Of Blog Design Changes and Looking to the Future

Blog design

Sometimes, I feel as if I should stay away from vacations and personal downtime completely. Case in point – I’m on vacation this week and the thing I did first? Redesigned the blog.

But… there is method behind my madness. Here’s the lowdown, for anyone interested in the thought process behind a blog design.

I’ve written about the changing paths of this blog before. Whereas it was originally a straightforward social media-led blog, I’d like to think it’s grown into something more as I’ve grown as a blogger.

Whereas previously the content has (for the most part) been of the written kind, my future plans include more multimedia, videos, presentations, ebooks and more. This leads naturally to the redesign, and the switch from a traditional blog format to a more website-type feel.

Finding Your Feet and Walking Different Paths

I’ve looked at the blogs of people like Adam Singer, Jason Falls, Brian Clark and others, where the content has still been key, but there’s more to the experience for the visitor.

Sure, you can still read their blogs, but now there’s more to keep you interested and involved – digital downloads, resources and more. And it makes sense.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a “traditional” blog look and feel, the reading patterns and behaviours of web visitors is constantly evolving. And, from speaking with colleagues and watching the analytics of this blog, many bloggers are moving to a site framework versus a blog one.

There are several benefits of this approach:

  • Information hub homepage, where you can inform the visitor what they can expect.
  • Highlight your most important content, from blog posts to subscription details, books and more.
  • Clean call-to-actions, including digital downloads, webinars, partner sites, etc.
  • The visual appeal that a home page can offer, without cluttering your blog index.

These are just a few benefits. There are many more – the ones that matter to you are the ones that should matter on your home page.

Branding and Bigger Voices

Prior to my most recent redesign (yes, it was only a short couple of months ago – sorry!), I’d always had an image of myself in the header. With the design prior to this makeover, I removed that image and went solely for the name.

There are supporters for both arguments – Marcus Sheridan is a fan of the image approach, while Gini Dietrich is more of the name/company look and feel.

For me, there’s nothing wrong with either – a personal blogger may prefer an image to help him or her stand out, while a simple name or icon (without the blogger’s picture) can help extend the blog into something not uniquely attached to the blogger.

For example, both Gini and Jason that I mentioned earlier have regular guest bloggers, and their “name” approach means the blog is suited for that multi-author approach.

Gini’s even mentioned that the blog is bigger than her, and that’s why she doesn’t want it to be known as Gini’s blog. Again, for me, that makes perfect sense.

A blog is whatever the blogger wants it to be, while respecting the community around it that shapes it how they’d like it to be. It’s why I went for the name approach versus the image one.

For me, that’s going to see the blog evolve into what (hopefully) will be a repository for both content and downloads, to help you meet your goals, whether that be in social media, marketing or blogging (at least for starters).

Taking an image away from the header, as well as building on a website-type design, makes that goal easier.

We’re Always Evolving

It’s taken me a few iterations to get the result you’re looking at now (and if you’ve come straight to this post, hit the Home tab on the navigation to see the full design).

Some of my previous designs I was really happy with at the time, while others (in hindsight) were essentially a stop gap while looking for the design that I’d be really happy with.

While there will no doubt be more changes in the future, I don’t think it’ll be anytime soon. Having found the look and feel I’ve been after, it’ll probably just be minor tweaks here and there (a logo versus just the name, for example, though still no image!).

But though the look and feel may change, the goal remains the same – to open up the blog to you, and let you continue to shape it, in the posts from guests as well as the awesome thoughts and questions you continue to share and push with when you comment here.

This blog is as much yours as it is mine, perhaps more so.

Designs may come and go – but the same old me will always be around, waiting to hear your voice. Here’s to continued growth and evolution.

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