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New Site Style – I Need Your Help!

When I started this web site, back in 2004 – yes 2004! – things were different. The technology was simpler in a lot of ways. The main thing to worry about was whether you were using Microsoft or Mozilla browsers.

Your Website Needs You

Now the technology is more complex and you could be looking at this on a phone, a tablet, a computer or a 60 inch television!

Over the years bits got added to the site, each using later systems and technology. By last year it was apparent the site was badly in need of an overhaul and some parts needed to be re-done from scratch.

By November I’d sketched out a plan of what the new site would need and how to get to it. I reckoned with a bit of hard work it could be done in two months. Various things cropped up so we didn’t get the design finalised until January.

Since then we (the family) have been working really hard on transferring things across and updating and fixing errors on most of the pages as we go. Quite a few new pages went on at the same time.

6 Months – 1,244 Pages

The new site taken us 6 months but we’ve got, excluding the Allotment Shop, 1,244 pages of articles and recipes along with 58 videos and 1,189 diary entries. Which is why it’s ended up taking nearer 6 months than 2.

Everything that was on the old site is still here, along with about 100 new pages, but more logically ordered. All the growing help and advice articles are together and all the food articles are now with the recipes section for example.

If you go onto a page like the Garden Hints and Tips you’ll find 18 pages listed or go to Potatoes and find over 20 pages listed about potatoes. Even so, finding things may be difficult so we’ve put in an uprated search system

Since the search facility relates to the section you’re in, hopefully the results you’ll get will be relevant. One of the problems with the old site was a search often gave more results that were not relevant than relevant.

It’s not perfect by any means, but I think it’s a lot better and the system sort of learns as it goes along so it will improve over time.

You might not realise it at first look but I’ve tried to make the site cleaner and less cluttered. I think people couldn’t ‘find the wood for the trees’ as they say.

I Need Your Help

Now we’ve done the best we can but there are always bugs with new software – if you come across a problem or a link that doesn’t work please let me know – you can stick a comment on this post or contact me as you prefer.

It will only take you a minute but it really helps us. I’d also love to hear what you think generally about the site – anything missing you’d like or something you don’t like, just say.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary, New on Site
14 comments on “New Site Style – I Need Your Help!
  1. Sophie Durrans says:

    The link below your calendar at the moment didn’t work (fruit and veg briefing in may)i kept getting a 401 error i think it was

  2. Colin Russell says:

    Its looking good john, ive not been on the forum long but i find it easy to move around maybe just me, only one thing i find is if someone puts a post up then then by 4th 5th or six maybe the first post has been quoted so many tmes i find myself reading the same post over and over..
    But there is still a lot of good info given i like it,,,

    • John Harrison says:

      Thanks Chris – I think we’ve got those all fixed now. We had a few problems with the site going slow yesterday but hopefully that’s fixed now.
      It’s actually been quite smooth considering the size of the job.

  3. Cathy Appleton says:

    I am a guest but regularly read the forum and find it very helpful for a novice like myself. Unfortunately the forum does not seem to update like the old one did with the latest posting being at the top. Is this how it is always going to be? Otherwise I commend you on your hard work.

  4. Carole says:

    Hi John
    Very impressed with all your work on the site. Just to let you know being the proud owner of one single comfrey plant I clicked on the ‘comfrey’ link and my browser advised that it is being wrongly redirected and will never ‘complete’ hope you understand this – because I don’t!

  5. Cathy Appleton says:

    Please can you advise why the forum in the home page does not update anymore? Is it because I am a guest and not a member?

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Cathy – do you mean the home page of the site or of the forum? We haven’t touched the forum system which is scheduled for an upgrade August / September

  6. Cathy says:

    The forum on the home page has only updated once since the site changed. I keep refreshing and turning my iPad on and off but it hasn’t updated. Is this only happening to me?

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Cathy
      Well I think I see the problem now – thank you. It’s to do with the caching system which is designed to speed things up. I’ll get the techno-mage who helps to fix it.

    • John Harrison says:

      We’ve put a temporary fix in on this and know what to do long term so thanks, another problem sorted 🙂

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