Well, here we are! A brand spanking new updated look to Magnet4Blogging for 2019. I hope you like it. It's been a while since the last major iterative design upgrade, almost two and a half years, in fact.
A few things have changed as you will no doubt notice, but for the most part, I wanted to keep this new design similarish to the previous in terms of branding, colors, typeface, background elements, image styling, etc.
As you may know, I've used the Genesis Framework platform for many years, almost 10 years, actually. For this redesign, however, I used the awesome power of Oxygen Builder 2.0 for WordPress, and I couldn't be more excited about it.
Every redesign of Magnet4Blogging, up until now, has been done with a custom Genesis child theme. I just thought it was time for a fresh change.
I've been very impressed with Oxygen since discovering it for myself back in November of last year. I've also built several successful niche sites and several client websites with this platform, and there's nothing not to admire about Oxygen, from a developer stand-point at least.
Oxygen is built on lightweight code, it eliminates code bloating that many WordPress themes come with. It provides a solid foundation for a fully customized website design and comes with a host of useful design elements, options, and features.
Whilst it's not as popular as Elementor or Beaver Builder, it's certainly proving to be a piece of software to be reckoned with in the WordPress community.
In addition to the new design with Oxygen, I've also eliminated quite a few plugins from my blog, some of which I'll probably never use again.
Again, not because they were bad or anything like that, but because I wanted to try and build some of the features directly into the site rather than use yet more plugins.
I now have less than 20 plugins installed on Magnet4Blogging, instead of the 42 that I had previously installed.
I'm a huge fan and advocate of the Thrive Architect plugin, and I still very much enjoy working with this plugin on other websites that I have, including client projects. For Magnet4Blogging, however, I decided to remove it completely. Here's why -
Let me explain.
Thrive Architect has a lot of intricate components built-in. It's certainly not lightweight by any standards. In addition, each element that you use and customize adds even more bloat to the code on your page and site.
Plus, if you choose to mix in a ton of custom CSS as well, you'll definitely notice an increase in page size and probably even page load times too.
Of course, in addition to removing this plugin from my blog, I've also done a lot of other work to optimize images, clean up the new CSS, leverage browser caching, etc. I think it's a decent start and a positive step in the right direction.
Take a look at the GTmetrix screen captures of my page load time and size for the homepage before and after the redesign.
And after the redesign...
One thing that really gripes me is a lot of people think that Thrive Architect can be used to design an entire WordPress website.
I have had clients who have requested for their sites to be built solely using Thrive Architect and this is both impossible and not a great strategy.
Well, for the simple reason that Thrive Architect is a page builder and content creation tool, and was never designed to be a website building tool. The limitations it has are plentiful, especially when it comes to global styling and responsive design.
I originally planned to use Thrive Architect to create the new homepage, as well as other landing pages, but soon realized that this would cause more problems for me down the line. So, I decided on Oxygen for extra flexibility.
Next step is to begin testing and evaluating everything, and continue making improvements to the design, layout, and especially the content for improved conversions.
I'm also working on some new featured post images as well as having a photoshoot for some new images of myself for the front page and about page.
If you follow my blog, you may know that I've been on a bit of a break with this blog.
I took a few months off to complete other projects, including some client work and planned to resume blogging in September.
Well, I just can't wait for September to come around because I have a lot of new exciting things in store for you!
With the new blog design out of the way, I can start focusing on creating new content, new incentives, and new products for you to enjoy. Watch out for the first big post in early September.
Of course, I value your feedback more than anything and would love to learn about your thoughts on the new Magnet4Blogging design.
Let me know what you like or dislike. Or if there's something missing, or whatever else.
Simply leave me a comment below, or get in touch with me via my contact page.
Thanks for your continued support, I appreciate you, and here's to the future for both of us!
Fabrizio Van Marciano.