A New Look for Blogs of a Bookaholic!

redesigning my blogHello everyone! I have some really exciting (and somewhat scary) news. Blogs of a Bookaholic has a new look!

This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages, over two years at least. But every time something kept stopping me from fully going through with it, and also, (being a total fusspot) I kept finding specific aspects of new themes I’d picked out that I didn’t like, which led to me changing my mind and putting it off on about six different occasions.

Here are a few reasons it’s taken me so long to do this:

1. I don’t like change!
2. Other people don’t like change! (What if you guys didn’t like it?!)
3. Every time I found a theme I liked I kept finding something wrong with it – the text was too big! It didn’t have a sidebar! Etc. I’ve especially kept going back and forth between the Truly Minimal theme, Forever theme and Origin theme for two years or so behind the scenes.
4. Every time I changed my theme and did a preview it didn’t feel like it was my blog anymore because I was so used to the old design.
5. I wanted to wait until I had plenty of time to play around with graphics, aka when I had a break from university.

I’ve been using the same theme ever since I started blogging, the dark grungy version of Twenty Eleven with a custom added patterned background. While I absolutely loved this theme at first, (I went through a stage when I was obsessed with allllllll the dark colours) my taste has changed a lot since then and I now prefer brighter, sleeker and simpler designs with lots of blank space! I’ve also been aware for a long time that my dark design can be hard on the eyes, especially in dim lighting. Overall, I just felt like my blog needed a good spring clean and updating so that it reflected better who I am as a person now and the kinds of designs I like. 🙂

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I already knew that I wanted to keep the same colour scheme, using pastels and the same blue and mint green hues I’d been using for ages (but putting them on a lighter background) and I eventually managed to settle on the Truly Minimal theme (mostly because it was simple, sleek and I didn’t have to make too many compromises on the features I wanted). Then I had to come up with a header image, which was the tricky part!

Lacking Photoshop and design/drawing skills of any kind, I really struggled with this part and had to rely on online photo editors like iPiccy and PicMonkey. Probably for the best with an amateur like me anyway! I wasn’t sure where to start other than that I wanted my blog badge to be a part of the design, so I messed around for hours trying different things, playing with colours and graphics (most of the time failing miserably and cursing my lack of creativity). Here are some of the rejects:

Attempt 1

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Attempt 2

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Attempt 3

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Attempt 4

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I was playing around with the settings again this week and was just about to decide on attempt 3, but something kept preventing me from pressing the button that would put it into effect. Something was bugging me, and I didn’t know what. On a whim, I had another play on a photo editing website – late at night when I really didn’t expect to get anywhere, and suddenly, I had it! I had found my design. It was so obviously simple that I hadn’t even bothered to try it before.

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It’s minimal to the extreme, not particularly bookish and doesn’t even use my blog badge, but I love it. (It looks a lot better on my blog than in the screen shot.) It’s stylish, uncluttered and easy to read and uses the same typography as my blog badge. It states plainly what my blog is at a glance and I think it also looks pretty professional! To some people it may seem boring because there’s not a lot to it, and it’s possible I’ll still end up having a play around with it but for now, I’m so happy with it, and I hope you guys like it too! I’ve also added a couple of banners and things to my sidebar, so feel free to have a snoop. 🙂

It’s definitely going to take me a while to get used to staring at such a white screen, but I hope I can get on with this theme and that if I blog with it for long enough it will start to feel like my own!

So, now I ask you, awesome readers, have you ever had the same internal mind battle when changing your blog theme, or am I just a crazy person? Are you as bad with change as I am?! Which of my headers would you have picked?

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63 thoughts on “A New Look for Blogs of a Bookaholic!

  1. I love what you’ve gone for here. My personal taste runs to minimal and sleek on my own blogs… I always see blogs with lots going on and lovely colours and designs and like them, they suit the people writing them and I find myself wondering if I should be doing something different. But for my own blog I lean towards something simple and easy on the eye. I like the words and images from the posts to be the main decoration.

    • Thank you, Mel, I really appreciate that!
      I think your blog looks great – simple, easy to navigate, the two things you want. I hadn’t liked my own blog design for quite a while because it was way too busy and distracting in comparison to the content and didn’t really reflect me at all! I think whatever you like will always be the right decision. It’s your space and you need to be happy with it. 🙂

  2. I LOVE the banner! It’s beautifully simplistic. I’m a big fan of minimal designs with pops of colour and heaps of white space (which you can probably tell from my blog theme). I say, go for it and don’t worry too much about other’s opinions because after all it is your blog and you’ve gotta like it yourself if you’re going to put effort into your work! xoxo

    • Yay! I’m so glad, thank you. 😀
      I agree, minimal is the way to go, that’s what all of my other header attempts were missing, they weren’t simple enough! I love your blogs look at the moment, especially all the amazing headers you’ve made so keep up the great work!
      You’re so right, it’s my space to do what I’m happy with. Thanks for reminding me, that’s a really important point that is surprisingly easy to forget. 🙂

      • You’re welcome!
        Thankyou! I came across my theme so randomly and when I saw the look, I almost died because it was so perfect. And thank you about the banner! I got inspired by you and others to do my own banner.

        I do computing in school and we learn a bit of graphic design and I learnt that white place can be incredibly flattering on a blog which is why I love it! Besides writing, I’d love to become a graphic designer on the side.
        And you’re welcome once again! xoxo

      • That’s exactly it, it is random but when you find the right one it just clicks. Oh yay, so happy that I could be vaguely inspiring in some way, that’s awesome! It does amaze me how the book blogging community come up with so many beautiful graphics, I also love how we all encourage each other to do better and try new things. 🙂

        Before I veered off onto to route of psychology after discovering I loved it, I had been planning to become a graphic designer! I even had the idea that I could design book covers and make that my speciality, but when I started psychology I knew that was what I needed to do. I think it was for the best because although I was okay at art and designing, I didn’t have that raw talent and eye that some people do, and I think you need that. Graphic designer on the side would be awesome!

  3. I love the new design – the blue heart motif is classy and refined. Plus there’s a nice pic of you, which is always pleasant to look at. 🙂 I like it!

    • Thanks, Mr T! Glad to have your seal of approval as a long time reader of the blog. 🙂 I added to heart because I needed some colour somewhere, and it was the only thing that seemed to fit (despite belief, it was not because of my mad designing ability).

      Hehee, thanks! I want to get a more bookish pic, but I’m sticking that one there for now.

  4. Okay!
    Coincidence or not for the past two days I am all busy redesigning my own blog and yes I am dealing with the same issue.
    the header
    your’s is really pretty and simple and goes really well with the theme
    I don’t know when I will be done with mine

    • No way, that’s awesome! How are you getting on? Are you finding it hard to get used to a new design? I must admit I still do a double-take when looking at mine and I wonder how long I’ll be doing that for!

      Awwh, thank you so much. 🙂 Good luck with yours, I’m sure it will be great!

      • Just finished it. There are some more changes to be done. It’s actually kinda hard getting used to a new change after the usual good old thing. But it will wear off and you’ll be fine with yours.
        Plus you’ve had that design longer than I have had my blog. So that counts 🙂
        And thanks I hope I really like it and not change it again because I can get pretty whimsical. I know I know…

      • Oooh, I’ll have to pop over to your blog and have a look. 🙂
        Yes, agreed! You get so used to one design that it takes a while to get used to a new one, especially as I had been using the same design for 3 YEARS. Definitely time for a change!

        I say, live with it for a couple of months and see how you get on with it, then you can always change it again if you decide you don’t like it!

  5. The new look is much better! Dark text on a light background is infinitely easier to read.

    Plus, the girlish enthusiasm in your face as you clutch at your smartphone lends the place a touch of happiness.

    • Yay! *Claps hands.* Glad you have your approval, Cargill, as a long time follower and IT dude, I’m glad you like it. You’re right, white is infinitely better for websites and I’ve known that for a long time, I just had to get the courage to change it and find something I liked enough!

      Enthusiasm is my middle name!

    • Thanks, Katherine!

      Ahh, it’s good to know I’m not the only one, I think I probably spent something ridiculous like 30hrs behind the scenes trying things out – usually followed by crippling self-doubt! For what it’s worth, I love your theme, it’s such a bright happy colour. 🙂

      • Thank you! It took me just as long to find my theme and I asked just about everyone I knew before I made it live! I also made my lovely fiancé (who works in IT) spend hours doing fancy things to it which I then changed my mind about and went for something simple! Yours really looks great, though. It really suits you and the style of your blogging! 🙂

      • No problem!
        Opinions always help, I asked a few people about their opinions on the headers I made, and it really helped solidify my decision – sometimes you need someone to help you make that final leap.
        A fiance in IT is always handy! I think ‘simple’ is the one thing I’ve learned from this experience, of all the headers I tried it was the simple one that worked best. 🙂

        Thanks again!

  6. I love it!!! It’s clean, attractive, and who doesn’t love a heart-type shape associated with a book blog :). Anddddddd “enthusiastic nerding” is now officially my favourite description of what I do as well. It can apply to my reading addiction and my love of anything electronic. This is definitely a fresh new look, and from someone else who doesn’t like change, I’m now thinking it’s about time I update my blog. Great job Book Buddy!!

    • Yayyy, I’m so glad!!!! Wouldn’t want you to stop coming to my blog just because it wasn’t durgy anymore. 😉 It may look different, but the words will still be the same. 🙂
      I think the term ‘enthusiastic nerding’ sums up our book obsessions well, I’m also a fan of the electronics and other nerdy stuff too.
      I always dig my heels and nails in with anything related to change, but I think this was a positive one. If you feel like doing it, I say go for it! Sometimes a change is just what you need to feel inspired again. 🙂

  7. I love the new look Becky! It’s sleek and fresh. And I love the pops of color too. You’re header is minimal but it pops so I think it will stick in mind.
    You’re not crazy. I don’t mind change (sometimes) but I take forever to decide on things because I always change my mind, so it took forever for me to update my blog to its current look. Plus, I also like playing around with the themes. Of the headers, I love the one you decided on. I really like the hint of a heart in the middle. Great job!

    • Thanks, Zezee! So glad you like it. I felt the same way about the header, although I liked the one with the blog badge this one pops so much better, even though it’s super simple. I hope you’re right and people find it memorable!
      Phew, another person who is as bad at making decisions related to blog changes as I am, I FEEL YA. Playing around with themes is fun, I think I’ve tried pretty much every one of them by now in my quest to update my blog, LOL.

      Thank you!

  8. Oh, it looks great! (This is Jillian of the Classics Club, aka Mabel & other pen names. As you see, I have no issues with change.) 😉

    • Jillian! So great to hear from you again! I tried to keep up with all of the blog swaps but I think I got lost somewhere along the way and then I couldn’t find you. Good to see your still inspiring people everywhere to read classics with your awesome enthusiasm. 🙂

    • Thank you, Jessica, so happy you like it!
      *Spies on your blog* Ah, the Penscratch theme, I love that one, it’s so classy! I considered that one for quite a while as well because I love the way the writing at the top of the blog is set out, but I didn’t like how big the writing was because my posts tend to be on the long side and it made them look even bigger. I think it suits your blog perfectly. 🙂

  9. Becky, I love the new design! It’s easier to read and your new banner is stinkin’ cute! I went through something really similar when I switched themes. I must’ve spent over fifty hours trying new themes behind the scenes, but nothing looked as good or functioned as well as what I had (I also stressed for weeks over whether or not to switch the background color of my blog from blue to pink… Which now feels really stupid considering how much I love the current look). Finally, the theme I had overlooked countless times (iTheme2) caught my attention and the rest is history! I guess my point is, I feel your pain ha ha.

    • Yay, I’m so happy you like the new design and banner!
      Wow, so glad I am not the only one that spent that much time obsessing over themes! Similarly to you, I’m pretty sure I clocked up to the 50hr mark at least, messing around, trying things out and trying to perfect things! Your struggle sounds so similar to mine because even when you find a theme you like, it quite often doesn’t function the way you want and then you’re faced with the dilemma of whether to start all over again *sigh*. I had that a LOT.

      For what it’s worth I think your theme looks great, it really matches your blogging personality. 🙂 I feel your pain too! You’ve made me feel a lot better about my obsessing. 🙂

  10. How do you write the sound of a wolf whistle? I won’t attempt, it’ll just sound like a demented owl 😀 😀

    Gorgeous ❤

  11. Love the new design, Becky! The banner is also so cute and looks great! ❤ I have personally gone through any blog makeovers (then again, I've only recently started blogging) but I can imagine the struggle. 🙂 Either way, awesome job overall! 😀

    • Thanks, Analee. 🙂 I’m so happy you like the banner (I was half worried people would go no, you should have picked this one)!
      Hehee, just you wait, YOUR TIME WILL COME MY FRIEND. And when it does, I will be there to pat you on your virtual shoulder at the frustration of it all. 🙂

  12. Hi Becky! I really love the design of your blog! The minimalistic layout really seems to help your readers focus more on the content of your book reviews and posts, I think. For the majority of my short time blogging, I’ve been using the Twenty Ten theme (super grungy compared to your old Twenty Eleven) but now I’m finally satisfied with my new look. I totally understand how change can be exciting but really scary. I had the same thoughts about the visitors not liking or being able to easily navigate with my new theme, but I’m so glad I changed anyway. I feel like we, book bloggers, blog for the community but also for ourselves. So as long as you’re comfortable with the new design, I’m sure your readers will be too.
    Congratulations on the new look! 😀

    • Thank you so much, Summer, I’m glad you like it! I agree, the more simple the layout the more people can focus on my content, my previous theme wasn’t doing that well AT ALL. The background was so busy, it was totally distracting! I think your theme look great, you’ve added so many personal touches (especially the banners) that make it look unique. 🙂
      I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one that was worried about it from a visitor’s perspective. I guess, as a reader of other blogs, (and someone who doesn’t like change) I’ve almost felt a little sad or put out when people changed their blog themes, especially if it was a blog I followed regularly. You get so used to your favourite blogs and having them look the same way – it’s almost comforting. So when it changes it can be really discombobulating! I thought my readers might feel that way.

      That’s a great and important point, it’s our space and we should feel comfortable in it. Thank you for stopping by, looking forward to chatting books with you. 🙂

  13. LOVE your new header (and it really is an eternal quest finding the perfect header…I know I’m already thinking of re-doing mine AGAIN). I love the minimal theme, it’s the theme I finally settled with and stuck with on wp.com before I moved the self-hosted, and even after the move I kept the all white background because I love how clean and professional it looks. Also, I LOVE the way you integrated the heart into your header! Question: I love the buttons in your sidebar (like the ones in the “search by genre” widget). How/where did you make them (if you don’t mind sharing your secrets!) Also, thanks for keeping my button in your new design 🙂

    • Thanks, Cristina! Haha, I know what you mean, there’s always that feeling of wanting to try and tweak it just a LITTLE bit more to see of you can make something better. Haha, yeah, hope you don’t mind me using your old theme, it’s the only one that suited everything I wanted and I thought I could make it my own!
      Thanks, it was a last minute addition. 🙂

      Yeah, sure! I had a bit of a lightbulb moment with those, I wanted something to make the sidebar more colourful and came up with a way of doing it that didn’t use coding (because wordpress.com doesn’t let you do that). Basically, I did it the same way you add social media buttons to the sidebar. So I created the banners, did a draft post and put them on it, then linked them with a custom html linking to the category or tag I wanted, then went on text and copied and pasted it into the text widget. Was quite proud of myself for figuring it out! This video shows the basic steps with social media buttons so just substitute banners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqkInO6vxaI
      But I’m sure with your snazzy new customizable blog there’s probably a better more correct way of doing it!

      Haha, no problem. 🙂

  14. Congrats on the makeover – it all looks very fantastic! 😀 I was pleasantly surprised when I was met with a white background upon opening the blog. Not to say I didn’t like the old one, but this is so much easier on the eyes!

    I struggled a lot with my blog theme too. I’m very picky and there was always something that bothered me – I’m fairly happy with my current one though. 🙂

    • Thank you, Zen, so ecstatic that you like it! The white background is SO much better, I’ve wanted to make the change for ages but hadn’t found a theme I liked enough to do it.

      Blog themes are tricksy things it seems, it takes a lot of work to find the right one. 🙂

  15. Love the new theme Becky! I’ve had this issue for the last few months for the exact same first two reasons, so you’re not just a crazy person (or if you are I must be too so *high five* haha) but I might have to have a little play around :). You’re totally right though, it’s very sleek and professional looking – good move!

  16. I love the new look! Massive kudos to you for sticking through the efforts at getting it to look good, I can barely summon the effort to spell-check my posts when I’ve written them. Switching things up is a really good way to mark that things will be different for you now. I should probably do the same (I did do the name change) but for me, now that I have a full-time job, it’s a matter of finding the time to get to these things at all. I’d probably keep my background the same – I really like how the sky picture looks – but I might do a different header at some point, I’m honestly not sure. For me, the name change was a lot more important.

    • Thanks, Maggie! Haha, I guess that was the graphic designer part of me coming out, I use to love designing and drawing and almost chose it as a career path before deciding it was totally wrong for me. So it wasn’t a chore in any way, it was something I would sit and do in the evening while watching something.
      That’s a great way of putting it, changing your theme to denote changes in yourself and your life.
      Well, you have the same theme that I did but in white, so I’m a bit biased in thinking that one’s awesome. 🙂 I like your header as well, but it’s important that YOU are happy with it. Ignore everybody else!

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