So it’s pretty obvious that last week we made some drastic changes to the way SocialMouths looks but we wanted to go over these changes and what they mean to us and to you as a reader or client.
These are not just changes on the front-end, stuff happened in the back as well as it is happening as a business, something we’ll address and share with you in a few days. For now let’s see what happened on the design and technical side…
It will be awesome if you have a couple of minutes to share your thoughts about it in the comments section. We have no problem with getting either positive or negative feedback so feel free to shoot!
You probably already forgot how it looked a couple of weeks ago so here is the “Before” shot. One thing that we wanted to respect was all the feedback we got in the past about our minimalist layout, pretty clean over white background, I hope we did.
And here are the changes we did…
No More Themes
We are no longer using themes. Even though I still love Thesis and will continue to recommend it, we wanted to have complete freedom to do whatever we want and not be attach to anything else in terms of structure. Our site is now custom built from the ground up.
We were able to replace the use of some plugins for pure code. Running too many plugins can really slow down your blog so we wanted to run only the essential. The only thing we had to add is All-in-one SEO to replace the SEO features Thesis used to provide for us.
On the other hand we built elements on the site with just code. Want examples? the “Related Posts” at the bottom of this page is no longer provided by LinkWithin and we replaced the ShareThis system with our own custom sharing options. The reason to do this is that these type of plugins take too long making connections that you really don’t need.
ShareThis was the one element on our site that use to take the longest time to load. You can use a tool like Firebug to measure your site’s loading times and decide if some of these tools are worth running on your site. Just to be clear, not that the Tweetmeme button is fast… we just made the decision it is worth keeping.
I used to run 3 ads on our site, now I’m only running one that helps me pay my mortgage (yeah right…). I thought it would be more important to provide with that minimalist touch, just clean up the clutter for a more satisfying read. I’m cool like that.
Lighter Than Ever
One of my main concerns was that because of the use of multiple images in almost every post I publish and the use of tools like the ones I mentioned before, the site was getting too slow, there was a point when our loading time was almost hitting 20 seconds but with all these changes we were able to get it down to an average 6 to 7 seconds.
Some changes going on, on the business side but we’ll wait a few days to talk about it. Also, a big thank you all for sticking with us while some of the changes were happening, maybe even some slower loading times or stuff out of place a couple of times… so thanks!
Now It’s Your Turn…
As I said before, if you can take a couple of minutes to share your thoughts in the comment section, that will be awesome!