Updating an old site

I was shamed into a site update this week. I casually mentioned my Mistress of Mocktails site to a guy at work who was doing Dry July to raise funds for cancer research, when he commented how old it was. It’s pretty bad when the server guy starts critiquing your site.

And I had thought it was one of my cheerier ones. But yes, the theme was a basic one from 2012, with simple styling – no fancy Javascript, or anything at all exciting.

Even worse, when I did update the site and showed it to one of my sons, he made the same comment. double ouch.

So here are side-by-side comparisons:



Yeah, the old one was a bit clunky.  It took a fair bit of my weekend to update it, as I had to:

  • Choose an appropriate theme
  • Work within the restrictions of the theme on category layouts
  • Update the SEO settings
  • Change the social sharing app
  • Create a Facebook app to allow social sharing
  • Decide how to adapt my old images

There were some pleasant surprises, mainly how easy it is to insert links with the current wysiwyg editor.

The other key discoveries were:

  • How ugly my old images are
  • That you still need to resize images before uploading to WordPress. By default images are only resized to 90%, which can still mean a 900KB image from phone or screenshot if you’re not careful.
  • That the Yoast SEO plugin doesn’t automatically give you a meta description unless you adjust the template to use, say, the excerpt tag.
  • That the Yoast SEO plugin hides open graph tag functionality inside their Facebook options, even though it applies to multiple platforms.
  • That my hosting really really sucks. So slow.
  • That if you use the ElegantThemes Monarch social sharing plugin, it needs a Facebook app API key.
  • That there are still hiccups on whether social sharing works properly on category pages and the homepage.
  • That your theme will never look like the demo.
  • That my theme doesn’t include Instagram and Pinterest follow icons by default!!
  • That the job will always expand to fill the available time. And including automation via Hootsuite for social media is always the last step.
  • And OMG. TinyMCE Advanced plugin. Finally a solution to stop the wysiwyg editor from removing manual line breaks.

One day I will be happy that a site is finished, and not left in a half-complete status, as so many of my hobby sites end up…

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