With the recent findings in the world of social media that a Facebook page's updates only reaches 15% of its audience, or that Instagram is now allowed to sell anyone's data to large companies, I begin to wonder why any one blogger needs all of these social networking sites we seem to use. More specifically, why I need all these sites vying for attention on my blog's webpage.
Having started my blog in June, I waited about a month to post some original content before deciding to start "publicizing". And then I went haywire. Any site I found out about that would help me promote my blog, I checked out and used. By the beginning of November, I had accumulated over 10 accounts: Pose, Style Tag, Remu, Lookbook, Twitter, Pinterest, LookSoup, FashioLista, Facebook, Polyvore, Tumblr, and maybe a few obscure ones I've forgotten about along the way. Not only that, but I took on more than I was able to carry in the way of internships and freelancing: I tried to be a Style Guru for CollegeFashionista, only to realize one week in that I could not find time in my schedule to scrape out the stylish few from the throng of college sweats and sneakers on campus, in addition to being a writer for Fashion Parkway.
I was excited at first, no doubt. It was fun to see the number of followers on all these sites and platforms growing. But then, one day in November, I noticed that my followers on Facebook, Twitter, and the blog had hit a plateau. It wasn't a particularly heart-wrenching or emotional realization, but it got the gears in my head turning. The week after this observation, a friend of mine, perusing my blog, commented that it was "too pink", and to her, wasn't really me. THAT got to me.
My blog design didn't reflect my content, which SHOULD reflect who I am. So I decided to clean house. I looked at all my favorite blogs, and picked out what each of them had in common. The answer? Simplicity. Primarily inspired by Love Aesthetics and Moi Minnie (though there are many other blogs I love that share this cleanness), I began the blog transformation.
1. I made everything white. I got rid of all the widgets, even the blog header, and left nothing on the site but cold, hard, content.
2. I decided what I wanted my readers to see, other than my blog header: archives, search bar, and where to follow me. I also decided against placing title headers on each widget. My readers aren't morons. They can see what's up.
3. Got rid of social networking sites I wasn't using, then compiled my primary ones into a new "follow me" widget.
4. Played with color scheme to see what would make the reader relaxed and refreshed, and not overwhelmed while reading my blog. I settled on stark white with black piping, some gray to soften it up, a touch of gold. Classic.
5. Redesigned blog header.
6. Added "read more" (jumplink) because: a) if my reader cared enough to read more, they would. It's less overwhelming that way, and b) it improved my Google analytics data. I can see what pages are getting the most views, and I don't have to worry about the fact that some readers might have read the entire post on the homepage, and therefore never had to click on the page to view it.
7. Decided what my main labels were going to be, got rid of all the unnecessary tags I'd put in each post, and placed the main categories in a linklist. I also added a blogroll, because I thought it was about time.
6. Edited each aspect of the page as necessary using CSS or HTML.
It's still a work in progress, but I am grateful that I was able to catch myself.
P.S. Part II will focus on the blog's redesign as it reflects my personal ethics and values.