Welcome to the 3rd generation of Life Coaches Blog!
Time sure flies, we’ve been around for 2 years and 8 months now. Today, we stand at 507 posts, spaced out at 64 pages and 14 writers who’ve contributed to Life Coaches Blog.
We’ve gone through 2 revisions of the site’s design and today we’re introducing the 3rd revision. It’s even simpler to navigate, full of new features and it’s really beautiful. If you’re reading this post through an RSS reader or email, click here to take a look.
Why the Change?
I’ve changed in the past year. I’ve grown to enjoy simplicity, decluttering my life and space by letting go of the unimportant things in my life.
The more that happened, the more the previous version of Life Coaches Blog started looking cluttered to me. There was a growing disconnect between my life, and the life of Life Coaches Blog. I could no longer feel comfortable in its skin, I was even a little embarrassed at its look and some of the things I had written before.
But there were also posts that I felt proud of, and even though I may be spending less time on the site, I felt a need to honor the time and effort we had already spent on our posts. The previous version of Life Coaches Blog wasn’t easy to navigate, and I needed a better way to present our existing content.
What was the Inspiration?
These are some of the designs that inspired me to push for the 3rd generation. What I got from them wasn’t as much about the exact visual look, but the feel and the essence of their designs. They all have an understated simplicity to them, marrying both form and function in a clean, organized and thoughtful way, which I really enjoy and admire.
Photo by yoppy.
Behind the New Look
I started with the 3rd generation by doing a new re-design on my own. After working on it for a few weeks in my free time, I realized that I would never get it up to the standard I wanted in time. One, because I didn’t have the time, and two, because I didn’t have the programming expertise.
Here was a theme that was elegantly designed, with the simple aesthetic I loved, yet came with all the advanced functionality that I needed. Not only that, the theme also has a helpful support forum where I’ve received considerable help in customizing the theme to make it my own.
Being the first purchased theme in Life Coaches Blog’s 3 generations, that also makes it the first unoriginal design. When buying the theme, I knew I might see it on other sites, but for its quality and the time it would save me, I felt that it was a worthwhile trade-off.
7 New Changes at Life Coaches Blog
Besides the new simpler and understated look, there are also a host of new features, all designed to help you enhance your browsing experience at Life Coaches Blog.
1. Author Biographies at the End of Each Post
Now at the end of each post, you’ll see a short bio of the post’s author, together with an option to contact the author. If you click on his name, you’ll also see a list of all his posts. Great for a blog that has multiple authors.
2. Gravatar Support
Together with an author bio, the new Life Coaches Blog also has gravatar support. Now you can see my mug whenever I make a post and comment! Sign up at Gravatar to see your own portrait appear whenever you leave a comment.
3. More Comprehensive Archives
The archives page is more comprehensive now, offering you new ways to go through our posts. Besides the ability to browse via author as mentioned, in the archives you can also search by category and month. It’s a lot cleaner than the previous version of our archives and I really like it.
4. 1/3 Less Advertisements
You’ll notice that the heavy sidebar advertisements on the sidebar are now all gone, and the in-post ad has been replaced with a much smaller version. The decision to remove the sidebar ads and reduce the in-post ad size by a third was a long way in coming, because they were both the highest earning ads in the previous version of Life Coaches Blog.
But the previous incarnation of Life Coaches Blog and the present one serve different purposes. The second generation was designed with heavy ad-placement in mind, but since my decision to spend less time on Life Coaches Blog, my initial goals of making Life Coaches Blog a profit center has diminished.
Instead, I’ve chosen to declutter the site and make it more pleasing to read, even though it will probably mean a one-third decrease in site revenue. But that’s a trade-off I’m quite willing to make.
5. A Cleaner Sidebar
With less ads, the site is now less cluttered and the sidebar is a lot cleaner. Although the original Fresh News theme comes with a lot of sidebar options, for easy navigation I’ve opted to drop most of them and keep only the most popular posts, comments, recent posts and my favorite quotes of the day. It’s a lot cleaner and the emphasis on content is a lot clearer.
6. A Cleaner Contact Form
I was never quite happy with the previous contact form, it had some CSS problems I could never quite fix and the lack of a security question meant a lot of spam in my inbox.
The new Life Coaches Blog contact and article submission forms are using the superb cforms II plugin by delicious:days. It’s bar none, the best forms plugin I’ve seen and one of the best plugins I’ve ever seen for WordPress. It’s beautifully designed outside-in, comes with a whole host of customizable features, an easy-to-use interface, a PDF guide, screencast tutorial and support forum. I really enjoyed using it and I love the way it looks.
7. Cleaner Pages
I’ve always been slightly embarrassed about the loud, showy text on the previous versions of the About Us and Store pages. They were written when I was in a different place in my writing and mindset, and I cring now to read their over-the-top sales pitches.
So I’ve gone back and cleaned up the pages and made them simpler, and more real. Now they’re something I can live with.
What Do You Think?
I hope you enjoy the new look. I’m liking it tremendously. It’s reflecting a lot more where I am in my life right now, and is something I’m quite proud of.
So, now that you’re seeing it for the first time, what do you think about the 3rd generation of Life Coaches Blog?