LKL’s look and feel hasn’t changed much since the summer of 2009, when we moved onto the current theme template, but believe me: during the second half of this year I spent a lot of time behind the scenes on the site, working on significant changes which aren’t immediately obvious. The changes have nothing to do with the surface design elements of the site. Instead, they are all about making the content more accessible. Over the years, LKL has become (for me, at any rate) a valuable archive of Korea-related events and reviews – but what is the use of an archive if you can’t browse it? Or if Google doesn’t point you in LKL’s direction when you search for something?
Here is a summary of some of the under-the-bonnet improvements made this year:
- The main menu and the Keyword Index page is now mobile friendly. The Keyword Index is really the gateway to this site: it’s usually the way I find the articles I’m looking for, rather than using the google site-specific search.
- There is a new dynamic yearly index of all past events, with links to LKL reviews where available. (Here’s 2017).
- There is a new dynamic index of all upcoming events.
- Clutter in the post bylines has been cut by radically overhauling the way I categorise and tag posts, slashing by 85% the number of post categories (from ~1600 to 240) and creating custom taxonomies to accommodate those reduced categories, such as:
- 860 artists / designers
- 120 film directors
- 220 musicians
- 70 cultural organisations / event venues
- 80 people / actors.
All these new custom taxonomies are listed neatly at the bottom of posts rather than bulking out the bylines.
- The number of general post “tags” has been halved (again, to around 240) with most of the tags again moving to the new custom taxonomies. There’s still a little more work to do on the general tags, but I’m going to take a break from that for a while. All this work has had the added benefit that it’s easier to blog from the poolside (the mobile WordPress app really doesn’t like lots of post categories…)
- All internal hyperlinks (I think) impacted by the above changes have been updated.
- To support the above, we wrote four new plug-ins, and took apart and rebuilt one third-party plugin.
- The site is now 100% SSL
- Started making performance improvements by minifying code, smushing images and other best practices where I vaguely know what I am doing. Still more work is needed on these performance improvements, but I’m going to tread carefully where I don’t know what I’m doing.
The taxonomy overhaul and related plugin-writing (#4 – #7) is what has been taking the time recently. Most of the other work took place in August and September, though it had been mulling in my mind for many months before that.
I’m not sure whether all the above explains the slight tailing off of articles written recently. I was wondering whether I was imagining this, but no. Since the beginning of October the post count, and time spent writing them, has been 60posts/90hours. For the comparable period last year it was 75 posts/110 hours. Things have been pretty busy at work, and somehow it’s been easier to give my limited spare brainspace to writing in php and html rather than writing in English…
Maybe with the Christmas break coming up I can focus again on content.