Are blogs bad for web designers?

“Neglecting this blog” is an understatement—I haven’t been blogging at all in this blog. Sorry about that. I guess I’ve just been so busy with work that I felt talking about anything that directly pertains to my profession won’t do any good to my stress levels. Anyway, on to the topic!

I have to admit that I was never really active in the local design scene here in the Philippines—I’ve been more active in the blogosphere. Anyway, I stumbled upon this discussion about Personal Site Versus Blogs, a few months back (I think that was sometime in February). It basically asked what the difference between blogs and personal sites is, and which of those two are gaining leverage.

Sadly, most say that the two are one and the same—which I totally disagree with. The topic poster was referring to “personal sites” as those personal sites that was so “in fashion” back in the 1990’s, where the owner would put in his autobiography, favorite things, links, and of course, ever-popular guestbook.

It’s easy to confuse blogs with plain old personal sites, especially if you only consider blogs as an online diary of telling whoever cares what you did and ate that day. Blogs have already evolved into so much more. It can be a recipe center, a wedding guide, a tech news and reviews journal, or a sports reportage—all written with a personal touch. Considering blogs as simply a “Dear-Diary-this-is-what-I-did-today” aspect of a personal site is just so… outdated.

But then again, if you still think that Macromedia Flash is the new black… It isn’t really surprising that this mentality exists, doesn’t it?

Now, back to the main question, are blogs bad for web designers? Continue reading “Are blogs bad for web designers?”

How do you know if your blog is ready for a new look?

That’s one question I’ve been poundering on lately for this blog and my personal blog, Kutitots. I’ve been doing mostly blog re-designs lthe past few weeks (not mine, but for my clients), that I’ve considered getting one myself. I haven’t really bothered to ask my clients WHY they wanted one, but I guess the answer would be the same anyway: it’s just not working anymore.

The first reason for this is the most obvious: you’re so behind the design trends. There are some designs that are “seasonal,” kind of like clothes that can go out of fashion. But there are those that are simply “classic”—it would work whatever the current trend is. But regardless of which, even the most classic design will have to undergo a design “improvement.” It will have to adapt to the current viewers’ needs.

That is probably one of the most important things to consider when you’re thinking about getting a redesign. If your viewers matter a lot to you (well, it should actually—they’re the ones keeping your blog alive), then you would need to consider their needs. A design that worked for viewers back in the 90’s will definitely not work with those in the present. Web 2.0 isn’t just about curvey edges and cool gradients—it’s all about usability. And in order to keep up with that “usability” need, you will then have to consider getting a redesign.

Another thing that can brought about this need to change a blog’s look is an evolution in the blog’s subject. There are those who have started having a personal blog which then revolves into a tech blog—it’s pretty obvious that a “personal” look might not work well with a tech blog. This can happen you know… I myself started Kutitots as a plain old journal, but now it’s more than just a recap of my day—I prefer to think that my entries have more substance, letting other people pounder on some issues I bring up.

Anyway, whatever the reason for a redesign may be, it all just boils down to the question of “if you can handle it.” There are some people who are too attached to their current design, or just simply can’t let go because of the gazillions of modifications they did on it. Then there’s also the issue of whether you can afford it if you don’t know how to install a new theme or would like to have a custom theme designed.

The only thing to keep in mind (I guess) is that when you do decide to redesign, make sure that the old one really needs to be replaced. Let the public “absorb” the design first. I’ve already seen some blogs that change themes every week (it can get pretty annoying, and shows that you really can’t make up your mind). Besides, if you want the blog to establish a certain personality, it’s best to keep the design for some time.