There is a new look around here! Refreshing both the functionality and aesthetic of my blog has been on my mind for a while; it’s the type of project I would prefer to dive in and knock out in a weekend, but I stopped waiting and chipped away at it in bits and pieces.
I worked with Sarah / Spunmonkey design, who came highly recommended by several sewing bloggers. She is also “one of us!” and blogs at Sew What, Sherlock along with selling cool paper piecing patterns (I linked one of them in this roundup!). ‘Spunmonkey’ makes me think of Monkey Island, which is irrelevant but awesome. Sarah offers lots of options including WordPress transfers, Woocommerce setup, and WordPress site maintenance. What I sent her would’ve qualified as a “hack clean-up”; up until now my blog was the product of many late night Google searches, “let’s see if this works”-s, and slow incremental improvements.
Sarah was SO GREAT to work with. Truly, it felt like I had a fairy godmother who just waved her wand and fixed things. I probably spent hours by myself deciding on a theme the first time, and she made the process so much easier, with a better end result. She answered all my questions quickly and was always happy to break explanations down to the simplest terms for me. There were several instances where I’m sure she would’ve preferred to tell me to buzz off and let her fix something when I was asking her to teach me how to do it on my own! I bought a service retainer plan and it is such a relief knowing I have someone I can email for a straight answer when I have technical problems. I highly recommend hiring her; I’m so thrilled with how my redesign went and the finished result.
One of the big changes I made was adding a static landing page. If someone is coming to my site, I want to focus their attention on what they can expect, highlight the sewing patterns I sell, and entice them to sign up for my newsletter. Especially on mobile view, almost all of that information was lost – people just saw whatever I’d most recently posted about. Not anymore! This is what Swoodsonsays.com looks like now:
And how it used to look!
I organize all my posts into a few different categories, for ease of browsing, and I was typing the HTML in by hand to sort them into tables. It was a time suck at the end of each week, and it looked really awkward when viewing in mobile. You can see how my “creative inspiration” page looked before (left) and how it looks now (right).
And a before/after on a laptop. It also now updates automatically, sorting by which categories I tag it as, which is convenient.
Over half of my visitors are reading off of a phone or a tablet, so it is obviously important that I make my site easy to read in mobile mode!
My first logo is very, very dear to my heart. My friend from middle/high school, Laura hand lettered it and it’s so special! I love the little needle and she did it exactly how I sketched. She is super talented, check out her Etsy shop for a bunch of hand lettered goodies!
BUT. The flourishes and script didn’t feel like me any more. I’ve written before about how sewing/blogging has made me reflect more on my actual, intentional style (as opposed to ‘it was a good deal’ style) and this is a byproduct of that focus. So, I shopped around online and bought a font I liked, some watercolor elements, and got to work in Picmonkey!
Purple is my very favorite color, so that was an easy choice.
Something else I struggled with in using my old logo was making an attractive square logo, which I need sometimes. Now it’s cohesive and easy to read!
Of course, I had to update my Facebook page…
and refresh the logo on Twitter too!
I feel so good about the overall look and easier navigation! I’m also glad I dove in and hacked away instead of waiting until I felt like I didn’t have other things that were more pressing, or for a big chunk of time to do it all at once. Like most things, it’s better to start and edit along the way than keep planning.
I think I’ve ironed out most of the kinks, but if you stumble on anything you think is wonky, please let me know. I hope you like the new look!