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The Happy Rock Redesigned, Repurposed, Revamped, Reimagined, and Revitalized

by The Happy Rock on March 23, 2011

The title is over the top, but I am pretty excited.   I can’t call The Happy Rock revitalized until I actually start posting and investing in the community again, but that is my honest desire.  The blog has been languishing for almost two years, but now I am refreshed and ready to start taking action towards my goal.  A site rewrite was planned for a while and I finally pushed through it.

Why Did I Do It?

I had a few offers to sell The Happy Rock, but I choose to revamp The Happy Rock instead. I wasn’t ready to let it go even though writing is something of a battle for me.  I also  was unhappy letting it stay the meager personal finance blog it was.  I didn’t make sense to keep the site out of nostalgia, it had to be a part of the new places I want to go. As much as I love helping people destroy their debt, I also know that there are a lot of people stuck in the same place I have been for the last two years.   Stuck not quite happy with where our decisions(or lack of decisions) are taking us.  Stuck knowing that there is more to life, but trapped on the couch without action.  I just needed to gain some new habits, perspective, accountability, learning, mentoring, prayer, and a few swift kicks in the butt.   The Happy Rock will now exist to not only help people create financial freedom in their lives , but also to learn how to use that freedom to accomplish big things.   The expanded purpose allows me to be more authentic and connected to the material; I am on that exact journey.  I will begin to share were that journey is going and how I am taking action to get there in the coming months.

The Design Mechanics

As you can see I removed most of the clutter and trimmed down to the bare necessities.   I don’t want the purpose and focus on the blog to get watered down by cheesy sidebar widgets or obnoxious ads.    Most of the advertisements are removed or tucked away.   Adsense only shows to traffic that comes from search engines. There are a few text links in the footer that may eventually be on the way out and only a few organic affiliate links left.    The Happy Rock income has taken a hit, but I honestly believe that the journey to bigger things starts by challenging yourself to make long term decisions not ones geared for the here and now.

The main goal of the redesign was to make the site much more user friendly and content focused for regular readers(who generally don’t click ads), while still offering search visitors the choices they were after. I still have a few things to update, but I wanted to start moving rather than wait until it’s perfect to forge ahead.

I coded the site myself and enlisted a graphic designer friend to help with the artistic side of things. The graphic designer created the header, helped me with the colors and fonts, and created the beautiful widget around the slider on the main page. If you are interested in connecting with him, shoot him an email -> Josh Street.

The site is developed on the Thesis Theme for WordPress*. I am excited to be stepping up to a wordpress framework to be able to leverage all the speed, search engine optimization, and overall excellent theme design that someone else had to learn and code.   I used a the ThesisFolio skin as inspiration and a place to start.  I coded the rest by hand and even had to figure out javascript and jquery along the way.  I will detail the plugins and other nuisances I used to accomplish my goals in another post.  Needless to say, it was a fun and motivating experience.

Now the real fun begins, taking action towards bigger goals and posting again.

Drop a comment and let me know what you think of the new design and how you connect(or don’t connect) with the new vision?

* = Affiliate link

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ed March 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Love it! I like the broadened topic.

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20 and Engaged March 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Looks great! Looking forward to the new posts with your new purpose :)

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Sharon March 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Glad you are back! I’m looking forward to your posts! Great new look!

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Jesse March 25, 2011 at 1:16 am

Love the design!! Glad to see you back, you’ve been missed.

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Burj Khalifa March 29, 2011 at 4:29 am

awesome man,
i respect your dreams and also pray for better results.

keep it up beautiful ROCK :)

cheers

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Jason April 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

Keep up the good work man!

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anaparesh April 15, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Keep on writing!!

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ChrisCD September 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

I hadn’t been here in a while and it looks great. Glad you found a burr in your saddle to get moving again. The Debt calculator looks great, frankly I’m scared to put in my numbers.

Keep it up.

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Jonathan November 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I’m glad you chose to revamp it rather than sell it. I enjoy reading your posts and I like your style of writing.

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