*whistles* Check out the pretty new website!
What the heck’s going on?? New novel, new website — you’d think I came back from the dead. Maybe I did. There’s still some pages under construction — bear with me, and please let me know if you find any errors or broken links. My mind is mush at this point.
It seems about every 5 years I tear down the old site and build something new. The way people interact with websites change, there’s usually a software generational leap with each new site, but mainly I’m just sick of the old one. This time things went a little different. While not everything always makes the upgrade, there’s still a lot of content. I’ve been maintaining a version of this website for over 20 years — that’s a lot of accumulation and junk.
When I built the 2017 website, it took a really long time to migrate all of the old articles from the 2012 website. Like, dozens of hours simply copying and pasting. It was awful. I really didn’t want to do that again. And, because I was pinned under this behemoth of content, I’ve been reluctant to make any significant upgrades or changes that could improve the site.
So, what I’ve done now is basically split the website into two. I built a new website — what I consider to be the main purpose of swhammond.com — the stuff that revolves around my writing. I then took the old website with the hundreds of articles and random interests and moved it to a subdomain. I really like this approach.
I felt like the website was getting way too big and cluttered. When someone new to my writing visited the site, they were easily lost in vast randomness. It was too much. I felt like new users would spiral into things that weren’t important and forget why they visited in the first place. I still worry about that and may changes things even further so there’s no random stumbling into the abyss.
Initially, when deciding to build the new website, I was going to clean house. I was going to delete all the old content. Really strip down. Personally, this still sounds like a good idea — I’ve basically moved on from the random content creation. All of the articles and videos, they’re cool and I put a lot of work into them, but it’s no longer something I’m working on. There’s just not enough time in the day, and I’d rather spend that time writing books.
But, with that said, those pages bring a lot of traffic. I always thought the more eyes the better. If someone found the website because of a project I worked on, they may look around and take a chance on a book I wrote. Yeah… that’s never happened, haha. Over time, I’ve realized that I don’t care about traffic — it doesn’t translate into anything tangible. People looking at soundbar fixes are not buying books. But, conversely, those videos and articles do really seem to help people. I get all sorts of emails thanking me for those videos. For that alone, they’re worth keeping. I just need to keep them some place else.
I know this is more detail than you ever wanted or need — but splitting the website was a significant victory on my end, haha. I love that the new website focuses on my stories and readers. I'm also glad that I didn't have to trash a bunch of work or delete things that people find helpful. Technically speaking, I can have fun without a cascading avalanche of consequences.
With that said, the jump from the new website to the old website on the subdomain isn’t as seamless as I’d like. It’s not “awful” but it is a little jarring — you definitely know you’ve gone back in time. It’s not a huge deal. The old site is very functional for reading articles — it does that well. It’s just not as stunning or impressive as the new site. I guess that’s okay?
Go explore. Be on the lookout for easter eggs — I plan on adding more.