Friday, July 11, 2014

So you're thinking about getting a blog redesign...


Well, there's one piece of advice. Here's another. (Sorry non-bloggers, this will be like an in-joke you don't get. Go be sad about it.)

So I don't have the perspective of a blog designer as I offer this advice, but I do have the mistakes I've made as a customer. Yes, while you would think hiring someone to redesign your blog would be easy as pie and you just sit back while they do all the work, you CAN make mistakes and not even realize it.

The thing is, I haven't had a horrible experience with the end results of any blog design, but I have learned along the way that there are things you can do as a customer that short-change your experience.

1. DON'T say you like something you don't.

Does that seem obvious? Well it's not when you're too nice. Related: Don't convince yourself you like something you don't. BE HONEST. If you don't like something you don't have to be rude about it--just say it's not what you were thinking and then tell them what you did like about it (if anything) or give them some kind of foundation to try something else on. Just don't say you don't like something without giving them anything to work with.

2. Do your research.

Most designers have a portfolio. You know your style. If it doesn't mesh with theirs, why would you even consider hiring them? While good designers are able to craft their talent toward their client's taste, they typically have an identifiable style that runs through each design and isn't hard to determine. If you want their best work, don't ask them to create something that isn't to their taste.

3. Don't accept anything but their best work.

Okay, this is related to #2. If they wouldn't include your design in their portfolio, then what's the point? You're not paying them out of the goodness of your heart. BUT to get their best work, you need to ask for something they would be good at doing. 

4. Don't pick a designer just because you like them personally. 

.... Like your friend. NO. It will just make you too nice. You deserve to get what you want, or at least your money does. You need to be able to be honest and sometimes you can't do that when it's someone whose feelings you're a little more concerned about. 

5. Give them something to work with. 

Are you new to blogging? Great! Go buy a pre-made design on Etsy and just walk away. When I got my first redesign, I didn't want anything. No navigation bar, no about me page, no nothing. I thought it would be too pretentious to even mention a sponsor page. Why? I had one follower. (Thanks, Crystal). And I thought it would look too above myself to have a page like I was some big blogger bitch.

But you know what? A navigation bar, a more thought-out sidebar--it would have made the design look way more interesting and professional. So you need to design for the blog you want--the only thing is, it's hard to know what that is when you're just a newbie blogger. If I were designing my blog today, I would seriously rethink my categories (DIY? Really?), but for now I'm stuck with them. Also, I already don't have a Facebook page anymore. My website is already outdated. So what am I saying? Seriously think about your blog and where you want to take it BEFORE you pay for a redesign!


  1. Add this in the mix... DON'T say "I want it to look EXACTLY like so and so". As a designer and blogger myself, nothing annoys me more than seeing the same damn design floating around the web. No no no no no NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  2. I said I was happy with a blog design that I really hated, needless to say I took that as a lesson, one that was pretty pricey...

  3. As a designer, I'd really hate if a customer didn't feel comfortable saying they disliked something! I try to make it clear that I won't be offended and I ask for a ton of information (which I think helps a little bit with #5 - it makes the person give their blog some thought, though not everyone will really visualize what they want long-term!). I actually like to think being friends with me makes people more likely to be honest with me, but maybe that just comes from my fandom background? There's no use in editing stories for people if you won't actually EDIT them, and I have a lot of fanfic writer friends I've swapped stories with.

  4. I stay away from custom designs because they're pricey and because of #1 - I know I'd be to meek to ask for changes if I didn't like it. And #2! Now whenever I see a new blog, I play a guess that designer game because they all definitely have a certain look. I started learning some coding stuff so I could buy premade templates and tweak them myself. Makes me feel cool.

  5. I want a shirt that says I was your first follower. Major snaps for turning life's lemonade into a useful post and I hope that this next time around things will go better!

  6. Hahaha, good tip. That kind of reminds me of going to hairdresser and showing a photo of the exact celebrity's hairstyle you want. But for reals, it's always funny to be able to identify which bloggers went to who because they all clearly asked for the same style.

  7. So pricy! I mean it's worth it if you get what you really want, but goodness some blog designers have really cranked their prices up. But that's also a good reminder to be honest--you're paying a lot for it... you SHOULD be getting what you want.

  8. You know, #4 could definitely go either way. Maybe I should amend that to "friendly acquaintance." Someone you're friendly but not super comfortable with. Because there are some friends I'd probably be comfortable telling I didn't like something. But I could also seem some friends getting too defensive. I guess it depends on the person.

  9. It's so easy to tell sometimes who did what! So many are super cute but they all have that same style whether it's a certain typeface or color palette or whatever. And that would make me feel cool too. Coding just seems like some inscrutable foreign world though.

  10. I am heading to Michael's now to make you that shirt. Glitter, yes? Possibly animal print. And feathers.