Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone..!

Our holiday period is officially over, though as it is the weekend there is no shipping taking place until early next week.

In the meantime, I will be going over the small mountain of emails and correspondence so we can get back up to date and continue some tweaking of the overhaul we began a week or so ago.

Will update you all again soon – hope you have a fantastic start to 2017!

– Paul

2016 Holiday Schedule

As mentioned several days ago before the marathon overhaul started, I will be taking about a week off from today (Merry Christmas all!) to Monday the 2nd of January.

During this time, my assistant Sara will still be checking our ticketing system and doing her bit to help out any customers having issues over the holiday period, but there will be some tasks that she will not be able to do much with until I get back into the swing of things on the 2nd of January.

So until then, time to sign off and spend some time with family. Hope you all do the same and have a great Christmas and a fantastic start to 2017!

Talk to you all again then..

Seasons Greetings,

– Paul

Marathon is (I think) over… Phew..

The marathon overhaul seems to be over – and this time I can say it did indeed turn out to as difficult, if not more difficult, than I had expected..

The biggest problem with websites these days is that they need to be readable and able to be navigated by tablets, laptops, different size screens, iPhones, androids – you name it, it needs to work across the board..

At least 80% of the time I have spent over the last day or two has been spent checking how the site looks in google chrome, Firefox, explorer, safari, iPhones, androids (you get the idea).. And the final result is that barring some unforeseen device – blog, store and main website should all look reasonably neat, legible and navigable..

This has meant that the final result is not as much of a subtle change as I was initially aiming for.. But with simple, clean layouts I think that the core is easier to access when before it would have often looked like a bit of a jumbled mess (like I said, I am more of a ‘desktop’ guy and have only recently started to try and ensure that visitors with other devices can have an equally smooth experience)..

Thanks for bearing with me during the numerous changes. From now on out I am hoping (fingers crossed) that from now on out the only changes will be minor tweaks to the content to make sure it is not referring to the previous formats..

But first, time for a rest – as mentioned in a previous post I will be taking a (much needed) rest from Christmas day to the 1st of January. So time to start winding down a little..

Talk to you all again soon.

– Paul

Thought it was a bit too good to be true..

I am biting my tongue here – from my earlier posts I stated that I thought that the overhaul had gone well.. Until I took a look at the google stats and saw that the bounce rate on the main site had jumped a whopping 116% and the page views were down by 50%..!

Something was definitely upsetting people when they visited the site. And being a ‘desktop’ guy rather than a mobile site viewer, it all looked fine to me.. Until I actually took the time to look at the site with a mobile and thought ‘this is unreadable’!

I have had to burn the midnight oil to try and at least get the sites looking reasonable, even if a bit naked and unadorned. For the time being, what has been done will suffice and I will spend the next few days going back to the drawing board..

Will keep you all updated here – a ton of work to be done..

Oh well… I did think it seemed too easy! Heh..

– Paul

Overhaul More or Less Complete!

I must admit it went smoother than I anticipated, but I have just overhauled the look and feel of the main site to match the store and am pretty happy with the results. 🙂

There are still innumerable minor tweaks and corrections that need to be made here and there, but overall – I think that the end result is a cleaner, easier to read and navigate main site and store.

While before we had a top, bottom, left hand side and right hand side navigation columns, I have streamlined it so that you can find pretty much anything you need to a single column down one side.

It is also easier to navigate back to SBG from the forum or this blog – just look for the big red SBG logo (like the one pictured right) and it will take you back to the homepage.

Furthermore, especially for the main site, previous issues with sizing of graphics has been fixed – as when SBG started back in 2005, all the images were 490 pixels wide and gradually became wider – but we now have a site that is streamlined enough to find that happy medium, allowing space to expand into the future and speed up page loading times.

I am not exactly going to rest on my laurels, and will be especially busy in the lead up to Christmas making sure all the small details are as good as they can possibly be  – but I will certainly say that the process was a lot less painless than I expected it to be and I especially hope that YOU will like it and find it easier to use too.

A solid foundation has been set for my work in 2017 – once again building on and inspired by what came before. And there is a lot planned, but I will save that (and share with you some sneak previews) in another post.

Talk to you all again soon.

– Paul