Many of you have noticed that MaiTravelSite went through an extreme makeover a couple of weeks ago. I did not make any announcements about it because there were still a few glitches to be fixed, but finally the transformation is complete and fully functional.
This travel blog has undergone three facelifts in its almost two years of existence. It was not even a blog at the beginning, then there was a blog hidden in the site, and finally it did become a full-on travel blog late in November 2009 while I was travelling in Asia.
Happy with the results, but still not being fully what I wanted it to, during the past month and a half I have been working many hours to complete the transformation, and the final product is out for you (and I) to enjoy. I purchased the Davinci Framework, a professionaly designed theme by Solostream (this is an affiliate link which I am happy to include as I highly recommend them), and had it cutomized by Alistair, Michael Pollock and the rest of the team, resulting in the final version you can see now. A big thanks goes to Alistair who’s been was particularly helpful in fixing all the glitches when moving from one theme to the other, identifying bugs with plugins, and providing all the support I needed.
So these are the most relevant changes I have made- I hope you like them as much as I do!
The most significant changes have been made, without a doubt, in the home page. It now features:
A much larger slideshow gallery. Photography is critical to illustrate what travelling is all about and the new sliding gallery is 950 x 360 px, instead of the 560×360 it had before. My intention is to draw your eyes to the image and know what the article is about as soon as you land on the home page.
Drop down navigation bars. They might not be helpful SEO wise, but they sure make finding articles related to relevant topics much easier. The category navigation bar does exactly that- you can now find my posts for each country and relevant categories quickly and easily.
4 main article sections. Suggested by many of you, I have now classified the latest articles I publish into four main sections that will help you find what you want. It also makes navigating from one topic to the other very easy. Once the articles become part of the archives they are automatically moved to the category they belong to. The main sections are:
- Travel Tips. These are the latest articles I have published that include tips to make your travels better, easier and cheaper.
- World Destinations. The posts in this section feature travel destinations I have visited, with all the stories, photos, experiences and details you would expect from a personal travel blog.
- Travel Photography. Travel photography is an art all by itself and requires patience, technique and equipment. The articles here include not only the photo of the week and my own tips that will help you take better pictures or buy the right equipment, but advice from other well known travel photographers I will be contacting for better and more comprehensive advice. It should be a great resource.
- Your World, Your Travels. I travel a lot, yet sometimes I don’t and even if I do I love to hear about other people’s adventures. Have you travelled recently? Currently on the road? Wanna show us what your home town is like or this special place you know about? Guest authors are welcome in MaiTravelSite and these are the latest articles you have submitted to our audience. You don’t need to a professional writer to have articles published- all you need is a passion to discover our world and pictures to illustrate your writing!
Featured Videos. We all love to sit back and watch entertaining travel shows and anecdotes. These are videos I have filmed and edited while on the road, discussing weird food (watch me eat a duck fetus or a tarantula), destinations (highlights of trips in Colombia, Philippines and more), surfing (I love this sport) and other relevant topics. There are many more to come- subscribe to my Youtube channel if you might!
Perhaps the most relevant changes you will find are that the font is slightly smaller now allowing a quicker read, and that the pictures are bigger (sized up to 580 px wide). Speaking about which, I have installed a plugin that will enable readers to view photos in full size with a dark background (lightbox effect) instantly- I really should have included this a long time ago
I’m very excited about these changes and hope you like them too! MaiTravelSite is now more appealing to the eye, easier to navigate, and finding the articles and information you need while enjoying the photography is a breeze. I invite you to check it out, the Home Page being a great place to start, and once done I’d love to hear what you think about it. Happy travels!