So yesterday I accidentally launched my new blog design.
The design itself was basically done. I kept convincing myself it still needed more tweaking, but honestly, it was done. But since I wasn’t convinced, I wasn’t planning on launching it for a few more days. Maybe Friday.
At around 10pm yesterday, I sat down and started coding my new email template. I had two tabs open: the tab for my new template, and the tab for my old one which I was using as a reference. When it was nearly done, I accidentally pasted my new code in the tab for the old template and saved. In other words, I deleted the template for my previous design. AHHHH!
Suddenly my new template was activated, but my new design wasn’t! Two hours from that point my new post was going to be published and the email was going to be sent out with the new template.
So at this point I had a mini freak out, and then realized I should just launch my new design. Since I didn’t really plan on launching last night (and at 10pm!) it ended up being somewhat stressful, but I got through it!
So, what’s new?
With this Nose Graze redesign, I wanted to go with a totally new style. I wanted to keep it simple and minimal, but not too plain. I went through TONS of different designs over several months. Here are some of my rejects:
The designs that didn’t make the cut:I started on this one a long time ago, but I got sick of it quickly. But originally I thought it would be cool to have the category name written out on the left like that in big, bold letters.
This was a re-imagining of the previous design. I like it, but it didn’t feel right to me, you know?
Now here’s the design I VERY NEARLY went with. I actually have this completely coded up on my computer. But after looking at it for ~2 weeks, I realized it no longer felt right. It suddenly felt too pink. I still like this design a lot though, just not for me, so I’m thinking of turning it into a pre-made that I’ll offer for sale.
Just to check it out, I tried the same design as before in black and white.
Here’s another design that I VERY NEARLY went with. You can see it’s similar to what I have now but with different colours, a different logo, and just a few other small differences. I grew a little tired of the colours though and decided I didn’t like the logo anymore. But I did also code up this one 100% and I reused most of the same code when I finally settled with my current design.
Here’s just one of my experiments with the font Santis. I fell in love with this font HARD and wanted to incorporate it into my design. As much as I loved it, I found myself getting tired of it after about a week.
…aaaand just some random experiments with logos and colour schemes.
Wow, that was a lot!
As you can see, I went through TONS of different ideas. And I still have loads more that I haven’t shown. I feel like I went through a big identity crisis.
- What did I want my blog to say?
- What direction am I moving in?
- What kind of mood do I want to set?
- Do I want clean lines and a professional look? Or cute and feminine?
- Bright colours or more of a black and white feel, with colour accents?
I finally decided that I wanted a more professional look. I wanted to use a lot of black and white, but still have colours in there somewhere. I ended up with a super simple logo that I’m really excited to put on some business cards!
What’s going on under the hood? Awesome code!
I didn’t just spend a long time creating and coding designs. I also spent a long time completely re-coding my Nose Graze plugin. This plugin is what powers my whole site. It has my own personal version of UBB, the code for my review index, and more.
One of the highlights for me was coding my very own social share buttons
My old ones mostly worked, but had a few problems:
- They didn’t match my design. They stood out (in a bad way) way too much.
- Sometimes they made the page load slowly.
- Some of the buttons (specifically StumbleUpon) broke when I started using SSL.
The main thing I wanted was buttons that matched my design perfectly. So, I coded my own!
Now I cache EVERYTHING
One of my goals for my plugin re-coding was to speed things up. I had some things being cached, like my review archives, but a few things were still slowing down my site. For instance, I noticed that my book review posts took longer to load than other posts. This was because of my related posts section.
My husband helped me code an AWESOME related posts feature about a year or two ago that actually finds related posts based on how many tags they have in common. This makes my related book reviews VERY accurate. If you’re reading a review about a book with political scandals, rebellions, and teenagers, the related posts will show other books that have rebellions or politics. It’s awesome!
But, the related posts have thousands of tags to go through and posts to compare, so it takes an extra second or two to load the page and it’s noticeable. So when I recoded this feature, I made the results cache for a few hours. So they load once, get saved, and then the saved copy gets served for a few hours until it refreshes again. Here’s to faster pages!
And have you see my new about page?
One thing I’ve been wanting to do for a long time is redo my about page. I had so many awesome ideas for this page and I really wanted to put them to action. Well, it’s finally done!
I might still do some tweaking here and there, but overall I’m very happy with what I came up with. I can’t wait to share these tips on my next how to start a blog post.
I’d love it if you’d check out my about page and let me know what you think!
I’m really happy and I hope you are too!
I’m super happy and excited with this new design for my blog. Even though it’s “just” a design change, I feel like I’m on the verge of an awesome new direction for my blog. I still have more changes on the horizon that I can’t wait to share with you all. 🙂 But one thing at a time!