The definition of a makeover is ‘a complete transformation of the appearance of someone or something’.
As many of you might have noticed the recent something that underwent a makeover this week is my blog! A task I’ve wanted to tackle for ages, however I was apprehensive and hence procrastinated.
Would the whole blog disappear if a mistake was made? Maybe all the wonderful comments would erroneously be deleted? The calamities surrounding the possible makeover seemed insurmountable!
To the rescue came my son, a university computer science student, and when he heard my thoughts (and my fears) he promptly offered to help — the very next day!
Yikes! My musings to combine my blog with an author website was finally going to see the light of day.
Where to start?
Where else but the fantastic community of WordPress which I had explored over some months. I’d collated various articles by bloggers and two particularly were ones I referred to over and over again.
Natalie Ducey is not only a wonderful poet and graphic designer; she also prepares the most informative posts about all aspects of blogging. Were it not for her encouragement I would not even have considered the possibility of updating my website.
Through her, I learnt how to download new fonts and how to use them. My ‘signature’ here is in a font I found via her blog and is called ‘Saturday’. The background element upon which it rests is one I bought upon her suggestion. I love its calm and tranquil feeling, reminiscent both of the sea and sky.
Next came the matter of a new theme. I learned that my old theme, Sela, had retired — hopefully with a good pension! Hugh Roberts, a writer and prolific blogger provides super blogging tips at Hugh’s Views and News.
One of his posts featured WordPress themes and he listed some of his favourites. I looked at many of these and finally settled upon one which seemed best to suit my purposes. The theme of my website is called ‘Lovecraft’ and is free to use from WordPress.
Although at one stage I had a tag line underneath my blog, I had taken this away as it no longer reflected me or my work. Tag lines are key to describing you, your website or blog within just a few words, to win the attention of readers and hopefully retain their interest. After considering all the terrific comments about my books, stories and posts I realised two elements within my life stood out and influenced my written works. I feel I captured this within the final tag line of:
‘A writer influenced by her Swedish heritage and Yorkshire upbringing.’
As the deadline for the revamp approached I sketched out a welcome message, organised my book reviews in a document and found the appropriate images and photographs.
The day arrived and my son and I sat down at my computer!
Switching the theme was frighteningly easy but until the button was clicked I nervously kept asking was he sure this was okay? Would I lose anything? By the third reassurance and my hand hovering over the mouse he took affirmative action, borrowed the mouse and clicked the button!
Yeah! My website was on its way to a full makeover! The title and tag line were set to a large font. A custom background colour was selected from the palette and the gentle lavender harmonised all the elements within the website.
Next, there was so much to consider we ended up making a list.
The biggest change was my ‘Welcome’ introduction post. I wanted something brief, engaging and with my photo which was to be pinned to the top of the website. All was achieved — I just hadn’t realised it would be published as a post! As this was more of an informative introduction to the website the comments were removed. Searching Google my son found that the removal of likes and sharing was in the jetpack icon on the top right of the WordPress draft post. An icon I have never even touched before!
Next headings were created and my son set up sub-headings; something I’ve always longed to do and which have impressed when I’ve seen them on other blogs.
Of course, the headings had to lead to something.
For my books and their reviews we made new pages (and to activate these, one needs to click ‘publish’ but fear not, these are not published as a post!)
Last year I finally had managed to add a ‘Contact’ form but only via my ‘About’ page and it was not ideal. As if by magic my son transferred the previous ‘About & Contact’ into HTML, copied the code for the ‘Contact’ form. Once again I had a neater looking ‘About’ page and he quickly set up a new ‘Contact’ heading and page.
As for the sidebar, several elements have been taken away as I felt the website would benefit from a more streamlined and ultimately decluttered appearance.
One issue we discovered was my sprinkling of categories in my previous posts which makes it tricky to settle on just a handful of ‘Blog Topics’ for the drop-down menu. In my early days of blogging, I had no real understanding of categories and liberally made new ones, even for just one obscure subject! These will not be captured by the new headings. Furthermore, some had different types of spellings, eg. Short Stories and short stories, writings, Writings and writing! The only solution is that over time I will edit the categories on my older posts to make them more inclusive.
I’m sure there is yet much more that needs tweaking but in the meantime, I am proud to present to you my new and updated website. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about its creation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask … and I will pass on the queries to my son! Many thanks to him for all his hard work and patience!
Finally, a shameless shoutout for my musical son Sammy and his Youtube channel. Here he features over 80 of his piano covers, as well as his own compositions and own piano sheet music. For his latest venture, he is taking commissions for sheet music which he creates himself. If there is a piece you, your family or friends long to play but can’t find the sheet music do not hesitate and contact Sammy directly at email@example.com
And at last, a brief reminder of my two books available via Amazon or myself.
153 thoughts on “A MAKEOVER”
Congratulations! I use Lovecraft, too!
It’s a fab theme, and looks very different on every blog when customized.
Thank you, Resa – I spent such a long time looking at themes! There are so many choices and happy to have found Lovecraft! It works great on your blog and how true that it looks different each time!
Congratulations on your new website makeover Annika. How exciting and how wonderful that you had your son to help you. If it wasn’t for my IT savvy son I wouldn’t have started my website either. How fortunate for us we have such talented lads!! Oh, and I’ve just subscribed to his channel. Warmest wishes to you both. ✨
Thank you so much, Miriam! 😀 I’m so glad you like my new look website and I’m still excited by it! Oh, where would we be without our sons?! 😀😀 It was so much fun and a treat to work with mine on this project and know you would feel the same with your son. The last I remember reading about your son was when he was taking driving lessons – but that was years ago? What is he doing now? BTW. Thank you for the subscription to his channel, a bit quiet at the moment as he is in the last two weeks of uni course works – 10 hour days!
Hi Annika, my son Daniel has just finished (and passed) his first year Uni exams. Computer Science Engineering. He’s now on a break though working part time tutoring from home and doing IT support work.
Hope all’s well with you. 💕
Well done to Daniel and what a great idea to work from home in this field at the moment. Yes, all very well again, thank you and looking forward to Christmas. xx
Absolutely. Take care Annika xx
you and your son have done a great job 👍👍 We are impressed! And thanks a lot for explaining how you did it. Oh dear, now we are thinking of changing the appearance of our blog as well.
Good luck with your new blog.
All the best
The Fab Four of Cley
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Ahh … thank you so much to you all! 😀 It was brilliant to work with my son on this project and I’m so glad you like the new look blog/website! After five years with the same layout, I was happy to take the plunge and change things around a bit, especially to reflect more of my writings.
Oh no, I feel I’ve thrown you into a conundrum about your own blog … but surely that has been changed quite a few times!😀 Once you start looking at changes the choices are endless but fun to play around with.
BTW I’m overjoyed for Hanne and her photographs being featured in so many prestigious publications; she is most worthy of her success and the seal photos look amazing. I’ve been sharing your last post with my non-WP friends and they all adore her photos. Brilliant work!
Wishing you all well there in Cley, enjoy the very wintry beach walks and look forward to your posts. xx
Congratulations on the makeover and thank you for providing Natalie’s contact. I learnt a lot from Hugh but have been too scared to try everything he suggested for the reasons you’ve mentioned. I guess you need a person who can click the mouse to make it all happen🙂
😀 Absolutely!!😀 Without my son to nudge me on I reckon I wouldn’t have had the courage to publish the makeover! So glad it worked. Natalie’s articles are very detailed and makes it all seem easy – enjoy looking around her blog. Many thanks for your lovely comment, Smitha.
Congrats on your blog revamp, Annika. Everything looks amazing here and all of your blog is still here. Giving your blog makeover can be daunting – there’s so many themes, fonts and layouts to choose from. Your son sounded like such a great help and was happy to help you.
I’ve stuck with the same theme for the last five or so years, and am hoping to revamp shortly. So far I’ve played around with a makeover on a dummy blog and found it an exciting process choosing a new theme and making tweaks using CSS code. Like you, I am sure I will still make tweaks when it goes live.
Hope you are doing well over there, Annika. Take care and stay safe
Mabel, thank you so much for your terrific comment and it’s great you like the new look to my blog/website! As you say, there is almost too much choice it’s overwhelming and time-consuming to decide what works/looks best! Oh yes, my son was a wonderful help and ultimately gave me the courage to press that button to renew it all!
Good luck with your own revamp and an excellent idea to play around with ideas on a dummy website! Also I’m impressed you went into CSS coding – my son made some coding changes and it’s good if you have the confidence and knowledge to give something your personal touch!
Thank you, we are all doing well and trying to keep positive as England enters its second lockdown in just a few days. Yet it is spiritually exhausting and one can sense the weight of the world’s sorrow. How are you doing? It must be amazing to emerge from such a long lockdown in Melbourne. xx
It is good your son was there t help with the coding. I remember learning CSS coding a few years back and struggled with it for my current theme. This time round I found it easier to work with the code and some parts were tricky, but I think I got most of it figured out.
Hope you have what you need at home. It
sounds daunting going into another lockdown. At the end of the day, health comes first. I’m doing alright here in Australia. After about seven months in lockdown, it’s good to be able to go out again. That said, I’m still cautious and not going all out because, who knows what’s out there. Take care and stay safe, Annika.
great job Annika. what a long and difficult journey. congratulations on completion of your new look.
Thank you so much, Libby … sometimes I wonder if things are meant to take time until just the right moment when all the components fall into place! 😀 Congratulations on all your recent publications of your work, just brilliant!
yes, Annika. i think you’re right. things seem to take the time they need to take until all the pieces are aligned with the universe – something like that. and the old perseverance thing applies to any big job, as we know so well as writers.
The new look is perfect, Annika. It inspires me to do something about my blog’s look – in a distant future, though 😊
Thank you so much, Inese and I’m glad it’s inspired you too! 😀 I must admit I have been inspired by many other posts on the topic but it took me a long while to get round to creating the new look! Wishing you well, take care, Annika xx
Take care you too xx
I knew you were going to have a post about your new look of your website. I’m a bit late to congratulate you, Annika. I finally had a chance to visit my granddaughters after six months from the previous visit.
It’s wonderful your son is in computer science and he made a few clicks to transform your blog into something wonderful and streamline. I like the color scheme, the font of your signature, and your sidebar. I’m so proud of your son’s talents both in music and computer science. He must be so happy to help you with your website.
Awww … Miriam, how wonderful that you could visit your granddaughters and it must have been a very emotional one for you and them! I hope you’ve filled up on lots of hugs!
Thank you for your lovely thoughts about the new look to my website/blog and I’m glad my son and I finally got round to finalising it! We had a great time working on this intuitively together and it meant a lot to me!
Thank you for your interest in my son’s music and work, as you can imagine I’m so proud as well … and now he’s back at university I can just click on some of his YouTube videos to catch a glimpse of him! (Not the same as having a private recital at home though!)
Wishing you and your family well and hope everything is working out well for your latest project. Xx
Bravo, Annika. I have seen glimpses of you on Twitter and now finally did a search to find this new blog look of yours. We have a family wedding this week so I won’t have much time for blogs and social media sites . Hope all is well with you and yours. Mary Ann oxox
Thank you very much, Mary Ann! 😀I’ve enjoyed updating my website … and learned so much along the way! Thank you, my family and I are all very well so far and at the moment trying to adapt to the colder autumn weather which arrived with a flourish! Hope you all had a wonderful time at the family wedding, truly joyful occasions! Take care and keep safe! Xx
Annika, so good to hear from you once again. We know it’s autumn here as well with cool mornings, colorful leaves and mild days before the frost and snows arrive. Come back to visit when I write more about the BIG wedding this past weekend. Be well, safe and enjoy the week. oxox
Congratulations on the make over of your website Annika. Wonderful that your son helped you with it. Will surely listen to his YouTube channel soon. Best wishes 💙
Thank you so much, Radhika! 😀 It was wonderful to work with my son and the makeover was completed rapidly with his help! Enjoy his music – I’m lucky enough to hear it live at home for now! Wishing you a lovely weekend. xx
Um, can I “borrow” your son? Just kidding. But wow did he do a good job, because your website seems just perfect for YOU. I love everything about it. Good Job. And how marvelous to have a gifted musician as well a computer scientist – rolled into one – in the family.<3
Haha!! 😀 Pam, I’m sure he would have loved to be able to help you! 😀 It was such fun working together although he moans endlessly about my mac (which as a fan of Apple products I find perfect!) I’m over the moon you find the new look is just perfect for me – that’s wonderful! I’m not making any changes for a LONG time!
Oh, he is gifted in both music and computer science and is managing to merge to two lately. Whilst home these months he’s creating on computer sheet music as well as digital piano tutorials and selling the services on a freelance website – he’s definitely got my mother’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Hope you and your family are all well. Have a wonderful weekend … I think it is Labor Day for you? Have a fabulous time! hugs xx ❤️
I can feel your enthusiasm for your son’s talent across the big pond. And I certainly understand it. It’s so wonderful to see a family member who has found his passion. You and I know how important that is since we write our passion every day. 💜👏