3D rendering, design, media, and technology news.

Redesigning LunarLog.

As of today, Lunarlog has been redesigned and I think it’s a minimalist design that I’m finally comfortable with – one that won’t be changing in the foreseeable future. It’s meant to coincide with my new coding and rendering/illustration additions to my main website, LunarStudio. Below, I’ll discuss some of my previous issues that are now resolved, as well as talking about some of the newer and more interesting features.

There were a few problems with my previous site that I needed to address:

  1. WordPress updates. It seemed as if there was a new WP update every month, and every other time they released a new security fix, some of the code or design would break. As a result, I would be forced to go hunt down the problem and try to correct it. Anyone that runs a WP site knows what I’m talking about. Proper maintenance can be a full-time job in of itself. By trying to keep it simple, it’s hopefully one less thing to worry about.
  2. The old design was ugly. It started off on a good note, but my changing things around introduced more of a design mess over time. Add to that other real-life obligations, and I was finding less time to make corrections. If the design is simple, one can focus more on the topics at-hand than trying to be flashy. I spent more time avoiding looking at the previous site, because each time I visited it, I saw things that needed to be changed. Hopefully this will lead to more time spent writing now.
  3. I think a website’s design needs to reflect a person’s skills to a degree. If you’re going to call yourself a designer, then I think that it’s only right that the design of other things you create needs to reflect your attention to detail. No one in their right mind is going to hire a messy painter and I think this was the case with the previous design. While I wasn’t “messy” per se, it looked terrible to me. Some people might lack the programming skills and that is a valid excuse, but at that point they should spend the time seek out a design template, a website that creates websites (Wix is one service that comes to mind), or find someone that knows what they are doing.
  4. Simplicity in design for usability. A clean design appeals to people’s senses better. It makes things easier to read, and also tends to load faster. People need to find content without adding strain.

Here are some of the underlying changes:

  1. Various plugins were removed. They either caused issues over time, or became unnecessary. For example, the rel=”nofollow” attribute (originally introduced by Google) is no longer taken into account. Not only does removing some of these extensions/plugins improve speed and performance, but it can also lead to higher search engine rankings now that Google factors website loading speed into their algorithms.
  2. Updated to some HTML5 standards. While HTML5 is still undergoing some changes, the markup is meant to bring the various methods together, and to make the code easier to read and navigate for both the search engines and the coders/programmers. I strongly speculate that this results in higher search engine ranking. I highly doubt that this website validates (I don’t want to check lol), but that’s pretty much going to be the case with any new language or markup.
  3. A plugin for Google +, Twitter Followers, and Facebook Likes was introduced so people can denote topics and articles of interest to Social Networking sites. The search engines are now factoring these items of popularity as an additional method of measuring interest, usefulness, and relevancy.
  4. New fonts are now available for the web versus the traditional eight or 10 (I forget.) It’s every web designer’s wildest dream. Here’s a list of over 247 font families from Google! I’m using two of them here.
  5. A relatively new and cutting-edge feature was implemented just last month by Google called Google Authorship. You can insert HTML5 Rich Snippets (rel=”author”) into your websites, both dynamic (such as blogs) and static (such as my other website LunarStudio) that connects your websites to your Social Networking profile – in particular Google Plus and LunarStudio. That in of itself isn’t a new concept, but what’s really cool about this new feature is that you’ll start to notice people’s profile pictures right next to search engine results over the next few months. So, let’s say someone searches for “Architectural Renderings” in Google and I’m in the Top 10 (the last I checked, LunarStudio was #1 out of close to a million results *wink*), my profile picture helps make my website become even more noticeable. This in turn should lead to increased business. The only problem is that these attributes are so new, that there are no extensions/plugins to enable this so it has to be entered by hand. To add to the mess, people are giving conflicting methods as to how-to implement it. On top of that, Google hasn’t simplified the process (although they’re trying) and keeps changing things. It’s a guessing game as to when the results should take effect. People who arrive early to the game might reap the benefits of higher search engine visibility, although it shouldn’t factor into higher SERPs at the present time. I’m personally excited about this because it’s so new, that’s there’s only a small handful of people writing about this technique presently. It’s fun to figure out new things.

If anyone is interested in some of these methods, please let me know. I’m going to be busy over the next few weeks, but I’ll try to respond to the best of my ability.