Website Redesign

by Cameron N. Coulter


Posted on March 2, 2019 web design


Photo of a programmer's computer screen

Over the last two months, I taught myself the Bootstrap framework for web development, and I used it to redesign my website/blog. This project was on my to-do list since April 2017, and I’m glad that I had the chance to get it done this season. The blog looks much better now.

Screenshot of the blog from before the redesign
Here's how my blog looked before the redesign. Functional, but sad.

Much better.

Bootstrap

Bootstrap is a fabulous tool, and I think it should be taught to beginners right alongside HTML and CSS because if you want to do some basic web design-y things (like add a navbar), it’s actually quite a bit of work if you’re just using HTML and CSS, but with Bootstrap, it’s a cinch. And it’ll look good. The basics of Bootstrap aren’t much more complicated than the basics of HTML, and Bootstrap has another significant advantage: Bootstrap is a tool for developing responsive websites, websites that shift their layout depending on whether the reader is accessing the site on a desktop, tablet, or phone.

It also turns out that Bootstrap integrates really well with Jekyll, the platform that powers my blog, which made this redesign quite a bit of fun.

What’s New

Thanks to Bootstrap, my website/blog is now responsive, so it’ll look nice whether you access it on your desktop or your phone.

I added color and photos to the blog, simple design basics that I had neglected before. They do a lot of good, go figure.

I’ve added support for both categories and tags.

I also added support for Twitter cards, so that when I post blog links on Twitter, Twitter adds a nice little box with the post’s featured image and an excerpt. Like so:

Screenshot of a tweet showcasing a Twitter card
Here's a pretty Twitter card that now shows up when I post links to my blog.

And, of course, in the process of redesigning the website, I also made lots of other small typographical and design edits. All in all, I’ve very happy with the site now.

Forking My Website/Blog

This website/blog is powered by Jekyll and hosted for free on Github thanks to Github Pages.

It’s a pretty sweet setup because it means: I don’t pay hosting fees; the website is super easy to backup; it’s easy to host elsewhere if I decide to ditch Github. Also, I was able to set up a custom email and email forwarding for free through Google Domains.

If you’re looking to set up your own website/blog, you’re welcome to fork my website on Github and use it for yourself. In an earlier post I reflected on the benefits of using Jekyll and Github Pages over a platform like WordPress, so check out that post for more details. It’s a little complicated, but if you’re tech-savvy, you can probably figure it out okay. Feel free to shoot me an email if you’ve got any questions.

Photo by Pankaj Patel on Unsplash


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