Woot! A Whole New Website!
Yep! It's a WHOLE NEW ZINGDAD.COM! Before I get into the article I have about this I want to ask you please... If you come across any broken web links or other problems and anomalies that I should know about, please do contact me and tell me about them. I've done my best but I'd be VERY pleasantly surprised if there were no teething problems.
Unless you are totally new here, you will have noticed a whole new look to zingdad.com. For the curious... here is the story:
Without boring you with the technobabble-details, the original reason for the new site is that the old site was built on old technology that could no longer be updated. And that meant it was becoming vulnerable to hacking and other such nasties. And, yep, this actually happened. So, the only way forward was for me to completely rebuild the site from the ground up with new technology. The great news (for me anyway) is that this new technology has a 1-click upgrade system so I won't have to do this again (not soon anyway!)
So that's the technical reason. But I think the REAL reason is this: as I grow and change so my sense of "what is right" in terms of the way I present myself and my offerings to the world changes. And what has most recently changed within me is that I have finally chosen to bring the whole of myself here into this life. I had previously chosen "to do what I love" but now I have added to that by choosing to "love all that I do". And this means choosing to love all of my life.
And as I begin to do the work of manifesting these choices in my life, so my life changes. For one thing I see that I have unintentionally been limiting myself. I have been keeping myself small by hiding myself from the world. While at the same time trying to give my gift to the world. So that's a bit of an internal conflict right there. An internal conflict that has impacted every aspect of my life, from my health to the way I have felt about life to... well... everything. Including my website.
And as I began to manifest these new choices I could see where my website was reflecting the old choices. In myriad subtle ways throughout the site. So I began the monumental task of recreating the site from scratch:
1. I crafted a new template. I decided the "look and feel" needed to be consistent throughout. And so I decided to model it on the cover of The Ascension Papers series of books. I love the image. I love what it means. And it seemed like a perfect fit since The Ascension Papers is where it all started for me. So the site and the books are now congruent with each other. And from here on out all of my products will conform to this design ethic too.
2. I ported all the content from the old site to this new one re-coding each and every article to make it work here.
3. I produced a new "welcome page" along with supporting articles that offer visitors (especially new ones) a great way to get to know what it is that this site is for... and what is available here. Perhaps the biggest problem that the "new me" found with my old website was that it was vague and unclear about what it was that was on offer. What could a newcomer to the site hope to find there? Where to start? How to proceed? What was the offering? Where was the value?
Essentially I buried all "the good stuff" and my site visitors had to go on a treasure hunt to find it!
I know I would probably navigate away from a site like that if I landed on it randomly.
So that's the story in a very condensed nutshell. It was time for me to redo the site. And the technology issues forced my hand. So I engaged the STEEP learning curve and did it! And here we are: a brand-spanking new site.
And I have to brag: I LOVE the fact that I did every single little bit of it myself. Yay me! :-)
If you'd like to see how the site has changed over the years then here are some screen captures:
1. The very first version of the site was created for me in 2008 by a friend. I had zero web-design or graphic design skills. So I paid someone else to do all of the work for me. Here is a screen capture of this first version of zingdad.com.
2. Around 2010 I began to tinker with the site. I began to learn a little HTML and a little graphic design and so the site slowly began to morph as I took control of it. By 2013 I was ready for a major transformation. I radically changed the look-and-feel of the site by implementing a new template. This is like putting a new suit of clothes on a person. The look is utterly different but the person inside the suit is still the same.
And the look I went for was totally different. Fresh, wholesome, bright. I liked it... but I didn't consider the issue of consistency of presentation. And I also didn't really think too much about the fact that a new exterior look doesn't actually change the essence of the site. I guess I wasn't yet ready for that internal dialogue. Here is a screen capture of this second version of zingdad.com.
3. And now, mid-February 2016 I have created the site in it's current incarnation. Yes, most of the content is still here. You'll have to have really known this site intimately to notice the changes. But for all that, this is much more than a cosmetic change. I haven't simply dressed the site in new clothes, I have given it a personality make-over too. Adjusted it to reflect the reality of where I am at now.
I do hope you like all the changes!
Lost in Translation
There was one sad casualty to this move: the forum.
Years ago, when I first began to publish books and "go public" with my offerings, I began to notice a trend. When people contacted me the one thing I heard most often was that they felt alone in their journey. They felt like they were "the only ones" who saw things in a particular way. They felt like they didn't personally know a single other soul who was interested in the things they were interested in. And then along came one of my books or a blog post or a video and suddenly they felt like there was "another one". So I set up a forum on my site to allow such folks to find each other. To see that there were many of "us". To have a place to meet and discuss. And for a while it was a thing of beauty. New friendships flourished. But, if I am honest, I have to admit that I myself neglected the forum. I didn't give it my own time and attention. The simple truth is that I need to focus inwards very intently for long stretches of time to find the connection within to produce the works that my soul has intended for me to offer. And engaging on a forum diverts my attentions. It dissipates my energies. And as I withdrew my energy from the forum so it withered and died. A fact that I felt a little guilty about.
So for the last while there has been very little activity there. And then, when it came time to re-do the site, I discovered there was actually no way to migrate the forum. I would have to recreate each and every post by hand. A job that would have taken me thousands of hours to complete. And so it became obvious to me that it was time to say goodbye to the forum.
I was a little sad... and, truthfully, a little relieved.
And, with that, there was also no further reason to have site members be able to log into my website. The only other reason would be to leave comments on articles. But I have set that up so that any visitor can leave a comment. I'll just moderate comments to delete all the spam and web-bot nonsense that also arrives in the comment boxes. And so... instead of registering on my site, I now invite visitors to sign up for my newsletter. Clicking on the menu item above (or this link) takes you to a page where you can find out more - and then also sign up with an external service provider that makes takes care of the important details such as offering you the ability to easily and painlessly unsubscribe and so forth.
So no more log in either.
And those two things are the only "losses" incurred in the move. I do hope you agree that its "worth it" for the otherwise improved website experience!
I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below!. Please tell me what you think of all the changes and the new site. What you like. What you don't like... whatever is on your mind as you engage with this new site.