Where am I? :smile:
As I shared with you last week, this weekend I’m unveiling The Mezzofanti Guild - Version 3.0, completely redesigned and redeveloped from the ground up (by yours truly).
I’ve been working hard at this literally for months (lockdown pastime :wink:), and while the perfectionist in me would have preferred to wait longer to iron out some of the smaller details, I just couldn’t wait any longer to unveil it.
It’s far from finished but I’ll be rolling out the rest in stages.
This is the third major release of my language site in almost 10 years - but the most significant by far.
I’ll explain why.
Why did The Mezzofanti Guild need a change?
Firstly, it’s probably been at least 6 years since a site update was rolled out.
That’s a long time with no changes!
The previous design was actually never completed - it was built in a hurry, was full of design and SEO problems, and ran poorly.
Web technology has also evolved a lot in that time so it was archaic.
This upgrade is more than just a fresh coat of paint.
I’ve aimed to completely overhaul the UX (user experience) of the site, simplify navigation and structure, and give the site a clearer purpose.
There’s also a host of massive technical and SEO enhancements that I won’t bore you with the details of. :smile:
The Mezzofanti Guild has always been “just a blog”.
Donovan Nagel’s blog about language learning, to be specific.
However, my original plan for The Mezzofanti Guild back when I started almost a decade ago was to create a more community-focused platform or editorial. In fact, the original tagline was:
“An Online Community Of Serious Language Learners”
The purpose of this relaunch is to get back to striking the perfect balance between my language updates and unique, community-powered content.
I’ll be rolling out a number of additions in the coming weeks to facilitate this. The first of which will be integrating the recently resurrected Language Forum (also in the process of a complimentary redesign) with the site itself.
You can head over there now, make an account and introduce yourself.
The other point I want to make is that I really, truly lament the direction so many blogs (new and old) are heading in recent years.
Blogs that once produced amazing content no longer do.
Everyone’s scrambling and so desperate for search engine visibility that authentic, enjoyable, human content in this space is diminishing because of it.
Bloggers are writing to impress search engines, not people.
In short: SEO is killing creativity.
This v3.0 relaunch is to reestablish a “readers first, Google last” content strategy.
Something that nearly every other language blog has abandoned.
The problem with The Mezzofanti Guild up until now is that it was poorly organized and had no clear structure.
I’ve had many people email me saying things like:
“I love your content but I have to ‘sift through it’.”
This was detrimental from an SEO perspective, but more importantly subtracted from the overall user experience and return readership. So I’ve completely restructured the site to make navigation more sensible, including among other things an InstantSearch feature (try searching for something up top).
You’ll also a notice a new “dark mode” toggle to spare your eyes reading at night. :first_quarter_moon_with_face:
In the coming weeks, various new ‘app’ sub-sections with unique language resources will be rolled out as well.
Relaunch was needed after years of dormancy
I’ve been mostly inactive on this blog for over 3 years.
This is due primarily to the fact that I got married and had two little ones, moved country, and due to other business pursuits sucking my time away, I just had to put full-time language blogging on the backburner.
This meant that I also had to hand management of TalkInArabic.com over to close friends.
Well… things have changed this year.
We’re established now as a family, and I’m back into focused language study again (currently learning Icelandic).
This means that I’m now recommitted to working full-time on The Mezzofanti Guild, sharing weekly content (here, on the forum and on social media) and posting my language progress updates as I used to.
I felt that a complete redesign of The Mezzofanti Guild was a good opportunity to “reset”.
How to follow The Mezzofanti Guild
You’ll notice that there are presently 4 main sections of this site (more coming so stay tuned).
The names are fairly self-explanatory but I’ll explain anyway:
How-To’s refer to practical guides on language learning or specific languages. Think of this content as the more “actionable” section.
Reviews are where myself or guest contributors share thoughts on language courses, books and products. You’ll notice that these have begun to be completely overhauled to make them more informative and useful.
Blog is for more general content, articles, language progress updates and miscellaneous info pieces.
Podcast is where you can navigate and listen to episodes of the Language Learning Made Simple podcast. You can also head over to Spotify and subscribe there since it’s the most popular place to find podcasts these days.
Each section of the site has its own RSS feed (if you like to subscribe via RSS reader).
Likewise, expect to see more YouTube content in the coming weeks and months on my channel.
Most importantly: Join The Guild.
Got feedback on the relaunched site?
Leave a comment and let me know or send me an email.