This new design has been a very long time coming—like, in the works for years. As you may know, Aaron is a graphic/UX designer (he runs his own creative studio in Boston), so it’s always seemed like a giant miss that we weren’t putting his talents to good use here. And while our food blog template was by no means terrible, there were a lot of not-so-great features that felt limiting and created a pretty annoying user experience. Case in point: you know your “search” function and recipe index are bad when you, as the site owner, go to Google instead of your own website to look up recipes.
Of course, it’s one thing to know you need a redesign and another to find the time and money to make it happen (it’s like that saying, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” or something along those lines). For two years, Aaron had been slowly chipping away at a new, 100% custom (as in, no templates, no plugins) design in between client work…and then we got pregnant and realized, “Okay, it’s now or never!” I know this isn’t totally true and there is indeed life after baby, but let’s be real—neither of us is going to have the bandwidth for big personal projects again anytime soon.
For the last 9 months it’s been super late nights, non-existent weekends, and “I think I’m in over my head” freak outs designing, QAing, and moving nearly 800 blog posts into the new format. At one point, I developed a week-long eye twitch from the endless copying/pasting. But! As creatives, we can’t even begin to express how amazing it is to be able to take on a project and NOT compromise on even a single, tiny, no-one-will-notice sort of detail.
Here are some of the changes we think you’re going to love:
- “Skip to Recipe” Link. At the top of every post you’ll be able to jump directly to the recipe and skip all of our commentary and photos if you’d like. This is a big one for people who come directly from Google, or who are like “just get to the point already!” I understand, and I’m not offended.
- “Skip to Comments” Link. Similar to “Skip to Recipe,” every post will have a link that will jump you directly to the comments section so you can read other people’s feedback on a recipe, or leave your own comment. No scrolling required.
- NO DISPLAY ADS! I hate them, you hate them, so we’re going completely ad-free.
- New Recipe Index. There will be infinite scroll (no clicking through pages and pages of 4 recipes at a time!), plus the ability to filter by Meal Type, Special Diet, Season, and Ingredients. (Need a dinner recipe that’s gluten-free, summer appropriate and uses cauliflower? I’ve got you covered.).
- New Recipe Layout. When you click into a recipe, the layout will keep the ingredients on the left and the recipe instructions/notes on the right so you can view both at the same time for easy reference. You’ll also be able to click to literally check off which instructions you’ve completed, which means you’ll never lose your place or wonder which step you’re on. On mobile, you’ll be able to swipe left/right between recipe steps too (no scrolling needed).
- Speaking of mobile—expect larger text, recipes that fit just right on your screen (again, no scrolling up and down, over and over), and all-around better navigation. You’ll actually be able to use your phone/tablet to make my recipes without squinting, and that “Skip to Recipe” button is going to be a game-changer.
- Relevant Recipe Recommendations on the homepage and post pages. Think: “What to Make for Dinner,” “Not Sad Desk Lunch,” and “Better-Than-Takeout.” These recipes will be regularly updated for the season/upcoming occasion (Summer, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, etc.) and I will no longer be using a mediocre plugin to suggest related recipes—they will all be hand-picked by me just for you.
- Portfolio. We make the vast majority of our income from content creation for clients, not content for Pickles & Honey. Recipe development, blog posts, videos, custom photography, meal plans, and so on—a lot of times it never makes it onto Pickles & Honey. We’ll have a dedicated space to share some of our latest projects, case studies, and select sponsored posts, if you’re interested in checking them out.
- Shop Page. I’m often asked for product recommendations, and now there will be a page where you can see my go-to items. You’ll be able to filter by Kitchen Essentials, Pantry, Supplements, Photo Gear, and so on. This will NOT be sponsored and will only be for things we use and love.
- New Logo, New About Page, New Everything. There isn’t a single detail Aaron and I haven’t obsessed over to make the site more user-friendly, more beautiful, and, ideally, your go-to resource for simple, plant-based recipes.
All that said, we’re really proud of the new design. We can’t wait to share it with you soon! xo Amanda