Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition (Part One)

In December, my blog will reach its five year anniversary. Since I started my blog back in 2015, I’ve only done one slight redesign, where I slightly changed the colors and added a few pictures to the homepage. Now, five years later, those pictures are outdated as well as the theme.

With the current state of the world, a lot of people are doing home improvement projects that they never had the time to do otherwise. For me, I decided to do my renovations online by sprucing up my blog.

This is what my blog looked like pre-makeover. At the top, there is a polaroid banner with pictures of me throughout the yea, followed by my blog name. I have a primary menu bar that is pink with a plain teal background. On the side, I have a search bar as a widget because the Sela theme did not have a search bar at the top. Underneath, there is an old picture of me with a short introduction.

Not only are these pictures of me outdated, but the bright colors are no longer my style. Additionally, when I started making my blog, I used PicMonkey to make the Polaroids. Then, I had to switch over to Canva after PicMonkey was no longer free. This made the Polaroids different sizes with different fonts and pictures, which I didn’t like.

In the first image, you can see that each blog post started with a polaroid picture that classified what kind of post it was. At the end of each post, I included my signature as well as images that linked to my social media. This ending for each post was particularly difficult when WordPress switched over to the block style, as my images would not go next to each other. This made the ending of my blog posts extremely long, which I did not like.

What do I want my blog to look like?

This is the first question that I asked myself. I knew that I wanted my blog to look more like my current style. While I didn’t want a completely neutral block, I wanted more muted colors than before. I also wanted my blog to mimic my current style.

During Christmas, I received an iPad as a gift. I’ve been playing around with the ProCreate app since Christmas and I knew that I wanted to incorporate some of my own designs. After I looked on TikTok for ProCreate Inspiration, I found a tutorial on how to make a marble pattern, which I could potentially use as a background or other artwork for my blog.

Here is some artwork that I created for my blog using Canva. I put my marble image in the back and then layered the text using different colors.

Next, I used Canva, an online design website, to enhance the images by adding text. I also created a star pattern that I could possibly use in some capacity on my blog.

What WordPress theme should I use?

I have used the Sela theme ever since I started my blog, but I no longer wanted the bulky color block for my primary menu on the homepage. I tested out themes over and over with my marble background, but I just didn’t like any of them. Luckily, WordPress had the try and customize feature so I could test what my blog looked like before I applied to the actual page.

Eventually, I found Nucleare which is a free theme on WordPress.

Why did I like the Nucleare theme?

  • You can justify the background to one side. This helps your text in your right menu still be visible, as the menu background is transparent.
  • It has a search bar at the top right. I have always like search bar to be at the top, which wasn’t in my current theme, where I had to add a widget instead.
The marble background made the text too difficult to read.

As you can see, the background tiles, which I don’t like because my image doesn’t smoothly duplicate and you can see the tiles. Also, the side menu is transparent and it makes it difficult to see the text in the menu.

I decided to switch it up. Maybe my star design could be the background and my marble design could be the accent instead.

The star background, justified to the left, added an extra touch without making the text difficult to read.

I liked how the star image looked justified to the right of the background, so I decided to keep it.

Next, I wanted to change the text. I struggled to scroll through the texts available, for some reason the bar wouldn’t appear on me the side to scroll. But, it was all okay because I knew immediately that Lobster Two looked like the funky font that I wanted.

Decluttering the Sidebar

With my base all set, now I needed to focus on cleaning up my sidebar. On my original sidebar, I had a search feature. Since the Nucleare theme already has a search bar at the top, I deleted it.

Next, I needed to update my picture. My old picture was from my sophomore year of college, a few months before I started my blog. I found a more recent picture of myself and used a frame on Canva to crop it into a circle. I added the stars on top from my background to carry on the theme. Instead, I have the category drop down in its place.

My new bio picture on my home page with my star theme

Moving on, I removed my bio from underneath my picture to clear up the space. In its place, I decided to put social media icons that link to my social media accounts.

Like on my old home page, I kept my currently reading widget from Goodreads as well as my Instagram widget, current posts, and subscription box. I’m still debating whether or not to keep the Instagram widget.

My new side bar

Now what?

With my homepage completely updated, it was time to update the pages in my main sidebar. Stay tuned for next week to see the updated pages!

When was the last time that you updated the appearance of your blog?


4 thoughts on “Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition (Part One)

  1. It’s always nice when we update our lovely blogs 🙂 I have to be honest, I should change mine more often but every time I try it I feel like many info will be lost… Anyway, I’m always trying to take the best from my theme and WordPress, even investing in a better plan eheh feel free to see my blog and let me know your impressions 🙂 stay safe and greetings from Lisbon, PedroL

    Liked by 1 person

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