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    Hello guys, I’m Uareanoob from Dota Commentaries, (DC). I started DC last year when I was 16. Unfortunately, I had elementary knowledge of web designing and web scripting in general. I’ve done coding in the past, Java and C++, but this was all at the high-school level in which I felt I hadn’t learned much more that the basic knowledge I had before, logical and methodical thinking. Basically, I wasn’t prepared to start this website or community. After being raped of my innocence in terms of web design, I’ve recently learned that the design and basic functionality (archiving mostly) of the site is so poor. However, because of the content of the website and the staff members, our community is relatively large (28000 unique vistors per day). So my question is am I at the point of no return? Can I still redesign the website without sweeping the past away.

    I over the last two weeks I’ve been learning a bunch of scripting languages from online video tutorials (The New Boston, etc) and programming methodology . In this phase of constantly trying to learn more about websites and web design, I ran into css-tricks when looking to figure out how ThinkGeek did their background fade.

    I am planning on reconstructing the website so I decided that posting here would help me. My main questions are, currently, what do you guys think is wrong with my site? What should be improved? Can I still do it without destroying all of the old content? And if so, how would I go about doing so? Most importantly, where do I start?

    Thank you for reading my post. I’m sorry for the long winded post but I felt it was necessary context for my current dilemma. I appreciate any help that you guys can provide.


    The links in your footer don’t work and the url structure is a bit annoying. The design can definitely be improved, but overall the site seems to be pretty functional.

    The entire site is wordperss powered right? If so, then you shouldn’t lose any information when applying a new theme. Have you developed a wordpress theme before?


    I have not developed a theme yet. I figured I needed a deeper understanding of php before I do this. The site is WordPress powered. I forgot to mention in my first post that my website was originally comprised of just a bunch of plugins we looked for and we needed. I want to move away from solving my problems with plugins mainly because they never seem to do exactly what I need it to do.


    I’m glad it’s a wordpress site =) It makes skinning it very easy. I agree, stay away from unnecessary plugins as much as possible.

    I want to move away from solving my problems with plugins

    Do you mean you want to move away from the current plugins you are using, or you don’t want to use any more plugins?

    I would say you need to create a couple of WordPress themes as practice. Get a design from somewhere – Or design it yourself – cut it up and turn it into a functioning WordPress theme. Here are a few css-tricks related WordPress screencasts.

    Is the new site design going to be a site with completely new widgets, layout, etc. or will it just be a redesign ontop of the current skeleton? If it’s the latter it would require a CSS change and probably minimal html changes.


    Thank you for the links, I will be watching them today. About the plugins, I just want to fix problems through coding rather than plugins. I will probably be going with a new layout and widgets.


    What languages do you know?


    @Uareanoob – first off, kudos for 1) seeking to expand your knowledge, 2) learning more about your craft, 3) evaluating your work objectively, and 4) admitting that something is very very wrong. For many people of all ages (let alone 16-18), those steps become progressively more difficult and are less likely to be completed. Perhaps not so unlikely is the fact this is the first 4 of 5 steps to becoming very successful. I think you’ll do well in the future!

    The 5th step is to ‘apply what you have learned.’

    I can try to help here, but won’t go into depth because we’d be here all day. I’m typing as I notice things, so if this seems to ramble… uh, thats because it sorta is rambling.

    First off, your site is freakin’ HUGE and seems to have tons of content. You really need to boil things down to what is important (content) and set that front and center. Also, the content needs to breathe. The site has so much packed together.

    The fixed position login-search bar at the top doesn’t work well. If you are going to keep it, at least pull everything within it into the width of the page layout (looks like 1184px wide). Why 1184px wide by the way? Pull it down under 1024 – it’s common to have users at this resolution – don’t exclude them. Also push the login to the furthest right, and the search function the the left of that (all float:right). Its there everywhere else on the web, so don’t break user’s expectations.

    If I gave you some bacon, you’d be like, “oh cool, bacon!” and then you’d eat it. If that bacon tasted like pickles you’d be really confused. That’s not an experience I’d like to have.

    Why such a large header image, followed by navigation? Nav should be closer to the top of the page hierarchy. If you have recurring posts (like Dota Daily), why not give those posts great images to compliment them, instead of having this huge banner at the top? That banner, really hides the navigation bar. I just used firefly to kill it, and the site already feels better.

    whoa, just noticed there are two search fields.. one in the fixed login bar at the top, and one floated right in the navigation bar. Why? That makes no sense.

    Anyways, I’ll stop there- that alone gives you a much better feeling site. I edited css via google chrome the whole time, so here is the result;

    Those few steps alone make a huge difference. Editing your stylesheets can be a good basic way to fix your site.

    There are bigger issues, like content strategy, but those take more time and an excellent understanding of your audience.

    P.S. – I’ve heard that large site re-builds are very risky from a financial stand-point. I’ve heard horror stories where a site is ranked #1 by Google one day, but after the re-build launches its dropped pages deep in the results. Make sure you understand the risks here or you could likely see your uniques fall through the floor.

    Good luck!

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