Re-designing empfire

6th May 2014

So, my exams are over and my second year of university is complete! As promised, here’s the new layout. The previous layout had been up for over a year, and although it served its purpose, it had many issues and was getting boring. In addition, I’m trying to change the way I blog and I just felt that there was a need for a more suitable layout.

  • I’ve created a layout that is flexible (to some extent). The previous layout looked great on my huge desktop monitor, but when viewed on phones and tablets the content did not shrink to fit the device screen and scrolling was impossible.
  • I brought back the sidebar! I have a love-hate relationship with sidebars. If I have a sidebar I tend to cram it with as much rubbish as possible so I have avoided using it on some of my past layouts. However, they are useful to have for displaying links and the like, so I brought it back.
  • I have sorted out the categories and tags for every post. It took me a while but it was nice to look back and reminisce about old times. You can find links to each category in the sidebar.
  • I’ve got rid of the tutorials. Well, the link to tutorials anyway. They’re still there, but I really am considering getting rid of them.
  • More than one post will be displayed per page. I am breaking out of a habit of a life time here. I have always just had one post per page. It’s time to move with the times so you will now see three posts per page.
  • The header better represents me. I’ve used a handwritten style font, that kind of looks like my own handwriting, and a gorgeous picture of the Liver building, courtesy of Tyrone. This photo was actually taken from my flat, and will forever be a reminder of the incredible view I use to have before they built student accommodation to block it. *cries*
  • I am going to be offering advertising in the sidebar. However, for the first few months or so I am only going to offer advertising to certain lucky people (see below).
  • I have rewritten the ‘about’ page. I must have written this page about a billion times over. I hope it’s more interesting to read nowadays.
  • I’ve made changes to the social media icons and I’ve added a BlogLovin‘ link. Follows on all sites are very much appreciated!

Over the next few days I’m going to be making some minor tweaks to the layout to get it just right. If there are any problems that need fixing just let me know. Also, if you have issues with the width of the website (i.e. You can’t see the whole thing without scrolling left and right) let me know about that too. I want to make sure it looks right for everyone.

Finally, the first 3 people to comment on this very post will get their link in my sidebar as a 200 x 100 px banner. You are more than welcome to make your own banner, as long as it fits in with the side limit, or I can make one for you using a screenshot of your homepage. Why? Well, Chynna recently wrote a post about the concept of “pay it forward”. She offered advertising to her first 5 people to comment on her post, and return they would continue the chain and “pay it forward”. As I was one of the first to comment, Chynna is advertising my blog. So, I’m going to advertise her blog, along with 3 other people.

Sound good? Then get commenting to win. 😉

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  1. Cat

    The new design looks great! I like the clean look and how you used one of Tyrone’s photos 🙂 It’s a nice personal touch. I’m a fan of sidebars for blogs because I can stick category lists and such in it, haha.

    I like the idea of paying it forward!

    • Thank you. 🙂 I’m actually enjoying having the sidebar back. I think makes the site a lot easier to navigate having category lists.

  2. AnneMarie

    The design looks great! I need to make some updates to mine as well to make it more tablet/mobile friendly and fix a lot of issues in functionality. Coding takes up a lot of time though and school has gotten in the way. I love this new layout though!

    And what a wonderful idea to pay it forward! I saw Chynna’s post and it’s great to see the movement pushing forward. I plan to do the same once I get a greater following. My blogging has just been a too inconsistent for that to happen any time soon.

    • Thank you. 🙂 It’s really hard making layouts tablet/mobile friendly. I had my iPad and iPhone by my side as I coded it.

  3. Bubblez

    The new design looks great! And I love reading other people’s “about” pages. It’s like a habit of mine (:

  4. Jea

    Damn! I was a little bit too late for the ads. XD Anyway, I love simple layouts but I have to horizontally scroll a bit just to see the whole thing… but it’s easy to fix with some CSS code. 🙂 I like the fact that the header represents you.

    I have a love-hate relationship with sidebars too, because sometimes, I just won’t know what to put in there. I’ll only get myself a sidebar when the theme is widgetizied. I depend on WP’s default widget settings for the sidebar content. X)

    • Ah man, sorry! I’ll probably do something like this again soon, so keep an eye out. 😉

      What size screen do you have, may I ask? Just so I can try and make it more suitable for those with different size monitors.

      I’ve never bothered with widgetising my sidebar. My coding knowledge is too basic. 🙁

  5. The new layout looks great!

    I know what you mean about sidebars. I feel like sometimes they can be a bit much, so I opted not to have one on my blog. But then I ended up cramming a lot of stuff at the bottom. Argh.

  6. Chynna

    I love the new design! And thank you for carrying on the pay it forward scheme 😀 I hope it takes off

  7. Yay sidebar! I am loving the simple new theme, and I like that you’ve made your website better reflect you. The image in the header is a nice touch.

    Also, I love, love, love reading “About” pages. It’s the first thing I look at when I visit a personal blogger’s website, and with people I know (like you for example), I will even re-read them. XD I enjoy them that much, it’s kinda nerdy… hopefully not creepy. :3

    Cleaning up categories and tags feels great. I deleted all my tags because I didn’t see the point in using them, and I wanted to condense everything. I tended to tag really stupid things too, and categories seem like a cleaner way to classify/organise.

  8. I so loved your new theme Holly…! I wish I would get a hang of it!