Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Layout

.
Bloody hell, this took me so much longer than I expected it to.

Blogger gives us a range of basic templates. And then, if you know a bit about html code, you can go in and customise them too.

But more and more I've noticed some really fancy looking blogs out there. And I think it was probably Sang Lee (Yellow Son)'s blog that finally got me thinking it was time to pull the stops out and create something, er... creative - or at least something more reflecting the kind of person I am.

So over the past few weeks I've been looking at various free blog templates and been frustrated that I haven't been able to find EXACTLY the one I wanted.

This is, of course, because no one has designed one specifically wth me in mind.

The obvious solution was to take an existing one that was kind of close to what I wanted, then modify it (this was the one I started with).

These things are never as straightforward as you think they are going to be. The background doesn't line up with the foreground; the title disappears behind the post-it note; the date of the post appears in the wrong box.

And then when I've finally got everything working, I don't like that photo here, so want to move it there instead (not to mention the fact I've lost the little pencil icon that allows me to quick-edit blog posts).

The best part of 20 man-hours of work later and I've finally got something I think works.

Of course if my visitor stats take a nose dive in the next few days I'll have to conclude my taste in blog design is not necessarily that of anyone elses...

.

58 comments:

Annabelle said...

It's fantastic. Really. I lack the drive and the know how to create something personal. Yours is amazing.

P said...

it does look nice though, so the 20 hours definitely paid off!!
I was thinking of moving mine to world press also influenced by Sang's beautifully laid out blog!

Naomi said...

I like, especially all he photos at the top. Pity I mostly read in google reader now!

Mike Steelman said...

Looks good. Now you have me thinking of changing mine!

Foxlady1209 said...

I like it. I like it a lot. I wish I'd be able to figure out the html thingy.... I'm just not a computer person...

Jacqui said...

Love the collage of photos and your daily calendar tags. Please don't be offended if it doesn't inspire me to lock myself away for the next 3 days while I try to give mine an updated look, only to find that all I've achieved is to lose chunks of posts!

snoble24 said...

i like the way it looks. i dont know how you did it. if i could find out how to do something with my blog id like to play around with it. maybe someone could tell me how to make my blog baskground like you got it

hope said...

I love the header!

Man, now ALL us kids will want to be cool and change our blogs. I don't know if 20 years would be enough time for me to fight my computer. :)

But I still love your space. Thanks for at least inspiring me...I know I have to do the rest myself.

Geneviéve Cuva said...

You've completely succeeded! It's very creative and... can I say pretty-looking? Anyways, good job on the hard work.

starrlife said...

I'm totally impressed! It was very intrepid of you to even step away from the comfort zone. Now the only thing missing is a certain blog on the blogroll?

savannah said...

i have seen the face of god ... ;~D

xoxoxox
vw: quallitt

Kim Ayres said...

Annabelle - or perhaps you lack the obsessive quality and are a bit more stable :)

P - I'd thought similarly, until I discovered there were so many templates out there for blogger.

Naomi - good to see you still around. Will you revise your own blog sometime soon?

Mike - thank you

Foxylady - well you either need to give it a go and learn as you do it, put pressure on a friend or relative who can do it for you, or part with a chunk of cash. Or just decide it's not actually that important :)

Jacqui - I think you've got it sussed.

Snoble24 - set up another blog - a test blog, and play with it - just keep making changes until something starts to work, and if it all goes wrong, nothing is lost.

Hope - or bribe or blackmail someone to do it for you.

Geneviéve - thank you :)

Starrlife - I have no idea what you mean - what's missing?

Savannah - you've been reading too much Bastard...

mapstew said...

The Map approves. Major! Great work sir.

Jennifer said...

Honestly, with all of your fame...I am outraged that NO ONE made a blog template with you in mind. :-)

Jayne Martin said...

It's looks fabulous! I love it. Good for you. Now hop on a plane, get over here and do mine. Refreshments will be served. ;)

- Jayne

Ed Adams said...

Looks cool to me.

debra said...

Well, Kim, I came over from Bloglines to check it out. Pretty snazzy stuffl

Charlie said...

I think it's great, Kim. One suggestion regarding "find your favorite topic": I find they're easier to find alphabetized instead of by number of posts.

Carrie said...

This was totally worth the effort; it looks phenomenal! Great job! :)

Katie Roberts said...

Sorry Kim to be the only negative reaction so far. I do like the creativity - but I did prefer the simple design, loved the three B&W shots of you, and I thought it was refreshing and very original in its simplicity.

The other thing is I have a very slow dial-up connection! So it took forever to load, and didn't look great while doing so. But that's
just me. Feel free to ignore or dismiss my negative response with a wave of your artistic hand, spurred on by all your praise giving fans!

(Actually, I thought you'd like one negative or you'd think everybody was just lying and being polite!)

I'll keep reading though...

Thanks as always.

Jasmine said...

It looks amazing. I should try to figure out how to do something with my blog. :)

The Pollinatrix said...

I like the photo collage a lot, but I liked the wide lines and simplicity of the old layout.

And it seems like maybe the font was bigger before? Which is good for my old tired eyes.

What I find amusing is that because you used the word "hell," presumably, AdSense put one up there for the Mormon church.

yellowsonorg said...

This is the same template I used for mine, Kim. It's actually one of the easiest to modify.

I think you did a great job with it.

As long as you like it, and the words are legible, I say you got a hit!

Congrats on the new look :)

Patrick said...

Looks great..=)

FishBowlResume.com said...

I love the new look! You've done MUCH better than I could ever hope to do!

maybe you have a new potential career ;)

Brittan said...

great stuff

Helen said...

Hey Bearded One - damn THOSE people,(they're just so rude)not to have designed a blog template with you in mind......

Postman said...

Darn. I wish I knew something about HTML code. Sang Lee's blog design is impressive, your new one no less so. It's attractive to the eye, and pleasingly personalized. Well done.

erika said...

I LOVE it! The photo collage on top looks fantastic. It was worth the effort.

Sandra said...

I absolutely love the new layout. I, too, have been on the hunt for a blog template which is exactly what I want. Unfortunately some come close but I am no HTML expert so it ends up looking like a hot mess.

Love the colour, the photos and the two columns to the right AND the way the comment section looks! Good job.

Hindsfeet said...

Don't think it's so much the package as what's IN the package that we're all here for...You could probably have a backdrop of a small defenseless country being hit by napalm and we'd still trudge through the wreckage to read your writing...

...so bring on the little extras if that's what you're little heart desires, but the substance of your stuff renders the bells and whistles unwarranted...

...how refreshing...

: )

LegalMist said...

It's very nice - I like the colors and layout. I am sure it won't cause a dropoff in readers - you might even gain a few!!

Pundurs said...

Well, I do use mostly RSS for reading blogs, but i really love your layout. Fancy, colourful and kinda upbeat. The 20 hours were worth it!

Library girl said...

It's gorgeous :) I found one I liked but had to do some slight tweeking as well ... and I mean really slight but it still took me a few hours! Even though I just come here for the great content, the packaging is a job well done!

Falak said...

It is beautiful!! specially the pictures on top....... Your blog is fun to read even if you post it in the form of a plain word document without all the fancy stuff. But I still love the new look:)

Kim Ayres said...

Mapstew, Ed, Carrie, Patrick, Brittan, Erika, Punders and Falak - thank you :)

Jennifer and Helen - I know, it's astounding, isn't it?

Jayne - well, if you can raise the funds for the flights and accommodation for a week in the States for me and my family, I'll design your blog and take your photo :)

Debra - ah, so this is the way to tempt people away from their blog-readers...

Charlie - Just for you, Charlie, I've changed it :)

Katie - BURN THE HERETIC!!! Actually, I did think about it. Back in my previous life as a web designer, dial-up was the norm and I used to get into all sorts of arguments with graphic designers about creating sites that were too image heavy. These days, the vast majority of people have broadband, so I thought I'd take advantage of it for the first time. But I take your point, and it's being lodged somewhere in the back of my head for future consideration

Jasmine and Postman - set up a test blog to play with designs - that's what I did, until I felt I'd got this one the way I wanted it

Pollinatrix - there was an athiest fundamentalist site I used to visit where the ads were nearly always religiously based for that very reason :)

Sang - an earlier incarnation I tried out ended up looking too much like yours :)

Fishbowl - if you find the right older blog posts, you'll see I used to run my own web design business, but I sold it to do something that gave me more meaning to my life :)

Sandra - the 2 columns on the right was important to me - the previous one meant I just scrolled down forever to get to some of the links I wanted.

Hindsfeet - I like the idea of setting a scene - giving people a flavour of what's to come via the design. Well, I guess that's how book and magazine covers work. I can actually picture your description quite well, although I think I'd have disappointed war-movie enthusiasts turning up...

LegalMist - I figured I'm more likely to lose than to gain, primarily because of the reasons mentioned by Katie, above, about problems for poeple with slower connections. It is a very file heavy site now

Library Girl - I like your one - it's welcoming and friendly :)

Helen's Angel said...

Ooh, like the photo montage Kim

bonequinhoda bic said...

Man I really love your new layout,I would like to have a cup of the creative juice that you´re drinking.
Congrats.

straw76berry said...

wowie thats funky...I want a kewl one but alas don't have a clue how !!! :-( xx

Boyd said...

Wow, it looks awesome!

The Confessionist said...

I love it! Well done!

Goodmood Masala said...

Love the new look, and all the effort. All I could bring myself to do was put a picture and change the colours :-)

But even if the visual wasn't appealing, I would read you anyway!

gimme a minute said...

I hate change. But I almost kind of like this.

cannwin said...

I have that same problem. I'm constantly changing my background unhappy with what I have. then I discovered that I like minima stretch the best but of course you can't find anything that looks nice for a background. I wish I knew more html than I do...or that I had anything bordering on CG talent. but I don't, so I end up unsatisfied yet again. Someday if I ever get more followers maybe I will pay someone to make it what I want. -sigh-

Your's looks very nice.

Gitta said...

Two words:
Fantastic layout

Love, Gitta

Mimi and Tilly said...

I love it. The colours, the pictures, and the format. It's fab. In fact, if I can be so bold, I think I like it better than the old layout.

Kim Ayres said...

Helen, Boyd, Confessionist and Gitta - thank you :)

Bonequinhoda bic - it's quite simple - just go down to the crossroads at midnight...

straw76berry and Cannwin - go to the sites that offer different templates and follow the instructions. Just set up a test blog first with a couple of posts and a couple of links in the sidebar, so you can try it out on that rather than your main blog

Goodmood - I'm not actually recommending that anyone go to this amount of effort just for the look of their blog. In fact, if I'd realised it was going to take so long, I really wouldn't have done it

Gimme - high praise indeed - I am not worthy

Mimi & Tilly - be so bold, be so bold!

Helena said...

Oh its all different! crazy! but i like it :) Maybe one day i will attempt making my own template too.

problemchildbride said...

Wow, look at this place! I saw your link on Facebook but got distracted before I could get to it.

Well flooming done, Kim!

Sami said...

Love it! Glad to know that I shouldn't give up trying to customize mine...20 man hours translates into something like 40 "mom of two small boys" hours...sigh...

Pat said...

It's the first thing I noticed - the new look, and it's pretty cool. Well worth the 20 man hours I think. Do you hear me applauding? NO? How 'bout now?

Chastity Flyte said...

This looks wonderful! I'm getting frustrated with the the lack of 'me' with my blog template, but I'm not sure how to go about altering things!

I am GREEN with envy, Mr Clever!

x

Entrepreneur Chick said...

I want to say "bloody hell", but it's going to sound perfectly stupid becauss I live in Texas. Boo.

Midnitefyrfly said...

LOVE IT! It reflects your creativity beyond your blog beautifully.

Kim Ayres said...

Helena - go for it

Thank you, Sam - I still love your header bar - one of the best of all blog header bars :)

Kim Ayres said...

Sami - it should have translated as "2 competent person hours!

Pat - louder, louder!

Chastity - as I mention in other replies above, set up another test blog with a couple of test posts and test links, then play with it and kepp playing with it until you have something you like, then transfer it to your main blog :)

Entrepreneur chick - you should adopt it as a tag line for one of your businesses - "Bloody hell, it's Entrperenuer Chick!!!"

Midnihtfyrfly - thank you :)

Julie Buz. said...

O Bearded One, thank you for inspiring me to go ahead and tweak my OWN layout! I had no idea of HTML language before I'd read your post, but I went boldly ahead, and I did it! Thank you bunches, and keep on rambling! I kinda like it here... it's nice and warm and it looks like there's plenty of tea... :o) (Not mentioning the wonderful, wonderful layout.)

Kim Ayres said...

Julie - welcome, and thank you for your warm words :)