To answer the question in the title, it is simple: find a boyfriend who is an exceptionally good web developper. Go out with him for four years and then emotionally blackmail him into redesigning your blog and making it super responsive and slick.
Of course, four years is a lot of time to dedicate to this mission, but eventually it will save you hours in stress and bags of money. Admittedly, it will help if he makes you laugh and is good-looking, but these are bonus features - don't get distracted! What really matters is that he can make your blog look GOOD!
But it wasn't really that simple.
I could have asked my boyfriend, NewMan, to re-do my blog a year ago, but I wasn't ready. I knew what I wanted - a clean design, an easy way to access all the topics I write about, easier ways for readers to connect with me - but I had other priorities like writing a book, maintaining my copywriting business and settling into our new life in Amsterdam.
Then, a few weeks ago, NewMan and I were talking about work and our careers and where we hope to be in a few years time. The conversation ebbed and flowed from him to me, me to him and then he asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks.
"What is your blog doing for you?"
He elaborated to say that he saw me spending so much time blogging, and yes, getting a lot of pleasure out of it, but was it really working for me? Was it achieving what I wanted?
My stomach sank, my shoulders dipped and my head started to spin. I knew the answer to that question wasn't the right one.
I need this blog to represent what I have to offer as a writer, author and travel blogger. I need this blog to open up new avenues for me. I'm going to release my next book soon and when new readers click on a link to my blog to find out more about me, I need them to land in a place where they feel welcome, where they can enjoy the content, find things easily and where they feel a part of my journey, in a way that inspires them to embark on their own.
I need this blog to be a place where I can grow into a proud sunflower, not an enthusiastic but ultimately embarrassed wild weed.
The way to redesign your blog and not go crazy is not knowing what you WANT, it's knowing what you NEED.
Ayngelina said something similar in her newsletter announcing her own blog redesign, "I realised it would never be perfect. I just wanted it to be better.". Well, the same was true for me, I needed my blog to be better, not perfect.
That doesn't mean it was a pain-free process.
I got stressed. I gave myself back ache. I stayed up past midnight three nights in a row. I cringed my way through three years of archives. And I don't even want to count the number of favours I now owe NewMan, but I didn't go crazy. I didn't think "Oh my gosh and golly, what am I doing!?", which is a very normal part of my creative process. I saw every tweak and adjustment as an investment. I just trusted in the expert (NewMan) and I trusted in my faith that the end result would reap rewards.
That remains to be seen. But already I have something I am deeply, deeply proud of. I think I needed that too, because that's really how you should feel about your blog.
So this is how you redesign your blog without going crazy.
1. Know what you need your blog to do.
2. Find a developper you trust (of course, this is much easier said than done but I do believe it's possible), or an off-the-shelf design you love and make sure the design and layout echoes what you need your blog to do.
3. Spend money on it; see every penny as an investment. Spend time on it; know that every minute is a step forward.
Oh, and make it responsive. NewMan says everyone needs responsive designs now.
Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new look. There are still a few new pages and features to come, and there will no doubt be kinks and lost links that need sorting out, but please let me know if you like it.
Now I'm off to plan ways to thank my web developper boyfriend because lucky for me he makes me laugh and is nice to look at too, so I should definitely try to keep him.
P.S. You can still give feedback on the type of content you want to read. Thank you for your time!
Frances M. Thompson
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