In case you hadn’t noticed (really, you might want to hone those observation skills!), there have been a few changes here at FinesseFX lately. After months of planning, preparation, designing, coding, and refining, and trying to fit this project into a busy schedule, the new WordPress-driven site is finally live! So let me tell you a little bit about what I’ve been up to, the changes to the site, and plans for the future…
I Created a Monster! Auughh!
When I launched FinesseFX several years ago, my vision primarily involved just having a place for people to continue to access content that I had created (and continued to create), since the Adobe Exchange was no longer an ideal place for that content. This worked out okay for some time, but over time as more content was added, the site design became outdated, I had less time to devote to the project, and it became more of a burden to maintain.
For every item of new content, I would have to manually create a new page and manually alter several others. The site was really becoming an unwieldy monster (“Frankenstein, heel!”). It became obvious that I needed a Content Management System.
WordPress: A New Frontier
Eventually I settled upon the widely-proclaimed WordPress CMS. Being a creative, however, I felt as if I did not want to go the “plug and play template” route and be shackled by someone else’s limitations. In addition, since I was not familiar with the CMS, I could have easily created another monster which I knew very little about. Therefore, I took it upon myself to learn WordPress and design my own theme.
Needless to say, that can be a bit of a chore. However, during the last half of 2009, when I got a chance I would read tutorials, write a little code, formulate plans, and design. The process was simultaneously both fun and frustrating, but I learned a lot along the way.
It is definitely a relief to finally have the new site up and running. Please bear with me these first few weeks, as I’m sure there will be little hiccups and things that I’ve forgot to fix/link up/implement correctly. If you find something that isn’t quite right, and want to bring it to my attention, feel free to contact me and tell me about it.
What this Means for You
One of my fundamental goals with this upgrade was not only to make things easier on myself, but also easier and friendlier to all of you. A major concern was making the information and downloads easily accessible. Hopefully you find that things are categorized logically, and what you’re looking for is never too many clicks away :).
This upgrade also makes it easier for me to offer a wider range of content not limited almost exclusively to downloads (although don’t get me wrong — that will always be a staple of this site). In the coming months I hope to start filling in the site with articles that relate to design, tips to streamline your workflow, and useful tutorials. I’ve even left room for things like raw PSD graphics and web templates.
Of course you’ll now have the opportunity to comment and discuss all the posts. Your feedback and comments will be pivotal to the course the site takes and the content that will be offered. It is my hope that we can have productive interchanges via comments that will facilitate the sense of community in a greater way than the forum on the old site.
What does the future hold? Well, that’s difficult to say in any circumstance, but I can tell you what my goals are and things that I’ve been considering. It is my hope that with this new format in place it will allow me to focus more of my time on actually providing the content rather than trying to manage and manipulate it. This means I can update the site more frequently and not let the site become stagnant.
It is my desire to continue to improve the design of the site to make things more pleasant to you, the end user. With a CMS in place, these upgrades can be much more incremental than wholesale. If there’s something you love or hate about the new design, or you have a suggestion about how something could be improved, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Over the last year, traffic to the site has been steady and has crept up to around 25,000 visitors each month. It is my hope that having a SEO friendly interface in place will help maintain that number and make it easier for others to become aware of this site. Of course I realize that content is what ultimately drives traffic, but having a welcome mat at the front door never hurt anyone :).
If traffic continues to hold steady and reaches a point that advertising on the site becomes a viable option, it will be implemented. My ultimate goal for the site financially is to have enough advertising revenue that I can continue to justify spending time creating great content on a very regular basis and delivering it for all of you to learn from, use, and enjoy. You all can be of assistance in helping this site get a great start by subscribing to the site RSS feed at the top right of the page. As an added benefit, you’ll be the first to know when something new gets posted on FinesseFX!
For now, my sole means of revenue from this site is directly from the purchases of the few “Premium” downloads I offer. I am very grateful to all of you who have purchased one or more of these items in the past. You have helped me continue this site and allay some of the costs, both in time spent and in hosting/maintenance fees.
Thank all of you for being a part of FinesseFX! I look forward to receiving your feedback and thoughts in the post comments or via email. Have a great day and happy Photoshopping!