Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm having a creative crisis

I've been spending a lot of time reading other people's blogs recently. Not sure why exactly. I go through these phases where I get all plugged into the online world and then, suddenly, I realize how much freaking time I'm spending in a virtual world while the real one awaits just beyond the keyboard, and I disappear for a while.

I know that, if I want to build my blog readership I should be reading lots of other blogs and commenting on them, which will increase my profile and beget more readers and comments and blah blah blah. But that's not why I read other blogs. I'm just interested in other people's lives really; what they're doing, how they're doing it, why they're doing it and, because I like to consider myself somewhat a student of the written word, how the write about it.

Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is because I'm not satisfied with the design of my blog. If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I've changed it up a couple of times in the last few months but, having seen a bunch of other blogs whose design/layout I like much better, I'm thinking of changing again.

I'm not sure if it really matters in the grand scheme of things; is what I write is more important than the space in which I write it? I don't know. I, personally, am very influenced by layout and design. It greatly affects my first opinion of a blog. In my mind it goes that, if the person has a well laid-out blog with a clean and somewhat professional-looking design, they take their blog seriously and are probably are going to write good stuff in it. However, there are good blogs I read whose design is uninspiring and amateurish to say the least. I think I fall somewhere inbetween right now.

The way I see it, this blog represents ME. Who I am. My personality. And right now I don't think the layout or design are doing that well. If I had to put myself into colors and images, I would see oranges and yellows and pinks and reds, crazy splashes of bright colors, planes, suitcases, cameras, pens, a martini glass, a bottle of wine, a map of Britain, and (LOL) a binkie... Busy but clean and modern at the same time. (Not like the bathroom wallpaper in a house from the 70s.) Needless to say, the current design of Random Rants is NONE of those things. It feels out-of-step, cold, cluttered and uninteresting. BLECH!

Yet, I neither have the talent nor the time to work on making this blog more "me." So, I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions? Free (or low cost) template or design resources? Simple ideas to turn this thing around?

All are welcome...


e said...

I might suggest looking into a paid blog service provider like TypePad or WordPress. They have lots and lots of different designs, and to some extent you can customize them. They usually have different levels of membership so you can pay just a few dollars a month. The alternative is to get really good at html, too, which will give you more freedom to customize. If you want to go even a step up, then I would say look into setting up your own website, so you can have your blogs and your photos all in the same place. But if you really want to push this blog thing further, you might need to consider that you've outgrown the free Blogger platform.

As for designs: there might be students at the local unis that might be willing to design something for not very much money, just to get the practice and have a real website out there.

Kimberly said...

I COMPLETELY understand. I can't stand poorly laid out blogs. I wish I could justify the cost of having someone help me with my blog layout, but it seems like there are a billion other things I could/should be doing with that money. Since I can't, I stick with a plain white layout since I really want my own photos to stand out. I'd really like to ditch my side bar, since I think it clutters, but I also think it's a bit necessary. Anywho, I'm rambling on here, and not providing any suggestions...but I hear ya ;)

TravelVixen said...

@e - I fear you may be right. A different hosting service may be the key to start out.

I'm also looking at a custom url (more in a later post) so that, if I keep switching things around as my goals evolve (or not) for blogging, I won't lose readers.

@Kim - I love the simplicity of your blog. Your pictures are awesome and I understand what you mean about them standing out on a white background. I'm with you on that one. I don't like the blue background for the posts. What I'd like to see is something totally cool for a banner and frame but white space and simplicity personified for the content/posts. I also don't like the side-bar. I'd rather use that space for more width on the post text. Nothing worse than having to keep scrolling down to read. But then where does all that other cool content (back-links, pics, other blogs) go? Across the top? I'll have to see if I can find a template that meets those goals.

See, even though you didn't provide any actual suggestions, you helped me clarify my needs a bit better.

Thanks ladies!

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