New Year, New(ish) Site

With a new year and celebrating 4 years as a freelance developer, I thought I’d spend a bit of downtime over Christmas and New Year rebuilding the site. You may not notice a huge amount different. Behind the scenes however there’s a fair amount of changes. I’m using this post to detail said changes.

The old site had largely remained the same since 2018 when I made the switch to freelance WordPress development and at times it was incredibly outdated. WordPress has seen a lot of growth in that time and even though the sites I’m building for clients are built to modern standards, this site didn’t match said standards. I’ve rebuilt the site now in WordPress’ native block editor. I am going to outline a few reasons why you should use WordPress’ native editor for your next site build, using this site as an example.

themes.json & blocks.json

This site now takes advantage of two new technologies that are popular within modern WordPress development – the themes.json and blocks.json, both of which have performance improvements on the site. Themes.json will allow you to have less CSS to send over the internet, and blocks.json will only load associated javascript and CSS on pages that block appears.

Take the example of a slider. If you have a slider on a page then you will probably load a stylesheet and one or two JavaScript files. Files would still be included on the page load, even if you don’t have a slider on a page.

If you build blocks using blocks.json, that is no longer the case.

The end result is that your site will be lighter and therefore faster. I’ve done a lot of WordPress performance optimisation over the past few years and this is relatively new technology. It has had an effect on this site, as we have seen a large(ish) drop in loading time, and overall a better performing, accessible site that follows best practices. Click the images to be able to see the old and new scores.

Scores from the old site
New website scores – please note I’m working on a solution to the “Largest Contentful Paint” which will be published soon.

This will hopefully have an improvement in search ranking to the site. A well optimised site with clean code hosted somewhere half decent (I’m using Siteground for this site) will stand you in great stead, and probably beat a number of your competitors.

New pages & content quicker

It isn’t just the site that is quicker. I can now build pages quicker. The pages were built previously using an old plugin. It was fine, and served me well, however using the WordPress block editor means ongoing development should be a lot more visual. I can now just write and send content out there. I can easily create a new page advertising a potential new service. Or I can write a blog post where I share some insight. I’d also love to share some of the work I’ve done at some point as well.

Ongoing development from a solid base

It’s not perfect. Going forward, this site is more of a work in progress. I’ve got some changes to the WordPress maintenance packages I want to make. I’ve also realised I don’t have much in the way of photography on the site. I am looking to rectify that. It is a start, and I welcome feedback.

I’m also available to hire, should you wish to discuss your WordPress project I’d be happy to do so. You can drop me a message or book me for a 30 minute call on Calendly.

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