Some things have changed around here: I decided to upgrade the site with a paid theme.
Shopify comes with a handful of free theme options and I only explored them when I initially built the site a few years ago. Now that the brand has morphed into a beast that is quite different from what I initially planned, I knew it was time to make some changes.
I wanted a new site design that let me focus on my main publications and not feel like a bastardization of a cheap clothing brand (which most Shopify themes seem to look like). I wanted to be able to create pages that feel different from one another and highlight the individual personalities of each product, but still had a sense of identity for Chain Assembly as a whole.
Aside from that, I also wanted my blog to look much more professional than it did before.
Before this change, I was paying $15 a month for a third-party app called LayoutHub. It was kind of janky but worked to let me create individual pages for each product. It also only let me create 10 pages before the cost raised way higher than $15 a month. Meanwhile, a lot of the Shopify themes have the same or better flexibility and have a one-time payment with access to their support teams.
What I ended up going with is called Pipeline. I really liked the ticker on the sample homepage that can link logos to different pages, as well as the places to add embedded videos behind different section blocks.
It took me about a week to get it all set up (re-uploading all tarot cards and descriptions was the biggest time suck) and I feel like I’m 90% there. I still need to edit the header graphics on each main section and figure out which art to post under the Art Section.
The new structure of the site ties back to a tagline that I have been exploring. I now mount a banner to the front of my tent at pop-up markets: Art, Tarot, and Games. This small description seems to accurately describe what I make and has recognizably helped direct customers towards my booth during highly trafficked events (during Localtopia 2022 I didn’t have the banner and brought in around $500 while the 2023 iteration had the banner and brought in nearly $2k).
By limiting the breadth of my products I feel it will allow what I have to better shine. I therefore also removed dozens of Print on Demand products from my site. I will still have some, provided they are:
- Tied to an existing published project
- Part of a monthly featured illustration
Monthly Featured Illustrations
This new area of my site has a huge presence on my homepage. Inspired by Das Bootleg 13 and the new direction for House of Shadows, I wanted to allow each of my illustrations time to breathe. This will prevent my art from being lost in the weeds and will allow me an opportunity to explain why that piece exists and how it came to be. It will also add to the exclusivity of each items.
For the month of May, I decided to begin with a piece from the Pilgrimage of the Penitent, a role playing game that just finished its funding campaign at the start of the month.
I’ve also decided to have short descriptions of what’s in the works at Chain Assembly. As long as I have a banner image and a place to link people, I’ll have a dedicated area for it on my homepage. This will help people who browse the site see Chain Assembly as a growing and producing brand and maybe get a little sense of the excitement that I have.
Right now I’m featuring three projects:
- Pilgrimage of the Penitent: While the funding campaign is over, I have had a few people reach out regarding Late pledges. As with my last few project,s fulfillment is being handled by World of Game Design, and they will soon have late pledges available via BackerKit on my Behalf. Once that is ready, I will link this area to the page, along with the closed Kickstarter project.
- Women’s Wheel: This project is going to be my first major collaboration and as such will come to fruition much more slowly then my usual projects. Still, I’m very excited about it as I will get to explore an area of divination and self exploration that I would not be able to explore on my own. It is still in a very early stage but I want my followers to know about it as soon as possible.
- Lies by Omission: LxO is kind of live already- I have the first draft of the rulebook free on itch.io and I’ve created a landing page for it on my site- as well as a backerkit launch page. The plan is to have a printed version of the book launch on Kickstarter alongside at least two campaign settings; one from me and one from another writer exploring the ruleset.
- The Curiously Carnal Tarot: While I didn’t have any part in the design on this project, I did help with consultation on it- so I wanted to give the creators a place to shine with ym audience. I’m extremely impressed with the guidebook and art that this deck shows and I need people to see it. Plus, I know that most of the fans of my work will also be fans of this project.