If you’re a frequent reader of EmptyEasel.com, I’m sure you’ve already noticed some of the changes I’ve made to the site in the past few days—but here’s a rundown of everything that’s different, just in case.
Let’s start with the most obvious—the new design.
Starting a few months back, I decided to create a new layout for EE that would give me some extra room for additional categories while improving navigation for you.
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As you’ll notice, EmptyEasel’s old nav-menu with just four tabs across the top has disappeared. Now there’s single bar with five drop-down categories and total of twenty-eight subcategories underneath.
Unfortunately this new nav-bar is really messing up the site isn’t fully functional for anyone using Internet Explorer 6 or older, but I’m working to fix that right now and after a lot of effort and research, it appears there is no solution.
Internet Explorer 6 is 7 years old, so I guess I’m not too surprised it doesn’t work.
Please consider downloading Internet Explorer 7 if you’re using an outdated version of IE—it’s really quite painless, and it will allow you to see all the drop-down categories that EmptyEasel has to offer.
No matter what browser you’re using, you should be able to see the top-level categories on EmptyEasel, which I re-organized to better explain what we focus on at EE: making art (Art Tutorials), selling art (Art Business Advice), learning about art (Research), and pointing out talented artists of today (Featured Artists).
Perhaps the biggest organizational change, however, is under Featured Artists—you can now browse by eight different types of art, and I’m sure I’ll be adding a few more down the road as necessary.
Now, because of all my meddling, if you’ve linked from your own website to a specific section of EmptyEasel in the past, like Selling Art Online or Painting Tutorials, you may want to update your old links to point to the right place. Or, just place a new link somewhere to indicate the change—it’s up to you.
I should also mention that I’m still in the process of re-categorizing the bulk of the articles on EE, so some things may be out of place or mislabeled for a few days.
Of course, if you can’t find something the search bar is now much more readily available at the top of EE, so feel free to use it. :)
Other changes to EmptyEasel’s design include:
1. An absence of the color orange—everyone I spoke to during the redesign seemed against it, so I left it out of this version and switched up my color palette from complementary colors to analogous colors (blue and green).
2. Quicker article-to-article navigation—I added "next" and "previous" buttons at the top of every post which means you can browse articles in the order they were published, or use the double-arrowed buttons to skip to the next article in the same category.
3. More prominent author and category links—I placed these above the main text of the article (where they should be) and while I was there, I added some code to make sure that EmptyEasel’s guest authors show up there as well.
4. A renewed focus on showing related articles—at the bottom of each post you’ll find four more articles on the same topic as the one you just read.
Naturally, I didn’t change the "e" logo (although I did freshen it up a bit) or the rounded corners that have become an integral part of EmptyEasel’s design—so it still feels like EE to me, which is really what I hoped for when I started this process.
Now here are a few things you probably won’t notice:
EmptyEasel is now hosted on a dedicated-virtual server at Media Temple, a company which comes very highly recommended throughout the blogosphere in general, as well as from various individuals I’ve spoken to myself.
It’s too soon to tell you firsthand how good the hosting is, but when EmptyEasel had some trouble yesterday and went down due to my own inexperience, Media Temple’s support line was great and got me back on track in minutes.
Hopefully that kind of support will continue because I’m sure I’ve still got a lot to learn in this particular area of website management. :)
I also upgraded my version of WordPress over the weekend (WordPress is the blogging program that powers EmptyEasel.com) and I just want to say again how amazing it is to have something this complex working for me—even more amazing is that since WordPress is an open source program, it’s absolutely free.
You can learn more about the self-hosted version, which I use, at WordPress.org; or visit WordPress.com for an easy-as-pie (but less customizable) version.
So what’s your impression of the new design?
As I mentioned in my newsletter yesterday, I’d love to hear any opinions about the new site design, good or bad—it’s the best way for me to know how to make EE better, and I promise my feelings won’t be hurt.
Here’s the link to my contact page if you want to take me up on that. . . for everyone else, enjoy the new look of EE!
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