Tuesday, August 5, 2008

OYL Retrospective - A Year of Changes

This final One Year Later Retrospect post deals with how much the Weekly Crisis has changed in the past year, going from a lowly default Blogger template and blogspot url-using eyesore through the various redesigns and tweaks I've gone through before arriving at the current day look.

If you've never seen the original look or the first banner I used, I have the feeling you'll be quite shocked at just how bad this blog used to look and if you run or currently started your own blog, I'm sure you'll be able to take some inspiration from the fact your blog probably looks a hell of a lot better than my old templates did.

Hit the jump for the "baby pictures".

In The Beginning...

August 1st, 2007 - Site Launches - Looks Horrible

It's hard to believe, but this is what the site originally looked like when I launched it a little over a year ago. It is the most basic Blogger template you can pick and I didn't even bother putting up a simple banner. We all have to start somewhere, I suppose.

Shortly thereafter...

I added the basis for the current banner in the form of this generic and uninspired one. Peter Parker doesn't even look that impressed with the font next to him, but it was a start.

September 14th, 2007 - Kirk Smash Puny Banner!

Seeing that the current banner was, well, ugly, I set about making a better banner. It took me a few attempts to find one I liked, but I eventually settled on this version, which is roughly the same as what we have today.

September 19th, 2007 - WeeklyCrisis.com!

A small, but important step towards a "real" blog, I went out and purchased the url, www.weeklycrisis.com, and redirected it towards my blogspot address. This was the best $5 I ever spent and I recommend this to any other bloggers out there.

October 20th, 2007 - Weekly Crisis 2.0

After a few months of that generic Blogger template, it was about time I pimped the blog. Much like Steve Austin, I rebuilt the blog from the ground up - bigger, faster, stronger than before!

The new look increased the site resolution from the pitiful 640x480 to an 800x600 resolution, but it was still pretty much just a modified Rounders template, but, combined with the new banner, the addition of the image headers for posts and those nifty sidebar headers, the blog was looking like a real site finally. It only needed a few tweaks....

A few tweaks later...

Keeping the blog looking roughly the same, I modified the new template ever so slightly, splitting the sidebar in two, putting more emphasis on the RSS feed and search, and modified the navbar a touch. I kept it like this for the better part of the last year, only making minor changes along the way, such as...

May 25th, 2008 - The Weekly Crisis Archives

The next major project for the blog took me well over a month of work to complete, but I think it was worth it. That project was the archives section of the blog. It opened up my older reviews and content to readers, new and old alike, and is a great source of traffic for me.

I'm still working on improving the archives and I hit a bit of a roadblock with the Comic Book Events section, which I'm still mulling over how to properly implement, but with the actual archives already in place, it's a simple matter to add new things to it.

June 7th, 2008 - Blogroll and Links Section Added

Another major addition to the site came in the form of a links section. I was having trouble finding a way to properly spotlight other blogs I read, which were already overcrowding my sidebar, and the solution came in the form of a dedicated links page for them.

Even today, I regularly update it and I think it's an excellent resource for finding new comic book related websites and blogs for people.

June 18th, 2008 - 1024x768

It had been about 8 months since I started using the new template, but I was quickly becoming annoyed at the lack of space that the 800x600 resolution was offering me. My blog banner was huge, too, and practically required you to pagedown before you could read any new posts.

As such, I redid the banner into the thinner version I have today and optimized the template for 1024x768 resolutions, freeing up a lot of real estate in the process.

July 27th, 2008 - Final Revisions

Only a short while ago, I made my final revisions to the blog template, squaring off the edges (the rounded edges were pixelated and poorly done on my part), added a footer, cleaned up the sidebar and, in general, improved both the looks and functionality of the blog.

To Infinity & Beyond!

What does the future hold for the site's design? Unless something drastic happens, like me making enough money to afford a dedicated host with a php / mySQL database, etc, there's not too much on the horizon in terms of template changes.

I do have plans to overhaul the navbar, which I designed way back when CSS was first coming onto the scene and looks archaic by today's standards, at the top of the screen and I've started 'fixing' the post headers, which looked too small after I changed the resolution of the blog, but that's about it.

To be honest, I'm quite happy with where the blog is currently at and any changes will be minor and probably won't even be noticed by the majority of people. However, if you ever have an idea or suggestion, don't hestitate to drop me a line or leave a suggestion in one of my posts.

Hopefully, you all enjoyed this rather embarrassing look back at how bad my blog used to look. To me, this was like looking back at those school albums and wondering what I was thinking dressing like that or getting my haircut a certain way.

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Andrenn said...

Whoa, your Blog's come a long way. But hey, the changes have made it all into a very cool site, Kirk. I look forward to if you ever have any new article ideas in the future.

Eric said...

Cool. I always wondered what your blog looked like in the beginning. Just out of curiosity, where did you buy your URL from?

Kirk Warren said...

@eric - I bought it from godaddy. You can look up some random coupon codes from google and get a couple dollars off the price of a new url and get it for about $5.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Congrats Kirk! Unfortunately, I've had my blog for about 9 months and still have the basic Blogger template. Maybe someday I'll learn to spruce up the place.

Mr. No said...

Heh, was a nice retrospective.

patrick said...

Ahhh i remember it like it was yesterday, cant believe its been a year (even though i have only been around for 8 months) but still..congrats and keep up the good work

Hikerman said...

I had been following you on Newsarama before I picked you up here (around the 2.0 update). Thanks for continued innovation to make the site better.

Happy OYL!

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