This year, I decided to refresh my house music podcast House Finesse with an updated format, website and sound to recognise all the different flavours we’re bringing as a community now.

I also wanted to shift the website from the original WordPress setup to a more sustainable 11ty build for costs and performance improvements. As a hobby side project, I was keen to focus on the core purpose but also explore ways of learning new tools and techniques along with practising some beliefs I’ve developed over my years.

The priority was to adapt the format to our audience and residents. New DJs were bringing fresh new styles and we had a variety of sub genres that we liked to present. This needed some consistency though and a brand style that we could all follow. I used the existing rainbow colour scheme and powerful typography for consistency and shifted the focus to the individual DJs styles with their own preferred structure, voice, sound and visuals along with appropriate photos on artwork. We’ve also started proving more commentary through the episodes along with shout outs for each other and some of our more engaged listeners to encourage the community purpose of the podcast.

The website was also due some serious love. Continuing the brand guidelines, emphasis is on the colours, typography and individual music styles. I created a standard template that extended the existing artwork format playing into the rainbow colours, bold typography and black labels harking back to our origins of music records along with prominent use of photography to highlight the featured DJ.

Technically, I decided to use the popular static website framework 11ty which provides a simple but performant platform that can be deployed anywhere. It’s current configured on Netlify but this is easily migrated to other static site hosts if required. Being more comfortable with JavaScript but lacking some of the modern techniques, it was a great opportunity to learn with a personal passion.

The podcast is still managed on Pinecast, with the RSS feed now being delivered directly rather than via the WordPress site. This means content can be delivered independently of website updates. Most activity are followers through the podcast apps so most people won’t be affected by any website delays – it’s a compliment to the main audio content.

I’ve been iterating on the process for publishing episodes, using GitHub PR’s per episode and introducing features as required. Most updates are tracked on the GitHub project as issues (synchronised with my local TickTick app), and all releases are pushed to a Google Sheet with IFTTT for further syndication and backups.

(More to come)