After much messing with code, a change of host and the wait while the domain name transferred, the new leighbarlow.com is finally here.

I decided last year that I should integrate my web site and my blog. What had started off in 1995 as something entirely about me (that was what 90% of people creating web sites were doing at the time) had evolved; first into a small example of my fiction writing, and then, in the last couple of years, into almost solely a place for me to blog and post stories.

This shift inevitably meant that the content had expanded exponentially, from the five original pages to almost one hundred with over six hundred blog posts. The most frustrating part for me was that the site had become split into two sections. The original html part was still sat where it had always been and the blog entries were hosted by WordPress. As the blogging site automatically gave people the opportunity to comment (and I couldn’t be bothered to code such functionality into the other section) the stories also got uploaded to WordPress and it soon became clear that the older, static sections were becoming less and less relevant. There was also a maintenance issue; I had to manually update various bits every time I posted a new story.

My own installation of WordPress appeared to offer a good solution because it gave me plenty of flexibility on a platform that was quick and easy to use. So in late December 2010 I started experimenting with templates and checking hosts; I finally settled on Zen as the host and Aras as the theme. The latter gave me a front page where I could highlight new writing without the need to update anything manually (when a new story is added the rotating banner will pick it up and drop the oldest) and the blog posts and Twitter feed (both of which were on the home page of the old site) also appear without any intervention. All I have to do is write stuff. I have also been able to keep the reading, listening to and watching section, and again these are a lot easier to keep up to date.

There are still things I need to tidy up and redirects will be put in place on the old sites, but 90% of the work is done and I’m happy with the result. Let me know what you think and if you can think of any further improvements.

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