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[Note: if you are reading this in email you will need to click the title to see most of the changes.  If you are using a smart phone you may need to scroll down and turn of the mobile version to see the changes.]

In case you didn’t notice, I’ve been making some changes around here.

Several of the initial changes are technical. Changes designed to make things on this WordPress blog work better.  A couple items have significantly cut the amount of time it takes to create a post. I love this. More time to write and less time to post.

I’m a big believer in changing.  I hate the idea of becoming stagnant. So like I said, I’m making some changes.  Not just any changes. I’m focusing on changes that I believe will make the site better for you, the reader.

One of these changes is the addition of a WordPress plugin called nrelate Related Content. This plugin automatically places related content at the end of each new blog post. This has already increased page views as a result of people clicking through to additional topics that interest them. This also means my past content gets read more often. Win-Win!

This last weekend I put several visual changes in place.

You may notice that the color scheme has changed.  I wanted more of an outdoor look and some contrast between the blog posts and the sidebar content.  This should make the actual content easier to read.

For some time the banner at the top has bothered me.  I like the idea of our life being a journey with decisions to be make along the way. The problem was the photo I used for the old header wasn’t wide enough for the blog page.  When I increased the image size to make it wide enough, it then became too tall and distracting. So I’m making some changes here too.

Enter two nice little photo editing programs called inpaint and iResizer.  I’m not easily impressed, but these two inexpensive programs are magic.

inpaint allowed me to use my mouse to highlight an area of the photo I wanted to remove. One click and bingo, the dark shadow distracting from the title is gone.  Take a look at the before and after. Notice in the first image the dark shadow above and left of the title is gone; replaced with the lighter grass which gives me a constant background to be used for the new blog title. Here is the old header with the new one below it.


Life's Been Good To Me So Far

Below – shadow removed

The new header image with shadow removed.

Notice also that my new image shows more of the background.  This eventually became the new header. This all works because of the iResizer program. iResizer has even more magic than inpaint. It allowed me to stretch this photo to be 30% wider without distorting it.  I did this by using my mouse to quickly highlight with the areas I didn’t want stretched.  In this case myself, the sign, rocks and tree on the right edge. The stretched image is shown below. To complete the new header I found a different font for the title. The result is at the top of this page.

I’ll continue making some changes. You may notice some small improvements with time. Depending when you read this, the menu items my still have the old color scheme. I’ll get to that soon.

Of course there are always things I want to change, but there are also things I want to write. As you can imagine, there is never enough time for both.  I hope these initial changes make it a nicer place for you to visit and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Let me know what you like, don’t like or would like to see in the comment box below.