I’ve been working on my main website a lot lately (sdakotabirds.com), trying to fix some technical issues, as well as address content issues. On the technical side, note my site is now completely “secure”. When you try to access the site, no matter what you type in (“sdakotabirds.com”, “http://sdakotabirds.com”, “www.sdakotabirds.com”, etc), you should be rerouted to the safe, SSL “secured” pages with the https:// prefix. Given that Google search rankings are now said to be affected by whether a site uses https or not, I figured it was about time to make the switch. It should also help people feel more comfortable on my blog should they want to register on my blog or comment on a post.
I’ve also been working on streamlining my website. When I first started making my website 15 years ago, I had a “species photo” page that showed all the photos I had for that species. You’d then click on a little image chip that would take you to a separate web page for each individual photo. My photo collection on my website is now around 5,000 individual photos. That means I actually have (or had) 5,000 individual pages. It DOES help me to provide more information about an individual photo, such as details about when and where it was taken, or other anecdotal information that I may want to convey with a photo. It’s not very efficient though! It’s made my website massive and unwieldy, and given so many similar pages (for example, ~40 different individual pages for each of the ~40 or so Ruby-throated Hummingbird photos I have), it’s also resulted in “penalties” for how Google ranks my website. I’m greatly simplifying the structure of my website for displaying photos. I’m working on having each species have only one web page for the display of photos. All photos of that species are provided on the one page, as smaller image “chips”. Clicking on the image chip brings up the photo itself, instead of directing you to another web page that contains the photo. In progress, but it should cut down the number of individual web pages on my website by ~75%, and will make it much easier to navigate around my photo collection.
I’m also working on updating material in other parts of my website. One focus right now is my “Favorite Photos” section. It’s been a long time since I’ve updated that page, so most of my “favorites” were photos from 2000 to around 2010. I’m updating that page right, making it 1) more “selective” in what I deem to be a “favorite”, and 2) more current, with favorite photos from 2000 all the way through the present day. Clicking on each “favorite” will bring you to a new webpage with a large version of the photo, and a story about what makes the photo special to me. Given how out-of-date my old favorite photo section was, I hope this provides a better impression of my photography, my favorites, and what makes me “tick” as a birder and a photographer!
More website updates are coming this spring as well, including 1) new Bird Quizzes to go with the ones I already have, and completion of the individual species pages for all ~980 or so species that have been seen in North America. If there are any other things you’d like to see on my main website, let me know and I’ll see what I can do!