft. I like the challenge.