The Renegade Minimalist

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With the start of my PhD journey just around the corner, I’ve decided to make some major changes to the website. In general, all these changes really reflect my desire to become my alter ego: The Renegade Minimalist.

Table of Contents

Renegade Minimalist Changes

If you’re reading this article right now and wondering why I’m releasing an update right around the time of the regular monthly update, don’t worry! Personally, I want a standalone article to explain many of these important changes. That way, I don’t bog down the already massive monthly updates.

At any rate, let’s talk about some of these changes. I’ll start with the biggest change and move my way to some of the smaller ones.

No More Store

Alright, let’s talk about perhaps the biggest change to the website: I got rid of the store. If you didn’t know there was a store, I’m hardly surprised. In the time that it existed, I sold one product and zero services.

For the better part of a year, I tried to sell a handful of PDFs and some email tutoring services. Since launching the store, I made $3 which is considerably less than I’ve made since launching ads in February. In other words, it just made sense to drop the store.

Of course, I didn’t just give up. The real reason I got rid of the store was actually tax related. While living in Georgia, I didn’t have to worry about sales tax. Now that I’m in Ohio, I’d have to go through the process of establishing tax nexusOpens in a new tab. to be able to even sell anything.

As an added pro, I no longer have to worry about creating “products” versus the free content I normally have here on the site. As a result, I can continue to create without the need to separate content behind a paywall.

Naturally, the biggest con I can think of is advertisements. I hate them, and you should too. That said, they’re now my only stream of income, so I’ve made the sacrifice. Obviously, I would prefer to make money through products or services, but I just don’t have the time or energy to make that work right now.

With everything else going on, I’ve decided to stick to what I’m good at: writing articles and fostering community. That said, feel free to take me up on some email tutoring.

If you’ve played with the navigation menu at the top of the site lately, you may have noticed that I have completely revamped it. Previously, I had the following links: shop, code, updates, blog, about. While this was fine, I found the site increasingly more difficult to navigate due to the various series I had.

As a result, I decided to remove nearly everything from the sidebar and put it in the navigation menu. If you want the original tabs, you’ll find them under categories. If you’re looking for a series, you’ll find them under series.

As an added bonus, I’ve even created a projects tab which has links to my various GitHub projects. How cool is that? In addition, you can find my about page under about. From there, I’ve also linked some other important documents.

Overall, I’m very happy with how quickly I can get to what I need. No longer do I have to navigate to an arbitrary page to get to a series. Now, I just hover over series to go where I need to go. I’m worried my collection of series will grow to be too large for the navigation bar, but this is a nice compromise for now.

Of course, the biggest con with restructuring the navigation is the nested elements. To be honest, I don’t mind the nesting, but I can see it being a problem on mobile. In fact, this theme’s navigation is pretty horrible in mobile, and I’ve never really figured out a workaround.

Homepage Rework

Due to the changes above, I realized I needed to make some major changes on the homepage. In fact, the homepage was so bad that someone even made an issue for it on GitHubOpens in a new tab..

As a result, I’ve completely revamped the homepage. Here are a list of some of those changes:

  • Removed the counter section
  • Shifted the article and team sections up
  • Shifted the call to action down
  • Removed all links to the shop
  • Fixed a link to the Code category (originally Java)
  • Swapped Contact Form 7 for Pirate Forms
  • Increased number of article section articles to 5
  • Removed sticky posts

With these changes, the homepage is now much cleaner and minimal. No longer will I have to update a counter every time I publish a coding article. Overall, I’m very happy with the changes, and I think my users will be too.

Moving Forward

As always, the plan is to always grow and improve. That said, I really like this slimmed down site. All I have to do is what I enjoyed doing in the first place: write. And, now I can continue to build up the community of new authors.

Jeremy Grifski

Jeremy grew up in a small town where he enjoyed playing soccer and video games, practicing taekwondo, and trading Pokémon cards. Once out of the nest, he pursued a Bachelors in Computer Engineering with a minor in Game Design. After college, he spent about two years writing software for a major engineering company. Then, he earned a master's in Computer Science and Engineering. Today, he pursues a PhD in Engineering Education in order to ultimately land a teaching gig. In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his wife, playing Overwatch and Phantasy Star Online 2, practicing trombone, watching Penguins hockey, and traveling the world.

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