Home News We’re back with a redesigned Macfilos blog

We’re back with a redesigned Macfilos blog

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News, reviews, comment on Macfilos — here the new Leica M10-D with the limited-edition retro 50mm Summilux
News, reviews, comment on Macfilos — here the new Leica M10-D with the limited-edition retro 50mm Summilux
News, reviews, comment on Macfilos — here the new Leica M10-D with the limited-edition retro 50mm Summilux

After a week’s absence, Macfilos is back with a new magazine interface and a modern design to allow easy access to the 4,500 posts and 7,500 images created since the start in 2008. On behalf of all our enthusiastic contributors, we hope you like it.

The new interface has opened up the site and, I think, offers a more immersing experience and invites exploration. Even I am astonished at the amount of material that has accumulated over the past ten years — news, reviews, gear tests, travelogues, humour and opinion (some of it a little contentious as it should be). I calculate we have written some 5 million words for this blog. It is an eclectic mix, reflecting the personal enthusiasms and views of me and my merry band of co-contributors from all over the world. Without them, Macfilos would not survive.

I don’t claim to be a good photographer. I just enjoy what I am doing and I love writing about my experiences, my passions and my pet hates.

The site is now more engaging for new readers and encourages exploration. In the past, yesterday’s post was history and there was little sense of what came before. Now, the front page of Macfilos is crammed with articles and photographs and offers many ways to explore earlier content. I hope you will enjoy this easier navigation, all the way back to the beginnings of the site when the main subject was technology rather than photography.

Teething

There will undoubtedly be teething troubles but, thanks to our friends at Worcester Web Studio, we will put things right. In particular, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the RSS feeds and the mailing systems continue to function without problems. I am indebted to Ray and Ellis from the agency for the sterling work they have put in over less than a week to convert the site. I am also grateful to my friend and fellow Leica enthusiast Hamish Gill, of 35mmc.com for his encouragement in taking the big step from Squarespace to WordPress. He is was who introduced me to the Worcester web world — which I suppose we should call Silicone Sauce.

We have a few tweaks to come to improve the reader experience and quite a lot of back-end work to ensure smooth running, but we will get there. In the meantime, the site is open for business.

For the past seven years Macfilos has been hosted by Squarespace in New York. It’s a fine organisation and I have no substantial complaints other than that the blog templates are by now rather old fashioned. However, after a few problems towards the end of last year, I had a hankering for a new direction. Squarespace is something of a walled garden in the best Apple tradition (and is, therefore, ideal for users who want the minimum amount of hands-on involvement), whereas now we have moved over to the much more flexible and do-it-yourself world of WordPress. It offers more opportunities, especially for cost-effective search engine optimisation.

New York to Nottingham

The site has been transferred entirely, including some 7,500 images, from New York to our own server which is hosted by 20i in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. I will be managing it with the help of Worcester Web Studios.

For the first time we have added a little advertising from Google. This is something of an experiment in the hope that it will lead to greater traffic and improve exposure. It certainly will not bring in much income, although every little helps in offsetting the mounting costs of running the site. In the same vein, we have included an Amazon link which we hope regular readers will use as a means of supporting Macfilos. Using the link costs nothing, but a very small commission is paid to us for referrals on anything you buy as a result of clicking the link.

My sincere thanks to everyone concerned in the transformation of Macfilos into what I hope will become a much more popular site. Please let me know if you encounter any problems.

If you have any immediate views on the new image and layout, please leave them as comments to this post.

Mike Evans | Editor
Macfilos.com
27 Old Gloucester Street
London WC1N 3AX

mike@macfilos.com

24 COMMENTS

  1. Welcome back. yippee.

    And ta for the Amazon link, I will try to remember to use on my regular purchases.

    I am still cogitating on my image for the site – thinking whacky head gear, Village people style dressing up etc etc.. you get the idea I am sure.

  2. Welcome back Mike! I love the new site and the variety of linked posts – for example – the CL/Panasonic G8 combo: in coming to Paris and Berlin for the next few months – I’m now in Paris enjoying an almost unseasonable sunny and “warm” weather — I opted for the CL with the 18 and the 18-56 (but not the impossible to stabilize 55-135), together with the Olympus Pen-F with the little PanaLeica i5 and the all round 12-60. Never been happier. Of course stacked away for those special shooting walks, the M10 and its 35/1.4.

  3. Congratulations on the new look blog. I’m sure you will find the move to WordPress a satisfactory one. I have been building sites using WordPress for a few years now, which touch wood, have been trouble free.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how the blog now develops.

    • This was one of the main motivations in the move. Squarespace is fine, easy to use, but is in its own walled garden. No spam, no nothing. And, I have always suspected, not very efficient optimisation for traffic. The other important factor is being able to compose offline, even with quite complicated layouts. Everything at Squarespace has to be done online and I was spending two or three hours on a single article when 20 or 25 images were involved. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks again for writing.

  4. Hi Mike

    Congratulations on the new site. It is very impressive and is fully justified by the effort you put in. Hope it continues to grow as a top resource.

  5. Wow. Now just after breakfast here in Sydney.
    Have just clicked open Macfilos and seen the new look.
    A huge step up and impact.
    Well done Michael, and thank you for all the hard work migrating to WordPress and a new generation Macfilos.

  6. Yes the new look Macfilos gets an antipodean thumbs up from me although I have to confess I was slightly confused when an ad for flat pack kitchens appeared above the header as I opened the blog first thing this morning.
    So far so good. Let’s hope the new look attracts loads of new readers and contributors.

  7. Welcome back Mike and a warm welcome to the ‘new look’ Macfilos. I have been busy for the past few days and I had missed the re-launch. Everything looks very well in the new format and certainly the new site seems to run much faster.

    I am sure that you need a rest after all the hard work.

    William

    • Thanks, William. Indeed, I am sitting here in an atmosphere of anti-climax. I have spent so much time on rejigging the blog over the past three months that I have neglected both photography and creative writing. I hope that now I have got things running I will be able to spend less time on admin and more on creative work. I’m optimistic because the day-to-day admin is now much lighter because I can compose offline and I spend a lot less time waiting for things to happen.

  8. The new look is great! And it’s nice that the pages load on the same day as the link is clicked. 🙂

    I’ll enjoy going through the archives now.

    • It does seem a lot faster and I have no explanation for it, other than perhaps the Squarespace platform is overloaded. Uploading articles was a real pain and now it is quick and efficient. There are caching plug-ins we can use if the page loading gets sluggish, but so far I am very happy with what I see.

  9. Thank God you are back. I checked multiple times a day since shutdown. My wife took me to the doctor for uncontrollable shaking and it turned out to be withdrawal symptoms from missing your blog😂. I love the new look but do not like pop up that I have to kill suggesting a different article than the one I just started to read. Cheers! Brian

  10. We-ell, it’s a bit different ..I’m looking at an advert for MYA breast enlargement at the top of Macfilos today. Er, and it’s not easy to type this on my iPhone, as the typing field is far wider than the phone’s display – even in horizontal, ‘landscape’ mode – so I have to keep scrolling left and right to see the edges of what I’m writing.

    At first I thought there were parts of the computer screen display missing from the phone display, but no; there they all are, but dispersed a bit around the screen.

    It’ll take me a while to get used to it, but congratulations on all the effort!

    At least there’ll be none of that annoying “Log into SquareSpace” popping up suddenly in the middle of typing a ..object Object ..splutter splutter!!

    • Thanks for the feedback on the smartphone view, David. I will ask the developers to have a look at that. It surely can’t be right and there is probably a button I can press somewhere to make it right.

  11. My take. Looks like a lot of other websites now with a confetti of links scattered across rhe page and a weaker Macfilos logo. I liked the clean look before that made it look different from other websites. it’s almost gone Petapixel. But it is more efficient and functional, I’ll give you that.

    • Thanks for the input. I have mixed views on this. The chosen theme, Newsmag, has a variety of front pages. This current one is “Magazine” and it is similar to many sites such as the one you mention. It’s big advantage is that it encourages exploration. However, there is a “blog” front end that i very similar to the old Macfilos. I intend to see how things go but keep an open mind. Thanks again for your support.

  12. Thanks along with all the others, Mike, for this amazing new look and versatility. Perhaps you should announce another break for yourself now after all the sweat ! One small comment: the page comes out rather narrow on my screen, so I zoom in one click in my Safari View menu and that gives me a type size I’m more comfortable with.

    • Yes, a break is in order, I think. Fortunately, the week off allowed me to work on a stack of articles, mostly from our valued contributors, and I can trickle them out over the next couple of weeks, interspersed with more newsy stuff. Glad you like the new image.

  13. Mike – I just wanted to congratulate you on the redesign and the change of platform (isn’t Hamish a great guy by the way). It is brighter and lighter, easier to navigate and has eliminated a slowness problem I had with loading content (we swapped emails a while ago). But… you have made me take tentative steps towards buying a fine pen !! First, I have bought a fine Hannah notebook after reading your piece (but I now think I should have gone for A5) and was equally intrigued by your pen article. I have fallen I love with a Hemingway pen but it is out of my budget. However your Dumas (father or son) is very fine indeed and I am looking at one on ‘a well known’ auction site at the moment. Given your knowledge I wonder if could ask a favour, might you indicate what might be a ballpark price for a Dumas? Offline probably makes more sense, but only if you have a moment.
    So congrats again. I have always enjoyed what you guys write and, as an erstwhile publisher, I appreciate good writing – which you have in spades.
    All the best
    Des

    • Thanks for the nice words, Des. I remember our correspondence about speed. This was just one of the problems with Squarespace, so I’m very glad I bit the bullet and moved — not without misgivings, I admit, but I’m gaining in confidence.

      Sorry I’ve forced you to buy from William Hannah. But you are in good company. I had lunch with Jono Slack last week and he too was complaining that the article had cost him a fortune.

      I’m afraid I am not really an expert on pens and the Dumas pen was a present from my old friend George James. So I really don’t know what the going rate is. Presumably, you’ve done a bit of research as you indicate, and I suppose that’s about all I would do in the same circumstances. I do hope you find one to your liking. And again, thanks for the positive comment.

      Mike

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