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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What am I blogging about? And how does that affect my design?

I've been thinking about my blog re-design a lot lately. I really really hope that I win the giveaway at oh my! handmade goodness but I have got products to launch for the new year and want to be as ready for that as I possibly can be. I can not wait to wipe the slate clean and start over with my blog design. I think I'm going to do it on Monday... so you might want to come give your two cents about it then. I've so appreciated all of your comments about switching to wordpress. I haven't made up my mind about it just yet so if you've got an opinion on the matter I want to hear it!

Thinking about the design of my blog I want it to reflect the why, who and what of my blog as well as who I am as a brand (but that's a post for another day - or at least another cup of coffee)

This is my blog as of today - before the fold. 
I zoomed out to see more of my design in one screen capture and this is what I got. 

A few things that I've notices about my design is that the things my visitors are looking for are not before the fold (the point at which you have to start scrolling) and not even in a logical spot. 
My footer is a hot mess! 

So what is my blog about? And how is that communicated in my design?

My blog is about photography - it's a place for me to share my photography and a place for newbie photographers (or at least new to photography blogging) can get connected with the community that I have grown to love so dearly.

Here are the designs from two of my favorite art photography blogs at the moment:

 I've been thinking about it though - about if I want to turn my blog towards being an art blog, and there is a big part of me that wants too - but I really don't. As much as I love the idea of romanticizing my life or only showing my best side I know it's not who I am as a blogger or how I want to present myself as a photography teacher. I want to be authentic and honest about my regular, everyday life. Not that art bloggers are in any way dishonest, but they only show one part of there lives. And that's fine. I'm just not that type of blogger right now.

My blog is also about day to day life as a mom - I blog for friends and family to see up to date photos of my kids. I added a tab in my navigation bar to make it easier for family to see just the posts that I've labeled as ones I think will be interesting to them. I need to figure out a way to make that more obvious.

I've been flirting with the idea of adopting a layout similar to the superstar blogger - Casey Leigh Weigland - who is taking the mommy fashion blogging world by storm!

before the fold

screen capture in the middle of the page
 I really like the idea of having a blog like Casey's or Jess from irocksowhat but I don't think it is "me" I'm essentially about keeping things simple.

Want to know something? Simple is HARD to do right. I'll tell you that right now.

One food blogger who is doing simple well is Russell at Chasing Delicious. This is my guilty-pleasure reading.  It's just so very very good. I've never tried a single recipe (sorry! Russel! Maybe one day) but I click over to read every single post. I LOVE the design of this blog - especially the way that the posts only partially display - but you get enough of the post to get a nice big sample and they are still listed chronologically.

 My blog is primarily to promote my photography classes. Would you guess that from before the fold? I have recently started putting a "current class" button just below the fold. I desperately need to have my social media links, a subscription button and a place for people to subscribe to a mailing list (screams of horror!!) before the fold - because from what I've read + experienced these are the best ways of connecting with my future and customers and creating the type of readership base that will convert into sales. 

Look at how much this design crams in before the fold! I'm super-impressed.Obviously I have my work cut out for me.

But then again blogging design is only part of the equation. I just ran into what is supposed to be the number one, million dollar mom blog and I was blown away by the lack of design so -I'm going to end my little rant there.

What do you like about your favorite blog's design?


agatewood1 said...

just came across your blog from Simplicity I would love to take one of your ecourses. Thanks for the giveaway!

Kendra said...

i'm a simple design girl all the way. I would love to win your giveaway over at Momma Bird. I'm guilty of having an slr but not knowing much about it :/

rachel said...

You know? I actually really like your design. It is clean and pretty and cohesive. I'm not a fan of wordpress blogs, at least when they have snippets of posts. I like to be able to read chronologically (backwards) and sometimes I don't know how to find the current post (on wp blogs). Anyway, I'm sure whatever you do will be great. I can't wait to see it.

satakieli said...

There's one huge drawback to having a blog like Maegan's (madelinebea) or mine and that's no sidebar for sponsors.

That was a deliberate choice I made, to not have ads, sponsors, giveaways or sponsored posts but that doesn't mean that I don't question my decision all the time! And I've actually been worrying about it a little because I've finally settled on a design I really like, but I'm planning to add a shop at some point next year and have no idea where to put the link, lol.

My favourite out of the ones you've shown is oh my handmade goodness. Love that layout!

Still a little confused about the authenticity comment though! ;)

Faith said...

I hope you didn't take my art blog comment as something negative. I didn't intend it to be that way one little bit. I can not say enough how much I love your blog. Maybe authenticity is the wrong way to diferentiate the different styles of blogging, maybe a better word would be openness.

I do think that some blogs show more or less of their regular, ordinary, unedited life. Like irocksowhat has a lot less edited feel to it. I think blogs like yours show less of everyday life and more life-is-art, it is inspirational and encourages people to open their eyes to the beauty and art of everyday. These are some of my favorite blogs.

But a big part of who I want to be as a blogger is someone who is relatable. I am making a choice as part of my brand, or the flavor or style of my blog, to share the messy and less than picture perfect side of my life. I want people to say "oh yeah, my life is like that too." and feel better about their lives because messy and hard is normal. I have to make a conscious effort to blog like this because I naturally tend to be overly private and I too easily fall into the trap of my ego resting in the perception that I'm pretty much perfect. I don't have time to blog like Jess does, because I'm at a different stage of life but I love how she shares her insecurities and how her audience responds to that.

I don't think your blog is less honest or authentic, I do think you've made a style choice on your blog that is more private - but I love it! I think it will lend itself really well to selling prints, whenever you decide to do that.

I'm going to blog about sidebars really soon - so I'll reserve my comments on that for later, but I don't think you should change a thing!

Jennifer said...

First, I just want to say, I love your blog! Thanks for visiting mine, otherwise, I would never have found you! :-)

Your posts as of late are really hitting home for me because I am trying to buckle down and get specific with my blog (design, niche, purpose). I'm at the next step, and your post is so helpful - it's really helping me think of ways to refine what is working for me.

On another note, hello! Thanks for all the new, cool blogs to discover - which includes yours! I'm your newest RSS subscriber! :-)

[I am] The One With the Camera said...

Personally, I love your design right now, how light, airy, vintage and clean it is.

I do like the "life set to words" blog you had at the very top of your post, it looks kinda similar to what I feel you're attempting with this blog (thought I've only been reading for a week or so).

Anyway, that's my two cents!


Tanya said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I could really use this course!

Zoe said...

I'm glad to see you are doing so much research and analysis! I'd love for you to check out some information about why the concept of the fold is kind of silly for web, though: I think you have great observations about the sites you looked at as far as it being easy to find what you're looking for/ what the site owner likely wants you to do (e.g. follow/ subscribe stuff, stuff to guide readers into your archives, etc.), but I wouldn't worry too much about the "fold."

Instead, you should make sure all signs point to the things you want people focused on, which is probably first and foremost your content, then ways to engage with you and your premium content. You also want to have things where people expect to see them (the one time it's good to go with what everybody else does).

The Rosenau's said...

Came across your website from momma bird it would be awesome to win one of your courses!