New era, new website!

We finally moved into our new house! It took us a year to go from finalising the purchase to finishing the interior to the point that it’s liveable. It’s not fully completed yet, but it’s enough for us to move in and begin a new era of our lives.

After more than 10 years of living in flats and paying rent, after spending six years living abroad, and after saving every Euro through all these years, my wife and I finally have our own home. I wrote how I needed a break in the last blog post because I had too many things in my life at the time. Building a house, a full-time job, personal projects, new pets… it was all too much. To save money, we decided to live in an old house until we finished our own. And with an old house came a handful of additional problems. All this accumulated, so I had to get my priorities sorted out. I took a break from personal projects, but now that we moved into our new house I can revisit my priorities and I can invest my energy into other things again. Taking a longer break, I realised that I didn’t have to work as much. I just needed to find a way to work smarter, not harder.

New website

I’ve been working on my new website for the past five months. Soon after I decided to take a break, I realised that maintaining three projects and their three websites is too much. I needed to find a way to optimise that. That‘s why I decided to design and build a new personal website that consolidates the three. The matejlatin.com domain became available ten years after I lost it (long story). That sparked an idea—what if I maintained only one website, where I publish everything related to the three projects that I keep running on the side? So instead of writing and publishing posts for betterwebtype.com and separately for uxbuddy.co, I can write all these posts on the new website and just link to the other two websites as needed. I won’t be posting new posts on betterwebtype.com anymore, but all the existing ones will remain there.

So what’s new with the new website?

New domain

As I mentioned, my new website is now back on matejlatin.com, instead of matejlatin.co.uk. I’ve been back in Slovenia for three years now so it makes sense that I go back to the .com domain. I had wanted to move back earlier, but I couldn’t get access to the .com domain which I lost more than ten years ago. The launch of a new website is a perfect opportunity for such transition.

A hub for everything I do

The new website eliminates the need to keep maintaining three separate websites. Everything I do will now be on the new website. So if I write a blog post about typography it’ll be on matejlatin.com (instead of betterwebtype.com). If I write a blog post about UX design or hiring designers, it’ll also be on matejlatin.com (instead of uxbuddy.co). This, combined with other things that changed, will save me a lot of time and energy and will allow me to be more productive and efficient. It’ll also allow me to branch off into writing about other things I find interesting like minimalism, productivity, stoicism, books, and more.

A new, refined design

The new website is not a revolution, it’s an evolution of the previous one when it comes to design. It’s still typographic and minimalistic but more mature and refined. It still uses large type for titles, but not huge type. It uses the Gilroy typeface instead of Gibson and a lighter weight, not as bold anymore. It has a more conventional layout. It feels more modern and cleaner because of these changes. To implement this design I created a custom WordPress theme based on the Twenty Twenty-One default WordPress theme. I love creating custom themes from default WordPress themes because they’re built with accessibility in mind.

Built with WordPress

I moved away from WordPress almost ten years ago. I decided so back then because I felt I needed something simpler and more performant. I now realise that most performance issues I had with WordPress back then were related to running it on a poor web hosting server. I host the new website on WPMU DEV which, based on my experience, is the best WordPress hosting I ever used. It’s blazingly fast and comes with built-in plugins that help make your website performant. My new website scores 100 on a desktop speed test and 90 on the mobile one. It didn’t require me to do any performance optimisation at all!

WordPress also wasn’t as flexible back then as it is now. It really came a long way, the more I use it, the more I like it. The best thing about it is that it makes it simple to write and publish a blog post. No more git pushes to commit to the GitHub repository. Using Jekyll made sense back then because I wanted to improve my front-end coding and Git skills. Now my priorities changed to being able to write and publish more efficiently.

There’s one huge disadvantage of moving my website to WordPress though. I lost all the comments that were posted on the old websites through Disqus. So all the old posts I migrated are now without any comments. To post new comments, you’ll need to register on the new website.

New newsletter

With the release of the new website, I’m also bringing back the monthly newsletter. It was a Better Web Type newsletter before, it’ll be different now. I’ll still include fascinating things about typography but I’ll also write about other things. Limiting it to typography and running it for almost three years became a bit boring. Especially when there are all these different topics that I find interesting and want to write about. So in the new newsletter you can expect more things from my personal life, articles about minimalism, design in general, hiring designers, finding a job in UX, stoicism, burning out, remote work, introversion, books, entrepreneurship,… These are just some of the things off the top of my head. I hope you’ll find it interesting, if not feel free to unsubscribe.

What’s coming in 2022

I’m back and excited about the upcoming things. The new website is just the first step. Here’s what else is coming:

  • I’ll send out the first new newsletter in May. After that, I’ll send out at least one every month again.
  • More updates to the new website. This is just the first iteration, there are some typography issues I need to fix, some redirects, migrating past personal newsletters, a custom 404 page, and more.
  • I’ll update the UX Buddy course based on the feedback I received from the early access students. I hope to release the updated version and open it to everyone in June.
  • A new project towards the end of the year. I’ve had the idea for it ever since I launched UX Buddy. I’m really excited about this one as it’ll help elevate my business to another level!

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to send me an email after I sent out my previous blog post about needing a break. I received around 100 emails showing support and reassuring me that they’ll still be there when I’m ready to come back.

That’s it, I’m excited to be back! 👋

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