I’m excited to announce the first phase of the “Responsive site” upgrade!
Below, I’ll give an overview of the changes – mainly for those used to the old version, so they can more quickly navigate (young viewers will have no problem finding their way around, I’m told…)
A little back story: As you might expect, I get new spam Website Upgrade solicitations several times a week. Over the years, I’ve actually asked a few to go take a serious look and quote it. None would. All ran screaming, saying, “Yeah, you’ve got a lot of content…” One guy ball-parked something in the 5 figures but wouldn’t volunteer!
The problem is the amount of html-code files that I began in 2004 (I’m talking just about Harpguitars.net, not my other two websites). My computer’s site folder shows over 55,000 files comprising over 10 gig, which doesn’t even include the blog.
So, I decided to just tackle a new blog update to start (I toyed with archiving the old one somehow and starting a 2nd but decided to just update that). We also decided to make a new Home page to make things more cohesive. This links to all the old html pages, which will take some serious volunteer work to tackle, if anyone besides me needs a full-time hobby. Though I’m slowly trying to fix my old htm bugs and re-format all that better for all devices.
So far, this has taken 4 months and a lot of $ (once again, my hundreds of hours you get for free…thank god I’m retired!). I hired a friend of a friend, who used to be a professional drummer (he did those John Tesh tours!) but now runs a pro web developer business. Harpguitars.net Patron Thomas Nielsen also continues to provide crucial help. We’re still tweaking subtle details (and let me know of any bugs, please! Like links that end up on an “Ooops!” page. Also, the Members page is AWOL at the moment as the new custom WordPress and Godaddy aren’t on speaking terms…).
Let’s begin the tour!
Above is a typical phone view (the desktop is of course much wider, with text links).
They call the little pop-up menu (top arrow) “the hamburger” (don’t ask me why).
Below my original 2004 mission statement, my latest blog post appears as a banner link at the top.
But first let’s click the hamburger menu…
If you’re not familiar with the first 3 symbols, those are icon links to my Facebook page, Instagram (yes, I do harp-guitars-only posts, shown below) , and my YouTube channel (please subscribe, since I have yet to make a dime there; a couple hundred more subscribers could do it).
Above are my first 2 dozen Instagrams…including lots of images and info posted nowhere else (and you’re not following, why?)
Back to the site Home screen:
The SEARCH field is wonderful, though it applies just to the blog. (For the rest of the site, you still use Google and [search word] site:harpguitars.net) So, if you’re, say, Matt Redman, and you want to see if I’ve blogged about you, simply type in your name in “SEARCH” and every blog I’ve mention you in will appear!
HOME is where we started.
GREGG’S BLOGG is the new home page for the blog. We’ll look at that in a second.
ABOUT is a new page with blurb about 1) me, 2) the blog, and 3) link to the About Harpguitars.net site.
DONATE link is because all this stuff doesn’t just create and host itself!
You can X out of the Nav menu or not. Scrolling down the Home page, I’ve got 5 main image links (from my old home page), and they link to the same original html pages (which I’ll enhance eventually, but again, takes endless hours).
These are the main areas of the site (besides the blog). I re-used 2 images, and made 3 new ones (I’m very nostalgic, but only up to a point). All the other old links will be found at screen bottom.
But first, scrolling down, we see my new Blog Categories (this shows up as a side menu on your desktop):
You’ll see I added a few new ones, and re-named things to appear listed (and nested) as shown. I recommend using the sub-categories rather than the main category which just duplicates and mixes them all up by date (i.e: under Historical Makers and Musical Travels). I then re-categorized all 700 current blogs (down from 800, I got rid of those not deemed worth archiving). Other than checking out the latest posts (via the main Blog Page, which orders them newest-oldest), I think the Categories are the way to go for research, entertainment, what have you. Large, clean link images with no metadata or wordy intros to muddy things up. If it looks appealing, please open and read!
The main blog pages (10 at a time) and the category pages (also 10 per page) look basically identical, and all are newest-oldest. The main page is for those who keep up in real time (I’ll try for 1 or 2 a month) and also has a cool new special header (or more…wait for it…).
I had to re-format every damn blog. Not all are perfect, and of course, all are now intended to somehow work on both large monitors and tiny cellphones (I get the convenience, but I prefer to see the oft-amazing images as large as possible!). To that end, pretty much every image is now a decent full-size version with no links to larger versions. For more detail, just expand on your phone or right-click and “Open image in new tab” for the panoramic and larger shots. I think you’ll really enjoy the images and articles much more this way, and would recommend catching up on, and even revisiting, harp guitar news and travels! I also recommend turning your phone sideways when things get too small (especially on the old html pages).
I want to urge everyone to please comment on blog posts if something entertains, educates, or moves you. Comments are working again (I just need to approve first-time commentors, and my web host’s firewall occasionally shuts them down due to excessive spam & hacks despite the filters).
Oh, now back to the phone’s Home page, which we were scrolling down…the remaining bits from the side menu will next appear (just some links to key harp guitar web sites, and my contact info):
Then, the obligatory commercial break, and finally the remaining links from the original Harpguitars.net home page:
That’s it…now go have fun! – Gregg “Sir Gregory” Miner
TO THE NEW
New site looking good Gregg. I often miss the old forum style of conversation, since facebook conquered the world…awesome work you do!
Thanks, Jon. I miss having a serious harp guitar forum as well. If FB is “progress,” I’m not sure I’m exactly embracing the future.
Congrats on all the recent updates and new formats! I can’t fathom most of what you have covered in this mailing in one visit, so I will have to spend more time going through all this material more carefully. However, as you are asking for input, I will point something out that may help.
I started through the contemporary luthiers tab to see what was there. I had a great time reliving the connection with Alex Anderson and his adoption of the Pellerin based lending him mine (2016). What I noticed, which I have experienced on other digital catalogs with sub-categories, is that if you are 6 or so pages into a scan and you open one up to read further, you are returned back to the very beginning of the sub-category series. You then have to click back through to get to where you left off.
My humble suggestion is that if it is possible to program; have all return clicks out of a sub-category back to where you entered it, rather than returning you to the beginning. Or, at the very least, make more than the first three tab listings visible so you can immediately click back to a page deep into the series.
Best regards and see you soon,
Thanks, Steve – yes, I noticed that bug early on, and so far, we’ve found no way to adjust it. I’ve got uber-nerd Thomas Nielsen looking into it next.
Well, that is one swell adjective 🤓. I have added the “bug” to my task list.