It’s been a long time coming but finally Bit51 is back! Last June I decided that the only way I was ever going to find the time to update the theme for this site was going to be if I took a break from writing. The rationale (however misguided) was that I would force myself to finish the major site updates if I wasn’t worried about coming up with new posts and worried instead about not having any new content. While my rationale actually proved correct in some ways, the time it took me to complete it given the craziness of the last year was simply something I didn’t expect. For those of you who have hung on through the months of plugin updates, thank you! There are a few improvements I think you will be happy to see. For those of you who are new, welcome! There is a lot of information already here and a lot more to come.
So what has changed?
First there is a subtle but important name change. Bit51.com is now known simply as Bit51. For me this means it has grown up, if you will, from a side project to something with a life and identity of its own. It has become what I always dreamed it could be but never knew if it would make it.
Next, the most obvious change is the theme. It is now responsive and, hopefully, easier to read and navigate. I spent a lot of time trying out different themes with the goal of something that was both portable and usable. The result is a custom theme built on the Genesis Framework that will greatly improve the experience and, therefore, the information this site offers.
After the theme is features, I’ve changed a lot on here. While all the content has been carried over both category and menu structure have been simplified to make it easier to find your way around. Next, for those who don’t care to read it in their browser, I’ve migrated from Feedburner to FeedBlitz for my RSS feeds and have integrated MailChimp to handle the email subscriptions of both new posts and newsletters (yes, you read that right, I’m going to start using newsletters to let you know of the really important stuff and share the best of what I’ve learned and found in my development career).
In addition to subscriptions, the software section has also received a major upgrade. Now you can see what others think of my work right from this site and request support for the most important items. What is even better is that with my new plugin partner you can now receive guaranteed support for Better WP Security which also looks forward to a premium offering in the coming months. It is also even easier to donate to your favorite plugins now than it ever has been with both single donations and even subscriptions powered by PayPal both of which should help make it easier for you all to support my software and make it easier for me to concentrate on managing the software and not my books.
Finally, I’ve been able to refocus my efforts a bit overall. Instead of trying to be everything web to all people Bit51 will now focus solely on matters that mean the most to individual developers and site owners. While that isn’t to say that posts on this site can’t help others I’m going to focus on making life easier for folks who do what I know best, being the sole developer and manager of websites of all sizes.
Before I close this today I just wanted to say thank you. When I first launched Bit51 almost 2 years ago my only goal was that I would learn a little bit more about managing such a site and the business behind it. My only other hope was that someone out there might read it and maybe, just maybe, it would eventually pay for itself.
Thanks to you both my goals and hopes have not only been realized but far exceeded. You guys have pushed Bit51 to hundreds of visitors a day even in lieu of regular updates over the last months. You have also shown your support in not only making this site self-sustainable financially but in fact, in April 2013 alone, you donated almost $2,000 dollars of your hard earned money in hopes that I would make my software better. Finally you have pushed Better WP Security from a scrappy little plugin with a few downloads to one of the biggest and most downloaded plugins in WordPress.org with over 600,000 downloads.
While I can’t adequately put what all this means to me here in a single post, I can promise that over the next few months you will see the donations and other support paid back and more with more software, more features, and more of the content that is Bit51.