Tips for Updating Your Blog

I’m ashamed to say it, but it’s been years since I’ve done any hardcore updating on my blog. I worked for so long to get the back-end functionality the way I wanted it (plug-ins, widgets and tweaking the CSS, oh my!), I pretty much ignored the front-end. I liked the look and feel of my website but it was time for a change.  As I start to dust off the cobwebs and venture out on yet another side project…


I’m keeping these suggestions in mind:

  • Changing the design of your blog or website is one thing, changing the vision is another. Changing your look can invariably change the attitude and audience of any blog, which are two areas I’m not interested in altering right now. Rule #1 is, don’t overtly confuse your users. More on that below.
  • When making a drastic redesign of your site, do it swiftly. If your blog has a high readership, broken links, busted navigation’s and 404 errors will not be well received by your readers. Let readers know your blog will be down or undergoing maintenance via blog post and/or social media, they will appreciate it.
  • Don’t change the design a million times. Do your research and find the best design solution for your blog or website. Rushing into one redesign after another until you’re satisfied will not only confuse your readers, it will piss them off. Keeping a consistent web presence is important.
  • Have fun! Refreshing your website with a new design or snazzy feature is exciting and the more fun you have with it the more satisfying the process will be.

Wrapping it up

As you can see, I’ve updated my site with a new theme and I love it! I’m still working on a few details, but that’s all part of the process. The theme is simple and has the similar style of the old design while fitting in with my personality. I’m entering into a whole new re-branding process for myself and this is just the first of many changes I’m making to my personal brand. Reason being, I’m probably going to be making a job change (more on that later) in the near future and want a fresh look to my marketing materials. Re-branding yourself or company is a big deal, but have fun and keeping the above suggestions in mind will help ease the process.

Blogging and Finding Your Voice

Being a young graphic designer, it’s easy to compare yourself to the titans of design. We do it consciously and unconsciously and if you have a blog, I’m sure getting hung up on how many readers you have compared to the big guys can really get you down. This is just a quick post to say, blog for yourself. Make it personal. If you want to attract more clients through a blog (who doesn’t?) keep that in mind but never try to copy or imitate those big design blogs out there. You know the ones. They’re awesome, but there are enough out there to sustain the design community. I’m more interested in genuine thoughts and original posts rather than a round up for 500 unimpressive Photoshop Brushes. These blogs didn’t spring up over night and it took a lot of time, effort and resources to get them to the top of Google. The large design blogs have a number of contributors writing for them, and if that’s something you’re interested in creating, go for it. Just realize that that kind of online presence takes awhile to cultivate.

The blogs I really enjoy the most are ones where I can really hear the voice of the person talking to me through their blog. I like a blog a entry to feel like a conversation. If it’s too technical or uptight, I move on, and I bet you do too.

Identity Crisis

I’ve been struggling with how I want this blog to look and feel for awhile. I really want my little space on the web to reflect me, my personality and my style. I’ve reverted back to the look I originally started with and I’m…okay with it for now. This is a young blog without a following just yet so I feel like I can switch it up and be indecisive at the moment. Sorry, I know it’s annoying, but indecision is a big part of who I am! I’m a  designer that’s never satisfied and am always striving to better myself. I promise no drastic changes in the future…I think.

A Day in the Life

When I first started freelancing/working from home my first concern was my uninhibited coffee intake. Is a pot of coffee an acceptable serving size for one person? My second concern, and possibly more imporant than coffee related issues, was my productivity. If I have a project to complete or a task on a tight deadline, 99% of the time I can get what I need to done in a timely fashion. I was worried about the 1% that I get distracted and find excuses to procrastinate. I knew I couldn’t be the only designer to be bitten by the procrastination bug occassionally so I started reading other great design blogs like Blog.Spoongraphics.com and cmdshiftdesign.com that delve into how to be productive and the day to day “schedules” of graphic designers.  I loved reading these blog posts when I was first starting out so here are my day to day graphic design operations:

• I rise around 7:30 or 8:00, depending on my schedule for the day, and I get ready, grab myself a cup of coffee (yes, I set my coffee maker so it brews the sweet nectar I thrive on before I’m even awake) and I seat myself at my desk infront of my iMac and start reading e-mails. Sometimes I check my e-mails on my phone before I even leave my bed. Obsessive? I call it prepared.

• After checking/returning e-mails I start working on projects. Exciting right?

• Around 11:00 or 12:00 I grab something to eat and usually have lunch at my desk. I would recommend taking a break for lunch, maybe checking Twitter or Facebook, or watching some TV. Sometimes I walk my doggie or take a minute to clean or workout. I find that getting away from your desk a few times through out the day helps productivity and fights off burnout.

• When 2:30 or 3:00 rolls around I warm up what’s left of my morning coffee for a much needed pick me up. By this time I have an idea how my next day will look so I start to compile my to do list. Thank you Evernote.

• I usually try to quit working around 4:00 or 5:00 PM. At this time I switch to working on personal projects, like this very website, or reading design related books or blogs.

• By 6:00 I can’t stare at a computer screen anymore and usually make dinner or go out with friends. I still check e-mails through out the evening (not something I encourage) because I like to stay on top of things at all times. I really like to know what I’m going to be doing the next day.

Of course, there are days where this schedule is all out of wack, but that’s the beauty of being able to make your own schedule, and that’s one of the reason I really love what I do. There are times I work on the weekends but that’s in rare cases. I think having set hours (at least as far as your clients know) is a healthy way to balance your work life and your free time.

Establishing a relatively set schedule is a great way to improve your productivity.

Getting the blog rolling

WordPress is a pretty amazing CMS. I pretty much work with it daily on the website I help maintain so I’m pretty familiar with its functionality and power. Which got me to thinking how it compares with other content management systems like Joomla or Expression. I recently worked with  a development company that uses Expression exclusively when a CMS is needed for a site, and I’m curious how it stacks up against WordPress.  Not to put WordPress on a pedistal, but this site is powered by it and I personally love it. Just a quick thought (possible blog post topic for the future) before I call it quits for evening. Have a great weekend!