Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blog Makeover 2012 | What I Did and Why

I had a blog makeover. In case you didn't notice already, I decided to write a post to announce it and of course, commemorate this blog milestone ;p

I wished I remembered to take a screenshot of my last blog design, but alas I didn't.

Recently we went for a family photo-shoot and just last week I received the proofs. They are not even the final images but I loved them so much and just couldn't wait any longer before using them for my new blog design. A lot of people have commented that they like the photos too and I'll be posting more information on where they were taken, and a special package for my readers at the studio once I receive the final images and products. I probably should have posted on the photos first before using them for the blog design but sorry, I just couldn't wait!

Here's how I changed my blog design and the rationale behind it... in case you are thinking of redesigning your website design too. I did everything myself so forgive me if it looks pretty amateur, and still needs some tweaking. Didn't really feel like paying anybody to redesign my blog for me haha. Main idea behind this new design is to have a cleaner look, yet not losing my unique personality.

The first thing somebody sees once they come to your blog, I wanted a simple yet eye-catching header that will not compete with the rest of my contents. Sakura Haruka is essentially a family blog and the header photo I chose says it all :)  This is the same design that I use for my Facebook cover photo as I want to streamline my designs across all my social media accounts.


Yes, I made changes to each of the pages too. Rewrote some of the text and made it more inviting with new family photos :)  Also added a new page for my weekly Wordless Wednesday Linky Party. Did you know that you can link a page to web address now? I swear it wasn't there the last time I created a page haha Anyway this function allows me to compile my #WW linky posts in one page, making it easier for readers and linkers to find.

It is much simpler for readers to find info about me and to navigate my site with pages, whether it's to find out more about me & my blog {About}, my contact details {Contact}, top blog topics {Best of}, advertising opportunities {PR/ Advertising} or kid-friendly places in Singapore I recommend {Kid-friendly Singapore}. Here's some other pages your can consider making for your blog.

I threw out some widgets for a cleaner sidebar It's like cleaning your home - you just gotta be ruthless with the junk. What's most impt to me is now is for my readers to be able to connect with me and to find posts that they like so I kept mainly my social media links, blog archives, search plugin and blog buttons. I also tried to make my sidebar widgets, photos and buttons a uniformed size.

A new feature I added was the 2 new photographs right at the top giving a short explanation of who I am - Ai Sakura, Mama to Lil Pumpkin and wife to Dr Dru. Hopefully this will cut down the media pitches I receive that still address me as "Dear Blogger" or say that I have 2 kids. Really, PR firms, I'm making this very easy for you guys now ;p

Main Body
The text colour {black} and font {Georgia} on white background is now easier on the eyes even on mobile devices. Previously, I had a pink cursive font which I loved but was probably not a good idea as it didn't turn out well on mobile devices sometimes. I also changed my post signature to fit in with the rest of the design too.

I think a lot of bloggers tend to forget this area. I used to have my post labels here but the list just kept growing longer and so the area just kept getting bigger haha... I don't think the labels are used much for readers to find my posts so I just removed that and put in my social media share buttons again. And of course, my copyright information. That's all as I don't want to clutter up this area too.

Blog Buttons
Yes, I redesigned my blog buttons too! It's a Sakura flower with my blog name on it. Something classic, impressionable and streamlined with the rest of my blog design and colours.


I wanted to keep my old WW linky button {you know, the cute one with Lil Pumpkin} but something's wrong and it doesn't show properly at the sidebar so I decided to just design a new one to fit in with my blog button. It wasn't showing properly until yesterday when I discovered what was wrong with the html code. Gosh I feel like such a genius when I solve html probs like these ;p

Sakura Haruka's wordless wednesday

Again, I'm using my blog button with the rest of my profile pics on social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Go ahead and grab my buttons if you like :)

So, what do you think of my new blog design? Suggestions for improvements welcome!



Crash Test Mummy said...

I love it! Very clean and chic and still has your personality. Great job!

Unknown said...

I absolutely love it!! It's so clean and easy to read. Everything looks fresh and well laid out. Awesome job Ai! I really love your header...too cute! I can't believe you did it yourself...wish I knew how to do this type of stuff myself lol. Love, love, love it! :)

PandaBelle said...

I like the new blog design ... so chic! :)

Lyndal said...

oh honey i love it! it looks gorgeous!!

Susi said...

Love the new look and the pictures. You did a great job. I'm like you... I do it myself rather than paying someone. :)

Ai Sakura said...

Laney: thank you!!

Brandi: thanks! all was just some simple design work on Photoshop heh.. wish I knew how to work that software more. I've seen wonders done using it!

Belle: thanks dearie!

Lyndal: glad you think so :)

Susi: yes.. also the ideas came along as I worked so easier if I just did it myself than ask someone else. Everything just took about 3 days. If I asked someone to help it might tk a month before I see results!

Yvette Bowyer said...

Before I even looked at the title of this post - I was like.. wow what a great makeover!! So clean and crisp!! Perfect for your personality!! :) I love it!!

Deb @ home life simplified said...

Love the changes - easy to read, still fun and full of personality!

Redcliffe Style said...

I love it, you have done a wonderful job!! Rachel x

Stacy said...

I just LOVE the photo! All 3 of you look good. Dunno about you, but for me, that's very hard to achieve...

Anonymous said...

Looks great! And thanks for summary as to what you did and why. You've given me a few ideas... and I am someone who doesn't utilise the footer - yet! ;-)

Emily said...

Gorgeous. Love it all!

Ai Sakura said...

Yvette: haha thanks! glad the header worked the way I wanted it to ;p

Deb: thanks!

Rachel: yay thank u!

Stacy: it's hard for us too :) but it was a fun photoshoot so I guess it shows on our faces!

Lisa: glad it helped u!

Emily! awesome! glad I did it heh

Karen said...

A lovely read and an awesome revamp job.

Ronnie said...

Love. It.
Well done, it definitely makes the content much easier to read!
Ronnie xo

Grace said...

It's gorgeous, Ai! Beautiful like you and your family! Love how you've also made it cleaner but especially "easier for the PR companies" Haha! x

EssentiallyJess said...

I love it! So crisp and clean! Ive been meaning to remove the tags cloud from my blog too cause there really is no point to it.

BossyMummy said...

Love the make over! So clean and fresh :)

tahlia @ the parenting files said...

I love it! So fresh and so inviting! Did you do it all on your own? Job well done xxx

Rhonda - Silly Mummy said...

Congrats! It looks awesome... I like pink! Great photos too. Well done.

~Summer~ said...

Just popping by to say you did an awesome job. Love how clean and fresh it is now, and your pics are gorgeous! =)

Unknown said...

LOVE the new design. The light pink is so pretty and easy on the eyes. well done cleaver lady. I think I might just have to change my blog every year but I'm getting that itch again to change something lol.

Susan said...

Love the new look. And because I love pink as much as you, I've updated my social media buttons too :)

Veronica @ Mixed Gems said...

Looks really great, Ai. Thanks for walking through how you did this. I have to go update your button on my blog now.