How Often is too Often When Redesigning Your Blog?

I’m a blogger (duh) but I’m also a web designer. I love both of these things equally! But I think there’s one big problem with being both of those at the same time.

Blogs do well when they have a strong brand. This brand can come in the form of a unique logo or a layout that’s easily identified as being “x blog”. As readers, we learn to associate certain visuals with certain blogs. If you find yourself doing that, that’s how you know that the blog has a strong brand.

Is it possible to redesign a blog too often?

But what happens when the blog is constantly being remodeled? The design keeps changing, the logo keeps changing, the colour scheme keeps changing. Change is fun, especially for a web designer. I love experimenting with ideas, my own personal style is constantly evolving, I love trying out new coding techniques, etc. And as a blogger, going through change is also fun. Having a new layout is exciting!

However, is all this change good for your brand? If your logo, design, and colour scheme keep changing, people aren’t going to strongly associate your blog with certain visuals. If those visuals keep changing, people may not have a concrete idea of your blog in their heads.

For example, Coca Cola has updated their logo over the years, but they haven’t really had any drastic changes. It has always kept the same general appearance, just with a small tweak in typography or positioning. But we always have that Coca Cola red and the same general font idea. That’s why when someone says “Coke”, it’s so easy to imagine that strong red colour and that loopy font. But what would happen if they went through massive changes once or twice a year? What if they switched from red to green to yellow to pink and back to red. Which colour do you associate Coke with? It becomes harder to pick one defining brand if it keeps changing.

I constantly have the urge to redesign Nose Graze

Finally we get to the point of my post! Really this whole thing is about me having these constant, massive urges to redo the Nose Graze design over and over again. And each time I do this, I stress over printing new business cards to match the new design, and creating a new button, etc. And each time I do that, I worry about weakening my “brand”. Do I even have a brand? Do I need a brand? Should this even be something I worry about?

Just like I’m a mood reader, I’m a mood designer. My tastes are currently changing and I always like Nose Graze to reflect my current tastes. But this might end up with me redesigning Nose Graze twice a year! Is that too often?

How often do you redesign your blog? How often do you think is “too often”?

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60 comments

  1. I think once a year would be best but trying to squash that urge to re-design is definitely hard! πŸ˜› I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years and I’m on my 3rd design now.
    And all 3 are completely different so maybe I have yet to come up with a clear brand image? I’m thinking of doing one when I celebrate my blogversary so ‘a clear and consistent brand image’ is something I’ll have to keep in mind.

    Perhaps keeping that consistency will be easier if the design is less detailed and more minimalist? Something to think about, I guess. While branding is relevant I think it would be more important to bloggers who are also business owners.

    Great discussion as always, Ashley. πŸ™‚

    Nuzaifa @ Say It with Books recently posted: 20 truths from a part time blogger
    1. Coming up with a clear brand image is hard.. especially if you like redesigns. It’s temping to just redo everything (including the logo) when you do a redesign. Sometimes it’s just hard to stick with one similar idea!

  2. Like you, I’m a mood designer too! Which is why I find it SO hard to stick to one design, because I keep changing and tweaking it! Whenever I change to a new design, my readers come back and they’re like “oh, you changed your design AGAIN!”. And it makes me feel bad honestly, so now I’m trying to slow it down πŸ˜›
    My tastes change as well, but for me, one thing is constant; my love for artwork and illustrations. Which is why I commissioned an illustration from my friend, Laura from Cheyenne Illustration! I think the best is that you can tweak your layout here and there, but there should be an element which is unique to your blog, and people can say, “Hey! This is Nose Graze! I recognize this!” that would be helpful in helping people recognize where they popped by πŸ™‚ For me, I’m using that certain illustration, which I’ll be keeping forever πŸ˜› I think the best would be if you have that ONE element where people can use to recognize Nose Graze, and then you can feel free to modify whatever you want whenever you want, guilt-free! πŸ˜€ Haha, that’s me at least πŸ˜›
    Thanks for sharing, Ashley! πŸ™‚ At least now I know I’m not alone in the compulsion to keep changing my design xD

    1. The designs your blog has been through have all been great, Emily. I think it’s great that you always stick with similar illustrations/artwork though. Even when your design changes, I always know what site I’m on. So that’s definitely a good thing! You’re right about keeping at least one element that makes the site recognizable.

  3. I think it’s totally fine to do a different design every now and then. I don’t think there’s a specific time limit or anything like that though. I understand what you mean about the branding though. I’ve changed my blog design over the months but I’ve always kept the same color scheme. I actually don’t even like it anymore but I’m too scared to change it. :3 I like what you said about the Cocacola design though. I think it’s fine and even good to tweak small things in your design gradually. A massive redesign might be a little too much though. πŸ˜›

    Laura Plus Books recently posted: Stacking The Shelves #43: Fall Belzhar
    1. Yeah I think keeping the same colour scheme can go a long way. Even if your design/logo changes, people will at least know they’re still on your site by the colours alone.

  4. In my opinion you can change the look of your blog as many times as you want but there’s still a limit. I’m following a blog on bloglovin’ that changes their entire blog a few times a month and it’s really starting to annoy me. The blogger comes across as uncertain about what they’re doing. I feel like you need to keep some aspect the same, how many times you might change your blog. For example: the color scheme or something that’s prominent in your design (like the butterflies for example). This way your readers will still recognize it and associate it with you and/or your blog.

    Kaylie @ Potterhead Reviews recently posted: Bout of Books | TBR & goals
    1. Eeks, a few times a month is overkill! I think you should really stay under 2 or 3 designs per year.

      You’re right about keeping some aspects the same though. Having one thing that’s consistent across all your designs can go a long way towards enforcing your brand!

  5. In general terms, I think a once a year redesign is good. It’s not too confusing to the followers but it’s often enough to keep the blogger happy. But I think you are the exception. You are a web designer, I expect you to try out many themes on your own blog. I do feel like having to redesign everything, like business cards, sucks but hey, there is always a little bad with the good.

    Me, I hate changing my blog look. I have this urge to stick with one for a long time.

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Kindle & Nook Freebies #94
    1. I kind of envy how comfortable you are keeping the same design for so long. πŸ˜› I LOVE LOVE LOVE redesigning things, but sometimes I wish I could be comfortable in my Nose Graze / Creative Whim designs so I’d stop obsessing over them and could focus on making more pre-mades or something instead.

  6. I would say 1/2 times a year is more than enough and in-between it’s okay if you tweak and change some things about your design, but still keep the overall look the same. I sometimes like to change a font or a color if I feel like having something else πŸ™‚

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: Bout of books Updates.
    1. Yeah doing small tweaks/colours now and then are fine I think. My problem is that I get attracted to totally different styles. I tend to flip flop between really modern designs, really simple designs, then illustrations, etc. Arrrgghh! πŸ˜›

  7. I am so bad for this. I’m not even a real graphic designer, or anything, but I know how I want the site to look and for five years it hasn’t been quite right. I recently changed it AGAIN, with a header and colour scheme and WP theme (thank you, Ashley) I’m proud of.

    But, it’s hard, because I love changing it up and when I see someone else’s design that’s sleeker and better than mine, I get envious, and I start looking around and I change things up… And the whole process starts again!

    The only time I will change again (I HOPE) is when I can afford your custom designs, Ashley. I dream of having my own Creative Whim coded theme. πŸ™‚

    As for your question – I wouldn’t mind if you changed your design one or two times per year if only because I LOVE seeing your themes and graphics!

    Leah recently posted: My Week In Books!
    1. I HATE it when that happens! Sometimes I have this idea in my head that I think is awesome, but I just can’t translate it into an actual design. That’s so frustrating!

      I’m glad you’ve finally gotten your site to a place you’re proud of though. πŸ™‚ That’s awesome and it looks great!

      But I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I see a different style design and I get inspired. I think that’s why I constantly experiment with different styles, like modern, simplistic, illustration, feminine, etc. I love trying new styles and stuff. That’s not great for branding though. πŸ˜›

  8. I think if you knew how to redesign it would be really hard not to want to play, I would. Since I don’t know any of that and want a redesign I am always envious of everyone who gets to play with theirs. πŸ™ Once or twice a year I don’t think it bad for tweeking it and playing around but not all the time. For me I think blog names are more a brand than anything, I always know that Nose Graze is your blog..if you changed that name I would be like….what? Why? But your design not so much. πŸ™‚

    Stormi recently posted: Stacking the Shelves
    1. That’s an excellent point! Blog names are GREAT for maintaining a brand! I’m very happy with Nose Graze so I won’t be changing the name! πŸ˜€

  9. Once or twice a year is ok for me. I also found that it’s ok to completely redesign the entire layout as long as the blog still holds something ‘strong’ and ‘unique’ for the readers to recognize the blog.

    As for my own, same with Nuzaifa, it’s my second year blogging and I’m currently with design #3. I tweak the blog myself so it usually changes according to my mood heheheh if I feel like there’s something I’m not satisfied of I’ll try to redesign it again and again. I’m quite happy with my blog as it is right now so I don’t think I’ll have the urge to remodel it anytime soon πŸ™‚

    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading recently posted: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
    1. I love the colours on your current design—they go well together. πŸ™‚

      But you’re right, if you have just one element that’s consistent across all your designs (be it colour scheme, logo, etc.) that can help readers quickly know which blog it is.

  10. I’ve been blogging for 3 years now and I’ve had 2 redesigns, but that was also because I was still trying to find myself and what I liked. I love my current design and I don’t really want to change it because it really is me and people remember it. I think too often would be like 4 or more times a year unless you’re still new and trying to get your image right. Little tweaks won’t make a difference but a total overhaul and colour change would.

    Kelsey recently posted: Showcase Sunday (70)
    1. Yeah, I think you’re right. It makes sense for people to change their designs a lot early on (I used to change mine WAY more often). But after you’ve been blogging for a few years you tend to settle into a design you’re happy with and go through fewer changes.

  11. I’ve been really struggling with this myself. I have a really bold design that people comment on often and I feel like people know it. Lately, I’ve been really wanting to switch to WordPress, but I feel like I don’t want to change my design yet and I’m just nervous about how it will work to switch over. Just last night I was on your design site, debating whether or not I could get my header to work with your Tweak Me theme (maybe you can take a look and let me know if you think it would work!). I just don’t think I’m ready to totally drop the header yet – at least not until I have the money (and justify the expense to my husband!) of a custom redesign. I want something that stands out.

    Having said all that, I think since you’re a designer, you have a bit more freedom to redesign more often than the rest of us.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted: Sunday Post & Giveaways Galore - 8/24/14
    1. Your header would definitely work on Tweak Me! I suggest you check out the demo here: http://tweakme.supposie.com/wp-admin/themes.php?page=optionsframework

      You can login with:

      username: demo
      password: demo

      You can play with the whole settings panel!

      Alternatively, I also offer a service where I re-code your whole design to work on WordPress. This would cost a bit more than just buying Tweak Me but your design would look exactly like it does now with almost zero differences.

      1. I did it! I did it! (Okay, I did step one.) I went to your move from Blogger to WordPress tutorial and bought the domain and hosting from RFE. My husband’s a techie and he’s going to help me with the move. I’m going to head over to your Tweak Me demo and check it out and decide if I want to do that or pay for you to move my whole design over. I’ll be contacting you either way. Thanks for your help!!

        Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted: Sunday Post & Giveaways Galore - 8/24/14
        1. Ahh so exciting!!! πŸ˜€ You’re going to love WordPress! Just let me know if you have any questions about Tweak Me or if you want a custom quote for moving the design.

    1. Well I think you can draw comparisons. I mean, ultimately it is my blog and I can do whatever I want with it, sure. That may not be true on a corporation site. But some hobby bloggers do care about creating a brand, being consistent, and being recognizable. Those things can be really helpful if you’re trying to grow your readership (which isn’t a priority for ALL hobby bloggers, but is for some).

  12. Great post. I’m going to come back later and read all of the comments. I agree with you. I started my blog April 2013 and changed the appearance almost daily. I don’t have a brand logo, but just purchased a template. I am going to try to keep it the way it is for as long as possible (at least a year). I would only change if I purchased a custom design.

    Pat @ Posting For Now recently posted: Mailbox Monday: August 25, 2014
  13. When I was at blogger I was constantly changing it up because I got bored looking at the same thing all the time. When I came to WP I bought the Morph design and I loved it but it wasn’t quite right. The colours were great, but I couldn’t get it personalized the way I wanted. Then I got you to build my current design and I love it very much. I tweak the font here and there and change up how I do posts, but the overall design is perfect. I’m not sure that I want to change it up.

    After awhile I might get a little tired of the current theme, and tweak with colours etc, but I can’t imaging getting a whole different theme. I splurged on this but I would never be able to afford to do that a couple of times a year or even every year, and I wonder if I would be satisfied with tweaking a different theme like Morph or the Tweak Me theme after having a custom one.

    I’ve seen a lot of people with the Tweak Me theme and they have done absolutely amazing jobs with it. They even look like custom themes to me… but I’m not that good at stuff like that so I would never be able to make it look as nice. Maybe after I’ve had the theme for a couple of years I might change my mind but I guess mine is still so new to me that I’m nowhere near bored yet. LOL

    Carrie recently posted: A View To A Thrill, Lexi Blake
  14. This year alone I think I’ve redesigned 5 times. It has more to do with I like something and then I hate it. I have this idea in my head that I want, which is close to what I have now, but I can’t code it and it’s way too expensive right now to get someone to do it for me. But I do know that when I come across a design I do like, I stick with it for a long time.

  15. It’s tricky because I think most of us have that urge, but not the ability to just do it like you do. Maybe this is the one scenario where your skills are actually a disadvantage? LOL harder to curb that desire when money isn’t involved! That being said I don’t think redesigning a couple times a year is a bad thing IF you can keep some constants. Don’t throw the teal away completely – it’s part of your brand, as are the butterflies IMO. It can have a similar feel and still be entirely different. I’m used to this new design and hardly remember the old one – but I do remember when you made the switch and, while I obviously noticed, it never felt wrong. Also I think your name is so unique that it’s almost enough on its own to sustain your brand. I think.

    Berls recently posted: Sunday Post | 55th Edition
  16. I usually like when a website updates its design πŸ™‚ I believe only two things should be handled carefully: 1) the ergonomy: if the redesign change where the features can be found (main menu for instance), it can be bothersome to search for them 2) the “image”: I don’t necessarily associate a whole design to a blog, but if there’s a catchy logo or image, I will. In that case, I would recognize a blog or product by seeing this logo / image, even if it’s slightly modified.

  17. Gosh I really struggle with this. I feel like it’s harder for web designers though. We just have so many ideas for new designs we want to implement. Plus we’re constantly scrolling through beautiful art on Shutterstock and Creative Market. It’s hard not to give into temptation lol πŸ˜›
    I usually go through tweaks over time as I stumble upon tutorials. I probably made too many redesigns this past year but I think that’s ok in someone’s first year of blogging. I was experimenting more =)

    Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts recently posted: Review: Falling Kingdoms
  18. Honestly I love looking at the new designs! I think if you can maintain your voice throughout, twice a year is perfectly fine. I am never happy with mine and always end up changing it way to soon. I’m trying to hold out this time, and save up to have you do it!

    Lenore recently posted: Sunday Post #17
  19. This is something I struggle with SO much. Like you, I’m a mood designer and my moods are always changing. I’ve redesigned my blog so much and I always feel bad about it because it’s something that happens more often then it should, but I just haven’t found *that* design yet that I just love and reflects me.

    I think redesigning your blog twice in one year is not too often AT ALL. That’s a perfect amount, I think and I’m really working on trying to do that. Only redesign once or twice (maybe three) times a year. I’ve loved all of your designs! I think if you’re feeling like redesigning, you should. πŸ™‚

    Holly @ Novel Bliss recently posted: In Which I Participate In My First Read-A-Thon!
  20. I STRUGGLE WITH THIS SO HARD. I get easily bored with my layout, which is a huge downfall. I probably do change it once a month, even if just adding little tweaks here and there. I always tell myself, ‘Oh, it’s perfect! I’m not going to change it for a loooooong time’ – and then, I go and change it. But I also learn lots of different things about html and css so I like to put my skills to use, as well. I absolutely love making layouts, so the struggle is real in me.

    Rosie // Rosie Reads recently posted: The Sunday News 8/24/14
  21. For people like me (that are not technologically savvy) it’s harder to change a blog completely. When I was in Blogger I paid someone to do my design and I had it for almost two years. When I moved to WP I paid (awesome you!) to move it and design some aspects of it. I think I will stick to this design (maybe changing a bit) for a little while longer.

    I guess we all get bored, but as you said, it’s not just changing the design and button, but business cards as well.

    Liza @ Reading with ABC recently posted: Stacking the Shelves #92
  22. Counting name changes, I’ve changed my blog’s design about… Maybe three times since I started book blogging last year. I’m really lazy about redesigning things though, so I’ll probably stick with my current layout for a while. πŸ˜›

    I think maybe changing designs once/twice a month may be a bit too often. I like seeing pretty blog designs, but sometimes I totally forget whose blog I’m reading because they changed designs. :O

    Ana @ Read Me Away recently posted: Review 101: Book of a Thousand Days (Shannon Hale)
  23. I used to redesign my old book blog so much. Since I’ve started new, I haven’t had any drastic changes. It took a couple days for me to find the theme that I like the most, but they were all basic themes with minimal change. I was just trying to find a sidebar/blockquote theme that I liked. (I’m thinking about purchasing the ultimate book blog plugin, seriously.) The header and post graphics all remained the same. I think I’m going to stay with my theme for a while or at least until I purchase your plugin.

    And I totally get what you mean by associating a blog with the graphics. I never though about that, but it makes total sense. Great post! (:

    1. You’d have to move to self-hosted WordPress to use the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin, but the move is totally worth it! You have more theme options too.

  24. This post is about me, isn’t it (goes and hides sheepishly in the corner). Yes, I did change my design ~again~ this weekend (insert blushing smiley here). In my defense I did get a custom header made (my first one), and I had to change everything else to match it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, lol.

    Finley Jayne recently posted: I’ll See You Back Here in a Few Weeks!
    1. Well, to be fair, I was always under the impression that you were planning on changing your design again. I remember you went header-less a few weeks ago and I assumed you were just waiting until you got one made. So it makes sense that you design the rest of the blog around that!

      But I actually made this post because I’ve been itching to redesign Nose Graze AGAIN. I’m even fiddling with designs/codes as we speak. But I feel like I JUST redesigned it! Argh!

  25. I’ve messed around with my blog’s look a few times since I started blogging in January . I’ve changed it a lot mostly due to my own un-sureness over what I want my brand to be in the first place, but it was certainly interesting to think about how it is good to maintain some recognisable continuity between design shifts, I think once I figure out a brand I’m happy with I’ll keep that in mind for future tinkerings.

    I like the idea that you, Ashley, change up your design often because your pretty designs showcase your design skills which is a key part of what I know you for, so it makes sense that you have a cool, shiny design that matches your present taste at any given time.

    Ren recently posted: A Trip to the Castle
  26. I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’ve had my site’s current theme ever since I started blogging more than a year ago. Honestly, I am sick of my theme (although people are saying my site’s look is great) and I’ve been dying to change it but I am afraid it will affect my “brand”. I did observe from a lot of websites (not just book blogs) that they don’t change their site’s look often. I think once a year or once every year and a half is okay, but twice a year is too often πŸ˜€

  27. So I’m a little different, but we have a lot in common – I’m a blogger and brand strategist with design interests. I read an interesting article by the marketing software Marketo about how a redesign is never finished – if you do a complete overhaul, how do you know which parts work and which don’t? So instead of overhauling, change one thing at a time. So when the boredom comes and I’m “in the mood” to redesign something, I feel less guilty when I’m just tweaking one or two things at a time. πŸ™‚

    Brittany Berger recently posted: The Best Email Marketing Providers for Bloggers
  28. I have the same problem! I get bored very easily with visual things, and even though I may really love a design I made at the time, a few months down the road I’m sick of it. Which is why I really want a new design by you, so I can stick with something and be able to brand myself! I definitely agree that it can get confusing, but at the same time I don’t really care because it’s MY blog. If you want to change it, go for it! I don’t think twice a year is too much. Then again, I’ve changed mine about 7 or 8 times since I started blogging 3 years ago >.<

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Life of a Blogger: Fears
    1. Yeah I think the unwritten rule is that you get one “free” name change. After that it can start to negatively affect you and your brand. People can get used to one change, but if you add in too many… πŸ˜›

      I guess I don’t mind changing my design a lot. You’re right: it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want. I guess I just wish I had one defining element that remained consistent. Like a consistent logo or something. But I find that the logo I make for one design often doesn’t fit with the next design, so I have to redo it.

  29. Since all the years I have blogging, I’m just a crazy redesign enthusiastic. Though, I’m not a web design, I like to improve time to time and with my mood. However, now that I studying social comunication and learn all about brands, my urge to redesign my blog is starting to fade away. Now, I’m very happy with my blog design, though my personal blog still need somethings to be fixen.

    But, I think that two times in a years isn’t too ofter, but I recommend to not change the logo. I think you should make an standar logo that could fix with all your design ideas, or just as the example of coca-cola, take a characteristic of the logo and use it into the design, so it would fix better and you won’t need to change it, so the brand still remains.

    Giovana @ Corazones Literarios recently posted: Premio del Blog
  30. I’m not sure i’m the best person to give advice on this, because i do the same – and i don’t even have the excuse of being a web-designer. I just love plying in Illustrator and occasional little code tweaking – that it!
    I don’t think constant change it that bad, i thing refreshing the blog once in a wile is (well) refreshing and necessary!
    My advice is at least stick to the color shame. (that what i do at least..)

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