[THE BLOGGING DIARIES] The Evolution of My Blog

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So, my blog has changed. A lot.

You may be thinking, “Mikaela, it’s only been six months. How have you changed your blog so many times?” I’M WEAK, OKAY? And I’m also a huge perfectionist, so I want everything to look right. And I thought it’d be really fun to take a Time Turner and look back at what my blog used to look like, so here goes nothing!

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Theme

Sela

So, my first ever theme was Sela. WordPress gives you a limited number of themes when you first start out, and this one was the most appealing to me. It wasn’t until a month into blogging that I discovered the other themes I could use, so I was stuck with this one for a while. I looked around a lot of other blogs and preferred their style much more than my own, which lead me to…

Button

The Button blog theme! I actually didn’t even mean to activate this theme! I loved the way Puput @ Sparkling Letters‘ blog looked like, and I wanted mine to look more like hers (seriously, her blog is #goals). I didn’t know that bar on the left hand corner of the screen told you specifically what blog theme they used, so I sort of guessed by eyesight, and this was the one I chose.

I actually didn’t hate this one (and I’m pretty sure this was what lead me to theme my blog towards pink because that was one of the standard colors I could use), but doing featured images was SO HARD. Button actually shows the featured images, and if you don’t size them perfectly, they’re all different sizes when you look at the home page, WHICH BOTHERED ME SO MUCH. After I discovered that bar at the bottom, I realized the theme that actually worked for me and transferred to…

Pachyderm

Pachyderm! This is probably my favorite of the three that I chose! Also, much like Sela, this one doesn’t actually show the Featured Image, which makes me super happy, because I don’t have to stress about how it looks on the outside (though I now have all my graphics made in the same size, so it’d probably be fine now, BUT WHATEVER).

arrowBlog Name

Yes, even my blog name changed. I KNOW.

So, my first blog name was “Fractured Spines.” Yeah, it’s the worst name for a book blog ever. I actually took a long time trying to figure out my blog name, and I wanted a variation of “Cracked Spines” because if you see the spines of the copies of my Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books, you’ll understand what I mean. It’s a hot mess. But, unfortunately, that name was taken by several other book blogs (book blogs that hadn’t been active in YEARS, but still), so I decided not to go with it because you can’t copy someone else’s URL. And “Fractured Spines” was the only variation that hadn’t been taken.

But, I realized that I just really hated the name, so I changed it and my URL about a week later. Thank God I did that. I actually just looked up “words related to books” in Google, and I really liked the word “well-thumbed”! I attached “Reader” to it, and was satisfied with it, and that’s how “The Well-Thumbed Reader” was born!

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Design

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So, this is the fun part. My design and graphics has changed SO MUCH. Here’s a look at my original blog header design:

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As you can see, I was totally digging the minimalism look here. I used this really nice picture of the spines of my Harry Potter books that are all cracked and worn down, hence “well-thumbed.” I used an app called Pic Collage to do this (this was before I discovered Canva). I actually really liked this header, but I up-ended the way my blog looked, and here’s the second one…

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I took a really nice picture for bookstagram that I really loved, so I decided to use it for basically everything – banners, buttons, graphics. I actually really like this one as well (and it introduced me to the Brusher font). I made this after discovering Canva, which is how most of my graphics were made after I discovered it. As most of you guys know, I changed my blog AGAIN in April and this happened…

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I discovered the magical website that is Freepik and used it to make this blog header! I still kept the same font, but made it smaller so only one word is at the bottom, but I do really love this banner (even if it’s pink and flower-y and I’m not like that whatsoever).

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I didn’t have a blogging button in my first phase of blogging, I guess you could say, so it wasn’t until my second redesign that I actually made one after seeing them around. Like I mentioned earlier, I went through this phase where I used this picture as a background for everything, hence this blog button. I felt meh about the way it looked then, and I still feel meh about it now, to be honest.

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Of course, after my third re-design, I had to change the button. I’m actually really proud of how this one turned out! I used the same background of watercolor flowers that I did for my blog header, but I also manged to find a watercolor book to use from Freepik as well! It took a lot of editing to do this, but I’m really proud of how it turned out.

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This is going to be the most interesting part of this post (well, at least to me)! My graphics have definitely changed A LOT, much like my photography. I used Pic Collage to make these graphics at first! I was an avid Books Amino user, and I used these types of graphics as my featured images there, so I thought it’d be a good idea to make them on my blog. Obviously, a terrible decision.

These featured images were also a product of Pic Collage! This was around the time when I had Button as my blog theme and it showed featured images, so I attempted to make them all the same size. It honestly didn’t work out too well, which is probably what irritated me the most. Also, I tried to condense my blog post titles into hashtags, for some reason? I honestly don’t even know why.

Around this time, I got into bookstagram! I remember pulling out all these books on my shelves, pushing them together, and taking photos of them up close. I downloaded this app onto my phone that blurred photos (it was pretty sketchy and would crash after I finished saving the picture, but it did its job), and after doing so, would upload the picture to Pic Collage, edit it, and type up the blog post tile onto the picture, then save it onto my phone. Yeah, it was a lot of unnecessary work. I thought these pictures were good enough for Instagram, and started on there (until I quit a week or so later).

Fortunately, my third phase of graphics didn’t last too long, and I used the same picture for my graphics yet again. This was also around the time I discovered and started using Canva, and I didn’t really know much about what I was doing. I don’t HATE these graphics, but they do look so boring and uninteresting, so I’m surprised that some of you guys still clicked on my posts.

And these are the product of some of my most recent changes (I apologize for these unnecessarily blurry pictures)! I started using my much better bookish photography as the background of my graphics and different ones, which makes the graphic pop (or at least they do in my eyes). At first, I didn’t incorporate emojis, but then I used one for one of my graphics and loved how nice it looked, so I’ve started using them for all my graphics. These are definitely my favorite out of all the graphics I made, and it’s nice to see how far I’ve come!

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Yeah, I’ve even had an abundance of arrows and borders. I’m just a natural at changing things way too much.

My first border was one that I just randomly googled. I don’t have it anymore, and I’m not going to bother to try to find it again because I literally stole it off Google. Thankfully, it’s not on anymore of my posts, but I basically just Googled “fancy black borders,” and copied the nicest one I found. Yeah, it was a bad idea.

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At this point, I was observing all of my favorite blogs because I felt like I wasn’t really doing good enough. I was just doing tags and reviews and memes, compared to all these other awesome book blogs I was following that were posting awesome discussions and had the prettiest blog designs. Hence why I adopted arrows as my borders, like many other blogs. I actually got these from another blogger who provided these as a free download, and edited the second arrow to have “Let’s Chat” on it.

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This isn’t really much different from the first set, but this was around the time when I used the same picture as the background for everything! I went from blue to pink because I started using Pachyderm and had a pink background for that, and I wanted to color coordinate everything. Around this time was when I finally started using social media as well, hence the “Follow Me” arrow.

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Let's Chat

Follow Me

And here are the gorgeous arrows I’m using now! I downloaded these from Freepik, and edited them in Pic Collage, like I did with the other two, to include the “Let’s Chat” and “Follow Me” phrases on top of them. I definitely prefer these arrows over the other ones just because they look prettier and less boring and gray, I suppose?

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And those are all of the blog changes I went through!Β 

Obviously, it took a long time before I considered my blog to be in top shape. Even regarding my content, it took a good month before I was happy with what I was writing and publishing. So to those who have just started out or have been after it for a while now and feel unsatisfied or like what they’re doing isn’t good enough, just be patient. I know it’s hard (trust me, I’m quite the impatient person), but with time comes experience!

Let's Chat

What changes has your blog gone through, design-wise, content-wise, or anything-wise?Β 

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67 thoughts on “[THE BLOGGING DIARIES] The Evolution of My Blog

  1. The first name and struggle, so real! I’m struggling with getting my own domain name (dropping the .wordpress.com) but readvoraciously.com is TAKEN- also by a silly site that doesn’t appear very functional nor do they have contact information which is infuriating! I’m set on the .com as I’m just too afraid to venture into the .net .org or. blog category.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it annoys me so much when a website isn’t being used at all and uses up the URL anymore. Especially when it’s a placeholder! BUT WHY??? Yeah, I would prefer .com as well, so I get it! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the evolution you had! I love the aesthetics and the arrows are just gorgeous!
    I understand what you said about being a perfectionist. I feel the need to change everything until it’s perfect, and I really want to improve at it! Also some blog themes are a bit tricky and not what you’re looking for, you just have to come across with the right one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I love the arrows! Freepik is a great place to find pretty pictures!

      Yes, same! I want to learn how to let things go, BUT I CAN’T! This is why when I plan the next month for blogging, I ended up spending an hour brainstorming and having posts planned for next year. I just can’t stop and need everything to look perfect! πŸ˜‚

      Yeah, definitely! I’m glad WordPress has a thug where you can try in a theme before you apply it so you can see how it looks! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha I do exactly the same! I write them down so I don’g forget them in case I don’t have time that monthπŸ˜‚ And I find scheduling posts is helping me more than before haha!
        Yes, that’s very helpful. Some of the themes are so beautiful but don’t work for everyone, so that’s really cool!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the way you compared all of the different graphics you’ve used since starting your blog. It’s so interesting because now that you mention it, I feel like I probably have switched my graphics around a lot since first starting… ugh, I don’t even want to think about those earlier ones *cringe* Great post! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you! πŸ˜„ Me neither! Writing this post was the first time I looked back on my graphics, and I was just like, “Why did I think this looked good at all?” πŸ˜‚ At least it shows me how much I’ve grown! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember the Fractured Spines era! It’s so great that you compared all your graphics – it’s soo cool to see how far you’ve come in such a short amount of time! You’ll have to do another one in a year or two, I bet your blog will look even better (if that’s possible!).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I mainly had design-wise changes, and I’m currently very satisfied with my layout as it is now (although I’m sure I could’ve adjusted a lot better, but I’m okay with now), and I had plans on re-naming my blog, but then I got so used to the current one I decided to stay πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, you commented! It’s so nice to see you here! πŸ˜„ (Is that weird? I hope it’s not!)

      Yes, I noticed a while back! Your blog looks so pretty; I love the colors! 😍 Yeah, I feel that! I’m so attached to my blog name now that I can’t think of changing it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very cool. I have to agree that getting away from “The Fractured Spine” was a good call. The Well-Thumbed Reader is much better–less grotesque, and more clearly related to what kind of blog it is. But the fractured spine was cool.
    Also, when I found your blog yesterday, the design for the arrow buttons caught my eye. At first glance, I thought that there was something written in Futhark on the bands. They make a nice, distinct addition to your site.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was! I remember googling my site once, and literally that popped up was stuff about broken backs and back surgery. So, yeah! πŸ˜‚ I mean, I DO have mild scoliosis, so I could have tied it together (even though my spine isn’t fractured – just not straight), but meh.

      Oh, I’m glad! I got my arrows from Freepik after googling “watercolor arrows” and choosing the one that caught my eye! Freepik is a life-saver, honestly! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  7. since I’m still new, I’m still struggling with finding the right theme (I like this one, but it’s time to get it over with) and I need to design my own banner and header.. lots of work and not so much time (life sucks) I Sorta feel overwhelmed thinking of all the stuff I must do for the sake of my blog πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I didn’t even know that there were more themes than the ones WordPress provides you with when you sign up! It took me probably a month to discover it! There are so many options, that I feel you! Yes, I get the time thing! Summer is giving me all the time on my hands! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I changed my design so much I’m not going to even try and explain the difficulties and process I went through! It’s interesting to see how your blog developed over time – it’s stunning! I love it, you’ve improved so much!
    My name changed from –>
    -Something
    -Something
    -ChocolateBooks
    -Something
    -Insignificant Raindrops
    -My BookY life
    -My Bookish Life
    But I know this sounds really stupid, BUT I WANT to change it again? AGH It’s so annoying. I don’t think i will because like I’ll have to re-build everything all over again and nooopppe – too much work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you! Writing this post was nostalgia for me; I can’t believe I had those graphics up on my blog! πŸ˜‚

      SO MANY NAME CHANGES! I feel that! I’m confident in my blog name, but there’s the fact that you have to change your URL and then your username and then you can’t take the URL back if you want to and then you have to change your blog header! ALL THE WORK.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly don’t know! I don’t have one because I only have six e-mail followers and paying for a service would be a waste of money! You should check out Nose Graze! Her blog covers that topic if you search it up! πŸ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And, yes, school changed my blogging schedule so much! πŸ˜‚ I’ll be having a post about blogging schedules coming out next month! πŸ˜„

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    1. IT IS! My first blog re-design, I was such a perfectionist, I literally replaced all the graphics and arrows of the 30 posts I’d already published. πŸ˜‚ It’s actually ridiculous since NO ONE reads those posts now probably, BUT IT ANNOYED ME. Thank you! ❀

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  9. I changed my blog recently after having the same setup/theme/look for a couple years. It is SOOO much better and more my style too. It’s interesting how we settle and as we grow we realize we can do better. It’s so great how you’ve gotten to know yourself better and better! Good luck in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s so true! I like to think that in years time, my blog will look even better and I’ll have a hang on graphics and web design! πŸ˜„ And thank you so much! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Can I just say how much I love your posts about blogging? It’s so nice to know that other bloggers struggle with similar things. I’m definitely indecisive when it comes to blog design and graphics (literally just changed my blog graphics so those’ll be on my new posts starting this weekend). I’m also horrible at graphics, but I’m trying to have fun with it, I guess. btw I LOVE your arrow things so much! You’re definitely one of those bloggers where I see your stuff and I’m like “GOALS” πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thank you, Christine! I feel that; it’s always nice when other book bloggers make posts that make me realize I’m not alone! πŸ˜„ Ugh it took me SO LONG before I was happy with my graphics! Even though they don’t look out of this world amazing like other people’s, they’re good enough for me, and that’s what counts! πŸ˜‚ And aw, thank you! Glad to see my design isn’t too bad! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve also changed up my blog design several times. Mainly during my second month of the blogging world, all I really did was blog hop and admire everyone’s blogs and take inspiration from them.

    Mainly what I saw was everyone using watercolor splotches and splashes for backdrops so I started to do the same thing too. But then I wasn’t really connecting personally with the look because it just blended in with everyone else’s blog. So I thought… what else do I like? And it hit me. Cats.

    As silly as that is, I thought it was the best way to give my blog design a bit of my own personality to it and have it stand out (in a good way hopefully) and I’m obsessed with it now. It makes me chuckle every time I see one of my cat graphics lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel that! In my first month of blogging, I was super insecure and blog-hopped a lot! Like, I didn’t like the way my blog looked or my content, and I was determined to change all of it, but I had no idea where to start! πŸ˜‚

      Yes, watercolors are definitely popular! I use watercolor flowers for my backgrounds now after discovering Freepik! I definitely understand feeling like your blog is like everyone else’s!

      And haha omg! πŸ˜‚ I need to check it these cat graphics; they sound amazing! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ah, my six-month blogiversary is next month (right behind ya!) so I don’t have a lot of changes! I did have a MAJOR redesigning (and am actually planning to do another one soon), including header, sign-off, featured images, button, sidebar graphics, etc. I’m pretty happy with how my blog looks right now, buuuuuut I’m planning to change it, like I said earlier! Fingers crossed it still looks aesthetic. πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow your blog have gone through quite a few changes Mikaela, kind of makes me feel a little behind that in the year and a half I’ve been blogging I’ve only had a few changes (one small re-design and one major on in March).
    I really get what you mean about the struggle with naming your blog. I played around with words related to reading before coming up with reading Every Night, seems appropriate given I’m something of a night owl, but I had three previous blogs all with different names and the one I have no is by far my favourite! πŸ™‚
    I really loved this post, it was certainly interesting seeing how your blog’s changed since you started! πŸ˜€ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, it shouldn’t! It means you have much more restraint than I do! I’m way too much of a perfectionist, and then I get caught up and change everything. πŸ˜‚

      Ugh, do you know there are so many book blogs involving Night? I didn’t know until people signed up for the Big Blogger, Little Blogger project and I almost mixed you up with some other blog whose name is super similar to yours! πŸ˜‚ I always find it entertaining! But, yeah, that makes sense! I’m always curious as to how someone came up with their blog name!

      Thank you so much, Beth! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love your blog design now Mikaela so whatever you’ve been doing has definitely been working! πŸ˜€
        Ha, yeah I’ve noticed a few, it just worked for me so I stuck with it but considering how many others there are out there I guess I was lucky to get the name I finally settled on.
        That’s all right! πŸ™‚ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

  14. changes? I’ve been changing my blog and my name and design constantly, far too many times to count. like you, every time I see other blogs and their nice design, I want my blog to be just as nice.

    it’s true, all the good blog names are taken by people who doesn’t even use it anymore, I suppose that’s is why there are more creative blog names

    I haven’t really been reading your blog long enough to judge the changes but it looks good though I wouldn’t use capital letters with that post title font

    I like your badge with the open book and I’m wondering why there’s no book in your header and also, why is your blog name repeated below the header? feel free to ignore my opinion as I’m pretty nosy when it comes to blog designs

    have a lovely day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m always inspired by other blogs I stumble upon! I feel less of an urge to change it so much nowadays, so I guess I finally nailed it!

      Yeah, I’m frustrated by that! I mean, I really like mine, but it annoys me how some people will take a URL and have literally never used it. Like, really?

      Because I don’t think it’d look nice! And because it probably wouldn’t fit! I had to crop it out of another picture which leaves a lot of blank space around it…it probably makes more sense to me. πŸ˜‚ And that’s.l a WordPress.com thing – there’s a title, and you can have a featured image, which is where my header is!

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    1. Haha, oh my God. πŸ˜‚ I wish I hadn’t so early. I think I literally posted my first post the day I started my blog – and I was barely confident in my design. So embarrassing. πŸ˜‚

      THERE ARE DEFAULT PICTURES? I didn’t even know???

      I like to think my blog at least looks more attractive? Not sure if it’s professional or not? πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha SAME THOUGH! I made a post like “I’m making a blog!” *Cringes*

        YES THERE ARE DEFAULT PICTURES. I AM TEACHING YOU THINGS?? (hahahahah okay but let’s be real you are teaching me everything with your posts)

        That’s true! Mine… is hardly professional. At least it’s /better/ so I’m fine with thatπŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ooh, my first was the Book Blogger Newbie Tag! It’s the most boring post of ever. πŸ˜‚ I did update it though with my older graphics way back when.

        I TEACH PEOPLE NOTHING. I am just as I uneducated as everyone else! πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, hey, you’re definitely not alone! I feel like so many people’s first blog post is “Hey, I’m a blogger now!” That, or it’s that “My First Post” template that WordPress provides for all new blogs and people forget to delete it! πŸ˜‚

        Aw, thank you! ❀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no idea if I’ll ever continue changing up my blog! I mean, I’m very happy with how it looks now, but who knows, I feel like I’ll probably want to change it as this blog grows (if it lasts that long)! πŸ˜„

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    1. Thank you! Aw, thank you so much! ❀ It definitely was interesting to remember how I started; I forgot how bad it looked back then. πŸ˜‚ Oh, no problem; I didn’t come up with this idea, so you’re free to do it! πŸ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

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