I started this blog over five years ago. Since that time, I have made very few design changes to the website so I decided it was time.
I upgraded the WordPress theme and made changes to improve the layout and navigation. (I am a bit of a computer "nerd," so I enjoyed doing the work myself—I was an IT guy once, and I occaisionally sleep in a Holiday Inn Express.)
In this update, I will give you a brief overview of the changes and enhancements I have made. You can review them and then look over the site at your leisure. After you do, I'd love to hear your comments or suggestions for further improvements, and of course any issues you might encounter.
Other than the overall style and design changes, the most significant changes have been made to the homepage layout and some navigational aspects. My goal was to simplify navigation and make the site's resources more easily accessible from a single page. I will go over each homepage section individually, starting from the top.
The blog posts and static pages will look much the same as before, but with the stylistic changes that have been implemented throughout the site.
For each section, I provide a snapshot and a description immediately below it.
(1) Top Navigation
On the new site, there is only one level of navigation (no dropdowns). I have reduced the number of categories shown to make things simpler. The pages that were part of the original navigation layout are still here, but, as you will see, they are accessed in different ways.
Home: Clicking this will always bring you back to the homepage. (Thank you Captain Obvious!)
This Site: This is a welcome page that contains introductory material and links to several pages that used to be part of the top-level navigation bar. (It is the same page that is linked-to from the "Learn More" button in the next section.)
About: The usual author bio stuff page (tells you a little about my background and some of the "why" behind this blog).
Latest Posts: Takes you to a page with a gallery of the 16 most recent posts. The most recent will always be on the top.
My Books: Goes to a page with detailed info on my 2 books and how to purchase them (I know, a shameless plug).
Contact Me: Opens a contact form to send an email to me.
(2) Header (Cover)
This section is the "welcome" section. I introduce myself and a little of what the blog is about. (I also changed the background "cover photo.")
(3) Email Updates Sign-up
This is simply a prominently displayed link to give readers an opportunity to sign up to receive updates when I post an article on the blog, and also offers a free copy of my eBook, 15 Principles of Retirement Stewardship.
Sign-up forms also appear in the post page sidebar and as a pop-up (using the Sumo app).
(4) Latest Posts
This section is similar to what is on the "Latest Posts" summary page I alluded to previously. Displaying them prominently on the homepage (as they were on the old site) makes them readily accessible. You can go to the most recent article, or any of the others listed, directly from here. The eight most recent articles are displayed on the homepage.
There is also a "See All" button at the bottom of this section (not shown in ), that will open a page showing all posts organized by date (all the way back to 2015).
This is what I hope will be one of the most useful improvements. I have reorganized all of the articles into 9 high-level categories to make it easier to find subject-matter-specific articles. Clicking one of the blue icons will take you to a post summary page with all the articles for that topic. (Some articles will show up in more than one high-level category.)
(6) Retirement Planning Checklists
This section features the stage-of-life specific retirement planning checklists. I have received some good feedback on these over the years, so I wanted to feature them more prominently on the site. (There was a "Checklists" entry in the top navbar on the old site.) Clicking one of the buttons opens the checklist page for that stage-of-life.
Since I originally wrote these in 2015, I have made some updates and have also added embedded links to relevant articles in some places to help you do a deeper-dive into some of the checklist items.
(7) My Books
This section highlights the two books I have written. The buttons take you to the same page as the link in the top-level navigation link in #1. (You may recalll that I also wrote posts about each of these books when there were published.)
(8) Bottom Material
This sections contains a contact link (button) and a site search feature.
Social Media: Three social sites that you can connect with me on. (I have a Retirement Stewardship Facebook page where I post article updates, the other two (Twitter and Linked-in) are personal accounts (I don't post very often on either one.)
Contact: My email address
I would love to hear your feedback!