I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I have a new blog layout!

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
And I'm so proud of this one because I did it myself!  So here's the story - during my Winter break last December, I set myself a project which was to redesign the layout of my website The Enthusiast's Guide to Jane Eyre*.  And I had fun doing it - I've always enjoyed fiddling with code and making pretty graphics.  But blog layouts are much more daunting to me which is why I've always gotten designers to do them for me in the past.  However, because I really relished tweaking the template for my Jane Eyre website (I absolutely can not code from scratch), I started thinking.  And that led me to try my hand at tweaking a template for my blog despite the fact that I still really liked the old one.  But ultimately, there were two things I wanted that pushed me rework it -

  • Responsive Design: Obviously for Blogger there's a choice between the ugly default mobile view and a scaled down version of your full desktop layout, but I've seen great mobile versions of other blogs that adjusted to the visitor's screen and I wanted to have that for mine.   According to my stats maybe 5% of the people who visit my blog view it in mobile, but still I wanted everything to look uniform and pretty.  So when I came across a template with a responsive design built in,  I was so happy!

  • White space:  In web design, I really like a minimal look with accenting colors and lots of white space.  My tumblr reflects that, as does my twitter, so I decided to bring that to my blog and let that white space open everything up.  I think it also helps for when I post something with a lot of photos - the photos aren't overshadowed by the things around it in the layout and there's less of a clash of images.  It makes me feel better somehow to visit my blog and see everything looking a bit cleaner and brighter. 

Some of the other things I was excited about adding to my site though is a Scroll to Top button in the bottom corner, a drop down menu in the navigation bar and customized post share buttons (goodbye ugly Blogger style!).  So this layout took me much longer than expected - almost a week of pretty obsessive layout re-working.  I want to mention a couple of resources that really helped me figure out all the kinks in my blog too - StackOverflow and xomisse.
I hope this will be a design that will last me a very long time, as I don't want to keep changing the look of my blog.  It's nice when a blog has a consistent, recognizable look to it.  But in this case, I really wanted a little more function with the beautiful form.  And hopefully this design will suit me for a long time.  At least, if I do feel the need for a change sometime way in the future, perhaps redesigning my blog logo in the sidebar will be enough to refresh the look!

And now I have a couple questions for  bloggers - I've always had my blog homepage show the full body of the post because I felt it's easier to have the full post to read for a visitor, instead of having to click through to read more.  But I can definitely see how it can clean up the look of the blog so I was wondering -

Which do you prefer more - Read more/Post Summaries or Full Posts on blog homepages?

And, how often do you click on social media links?

Because I was thinking of putting my links in my navigation bar as text in a dropdown menu, but I was worried that people won't find it as easily or just assume I don't have any if they didn't see the images.

And for comparison - here is the before and after of my blog:


* By the way, about the Jane Eyre website - if you are a fan of the novel or just of the films, I set up a questionnaire to find out more about the likes and dislikes of the fandom.  Please visit the site to take a look at the questions, it would be great to get a large sampling of answers!
*** Hmmm, why on earth isn't my comment count showing the number of Disqus comments??!!  Yay something to stress over for Monday...

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