After a couple of years on joostdevalk.nl, I’ve decided it was time to do a couple of things at the same time:
- redesign to a more professional look
- move to a .com domain and US based WordPress hosting
- 301 redirect the entire old domain to that new domain
Now those of you who are unlucky enough to have me in your IM list have been spammed a lot by me the last few weeks, while I was doing all the redesign work, and deciding which domain I was going to use. In the end, I decided to go with yoast.com. This name was created when at SMX Stockholm last year, I tried to explain to Rand Fishkin and some other people how to pronounce my first name, Joost, properly. Rand spoke the great words “ow that’s easy, just toast with a y”, and then: yoast was born.
It took some time (and money) to acquire yoast.com, but I succeeded in that too, and then went on to pick a designer. I chose to work with Alen Grakalic of CSS Globe, who not only creates great designs, but can code them to my, very very high, XHTML and CSS standards too. We worked together for a couple of weeks, with me getting feedback from some of my very good friends like Ben Jesson of Conversion Rate Experts, Jennifer Slegg and Roy Huiskes.
In the new design, I wanted to do a couple of new things:
- Create a better homepage, which had to be more than a blog index page.
- Create a separate blog index page, while keeping the URL’s for posts the same.
- Make a better distinction between utility pages, like contact, advertising etc., and the “really” important pages: SEO tools, WordPress plugins and Articles.
- Clean up the template for single post pages and pages.
And preserve a couple of others:
- Make the RSS button still stand out as much as it did in the old design.
- Keep the tag cloud.
- Make sure the comments stayed as important as they were in the previous design.
Alen did a great job, as you can see in the new design. Now the last thing I had to do was get a new logo and tagline. I’d always called this blog an SEO blog, and in some sense, it is. But a lot of what I write about has hardly anything to do with SEO. So I started discussing a new tagline with the above mentioned friends, and Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips.
In the end, I decided to go with “Tweaking Websites”, as that’s what I do. For the logo, my buddy Brent Csutoras pointed me to a site called 99designs. This site allows you to launch a contest for a design. I set a $400 price, and got a massive load of designs submitted, check them out.
In the end, a German guy called Christian Hockenberger won. He came up with this design. I’d like to thank all of my friends for all of their help in this move! Now on to what is basically a very big experiment: a 301 redirect of an entire site to a new, US hosted domain.
Some stuff won’t be finished today, some moving still needs to be done. But do look around and share your feelings about the redesign in the comments!