Is It Time to Give Your Blog a Makeover?

makeover
by Julia DiNardo of Fashion Pulse Daily
At almost five years in, my blog had never had a design or logo refresh. I know, shame on me. While I had made itty bitty changes to the site via plugins, widgets, and the like over the years, the basic layout and logo never changed, and it wasn't because I didn't want to do it. I hesitated for several reasons: 1) I work full time and was focused on making sure there was new content daily 2) financially, I wasn't making enough off of the site to cover the costs of a major redesign  3)I was nervous to make the decisions that I would surely commit to for at least another few years to come.
I finally came to the realization that the other aspects of my site may be suffering because I never was able to take the time to create a new look, and finally bit the bullet last November to start the process. Right after February the new face of Fashion Pulse Daily launched, and I've never been happier; all of the worry, time, and money was certainly worth it, and it wasn't as daunting as it originally seemed.
Below I've devised a few questions to ask yourself if it's about time to give your site a redesign, alongside some pointers that may help move the process along.

1) Are you embarrassed of the current site?

You may not want to admit it, or automatically get a gut reaction, perhaps even a tad bit unconsciously, that your site makes you cringe. After some blogging under your belt, you may feel like your site is just a little too novice looking, or perhaps you are sick of seeing the background skin color over and over again! Which leads me to….

2) Does your site no longer reflect your blog and who you are as a blogger and a person?

This is an important one to consider, since blogs do tend to grow and evolve, adding or subtracting categories, features, and even the focus.  If you feel that the logo/graphics/layout of your site is no longer in sync with what you've been expressing and feel don't reflect you as a blogger, then it's time to figure out a more appropriate design that does. Sometimes having an unbiased opinion, like from a graphic design professional, can lend a fresh perspective as to what would be a more on target match for your aesthetic.

3) Do you feel any envy over fellow bloggers' sites?

I hate to draw comparisons between my site and others, but I began to notice that some people who started around the same time as me had already gone through several site refreshes, or newer bloggers to the game had incredible designs that I really admired. This made me realize that I had to step up my design ASAP!  Since I do strive to make money with my blog, I feel that it does have to contain certain criteria, aesthetically speaking, in order to rationalize my rates and stay competitive with the other blogs in my category.
Tip 1: Make a List of Features You Love
While I was looking at some fellow bloggers' sites,  I started to compile a document of features that they had that I loved and why.
For me, most of these things would improve the functionality and reader experience, and helped me keep tabs of the elements that I felt I absolutely couldn't live without including in the redesign (a slideshow was one of my must-haves).

Tip 2: Find a kick ass designer, or get your ducks in a row to DIY it
While doing step #4, I found out about Lisa Butler of Elembee Designs, who also blogs, and did an amazing job on my friend Eileen's site. If you like somebody's blog, scroll to the bottom and see who is responsible for designing it, or if it's a WordPress Theme you can easily pick up and modify to fit your needs. If your budget for this is pretty much non-existent, check out Jennine's article on 6 Graphic Design Resources for Fashion Bloggers, or see if a blogger friendly all-in-one option, that includes a monthly subscription and slew of services that can be hosting, mobile viewing optimization, and support such as Virb, may be a good switch for you. Even just switching from one free layout/theme to another and changing the colors or font of your design can breathe some new life into it!

Tip 3:  Sometimes knowing what you don't want is just as important as what you do want

You know you most likely want a new design…but where do you start?! Besides other things to consider, my designer suggested I create a Pinterest board, which really helped me visualize colors and designs that I found pleasing to me…but along the way I discovered that there were certain colors, motifs, and designs that made me instantly scrunch my nose up in disgust. I think it's important to clearly spell these things out when working with a designer, or even yourself,  so that you can cut out a lot of back and forth and get to your final design a lot faster!

Have you undergone a redesign lately? If so, any tips?

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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About The Author

Blogging at her site Fashion Pulse Daily since 2008 and working on fashion's editorial side since 2003 has lent Julia the acumen to think creatively and endure in the colliding worlds of blogging, fashion and beauty. New York City is her backdrop for inspiration (and many a outfit photo), where she is often found on her couch, feverishly typing away at her latest post, with her trusty feline at her side. Follow her on Instagram , Twitter, and Pinterest.

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24 Responses

  1. The Science of Happy

    To be honest, I’m very happy with my layout, it’s very simple and neutral. What really puts me off blogs when they’re overly girly with pastels and florals. I can’t stand that personally but if you like it, go for it!

    For anyone interested, I’m holding a MAC giveaway on Friday!

    http://thescienceofhappy.blogspot.co.uk/

    Reply
  2. Risa

    I just went through a redesign and it’s amazing the difference it makes … both for my personal feelings toward the space and the response I’ve received. Your blog design instantly tells people who you, so I hired a friend who is a graphic designer for the job. I think it’s so important that you find someone who knows you — your style and your personality. For me it was all about finding a logo and look that would grow with me … which meant less is more. In terms of blogging, my redesign was the best decision I’ve made so far!

    xo, risa

    http://www.reallyrisa.com

    Reply
  3. Mallory Mitchell

    I really loved this article and think it came up at a great time. I’ve had my blog for 3+ years and finally took the plunge last month and gave it a complete makeover. I felt that (like you said) it no longer really reflected me or my style evolution. I actually ended up splitting my blog into two divisions to help focus the content and branding. I now have a more editorial based blog (MPress) and a completely separate personal style blog ( A Couple of Roses). Thanks for the tips and I hope everybody takes this advice into account!! – Mallory

    Reply
  4. Megann

    I change the look of my blog every now and then by playing around with the columns, widgets and whatnot. I do minor changes and over the years, I have really learned a lot when it comes to coding and my design preferences. For now, I find that what I can do in terms of changing up the look of my blog is good enough for me. I will still probably hire someone in the future to do a complete overhaul of my blog.

    http://spellmegann.blogspot.com

    Reply
  5. moiminnie

    I am quite pleased with my blog’s current design. However, I spent at least one year always redesigning and coming up with new ideas. All that trial and error process lead to the final design that can now be seen on my blog. It really matches my style and reflects my personality and is functional, which is very important. For now, I don’t see the reasons for changing anything, but there are always little tweaks happening here and there 🙂

    xx, minnie
    http://moiminnie.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  6. Z

    I gave my blog a complete make over a few months ago. I had a header which I ended up hating, probably because I hadn’t designed it myself. So I took to photoshop and made my own, which is simple and reflects my blog better.

    A couple of weeks ago, I also made the bold decision that I didn’t want to advertise on my blog anymore, as it was making it seem less personal to me, and more of an attempt at business. I have since replaced the ad space with pictures of things that I love, and I think it has made a whole lot of difference.

    Z

    Bad at organizing time to write for your blog? Here’s what I did. DON’T DO WHAT I DID! Find out why….

    http://www.are-we-on-time.com/2013/04/exam-revision-vs-blogging-how-not-to.html

    Reply
  7. Ashe

    Lawdy! I think a lot of these spell out what I was feeling that led to my current revamp (where I kept the same layout, but changed colors, widgets, header, NAME, etc.)

    And now? When I open it, I forgot it’s changed and go, “Oh hi! You look fancy! And pretty!” Which if I feel that way… well, I just hope others will, as well. The most important point you hit on, whether you change it weekly or rarely– is that it feels like a reflection of YOU.

    Reply
  8. Bridget Lappert

    Before launching my blog, I thought the site was killer. But getting an outside perspective was the best thing that every happened. Asking someone to objectively go through the site and see what’s working and what isn’t is invaluable. I thought my interface was super functional but I was so ” in it” that I couldn’t be objective. Getting objective eyes on your site is incredibly helpful.

    Reply
  9. Petya

    I’ve made redesign to my blog a couple of weeks ago. Finally I started to like it. No, no, I absolutely love it now!

    htpp://peysoul.blogspot.com

    Reply
  10. milaxx

    Not a blogger but someone who reads and follows lots of blogs. Things that turn me off?
    1. Too many click thrus. I’ll do one, but if I have to go multiple pages to read an article I’m done.
    2. Music on the blog or autoplay ads. Hate them and will not visit a site that has them no matter the content.
    3. Overly busy sites. My eyes need to rest somewhere. If your blog is seizure inducing, I’m out.

    Reply
  11. Oksana Radionova

    It’s almost scary how as soon as an idea pops into my head, I see an article about it on IFB! I’ve been considering a redesign, because, like you said, I’m starting to feel like my layout no longer reflects my personality. Plus I’ve got very exciting things coming up in my life, and I need my blog to encompass these changes! I know what I want, and I know what I don’t want, not to just find the time to do it!

    I’d love to hear what you think about it! Do check it out, and let me know your thoughts! Oh and I’m hosting a jewelry giveaway, if you’re interested! XOXO

    http://www.foxyoxiesupernova.blogspot.com

    Reply
  12. Clever Little Buttons

    I have just given my blog a good spring clean and it is so refreshing! It’s not 100% there yet, but then neither am I and as my blog is so personal to me, it should reflect who I am to perfection. Please come and say hi and let me know what you think! It’s always good to share.

    Love
    C x
    http://www.cleverlittlebuttons.co.uk/

    Reply
  13. Melissa Cuentas

    What a great post! Well, I see the different since I started my blog in 2011 until I revamped it on January this year, I always tried to keep it minimalistic, lots of blogs I’ve been following helped me a lot too, they were all minimalistic that looked more professional, and I love how my blog looks so organized, okay, it’s been organized from the very beginning, but people really love it, and I think I’ll keep it that way for so long, I didn’t have to pay to the person who helped me with the design and I’ll never forget that, haha. And now, I really do love it because of its simplicity, I think that’s the main thing on my blog that says about me, I love simplicity so much that with the design of my blog, it says it all. 😉

    Reply
  14. Zoe

    My blog definitely needs a makeover! I think this post has been the sign I have been waiting for! Or avoiding…

    Thanks for a helpful and relevant article.

    Zoe xx

    Reply
  15. scarvesandrockets

    I just gave my blog a makeover today! I was so tired of my old look, and I went in a completely different style direction. Let me know what you think of it if you get the chance the check it out. I’d love to get some feedback and check your blog out too!!

    xx Meghan
    http://scarvesandrockets.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  16. Nasreen

    my blog needs to be revamped!! A few months ago, it was so me but now, it’s not because as you said, blogs change and evolve just as we do. I also really want to detach myself from the usual “white background, header and black text” type blog; I love simplicity but there are far too many blogs like this and it’s easy to get lost in the sea of them.

    http://lazyobsession.blogspot.ie/2013/06/black-and-blue-jeans.html

    Reply