A new look for my blog!

betty ming liu Art, Writing how-to's 16 Comments

I had a really good therapy session the other day. Towards the end of my blah-blah-blah, there was a lovely moment of peaceful clarity.

One of the things I understand now is that I have spent most of my life feeling controlled. I also understand that what I want is to let go of my worries about meeting other people’s expectations and…let loose.

Since my blog has always been sort of a mini-me, new priorities call for a new look here. Hopefully, I’ve come up with something that feels easier on your eyes, a setting that feels freer. (So, um, is it working?)

I’d also like to find more ways to include more people, more voices, more resources. On top of that, I intend to experiment more with how I blog (not sure what that means yet).

The new look isn’t finished. But here’s what we’ve got so far:

  •  The blog posts are now easily accessed from the left side.
  • The sidebars are grouped together as a collective menu.
  • The categories spell out the topics I tend to blog about.
  • I’ve added two new lists that connect you to my extended community. There are so, so many bloggers that I like. With this list, you can now visit with some of them. You can also explore the websites that are essential to my daily life — the ones that I swear by and often visit throughout the day. I’ll be adding to both lists and updating them regularly.

To learn more about the new columns, try this. Hover over any listed category, blog or website and you’ll get a description of it:


The post is now to your left, instead of being bookended by sidebars on either side. The columns have shifted together to the right.

I have no idea how how you’ll react to these changes. Be curious to get your reactions and suggestions. I’ll be doing a little more experimenting as I try to find the blog layout equivalent of a blank page/blank canvas. So thanks in advance for your patience.  xo

P.S. — Here’s a last look at the old layout, just in case you’re wondering what it was…


Comments 16

  1. The new format is really nice – attractive and easy to navigate – congratulations. how far blogging has come since the days when the most available forum was the walls of the public restrooms – though one should not underestimate the value of that venue even in this high-tech age. Indeed, The College of New Jersey, my estimable alma mater, covers the partitions of the stalls in the restrooms of the student center with brown wrapping paper, changed weekly, to facilitate this traditional free speech mode. Further, while of course such information as “for a good time call*****” dominates the discourse, there is none the less a strong undercurrent of radical ideas and intellectual debate. My all time favorite was a neatly lettered inscription on the wall over the hot air hand dryer that read “For a recorded message from the Commissioner of Education, press button.” It has always topped my list of things I wish I’d thought of myself.
    I once took a summer course in French at Rutgers and conducted a lengthy correspondence on a men’s room wall that entire summer – in Elvish. I was by no means fluent in Professor Tolkien’s wonderful invented language so I had to bring along volume 3 of The Lord Of The Rings every class day to puzzle out replies from the language appendix. I didn’t learn much French but my Elvish improved wonderfully. Just goes to prove – all this tech is wonderful of course but the true blogger will make his/her opinions known through any means necessary.In the words of the divine Oscar Wilde, “everyone is entitled to my opinion.”

  2. Post

    toby — thanks for getting your thoughts down before i accidentally closed the comment section. (it’s open again, so if anyone was turned away, come back to momma!)

    you make a good point — personal blogging at its most free should indeed feel like scribbling on the wall of a toilet stall. ugh, but can i do it?

    the problem is that i have spent my entire life as such a good girl that i NEVER would’ve even considered defacing public property. if i could get myself to approach each post like i’m writing on a bathroom wall — oh my goodness. would that even still be me???

    as a sign of how much i need this freedom, i must confess something about reading your comment here. while i love the image of you scribbling away in elvish in some stinky college men’s room, i keep wondering what grade you got for the french class. is that sick or what???

    so thanks for getting my day off to a good start. i appreciate the inspiration. xox

  3. Hey betty good redesign, though I would suggest putting the categories on the left side of the page. Also have you added the jetpack plugin? It is a great add-on.

    1. Post

      thanks, ivan! between you and toby, i’ve got on vote for the split sidebars and one for the two together. do you really like having the categories on the left? one reason for the redesign is that i read a post on problogger.com that i really liked for a bunch of reasons. one of the points was that on the computer screen, your most precious real estate is the left edge. that’s where people start reading and you don’t want to do anything to impede that connection. but i totally respect your opinions — always do. and nobody’s right about everything. so if you have more thoughts on this, fire way. thanks!

  4. Love the new design!!! Very easy to navigate, while still having that “Betty feeling” =°] Another good reason to keep the blogs on the left-hand in today’s world, many of us are viewing on our phones, and the left is the default orientation, so this way we read the current blog, and then scroll over to the right to check out the links, works beautifully!

  5. Post

    what helpful information, erika. i don’t use my phone that way so this insight is important for me. keep the tips coming!

    the next change i’m contemplating is doing away with the orange background. what if we were just floating here in white space? would that work as a reminder that life is a blank canvas, an unwritten page?

  6. You’ve got a point there Betty. I’d suggest though that the search bar go on the left of the two columns on the right side of the page, or if at all possible at the top.

  7. Oddly enough, it shows up both ways on my phone depending on whether I enter it from my email or from going straight to your site….and I can’t decide! It’s cool both ways, I like the orange, and I also like the blank canvas idea. It loads slightly faster without the orange, but with the orange it didn’t load slow or anything like that. You could always go back and forth depending on your mood ;°] Isn’t it funny how artists are the ones who have the hardest time deciding on what looks best sometimes?

  8. Post

    ivan, that’s a brilliant suggestion because it’s so logical. i just made the change. now the search bar is right above the categories — now that particular column is all about blog content. meanwhile the “subscribe to my blog” thingie is at the top of the far-right column/sidebar. it’s on top of the links to other bloggers and websites. so now, that sidebar is all about making connections. thanks so much!

    and erika, you’re giving me super-important info. if the blog will load faster without the background, i def need to consider that option. will play with it over the next few days. you’re the best!

  9. Hi Betty,
    I read your blog on my iPad (first version) and agree with having the content on the left and both sidebars on the right. It helps my brain separate the immediate content (left) to read with topics to explore later (right). On the iPad the four social media buttons on the left (facebook, twitter, etc.) slightly butt into and overlap the words, but the text is still legible.

    About your brand identity…I have come to associate and expect to see orange in your blog. It’s orientating to have a consistent visual language. Sort of like always seeing the signature of the Coke logo in red or as a punch out of white flooded by red. It is great to refine the essence of the identity, but not so much that it make the viewer second guess where they are if the graphic elements change too much and too frequently. If possible, run a test before pushing out live to the public (ie. ask some trusted friends and colleagues to give their gut reactions to several different versions of the new “blank canvas” concepts before launching to everyone else.)

    Last note on the iPad view, the orange (or whatever color) makes nice visual bookends to the white interior.

    Winks from Koln,

  10. The new layout is perfect! It has great readability. I like how you maintained the same color scheme and overall feel of the blog. Sometimes you’ll see a blog totally redesign suddenly. And it becomes a new blog. I bet avid readers are thrown off and miss the old style.
    I’m happy I can check out the sites you read now as well.
    I’m currently working on my new WordPress blog, I’ll send it to you once its worth reading. :)

    1. Post

      chelsea! thanks for dropping by. i’m glad you approve. your opinion means a lot because you really appreciate the visuals of blogging. and i would love to see your new blog. so don’t forget to ship me the link. good luck with it. :)

  11. Post

    janty — your comment was lost in my spam box until just now! thanks for the vote for orange. i’m actually very fond of my orange background because i made it myself on photoshop. i think it has a nice, hand-made quality. it’s not perfect, but, oh well. it’s a good color! and i think i’ll leave it for now. your input helped me to make that decision. :)

  12. Hi Betty,
    I was actually searching for some inspiration and I found myself compelled to visit your blog since I enjoyed reading it so much this summer. I really like the new look. You can be sure I will be taking some pointers in order to improve my own blog! I really miss all the useful social networking info I would get during class and your great energy, things aren’t the same in Athens, OH. So, I will keep checking in so I can stay on my game.

    1. Post

      erica! it was a joy to have you in class. i’m glad you want to stay in touch. feel free to leave your blog link here for all of us to read. and i hope you’ll consider subscribing. it’s the easiest way to read me because you’ll get an email whenever i have a new post. i just started blogging on tuesdays too. it’s a little hectic and i don’t have the routine down yet. it’s nice to know that you’ll be reading from athens. i guess the summer in the city got nyc into your blood!

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