What Did Your First Blog Design Look Like? How Has it Changed Over the Years?

BlogHer Original Post

Attend any blogging conference or read any "how to" on blogging, and you will be told that blog design is important. What is (and is not) important has changed over the years, of course. Do this, don't do that. Include this, don't include that, but include it again tomorrow. It's hard to keep up. My blog design has changed so many times over my 13 years of blogging, it's kind of funny to look back at it.

In my early days of blogging, I was on the LiveJournal platform. For a while, I went with the free account, meaning that I had to stick with their templates. By 2002, I felt like my online writing was worth investing in, and I started paying for a premium account. I designed all kinds of little things (using what I now understand to be copyright-violating images I stole) for my headers and "Friends Only" images. I learned a lot about HTML in the early years.

My LiveJournal Header at One PointAh, college. My username was indicative of the fact that I had no idea who I was—as did my writing, if you're curious.

In 2005, I decided to start blogging publicly on the domain I had used when we were planning the wedding. Why? Oh, we were expecting our oldest son. The grandparents wanted to read about the pregnancy. I started out with a splash page, because it was 2005.

Splash Pages Were ALL THE RAGEI don't know why I chose a blue background, let alone that blue. I don't like blue, especially that blue. Pregnancy-induced insanity, perhaps.

I fumbled my way through learning how to code WordPress on my own domain. I crash-coursed my way through CSS, breaking my blog at least once a month. My favorite part of this phase of my design was the tagline: Feuding Amongst Ourselves Since 2004. Considering that our last name, Hatfield, was a prominent part of the blog's name, it was a perfect fit.

A bright, colorful designI actually changed my blog design every month back in this day. Kind of like how my grandma changes the color of her hand towels every month, or rearranges her furniture every season.

But by late 2007, I began to feel uncomfortable having used our last name so prominently. I wanted a change. I re-branded before re-branding was a blog thing, and set up Stop, Drop & Blog in December 2007, going with no splash page and bright, bright backgrounds.

NEW BABY! NEW BLOG! NO SLEEP EVER!The tagline on this particular design was: "Is that a fire siren or a wailing child?" Yep, that matched our stage of life quite well.

The bright backgrounds stuck with me for years and years, through various different WordPress themes. I loved the bright splash of color. Whenever I changed a theme (always a free theme, by the way), I made sure to bring a pop of color in my blog world. I almost always rocked the double sidebar to the right-hand side, though sometimes I did two sidebars with a center well.

I also rocked a blogroll in my sidebar until almost 2009. Then it moved to its own page. And then it disappeared entirely. Sometimes I had bling in my sidebar. Sometimes I didn't. Does anyone remember "Asides" before Twitter exited? Yeah, those were in my sidebar, too. At one point in time, I paid for a super-fancy designed header.


I'll be honest, I kinda miss that one. It made me happy.

And then in 2013, I took a different approach to my blog design.

2014 = Simple

Now I'm rocking a very simple premium theme. White background, black text, turquoise links, really wide main well. One sidebar, some ads, some BlogHer '14 bling, some social media links. While I liked all of my themes, I really feel that this theme matches me in my current space in life, both online and off.

I don't know what my next blog design will look like, but I'm sure it will feature shades of me.

Now I want to know what your blog as looked like over the years. Either tell me, with your words, what your blog looked like upon inception or show me, with screenshots from the Wayback Machine or from your own archives. I'd really like to see though, because the visual aspect of this conversation makes me smile. Either drop your link in the Linky below or leave a comment below that!


BlogHer Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog.


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