New Site. New Direction. (and how I did it)

PBIW v3.0

The PBIW v3.0 -bot

After having built even 2 or 3 redux’s for some clients, my own site’s overhaul was long over-due… it was Web 1.0 in a Web 2.0+ World… and we were rapidly approaching Web 3.0… Drastic measures were called for…

Over the years, I was always surprised how my site drew both compliments & business. After a couple years in, I personally hated the design. But the messaging & info were good, and people continued to tell me (unsolicited) that they liked it. So, it moves down the list a little, and you get busy… and you become like the proverbial Cobbler – Who’s own shoes are worn, due to being so busy working on the shoes (sites) of others.

But let things go for even a couple years too long on the Web, and you will look dated & behind-the-times. And even though my work for others was very-much up-to-date, you wouldn’t get that impression from landing on my site (it still had a Flash Landing Page, even! UGH!!!). I wrapped-up another new site for a client and vowed the next would finally be my own! I drew the line in the sand. You shall not pass (Old Site)!!!

So, what to do…? I know I wanted something more colorful, creative and interactive. And a little weird & whimsical, like myself. Less traditional & “box-y”, visually (since I do plenty of those). I wanted the site to serve as both a presentation to prospective clients, but also a repository for other info on my work & business. I wanted to also work in a Content Management System, since I believe in them strongly, but wanted to use a different approach than usual. Not easy to get that all into a single site… so, why not have 2? Sort of.

In the end, I decided to break up my site into 2 areas: An All-in-1-Page -presentation on my home/landing page, and a CMS-based “more” -area, for biz-related info that didn’t belong in the business pitch (News, etc.). Hopefully providing the focus & effectiveness of a Single Page Site, but still retaining the advantages of a CMS for regular content creation to help build SEO value & biz prospects (as I consult clients to do). You can visit the 1-Page Site by using the HIRE ME! -menu up top. You’re already on the CMS site.

PBIW 1-Page Welcome

PBIW 1-Page Welcome Click for Larger View

Your home page is your most important page, and generally the entry point for visitors. So, why make them go to any other pages? If the primary goal of my site is to pitch to prospective clients about what I do, and why they should hire me, then why make them load page after page to make that pitch? Would I be able to get across all the points & info that I wanted to? Lately, I had seen more & more 1 page sites that were marketing-focused, and in my opinion, effective. They used modern JavaScript techniques to fit more info into that page in an organized fashion that didn’t frighten the visitor off with one tremendously long, ever-scrolling page. Those feel SPAM-y. AND, it had to be Device-Friendly. A Responsive Web Design(s) it would be.

For the /more expansion area, I knew I wanted a CMS, for all the usual reasons; Easy Content Creation & Updating, SEO Value, and Easy Extendibility (adding functionality via Plug-In Apps). But in the spirit of doing new things, I decided to not go with my usual defaults of Joomla! & RocketTheme, and instead to turn to my usual (strong) 2nd choices for both publishing platforms and supporting design technologies, WordPress and YooTheme. It’s good to do new things, and to build new Tech Muscles, even if they’re less familiar & comfortable. THAT‘s how you get better!

So, that’s about it. The rest is A LOT of Brain-Storming, Designing, Re-Designing, Testing, Re-Testing, More Testing, and Writing… A LOT of writing (which I enjoy, but doing it well can be very time-consuming…). I won’t bore you with all those gore-y details… BUT, I WILL let you in on my secrets just a little more, from a technical standpoint, if you’re interested… with a List of Ingredients!

Core JS

Used for both Home and WP
jquery.com

jQuery Extensions

fullPage
fullPage GitHub

slimScroll
slimScroll GitHub

Modal/Media/Effects

Home Page – prettyPhoto
prettyPhoto

CMS – Widgetkit
Widgetkit

CMS

WordPress
wordpress.org

CMS Theme Framework

Warp 7.0
Warp Framework

Front End CMS UI

UI Kit
UI Kit

Core CMS Extensions

WordPress JetPack (Extends wordpress.com goodies to self-hosted WordPress installs)
JetPack Me

BackWPup (Back-Up and Migration)
BackWPup

Better WP Security (Security)
Better WP Security

Social Sharing

AddThis
AddThis

Pete Banta

Web Dude. Shredder. Jammer. Lover.