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A new year, and a brand new website

January 12, 2019Will Leffert

Those of you who follow my work know I enjoy redesigning my website on a regular basis. Approximately every 6 months I complete a design surrounding a special project, theme, or focus.

This year, I am focusing on everything.

If you're interested in the technical aspects of this design, it will be further down in the post. First, I want to focus on content.

What makes good website content?

Good (or even great) website content is that which helps accomplish a goal. It not only serves as exposition and art, but sales. Good website content can especially help assure a visitor when they ask the standard questions: "Who, What, Where, Why, When."

The who, in this case, is obvious. I wanted touch on a frequently commented on aspect of myself: My ego.

The what is simply.. Everything I create. I've been producing music, art, photography and more for many, many years. I've now developed a site that adequately promotes the work I wish to, including better guidance for acquisition. I've also added some music that is freely available, so go ahead and check that out.

Where is a bit harder to define, but my goal wasn't to sell directly from my site (as management of that would require too much time, considering my day job). Rather, I still sell through FineArtAmerica, Amazon, iTunes, Zazzle, etc. I provide easy direction for the where, at least.

Why? For my services, such as photography and session musician work, I try to continue to position myself as an expert with a unique approach in what I do. I am at least, in some way, lucky. I offer services in Quincy, IL that are sometimes difficult to find when you're looking for something outside the norm while still being professional.

The when is simply now.

Technical overview of the redesign

I've used the Pro theme for years, but this time, I opted to utilize the Oxygen plugin after some time evaluating it.

Oxygen is unique in that it doesn't matter WHAT theme you have installed; it overrides everything. It allows you as much, or as little control as you like, as well, which is exactly what I needed. While I am very comfortable hand-coding everything, being able to save time while also retaining a certain degree of efficiency and speed in rendering is why I like editors like Oxygen.

I created a number of custom post types with custom fields (CPT UI and ACF for that) to feature content, and utilized custom PHP, HTML and CSS within Oxygen (that's right; you can write your PHP directly into your pages) to render that content.

Thanks to that, I had no need for a child theme. No need to write a bunch of CSS overrides to get away from default styles and hide default items in the theme's rendering.

If C++ is to Assembly Language, Oxygen is to writing a custom theme.

I also am utilizing the WP REST API to query content for the main navigation. I have never used it before, so I decided this would be a great chance.

Future content

I will be posting more music, art, and more in the next couple of weeks. This will include my code-related art on the web, previous musical projects, and more original artwork for sale.

Until then, enjoy the new site, and keep watching for more.

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