Welcome to Round-Up 300! Wow, that’s a lot of posts and I’m thankful for all of you who have come along with me on this journey, whether you’ve been there from the start or have just joined in since we restarted them again.
For my 100th Round-Up, I put together a list of 100 blogs for you to read, for the 200th Round-Up I put together the “Productivity Directory” – that’s been temporarily retired though as thanks to my old web host’s slap-dash attitude to security it got hacked and became unusable – I might reinstate it in some form in the future though.
So what to do for round-up 300? Decisions, decisions!
We started “weekly” roundups on the 3rd January 2015 and, while we’ve had a couple of breaks they’ve been going ever since.
FlippingHeck.com has been running since 2004 – yup, we’re 18 now folks! So I thought for a bit of nostalgic fun we’d take a look back through the various designs we’ve had over 18 years.
Unfortunately after all that time I’ve lost a lot of the design materials from back then, but luckily we have the Way Back Machine to bring back the memories.
Some of the designs aren’t saved in their entirety unfortunately but it should give you a good idea of what the website has looked like over the years. And, as we’re in the process of redesigning the website right now I thought now was a great time to take a look.
You’ll see in one case I’ve removed (or blurred) some of the content. That’s because when I started flippingheck.com it was a place to vent about my personal and work life and for various reasons I removed this content once I took the site in a more “professional” direction, and we’re here for the designs, not me slagging off my former evil boss.
So, with that being said, let’s take a look at FlippingHeck.com through the years.
4th May 2004
This is the original design which is unfortunately missing the header graphic but I think it was a pretty simple piece of text with the cartoon logo.
The fun fact about this iteration of the website is that it’s running on my own custom blogging software – some sites are still using it which is a little weird I have to say!
This is the software I wrote that taught me back-end development and has enabled me to have a wonderful and varied career in web development for a long time.
Around this time I was going through a few issues with work and used the blog to vent my frustrations. I honestly think that having this as an outlet stopped me going completely bananas.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve deleted most of this content (I do have a backup) as I’ve moved on from it (plus I didn’t fancy getting sued).
It’s interesting to note that at this time, the website title is “Flipping Heck! A blog by an angry web developer”.
Another design. Now we have recent posts, a category listing and even an image gallery – it was fun going down memory lane with those! Here’s a picture of my cat who decided to bring a present into the house – a grass snake, that was super-fun, I can tell you!
It looks like we’ve ditched the header image too at this point which is an interesting branding choice but this is when I started to get more “professional” so that might be why.
Later featured posts were added along with an RSS feed. And then a featured “blog of the week”.
It’s interesting to see me adding trending features that were appearing on platforms like Blogger and a fledgling young platform called WordPress (don’t know if you’ve heard of it).
Recognise the branding? I had no idea I’d been using the circle “heck” design for 16 years!
! launched a CaféPress store as that was very “fashionable” at the time but I don’t think I ever sold anything though!.
I also added a newsletter signup, “make a donation” button and a sponsored ad block in July 2006, then in September I added related posts and social sharing links – I was ahead of my time on that front!
December 2006 – 2008
I’m not sure what happened here – whether there was a redesign or if The Way Back Machine broke but the next year and a bits worth of snapshots are like this which is a shame.
But even though we can’t see the full design, I can see that that I added a downloads section in November 2007, as well as releasing an eBook as well!
February 2009 – 2018
The next working snapshot we have is of a newer design, which I think is different from the broken snapshots we had earlier
Here you can see the addition of the character logo back in (with a cigarette as I was a smoker back in those days!) The branding is also very familiar and we have the full introduction of the “learning to be productive” tagline
I have to say, I do like this colour scheme and the double sidebar on the right is certainly something different. If I remember correctly, websites were slowly becoming more minimalistic from this point on thanks to smartphones being used more frequently to access the internet. Responsive designs were just coming in with browsers playing catchup to technology – these were fun and interesting times in web design and development!
By this point, I’ve replaced the Café Press store with an Amazon one and introduced “static” web pages so I could have content other than just blog posts
I also decided to have a little fun with the website’s footer:
It was around this time I coded a template system meaning that it was a lot easier to change the design and placement of items on the site.
We had a little bit of gap with posting from 2009 to 2014 for reasons I won’t go into but when we came back the site moved from my own proprietary platform onto WordPress. This was because I’d have to port my code over to a new programming language as the one it was written in was being depreciated. This would have meant me learning a completely new language and setting up a new programming environment.
While learning a new language is always something I enjoy, I had to weigh up the pros and cons of getting the blog back up and running and the time it would take to code something from scratch.
I decided to go with WordPress as the easier option which also meant that I could teach myself PHP as I went along.
So, here we have the newly moved FlippingHeck.com using a free WordPress template – this snapshot is from December 2019 as there wasn’t one before this with new design
By November 2014 it looks like I’ve figured out how to change the template a bit more and we have a newsletter signup and a link to the FlipPlan download on the sidebar
You’ll also note that I’d dropped the cigarette from the logo by now as well as I wanted it to look more professional (and I stopped smoking in August 2014 so it wasn’t really on brand).
By this time I’d managed to teach myself a fair bit about WordPress and PHP and had coded my own template which showcased a featured image, newest article and newest download
A few more small revisions in 2019, including advertising my Etsy Shop (R.I.P thanks to Covid and Brexit), the Productivity Directory (R.I.P) and moving the social media links out of the sidebar.
And there we have it, that brings you up-to-date with all the iterations of FlippingHeck.com over the years, of course there have been a few more tweaks just as moving titles to an overlay and a couple of other bits and pieces.
Which was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below and if there’s anything missing from the site that you think should be added, let us know that too!
Here’s to the next 300 Round-Ups…. We’ll see you in the next one!