The new KathyAthy makeover: Lessons #1 and #2.

The feedback I got from my December series was amazing. How on earth are people actually interested in what I have to say? I ramble on most of the time! It was time to get a little bit more profesh, earlier than I imagined!

Pipdig.

I decided I wanted to make KathyAthy a little more custom. I had an idea in mind and so I did that blogger thing: got in touch with Phil @ pipdig. I’d exhausted the wordpress.com platform already, it wasn’t fun or quirky anymore after “taking the Christmas decs down”. I wanted more freedom to play with the blog myself, as well as being easier for my different readers to navigate. It’s difficult juggling the lifestyle, Sciencey, Photography and Academia stuff because I reckon each category has its own audience, I wanted to therefore show on the homepage all the different categories available. I went for the Tundra theme, I loved the monochrome and simplicity.

Anyway, when the emails about different techy things I have no idea about started to arrive, I was so excited. It took 6 days from ordering the theme to having it ‘delivered’. Phil is suuuuuuuuper busy at the moment, but I was adamant I was having him to “keep it local”. Newcastle, represent!

pipdig

Lesson #1: Be patient

I then got the email saying he’d done it – wwaaaaaah!!! Hastily logging on, I couldn’t for the life of me work out anything. Couldn’t find anything, everything seemed back to front. It was odd, I had 3 different sites at one point and the ‘new one’ kept disappearing. Palpitations began. My rational self took over: “the stuff is still transferring, wait till tomorrow” … “fine, but let me just try and find that deer one more time.“. The little deer at the top is cute, but the header and icon will soon will be changing to my own ‘spirit animals’. Might be worth its own post to explain…

The next morning, I had an email and a tweet from Phil saying that my site was ready. I stopped sitting on my hands and was let loose, MUCH easier to find this time, rational Katie isn’t too bad!. I typed “kathyathy.com” rather than go straight to admin. Just like how I can imaging buying a new front door would be: stay with me here; but you’d want to know what it feels like for your guests right? You want to be the first one to go through?

Anyway, it was an absolute mess, every feature was activated and all over the place. Remember that this blog has only been ‘serious’ for a month, there’s not a lot of content, and I really didn’t want it to look like everybody else’s blog so the sidebar immediately went. I spent a couple of hours cleaning it up, like when you move into a new flat; trying to make your house a home.

pipdig home

I’m finally happy with it, it’s minimalist and without clutter on the homepage. Everything has its own category and organised well (I have OCD tendencies). I have one slider bar thing as I don’t fancy my blog being ordered chronologically, then “recent posts”. I’m waiting for next week’s (exciting) content where the featured images will all follow the same style-ish. I have my various categories and series that people might be interested in, and they’re all beautifully presented at the top.

Pipdig had even installed the necessary plug ins for security, social media and spam, I trust him completely too so I’ve kept them all.

 

Plugins

I researched about other plugins I could get, now I’m set free from the shackles that is wordpress.com. I do this all the time with the App Store, trying to find something that will change my life, be so productive, do my dishes…

I realised that I really didn’t need anything yet, other than something to show my photos in a gallery (I lost all my galleries after the switch – not the end of the world, but be careful if you’ve had your blog for a while). I found the amazing FooGallery, it is SO easy to use and integrate into a normal blog post. I first went with NextGEN gallery and regretted it instantly – SO slow.

Lesson #2: Do your research

The galleries themselves are beautiful too:

foogallery

As I’d lost the photos already from the media library during ‘the change’ and had reuploaded to NextGEN’s own gallery then decided I didn’t like it, I was pretty fed up at remembering which photos I had (and the quality may have suffered too). I actually can’t wait to practice my photography skills somewhere else now! Ideas please!

I’ve had a couple of issues with slugs. Not the shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc, but the links. It kept spitting out 404 not found when the two links matched. I fixed one for the “photography” page, but it’s done it again for the “blogging school” page… working on it.

 

So, have a look around! Make yourself at home, tell me what you think?

 

This experience overall:

Swear words: many.

Difficulty Level: No idea what I’m doing.

Katie Signature

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