Holiday breaks are a great time for getting personal projects done. I decided to redesign two of my personal sites. One is Film Tops, a film blog and the other is Kemio.net, my personal website that I converted into a blog for easier updating and maintenance. Both Kemio.net and Film Tops are hosted on one account with Lunarpages but have separate installations of WordPress. Kemio.net is the main domain and Filmtops.com redirects to Kemio.net/filmtops.
Other than that, all the elements and pages in the original website were transferred and rearranged into the new Kemio.net blog, including the color scheme and logo. I used WP-Polaroid theme to redesign Kemio.net. I liked the layout and simplicity.
Next up, Film Tops. Film Tops was more of a refresh than a redesign. The layout remained the same, the logo and the content was changed to refocus the blog on what I liked to blog most, lists and reviews.
I haven’t had much time to post at Film Tops and was looking to create a simpler film blog where only a couple of categories would require new material more frequently than others. Film Tops was originally created so I could just write “top lists” of whatever I could come up with that was film related. Then recently I decided I wanted also to feature reviews and star ratings for the reviews. I used the star rating plugin from Channel AI to create a revised reviews section, which replaced a “looking forward” section which displayed images of upcoming films I wanted to see (see pic). The “top lists” are still the main feature but the reviews are featured along side it. The cool thing about the star-rating plugin is that you can not only archive the reviews so that the title of the post and the overall rating (4 stars, 5 stars, etc.) show as an excerpt, but also, you can display a table of a certain number or all of the reviews posted. The table is sortable by title, rating and date. It’s a great plugin.
The goal for redesigning Film Tops was to make it so it could be more “fresh” than it was. It was too much for me to keep blogging for various categories for numerous topics. There are already tons of film blogs that do this. Who needs another. Besides, I wanted the focus to be on what I originally started the blog for, the lists and the reviews. The previous sidebar was all over the place. Because I needed this blog to require lower maintenance and I want to refocus the blog on the lists and reviews, I moved the categories further down on the sidebar, placed the subscribe and searching areas prominently, and the rest of the sidebar is populated with dynamic content coming from other websites like box office info, links, DVD release and movie news feeds and even a dynamic calendar of movie releases provided by FirstShowing.net and Google Calendar.
I was also inspired to change the logo which is based on a logo I created some years ago for something else and was never used. I especially wanted the logo to be more distinct and strong. I believe this was achieved.
I plan on doing a bit more to this blog such as creating feed subscription options for the “top lists” and reviews specifically, adding more “notable quotables” and perhaps adding a navigation at the top in the black strip. This is the great thing about WordPress, you can start simple and build strong.
So, there you have it: What I did on my Thanksgiving break. School’s out.