New year, new website


If you follow my website in an RSS reader, you’ll perhaps not see that my website has had a significant makeover.

Over the years I’ve very much changed the way I’ve used my website. It’s no longer a “blog” in the original sense, with a need to follow things chronologically like a diary. If I need that at all these days, social media provides it. Instead, I use my website as a showcase for my writing or a home for my interests. So for some time now, I have wanted my website to help me arrange the content by theme rather than by date.

This is particularly important as I continue promote my current books and prepare to launch my forthcoming third one, The Next Stop, in the coming months.

Furthermore, a few things with the way my old website worked were a little annoying. For instance, the theme I used – Tropicala – didn’t allow for sub-sections in the menu, and the text was rather small. I know such things can be customisable, but my knowledge of WordPress and coding is very basic and nowhere near up to such modifications, and in any case the theme is many years old and has not been updated for some time.

I did like much about the old theme, however, such as its crisp, clean, uncluttered feel. So I’ve rearranged the website using the excellent Expound theme, which keeps what I hope is a bright and airy look that won’t date easily. I’ve also been able to introduce the kind of page hierarchy I was looking for.

For instance, if you look at the menu above I have a Books section, with a drop-down to dedicated pages for each of my books (out and forthcoming). I have a travel writing section too, with different subsections within that; a section of writing about non-travel stuff (including, for instance, a page with all my Scottish politics posts); and even a new (bilingual) page on Esperanto. Hopefully it will be easier to navigate and draw people into similar content to what they’re looking for.

I’ve even removed the “blog” page from the menu. As I’ve already said, it’s more important to me to gather content by topic than date, and a chronological account of my posts is no longer necessary (nor would it make sense, given the diversity on which I post). Though if you’re really keen, the page still technically exists and you can see my most recent posts in the sidebar on the right, where you’ll also find a sign-up box to get all future posts emailed to you. And if you subscribe to the site’s RSS feed, you’ll still get posts in your feed as and when they’re published anyway.

Most excitingly, however, I did the website revamp all by myself. Despite my limited knowledge on these matters, I was able to install the new WordPress theme and make all the necessary adjustments by my own efforts. With a bit of googling here and there – and some help on one detailed matter from the very helpful forums – I was able to figure out what I needed to know and apply it. WordPress, which powers this site, really is a great system and is surprisingly easy to use. There’s still much I don’t know about it, though, and anything more complicated than what I’ve done would be very much beyond me.

So, have a poke around the new website and let me know if you find any gremlins lurking around. Enjoy!

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