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I am not exactly an everyday blogger, however, the fact that recently 4 months passed by without me blogging at all is totally unacceptable. I had to make personal amendments to fix that. I am now making fundemntal (technical) amendments as well to make sure blogging is back into the system.

Every now and then you have to fall in love again with your blog, if you do not change or do something about it you will become jaded. That is why I have taken steps in different directions to restore the passion.

The first and obvious is always upgrading to the latest WordPress version (2.9.2)  – which is cool by the way. I thoroughly enjoyed the one-click upgrade button – amazing.

Then going through the new version’s features list, it appears that wordpress now natively supports thumbnail images – FINALLY.

This leads us to the second step – THEME REVISIT. The original theme of Mazenville was based on a theme bought from template monster back in 2007. It didn’t survive all these years on “stock” status, it has gone changes and updates every now and then of course. I was however lazy about widgetizing the theme, but seeing that to enable the wordpress thumbnail feature I will have to create (yes create, my theme didn’t have one) a functions file, I thought what the heck lets widgetize the dude.

So now, Mazenville is finally empowered with nice imagery, and has gone from zero dynamic sidebars to 4 dynamic sidebars. Super cool.

Next step would be working on the speed. This blog hasn’t been slow, however it could use lots of optimization. Thanks to a couple of website measuring and analysis tools I was able to put my finger on the areas that needed attention. Fixed those and added a caching solution and there you go, from Yslow E rating to B and I am still not fully done, still looking at CDN solutions and integration options.

Finally, the 4 original categories didn’t really fit everything I want to write about, so I thought I could extend them with a couple more. Now we have 6.

This way I am encouraged to blog more often since I have empty spaces to fill, especially that these spaces are subjects I love (and wonder how come they weren’t there to begin with).

Now don’t mistakenly think I am being mean about all this, the reason why I haven’t shared full details and links is because I am willing to break it into series of posts. Widgetizing, thumbnailing, optimizing, and content structure (categories change, citing cool plugins and resources online which were much helpful.

This was the digest because I had to let it.I slaved doing all that over the weekend. Watch this space, more to come.

In the meantime, I hope you like what you see (the design updates) and feel its enhanced speed :) Do you?




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6 Comments to “Taking my Blog to the Next Level (Part 1): Mazenville v4”

  1. Mazen Abou Hatab Says:

    New post on my renewed blog: Taking my blog to the next level. Read it here: http://tiny.cc/b2iwh :)

  2. Paz Says:

    BTW, the package i offered you also comes with Amazon S3 and Cloudfront support :-)

  3. Aswathy Says:

    Definitely design looks nice and I love the small bits like the car at the bottom, street lights etc :)

    Looking forward to read more :)

    Regards
    Ash

  4. Governor Says:

    @Paul: I will consider :) But I was thinking more “self-hosted” for experimenting

    @Ash: Thanks a lot, looking foward to writing more as well :D

    Cheers.

  5. northwest seo Says:

    Hi there, just wanted to impart that I think this blog is brilliant, it has just the content I am looking for. Please feel proud about the fact that this is only the 6th website I have saved in over seven months. Keep up the good work and I look forward to making some more responsive comments over the months

  6. How To Speed Up Your WordPress Websites Loading Times - Says:

    [...] from part 1 (falling in love with your blog again), part 2 (widgetizing & thumbnailing) and part 3 (search engine optimization), in this part I [...]

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