Friday, July 23, 2010

Indentity Crisis


AKA: How to better represent these many people (all me!) via this blog?

As you read in my previous post, I am thinking about overhauling my blog. I've been writing on here more recently, especially since I've been sharing my adventures in amateur photography, and coming here every day has left me increasingly more dissatisfied with my current set-up.

First is the look and feel, which I previously addressed. I obviously yearn for something much more professional looking (why, I don't know - it's not a professional blog and I have no intention of making it so) but lack the time or knowledge to do anything too spiffy. I'm also reticent to pay money to maintain it. What's my ROI? Like I said, it's not a business and I refuse to feature tacky ads just to make a dime off it. Once you start that then it's a slippery path, in my opinion. When it becomes more about writing to attract readers, to generate income from click-thrus or whatever, your focus (or at least your editorial radar) has to change. I already have a full-time job where I write primarly for the purpose of generating action and I don't want to turn this blog - my outlet for personal expression and the mundane details of my life - into just another money-making chore.

So, I'm thinking on this one. As you can see, I've already played around with my design a bit. I like it better than before but I'm sure that will change in a day or two. Maybe the problem is me? Maybe I just can't commit to a look-and-feel? Another reason why I'm reluctant to put any money into something new: it discourages me from changing it up on a whim. I like change. I don't like to feel held-back from making changes in my life. It dampens my enthusiasm for life and makes me feel suffocated. (I know, I know, it's just a blog!)

Second component is the name of the blog. Since day one, it's been called "Random Rants of a British Ex-Pat." Nothing entirely wrong with that since I do have my fair share of ranting on here and I am a British, living in the U.S. But something has been nagging at me for some time: does it represent me or what I blog about any more? I'm not sure. It seems... negative, angry even. Sure, I can be both things (I'm sure there'll be no arguments there) but, when I look back over my posts, that's not what the majority of them are about any more. Back in the early days, I used to blog a lot more about current events, politics etc... and, although I still do some of that now, this blog has become less and less about commenting about "what's out there" than sharing "what's going on over here". Being a mom has been instrumental in that, of course: there's a lot more going on over here.

On the other hand, I don't want to narrow down the focus of my blog too much with a name that limits the type of posts I can put on here. So, although I love photography and travel, I'm reluctant to use a title centered around either. Obviously, I'm not actually limited because I have control over the blog and can post whatever the hell I want (one of the very many reasons that I like blogs in the first place - I am my own and only editor) but I want the title to reflect the content. If someone from the blogosphere drops by and finds me, I want them to get a sense of what to expect from what I call it. Not unreasonable, right?

Then, adding to this, I have been thinking for some time now about getting a custom URL. Something more catchy than "" and that can follow me to any blog hosting service so, if I do make a change, people won't "lose" me in the cavernous virtual world.

I've GoDaddy'd some possibilities and the following are open but, again, not sure if I'm going to stick with the current title of the blog.

There are also these:

  • Which makes me sound like a lush, however, and defines me by being a mother when, in fact, most of my parental rants are on my other blog.
  • Which might be disappointing to someone looking for lots of interesting traveling stories because, let's be honest, I don't travel that much any more (if I ever did by some standards.) I see this as more of a wish-list title. Like, I wish I was the traveling girl.
The custom URL is scary though. More commitment with more consequences for change.

Ewwww! How is a married suburban mom commitment phobic!?

Aaaanywhosit. What do YOU think? You're reading this stupid thing (apparently, coz you're here). What would you call it? (And careful there... I do have an ego to protect!) Obviously the calling comes first and the URLing comes second, so I need a name. Or... not. Am I still Ms. Rantypants?


e said...

Here are my thoughts: I like the color and the background design much more. More lively, more fun, more you.

Paid blog platforms do not limit you to one design, you can change it up as often as you like, they have even more designs available to choose from than Blogger. Also, you do not have to include ad widgets, that is totally optional. I tried one, didn't do anything for me, am removing it. Paid providers also allow you to have your own domain name.

Name: no, I don't think it's fully reflective of who you are. Sometimes you rant, but that is not all you do.

Also: perhaps join the blogs, so they are two tabs on one site. Easier to keep track. Or just do one blog, they're both about your life. Unless you write the Daisy one from her perspective, for example, I don't think they need to be separate, but that's not really a big issue.

One last thing, and I meant to mention this earlier -- I would remove the tags list on the right. The top one is pain, which is so not what you're about. You've had pain, but you're not all about pain. Also, it's really big and takes up room. You could move it further down the panel, if you want to keep it, or have a tag cloud with the most common tags?

You could experiment w/ different fonts for titles etc. My personal preference is no cursive fonts, they're hard to read, but that's just me.

And I love that you're totally taking this on. Writing is important to you, and even though you're not putting together a money-making blog, you want it to be about you. It's great!!!! I hope this suggestions spark ideas.

e said...

Sorry I'm not too helpful w/ design ideas, I'm not terribly graphic designy. But I can try to give you input on the designs you try. Did I mention how much I like the new colors?

One idea: change your masthead more often using a photo from one of your trips.

Kimberly said...

I have not been a reader long enough to know your theme, but how about ;)

TravelVixen said...

@Kim - Awesome. It's definitely something to work with, isn't it? I found it so ironic when I wrote it. I also like Ms. Rantypants. It says sort of the same thing as what I have but with a little more fun and humor injected.

@E - already implemented some of your changes. Thanks. Like them all EXCEPT the having one blog. YOu know how I feel about that. Daisy's space is Daisy's space. It's about how I feel about her and her life, specifically. I like that she has her own spot.

TravelVixen said...

And Kim, there really IS NO theme except me. Hence my requirement to keep the title and URL unspecific. I'm unfocused by nature! ;o)

Kimberly said...

Well there you go:


TravelVixen said...


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