What’s this? A new LORD site?

Yep, finally. I’ve been trying to get around to this for at least a year or two, and it took ages to actually finish once I got into it. And man, did it need an overhaul!

We’ve always been right on the cusp of technology with sites and how we deliver things. Back in the mid-90s, Dungeon (as we were known then) was one of the first Australian metal bands to have a website, and one of the first to have an interactive discussion forum so we could talk directly to fans. We had downloadable songs, wallpapers, and all kinds of cool stuff.

Dungeon Site, circa 2001

Back then, I coded everything by hand. There were no plugins or Content Management Systems (CMS) like we have today with things like WordPress, Joomla, Wix, etc. There were basic page builders in places like Geocities (anyone here remember Geocities?) and WYSIWYG editors in Netscape or even Microsoft Word … which produced some of the worst code you ever saw, that broke massively if you even looked at it wrong. So the only solution was to get into the guts of it myself and learn how to write HTML and include the odd bit of Perl CGI scripts and JavaScript (as little as possible since you never knew what browser would support this new-fangled technology).

Dungeon Site, circa 2005

Dungeon Site, circa 2006

I continued to do this up until 2009 or so, moving the site to CSS and PHP based pages rather than static HTML, and that helped modernise the site a fair bit, but it was becoming obvious that the world was moving on from static pages into a more interactive experience. If we wanted to add content (be it blogs, or image galleries or whatever), it would mean firing up a code editor and an FTP program. Everything had to be written. Connecting to other social networks with more than a link to them? Forget it. Integrating a Facebook feed or a list of topics from our discussion forum into the site was either a major undertaking or impossible.

LORD Site, circa 2009

We dived headfirst into a WordPress based system in the early 2010s, which allowed us to do all kinds of great things. The site now had blogs, it had content pulled from our other social media accounts, and better yet, any one of us in the band could add content from any computer or phone that had the WordPress app.

LORD Site, circa 2014

But times move on. An early 2010s site is a dinosaur in 2018. We’ve moved away from Flash (thankfully) which meant our audio players and embedded videos broke for most people. We’re mostly consuming content on our smart devices with touchscreens rather than desktop computers, so all of the clever DHTML popup menus were fiddly to try and use, and the site just didn’t scale to a mobile device at all. Did we need all of those pages to tap through to get to the content? Because people were using apps, did we need bespoke audio players or image galleries in the world of Instagram and Spotify?

Finally we’ve dragged the LORD site into 2018, kicking and screaming as it went (or was that me while I was programming it up?)

Current LORD Site

My goals with it were as follows:

  1.  Make it MOBILE FRIENDLY. The #1 top priority was this site could be used just as easily as an app on your phone. Menu items would collapse down into a familiar “hamburger” menu which would expand so you could tap your way through to the content you wanted, without jumping through a million pages first.
  2.  Reduce the clutter. When you go to a website, what did you want to see first? Some blurb about who we are? Our photo gallery? No, you want to hear our music, see where we’re playing next, how to buy our stuff, and the latest news first and foremost. Any bio stuff, discography, blogs and all of that stuff is secondary.
  3.  Are you one of the people who doesn’t check on their favourite band’s website all the time and miss out when they release something? Especially something limited edition? You’re not alone. We have a mailing list sign up as the first thing you see, and the next thing you see is our latest release.
  4.  Each album in our discography now has a Spotify player, which is great because you get to hear everything in full if you want, you can add this to your own playlists, and we still get paid for it rather than having short samples on our site that neither party got anything out of.
  5.  And LOADS of content. We still wanted to make this a one stop solution if you wanted to look past just the single front page. That page had to have all of the essential stuff but if you dug deeper, you got lyrics, store links for every album for our own Bandcamp store, iTunes, Google, Amazon… We had blogs, liner notes… everything. And at the top of the main page are links to our various social media accounts so you can follow there. It all had to be easy and rich all at once, and I think we finally got that balance right.

There’s a good chance that a few blogs or bits of info didn’t make it over in the transition, so if you miss something from a previous version of the site, let us know and I’ll see what I can do to restore it.

But going forward, this should keep us in the game for a few years yet. At least until the next technology shift comes along. Let’s see if that’s any less painful as this monstrous task was, hey? HAHA!

Of course, there’s always THIS option, right? 😉

Cheers, all! 🙂

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