Thursday, December 8, 2011

thoughts about blog design: what am I blogging about and how does that affect my design

This post originally appeared here

I've been thinking about my blog re-design a lot lately. I really really hope that I win the giveaway at oh my! handmade goodness but I have got products to launch for the new year and want to be as ready for that as I possibly can be. I can not wait to wipe the slate clean and start over with my blog design. I think I'm going to do it on Monday... so you might want to come give your two cents about it then. I've so appreciated all of your comments about switching to wordpress. I haven't made up my mind about it just yet so if you've got an opinion on the matter I want to hear it!

Thinking about the design of my blog I want it to reflect the why, who and what of my blog as well as who I am as a brand (but that's a post for another day - or at least another cup of coffee)

This is my blog as of today - before the fold. 
I zoomed out to see more of my design in one screen capture and this is what I got. 

A few things that I've notices about my design is that the things my visitors are looking for are not before the fold (the point at which you have to start scrolling) and not even in a logical spot. 
My footer is a hot mess! 

So what is my blog about? And how is that communicated in my design?

My blog is about photography - it's a place for me to share my photography and a place for newbie photographers (or at least new to photography blogging) can get connected with the community that I have grown to love so dearly.

Here are the designs from two of my favorite art photography blogs at the moment:



 I've been thinking about it though - about if I want to turn my blog towards being an art blog, and there is a big part of me that wants too - but I really don't. As much as I love the idea of romanticizing my life or only showing my best side I know it's not who I am as a blogger or how I want to present myself as a photography teacher. I want to be authentic and honest about my regular, everyday life. Not that art bloggers are in any way dishonest, but they only show one part of there lives. And that's fine. I'm just not that type of blogger right now.

My blog is also about day to day life as a mom - I blog for friends and family to see up to date photos of my kids. I added a tab in my navigation bar to make it easier for family to see just the posts that I've labeled as ones I think will be interesting to them. I need to figure out a way to make that more obvious.

I've been flirting with the idea of adopting a layout similar to the superstar blogger - Casey Leigh Weigland - who is taking the mommy fashion blogging world by storm!

before the fold

screen capture in the middle of the page
 I really like the idea of having a blog like Casey's or Jess from irocksowhat but I don't think it is "me" I'm essentially about keeping things simple.

Want to know something? Simple is HARD to do right. I'll tell you that right now.

One food blogger who is doing simple well is Russell at Chasing Delicious. This is my guilty-pleasure reading.  It's just so very very good. I've never tried a single recipe (sorry! Russel! Maybe one day) but I click over to read every single post. I LOVE the design of this blog - especially the way that the posts only partially display - but you get enough of the post to get a nice big sample and they are still listed chronologically.


 My blog is primarily to promote my photography classes. Would you guess that from before the fold? I have recently started putting a "current class" button just below the fold. I desperately need to have my social media links, a subscription button and a place for people to subscribe to a mailing list (screams of horror!!) before the fold - because from what I've read + experienced these are the best ways of connecting with my future and customers and creating the type of readership base that will convert into sales. 



Look at how much this design crams in before the fold! I'm super-impressed.Obviously I have my work cut out for me.

But then again blogging design is only part of the equation. I just ran into what is supposed to be the number one, million dollar mom blog and I was blown away by the lack of design so -I'm going to end my little rant there.

What do you like about your favorite blog's design?

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