MartinRalya.com has been online since 2009, and has included a blog since 2012. Over the years, the focus has shifted back and forth between blog posts and static pages. When I last overhauled the site, in 2020, the focus was solidly on blog posts. A single-column layout with a discreet hamburger menu made sense, since there weren’t many pages that needed to be highlighted.
But as I started blogging more about miniature-painting, I created more static pages to house painting color guides, army lists, and the like. And the more I added, more I found I was fighting the single-column layout and tiny expandable menu.
I can pinpoint the exact moment when I realized it might be time for a redesign: When YouTuber DM Tales made a video highlighting The Unlucky Isles and, quite reasonably, looked at MartinRalya.com and saw a stream of Warhammer 40k posts and wondered if that site was in fact the home of my Godsbarrow campaign setting. “Nobody reads my blog” affords a wonderful level of freedom when it comes to worrying about that sort of thing…but there are folks who do read my blog! I’d like it to be clear what it’s about, and adaptable as things here change over time.
So as my first project of 2024, I decided to return to a classic two-column layout, the hallmark of blogs since ye olden times. I’ve populated the sidebar with what I hope is the most useful stuff here. This template, Astra, is super slick about customizing the layout for desktop, tablet, and mobile views, so on the latter two you’ll find a mobile-specific hamburger menu up top — because it’s useful there — while on desktop it’s supplanted by the sidebar. On tablet/mobile, the sidebar gracefully slides below the main content column.
I’ve also gone back into some pages/posts and tidied up stuff that didn’t carry over well into the new template — although, as always, I’ve grandfathered in the quirks present in older posts that don’t meaningfully impact usability. Go back ten years and you’ll find tiny images; go back three years, and some images will look weird now that didn’t in the previous template. So it goes.
As always, things might shift a bit over the next few days as I tinker with the site. But everything should be functional and more stuff should be easier to find now. I hope you like the new look.