For those long time readers, STH has just gone through a major re-design. The old look was established in December 2012 and was a major upgrade at the time. In December 2012 we established the formal review and rating system that we have used for the past 2.5 years. At the same time, the STH design was not user friendly, especially on Retina level display resolutions. It was time for a change.
Why the change?
There were really three factors leading to the change. Google, Freshness and Features.
- In April 2015 Google is changing its ranking algorithm to put a bigger weight on mobile friendly designs. Simply put – it needed to be done to maintain Google rankings. If you do have a website, there are only a few days left to get mobile friendly. STH now passes the check.
- In terms of freshness, the old STH design was fine, but it was looking very old and tired. Perhaps most to me since I have been staring at it daily for almost 1000 consecutive days. Given, the current design is far from perfect, but it is time to do something new with the site.
- Features, this is another big one. We have been limited for some time now by the features we have with STH. We wanted to add a few relevant features for today. One example is that we will likely start testing user ratings in the near future alongside our editorial ratings. Another is that we have been limited to 600 pixel wide images for some time now. With even mobile phones having at least double that resolution, we finally will have the ability to use higher resolution images in our reviews.
One other note – we also removed a LOT of legacy code with this re-design. The next architecture overhaul will happen soon but we needed to clean up some WordPress code first. STH is just shy of 6 years old now so, as one can imagine, code that worked as a 10 visitor/ day site does not work as the site now is holding a top 100,000 worldwide Alexa ranking.
The key takeaway here is that there is quite a bit happening in terms of the STH and related site upgrades over the next few weeks. Last week we transitioned to a new larger colocation cabinet with faster servers SAS hard drives and yet another backup layer:
And so it begins! the new colo transition has started. pic.twitter.com/GCd8TYonUi
— STH (@ServeTheHome) April 10, 2015
We also have a big update coming to Linux-Bench soon which will be much easier to use. All of this leads to a lot of investment happening at STH to take the next step in making the site even better for the millions visiting STH every year.