My Simple and Mostly Free Blog Makeover

You may have noticed the site has a new look. I’ve wanted to give the blog a makeover for a long time but it wasn’t until now that I took the plunge.

If you forgot, here’s the before: 

Microsoft Paint header.

Boring sidebar.

Old headshot.

I wanted to shake things up but I had strong ideas about what I wanted. Lots of white space. A cool use of the splatter theme I’d always envisioned. An easy-to-read look with eye-catching colors.

My first step was a new header. That’s always been my #1 priority. I’ve always been kind of embarrassed by my old one, made in a few minutes using Microsoft Paint because I have no PhotoShop skills.

The header was the thing that wasn’t free. I went to 99designs.com for it. I was really pleased with a lot of the options I got and I had fun crowdsourcing options from my readers.

Once I had the header in place I changed a few of my color settings to accent the red and orange in my header. Very simple, took just a couple of minutes.

I still have my designer’s info so I can go to her for anything else I need, but for now I’m happy with what I have. I’m using my header image for my new business cards, thanks to a little help from PicMonkey. (Although haha! I need to fix it because it has the wrong zip code. Doh!)

After I put up the header I needed some more changes. My strict-looking Times New Roman font wasn’t jiving with my header. So I fiddled with my settings and… voila!

The funny thing is that the font switch was actually the biggest thing to affect the look and feel of my blog. I never thought I’d want this kind of font but it works. And I’m really happy with it.

My headshot needed to go. That one is a self-pic I took in the bathroom mirror. That alone doesn’t disqualify it, but it’s also 3 years old. I no longer have red hair. It’s no longer short. And I never wear it down. So I asked my friend Kathy to snap some pics of me when we met up for lunch. Ta da! New headshot that actually looks like me.

And last, but not least, my fancy new social media buttons. I’ve had tons of compliments on them. I love them. So much. L-o-v-e love.

Guess what? I made them myself. Like I said, I have no talent for photoshop. But I still did it. I used this tutorial from Something Swanky which requires little more than a little PicMonkey know-how, these icons from endlessicons, and for the splatters I searched istockphoto.com to find some that worked for me. It ended up being kismet with everything coming together just right.

I also moved those icons right up to the top of my sidebar, above my About Me. Yes, the About Me box is important, but the icons give a fun visual punch to the page right away that I’m really crazy about. It’s unique and attention-getting.

And that’s it! Just a few steps and it’s all done. No fancy new theme (I’m still using a free one). No one charging me for a full blog redesign. Doing this kind of change a la carte is definitely more my style and I’ve been recommending it to people. Just making one big change (like a header or color scheme) can make so much difference that you don’t always NEED the full redesign.

Has anyone else found that little tweaks go a long way? Any other fun makeovers?

Comments

  1. says

    Love it! I’ve been wanting to redo mine forever (especially the header) but keep putting it off… how much time did it take to redo everything once you sat down and did it?

    • says

      Kate, after I changed the header the font and color tweaks were less than half an hour of fiddling, refreshing and seeing what I thought. Didn’t take too long since I knew the colors I wanted and my font choices weren’t unlimited.

      As for the social media icons, those took me a couple of hours, but mostly because it took me ages to find a place with all the icons together. With the EndlessIcons link it would’ve taken me much less time.

  2. says

    I also do my own design. I started out watching a ton of youtube how to videos. Everything thing from blogging I learn from other blogers who have been very helpful and youtube. my husband bought me a book and said we dont need to buy books any more.

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