I’ve spent a great deal of time lately pondering blogs, how blogging has changed, and what the future of blogging might look like. It’s hard to remember, but when I started reading blogs back in 2006, blog photos were tiny and the focus was on writing and journaling rather than on design. Naturally blogs — especially sewing and DIY blogs — have evolved to focus on the visual and design aspect, which I love, but I do miss the everyday blatherings that used to typify blog posts. People felt more free I think to just ramble on about their day, which felt more personal. But as average reader attention span has decreased and more and more readers are using Instagram and Facebook to keep up with their favorite bloggers, blogs in general have changed.
As of this month I have been blogging here at Made By Rae for seven years. SEVEN. YEARS!!! Elliot was just a wee six months old (as Hugo is right now) and I was just starting to emerge out of the baby haze. After my previous job as a physics teacher, motherhood felt rather unstructured and haphazard. This blog was a fun way to chart my accomplishments, a place to keep track of the things I had managed to create, a way to feel productive, and most importantly, connect with other creative people. What started as just a simple journal of projects has now morphed into something much, much bigger.
I’ve just been through a ginormous web overhaul with the help of the web design firm Aeolidia (this is actually the second overhaul I’ve ever done; the first was in 2011 when I hired a local design firm here in Ann Arbor to help turn my Blogger site into a WordPress site — you can see the launch post and pics of that here if you like). It had been a few years since I had done a redesign, and in addition to a new shop (which I’ll give you a tour of very soon), I wanted to give the blog a makeover as well, to spruce it up a bit. I was getting sick of the old aqua nav bar and wanted a bit of a change. I also had a project carousel on the old blog that wasn’t going to work with the latest version of WordPress, and I’m not even sure anyone was using that thing anyway.
So even though it’s been up and running for a few weeks now already, I wanted to show it off and point out a few things about my SHINY NEW BLOG that I think you might like:
1 // Ok first of all, doesn’t it look pretty?? New, more pastel colors! Cute little graphics! Fancy fonts!!!
2 // We’ve added links to the shop in the upper right hand side of the blog so it’s easy to find the patterns (including the free ones) in the PATTERN SHOP.
3 // There are two new nifty newsletter sign up forms on the sidebar. Entering your email address into the box that says “Subscribe to posts by email” will actually deliver an email to your inbox whenever I post a new blog entry! You can even read entire posts right there in your email, and it looks just like it does here on the blog. The newsletter is less frequent and usually contains news about new patterns, sales, new fabrics, and other updates from me.
4 // I’ve added a section for TOPICS, where you can find the various topics I’ve covered in post series like Knits, Celebrate the BOY, and Spring Top Sewalongs. Leave comments if you have questions or ideas for what else you’d like to see in the topics section!
5 // The “favorite posts” section on the sidebar shows the most popular posts on this blog, which might make it easier for you to find the most popular freebies and tutorials on Made By Rae.
6 // The TUTORIALS page is very similar to what I had before and it’s always been one of the most popular places for blog visitors!
7 // I’ve also still got the archives section set up on the sidebar near the bottom of the page so that you can see every post I’ve ever written, should you have the urge to go back and peruse the archives.
8 // The FABRICS page is pretty cool; you can see all the posts I’ve written about each line of fabrics, as well as go to the stockist lists on the Cloud9 website if you want to find out where to buy each line.
9 // The Rae Made Me Do It photo pool has a special little spot down at the foot of the page — I just LOVE seeing all the projects you’ve made with the patterns and tutorials.
Anyway, that’s a quick tour of the blog! I want to give a HUGE thank you to Aeolidia, and especially Christine and Shoshanna for me to helping execute what I’m sure was a much more ambitious project than anyone anticipated. The folks at Aeolidia were kind, patient (I did go and have a baby about halfway into the project, so that slowed things down considerably), and a true pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them if you are interested in taking a website/blog/shop to the next level. I also really need to thank my lovely coworkers Jessica and Elli for all of the hard work they put into updating the new blog and shop as well!
And getting back to the topic of reader attention…if you’ve read this far, I give you a gold star for defying the norm. GO YOU and your ABOVE AVERAGE ATTENTION SPAN!!! Since you’re obviously a top-notch blog reader, I’d love to have your feedback on my blog. Do you think the blog is a dying platform? What do you think about the changing internet? Are you still a “blog person?” Or do you prefer to get your updates from other places online?