I’ve soft-launched a bit of a redesign on DanQ.me: the old one was getting a little stale, and I wanted space to try out some new ideas!
A major “theme” to my new design has been technical simplicity and performance. WordPress is great as a CMS, but the fact that it’s so easy to install “just one more plugin” to solve a problem can leave some WordPress sites feeling a little bloated. Plus, heavyweight sites seem to be the norm these days, sadly!
So I’m proud to have –
- Almost halved the number of WordPress plugins in-use from 35 to 18. (Of those 18, two are mine.)
- Dramatically reduced the number of scripts and stylesheets injected into the frontend by plugins from 7 to 0. (Virtually all the plugins that remain are for backend functionality.)
- Re-encoded most of the images as WebP for browsers that support it.3
What else? Lots of things that I’d been meaning to do for ages, but wanted a clean slate for:
- Improved accessibility, especially with regard to colour contrast.
- Switched out the maps that appear on checkin posts so they’re precached images from OpenStreetMap rather than Google Maps.
- Made my HTML nicer to read in View Source mode.4
- Added some new static pages: a colophon to explain how the site works, a summary of the implications of the license I publish under, etc.
- Added a second font (oooh!), for headings. I’m still not 100% convinced by it.
- Made it easier to see how people can reply to my posts, including by email.
- Added code to discourage search engines from indexing “RSS Club” posts, like this one!
- And lots more!
My aim is not to deliver this new generation of my site and have it be “complete” for a few years, like on previous ocassions.
Instead, part of the reason I’ve gone for a blank slate is to try to make it easier for me to do some “personal website gardening” more often. Lately I’ve written a lot of content… but I haven’t done much with my code. My digital garden has been delightful to relax in, but unruly to cultivate. A fresh start makes it easier to work on new things.