[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).

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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! 

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!

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

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[ANNOUNCEMENT] A Brand New Look & Schedule Changes

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I swear to God, this isn’t going to become a weekly thing. I just keep changing and updating things because it’s spring, I guess? Let’s blame it on spring. But, really, I wanted to re-design my blog. Probably because I’m looking at all these stunning blogs and I am exceedingly jealous because HOW DOES DESIGN WORK. But, I have changed a couple of things that hopefully will make my posts look more aesthetically pleasing.

File_003 (7)First off, I quit Instagram.

I took a hiatus, but then I realized I didn’t really miss Instagram too much, and the more I thought about going back, the more unappetizing it seemed to me, so I decided to quit. But, the thing is, I absolutely love taking photos of books and bookish photography. I enjoy making aesthetically pleasing photos. And I also have a ton of photos that I think look actually pretty nice. So I decided I’d incorporate my photography into my posts and use them as a sort of border. Hopefully, my photos won’t bother you guys too much.

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Second, I made some design changes.

I’ve been looking at lots of blogs lately, and I’m so jealous at how stunning their graphics and posts look, so I decided I’d do something about my own. I’m sure you’ve already seen the featured image and how it looks way different than my previous posts, thankfully. Here’s an upcoming look at some of the posts coming up this week with their updated featured images.

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I also scoured Freepik for some watercolor arrows, and lo and behold, I found some that looked stunning! The arrows that I used to use for “Let’s Chat” and “Follow Me” have now been nixed, and here are the two new arrows that I’m using for my posts from now on, courtesy of the author, who can be found right here.

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I’ve also changed up my blogging button. I’m pretty sure none of you guys noticed my first one too much in the first place, but I thought it’d be nice to change it up a little bit. Some of you guys may have seen it already on Twitter, but I wanted to put it here any way for those who don’t follow me or don’t care about my Tweets. I also used Freepik to create this – you can find the watercolor flower background here and the open book here.

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And with a new blog button comes a brand new banner, hot off the presses!

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(I love how pink is my least favorite color and I’m not a girly girl whatsoever…and yet my blog is pink and girly as all hell. Great decision-making.)

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Third, I’m making some changes to my blogging schedule.

I’m going to still keep the days I post the same – which are Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday – but I’m going to minimize my two book reviews a week to just one. Mainly because I just really don’t care too much about reviews, and I don’t think most of you guys do either, so I’m going to do a non-discussion post on Wednesdays now! Usually, I reserve tags and Let’s Chat posts for Fridays and Sundays, so I guess you can say I’m going to be doing something meme-ish. I looked through old (and new) Top 10 Tuesday and Top 5 Wednesday posts, and wrote down the ones I found interesting. Instead of making it a meme thing, I’m just going to use those topics as bouncing-off points for entire list-type posts that will be WAY more than ten and five books, and most of those will be on Wednesdays! Mondays will still be sacred review days, though, and probably my only review days since you guys will probably need a break from being slammed three times a week with posts I actually prefer a lot more.

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And that’s basically what I have for this post today!

Hopefully, there’ll be no more big changes that elicit announcements. I will say, I’m actually in the midst of creating a blogger project that I hope you guys will take part in, but I won’t be announcing that until nearer to the end of the month. But, I’m hoping you guys will love and promote it (and it won’t flop). 

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Do you like my new blog design? Do you think that this blog post looks okay (hopefully, it looks as good as I think it does)?

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