The Story of Essentially Eclectic: Blog Changes Over The Years

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Once upon a time, I opened up an account on Blogger and decided that I wanted to blog. I had just moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Boston, Massachusetts and was looking for something to pass the time between unpacking, finding a job, and Josh starting law school in three months. I tried watching Netflix for 16 hours a day, and while that was enjoyable for a time, I slowly realized keeping it up long term just wasn’t feasible, both from a practical and mental health standpoint. Just a month before, Pinterest had shown me the wide world of blogging, so blogging it was.

I started with a basic Blogger theme, changed around some fonts, messed with some color combos and BAM. Just like that, I had a blog. But boy was it ugly.

Fast forward a few months, and through countless hours of fiddling around my blog looked like this:

The Story of Essentially Eclectic: Blog Changes Over The Years | www.EssentiallyEclectic.com

This was the first blog design that I did all by myself! Before this design, I had a more cutesy, scrapbook paper type design, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any screenshots of what that used to look like :( I learned how to make scrapbooky backgrounds in Photoshop Elements with this tutorial!

I eventually decided to ditch the scrapbook look in favor of something a bit more “clean”–with more white space. I love white space! The look was inspired in part by the look over at Unskinny Boppy, which is one of the first blogs I ever started following. I learned SO much creating this blog design. I slowly — very slowly — taught myself CSS (the coding used to manipulate the “pretty part” of your blog design) and figured out how to apply these CSS changes to Blogger’s templates. This is what the blog design looked like before I changed it, just to give you an idea. Even though the design I came up with is pretty simple, it’s still a pretty dramatic transformation, right??

You’ll notice at this point the blog is called something completely different, too; this was back in the day before Essentially Eclectic was the blog you know today! Fun Fact: Although I started blogging in the summer of 2012, EE wasn’t officially born until March 22nd, 2013. At this point in my blogging life, my blog had only 1 reliable follower: my mom. Thanks, mom!

The Story of Essentially Eclectic: Blog Changes Over The Years | www.EssentiallyEclectic.com

After a few months of blogging, I was ready for a change. I wanted to move to WordPress after my blogger pal Lauren from The Thinking Closet migrated her blog to WordPress. You can read all about Lauren’s migration and see her beautiful before and after here. As it turned out, however, I just wasn’t ready for WordPress yet. It was a monster to navigate at first, I was not at all familiar with how to set up my own blog design like I could with Blogger, and I wasn’t about to drop several hundred dollars for someone to do it for me, especially when my blog didn’t even really have an audience! So I decided to stick it out with Blogger for at least a little bit longer.

I knew I wanted to change my blog look, but after some thinking on it I realized there was a lot more that needed to change. My old blog had about 65 posts, but only about 10 of them were really worth reading. I found I would often post for the sake of posting, and I was not particularly proud of everything I had published. That’s when I decided I needed to start over. From scratch. I came up with a new blog idea and ditched the .blogspot.com by purchasing my very first, very own domain name, essentiallyeclectic.com. I changed up my blog colors from monochromatic purples to teal and sea foam green with a splash of orange in the hovered-over hyperlinks. And, perhaps most importantly, I vowed to only publish posts I was proud of and to NEVER post only for the sake of publishing.

I joined in on a few link parties, started getting comments and followers, and little by little Essentially Eclectic came to have a real live actual audience! It grew and grew until finally, that itch for change came rushing back.

The Story of Essentially Eclectic: Blog Changes Over The Years | www.EssentiallyEclectic.com

Now that my blog had an audience, I wanted to try to earn a bit of income on the side. Blogging is expensive people! And craft supplies don’t buy themselves! But I didn’t like the idea of being chained to Blogger if I was going to monetize–especially because when you’re on Blogger it means Google owns (and can remove at any time) your website. With the horrors of the giant FAIL that was my last attempt at moving to WordPress on my own still freshly in the back of my mind, I started looking into website designers and how much it would cost to move my website to WordPress. I even went so far as to pay a designer to get started! But when she wasn’t really available to give my blog the attention I was hoping for (and after a brief stint of considering giving up blogging altogether), I ended up asking for a refund (which she kindly gave) and found myself back at square one.

Then one day I got an email from my pal Diana at The Girl Creative. I had written her asking about her migration from Blogger to WordPress to see who she used, and she let me know she followed a guide that told her how to do it herself. I was floored! You can do this yourself?? It was scary, but I looked the guide over and it felt completely doable. My blog only had about 30 posts, so I figured worst case scenario if I lost everything I could just start over again. I weighed the pros and cons of migration over (and even wrote about it here) and decided to go for it.

I had a brand new blog design in mind, this time with a left sidebar, truncated posts on the main page, drop down menus–all things I couldn’t really do how I wanted with Blogger. I also wanted a bit more color–something bright! I went with a red, orange, lime green, sea foam green and teal. Reading them in a list like that they don’t sound great together, but somehow I think it worked. I was relieved to find the above screenshot of what it looked like, because it’s the only one in existence! Before I made the changes to my theme, it looked like this. Another dramatic transformation!

The Story of Essentially Eclectic: Blog Changes Over The Years | www.EssentiallyEclectic.com

Fast forward 6 months and I was itching for change again (this is a very itchy post). I really liked my blog, but the look was getting old. I wanted something a little more sleek, a little more light and airy, and a little less all over the place in terms of color. My last look had 5 different colors! Plus, my blog was also not mobile-friendly, meaning when you looked at it on your smartphone you had to manually zoom in to read everything, and it was kind of a mobile mess. So I purchased a mobile friendly theme (this is what it looked like before my changes) and went to work on the design you see today! (Or above, if you’re reading this years from now)

And that’s it, friends! I hope you enjoy the blog the way it looks today! I am starting to think I want to switch things up again, so who knows what it will look like in the next few months ;) I hope you have a delightful weekend and that you enjoyed this little walk down blog-memory lane!

Love,
Gabby

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