For the past few weeks, my fearless website designer Raphael Brion has been slaving away trying to make this site look even better. And, if you look up, look down, look left, look right, I think you’ll have to agree: Raphael hit this one out of the park. My blog was the dowdy girl with glasses at the beginning of a makeover movie; and now it’s Olivia Newton John at the end of “Grease.” What exactly did he change? What’s different? Let me break it all down for you.
1. One less column. When you looked to your left, did you notice something missing? What’s missing is an entire column. (Click here to see what the blog used to look like.) With that column gone, this blog has room to breathe. And, even better, the lack of that column means we can have…
2. Bigger pictures! Check it out:
To me, this is the best part of the new design. Pictures are such a huge part of the food blogging experience, and even though my photography was pretty shaky at the beginning 7 1/2 years ago, I’ve gotten progressively better. Which is why the pictures are now 605 pixels wide (instead of 425 pixels wide) and why I took the time to go back through the past two years of posts to enlarge all the photos. So my post about Commander’s Palace in New Orleans? It’s an entirely different experience now. Even my comic book posts look amazing in a larger format; go revisit my El Bulli post and see if you don’t agree. (When I get more time down the road, I’ll enlarge as many pictures as I can in the archives.)
3. Streamlined navigation with prettier features. Go ahead and click some of the buttons above–Recipes, Restaurant Reviews, How-To, Videos & Comics. Don’t they look nice? They were redesigned by Raphael for me to feature my favorite posts in each category. (And two of those categories are new: Videos & Comics, so you can see all of my videos and comics in one place.) Also, when you click a subcategory now, it’ll load up all the first parts of all the posts in those subcategories, so instead of a colorless list, you’ll get to see pictures and read the starter text. That makes it a much more vibrant experience.
4. A new “About Me.” I get credit for this one. I rewrote my “About Me” page to be more informative; so gone is the cute little comic you used to see on the old version of my blog. But for those who don’t know my story or how this blog came about, I think this version tells you everything you need to know. Plus, it’s still fun (there’s a notorious video in there waiting for you).
[Sorry; had to share another beautiful picture of food with these new BIG pictures. That’s a chocolate croissant from Payard.]
5. No more Community Blog. Well, it was a nice idea, but The Community Blog (which we launched last year) never really caught on. I have a few theories about this: when you open something up to everyone, you get an un-curated mess of posts that don’t cohere. That’s why community-oriented sites like Serious Eats and Food52 are so successful; they have a strong editorial voice and they’re selective about the posts that they share. So thank you to everyone who contributed to this grand experiment. And don’t worry; all your posts will live on in the Community Blog archive here.
6. We switched to WordPress. I’m listing this last because this’ll probably only interest a small number of you, but it’s really the #1 most significant thing about the work Raphael’s been doing: he ushered my entire blog from the Movable Type platform to WordPress. As much as I enjoyed my years running my blog on Movable Type, WordPress seems to be the way of the future and, already, it’s way more pleasant to use. I’m very happy with it and can’t wait to continue blogging on it.
So! A huge standing ovation, please, for Raphael and his remarkable work. Also, another standing ovation for Lindy Groening who not only created the illustration at the top of this post, but the new banner you see at the top featuring me and Craig driving to L.A. to start our new lives in California.
Don’t you love our shiny new blog? Let’s put the pedal to the metal to see what this baby can do.