Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A DIY Blog Makeover

The new look on my blog has been up for about a week and a half, but I haven't said much about it yet. This one was a DIY project. I felt like my sidebar was getting unruly and longer and longer and longer. I also wanted the look to be a little more cohesive. I'm really happy with how things turned out, so I thought I'd give you a little tour of what's new :)

I changed the header a little bit. I took a new picture and added a darker band and lighter text. I think it makes a big difference...
Old header

New header

My "Tutorials" page is now organized into categories. I used Windows Live Writer to create this page. If you haven't downloaded it yet, I really recommend it for things like this. It's so easy to make a table and add links to all of the pictures.


See that little button all the way over on the right directly under my picture? That's where you'll find my blog buttons now, and I created a new one. Love it!


Point of View has its own page now. This is where you'll find themes and dates for upcoming collages and link parties as well as links to previous Point of View reveals.

I'd really encourage anyone with a blog to get over their fear of HTML code. If there is something you want to try, make a backup copy of your HTML template first, then try it! If it doesn't work out, you can always go back to the way it was. There are so many HTML tutorials out there. Google anything you want to learn how to do and you can find the code for it. Check out my "Blog Stuff" Pinterest board for links to some tips, tricks, icons, and HTML code stuff.

But... if you don't want to take the time to learn or you're just too afraid to take the plunge or you want to do something that might be a little too complicated for a beginner, hire a professional. There are lots of blog designers out there with pretty reasonable prices. You can get a full makeover or just a new header or a snazzy nav bar. (This is where I'll plug my friend Kristin over at Simply Klassic Design. She did my previous blog makeover and was fantastic to work with. Check out her portfolio here.)

While I'm talking blog stuff, don't forget the Gwenny Penny Flickr Group! If you make something using or inspired by one of my tutorials, add it to the group! I would absolutely love to see it :)

One other thing that I haven't mentioned on the blog yet (even though I've had a button for it in my sidebar for a while) is that I am attending the SNAP creative blog conference out in Utah in April! I leave five weeks from today. I'm really excited to meet some of my favorite bloggers and blog friends in real life. And I'm really, really excited because I get to spend four days hanging out with this girl :)

I'll end this post with a blog-related warning/vent. About two weeks ago Blogger's automatic spam detectors mistakenly deleted my blog and about gave me a heart attack for almost 24 hours. Spam detectors are not an exact science and mistakes are made. The thing that really frosted my cookie, however, was that I didn't get an email from Blogger. I was given no notice, no explanation, and no information on how to resolve the issue. My blog just disappeared from my dashboard and the internet. Luckily I was able to do some research and figure out what hoops to jump through to get myself reinstated and prove that I'm not spammy. Let's just say that there were tears shed, but I am glad to have everything back to normal. So the warning... back-up your blog, folks. Do it now! Do it regularly. You never know...

17 comments:

Emilie said...

LOVE the new look!
Question: how do you "back up" your blog?

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

It's perfect! Great job on the makeover :)

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

What a frightening experience for your blog to disappear, how awful.
That tutorial page looks great Gwen, I use Windows live writer to draft my blog posts and really like it, especially for using photos. I need to find out about live writer's other features as well.

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

@Emilie - Here's how to back-up a Blogger blog: Go to your dashboard and click on "Settings". The first thing listed on the "Basic" tab will be "Blog Tools". Just click on "Export Blog" and save the file.

Mom who loves to sew said...

I noticed that your blog looked different.....but I thought it was just me. I like all the organization. You must be very computer savvy....because all of this sounds so confusing to me. Sorry for the near heart attack.....can't imagine how scary that must have been for you. You're right there are never any apologies in cyber space. Have you heard about your Sew Mama Sew entry yet? I'm rooting for you. As always, keep up all the good work you do.

Janet said...

Your blog looks great! Thanks for the tip on making a menu in Windows Live Writer. I signed up for it over a year ago but never really figured out how to use it. I'm excited to give it a try now!

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

Um- totally dying and super excited that SNAP is only 5 weeks away!! EEEKKK! I'm sure you can hear the squeal from there. :) I love the new look- it's so perfectly you. And I need to heed your advice and back up my blog. More than the once a year or so I've been doing it. Man this blogging thing is a lot of work.
xoxo,
Amy

Andi @ Jane of all crafts said...

I think the new look is awesome!! I have done some messing around with html and it isn't too bad, and you're right just google it because there is a tutorial out there! And I noticed one day that when trying to read a post of yours it said your blog didn't exist even though it showed up in my reader so I thought it was on my end not yours. I am glad you were able to get it all fixed and I agree, back up your blog!!

Michele Pacey said...

Your blog looks slick and beautful Gwen. I have to give mine a makeover real soon. I will for sure check out that Pinterest board of yours. Thanks for the link.

I lost my blog back in 2010 and posted about it as you've done here. It was HORRIBLE and I cried many many tears! Luckily, I too, found it again and back it up regularly. But man, what an awful thing to have happen. I'm sorry you had to go through that Gwen!

Laura said...

Hey! Blogger deleted one of my blogs, too. Any tips for getting it back?

felicity said...

Thank you for giving me the push I needed to backup my blog content and template!

PinkGranny said...

Great update Gwen. I have been absent a bit with my new day job.

I like the crisp uncluttered look and the side bar is nice too. Did you also change to a different blog hosting site?

Have a great Thursday,
Mardell

A.J. Dub. said...

Thank you for the reminder to back up our blogs! I haven't done it for ages.

chris said...

Goodness, I'm so sorry you had trouble with your blog. I've heard of that happening more often lately. I wish I could hop down to SLC. It's only 3 hours away from me!

malia said...

awesome gwen! love it all!

Kristin said...

Your blog is looking great my friend! Very clean and streamlined!! Thanks for the shameless plug! ;)

Sorry you had to deal with the blog deletion. Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia did too a few weeks ago. It's scary!!

Tasha said...

I was just thinking you did a little blog update. It looks fantastic. I am working on mine right now. I am slow at it, so it will take time. Small things really do make a difference.

So scary and sad about your blog disappearing! I would have been freaking out too. I think any of us would have. I agree with backing ours up regularly. Craziness. I cannot wait to meet you in April!!

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