In January 2014 I took the plunge of moving my blog from blogger to wordpress and going self hosted as I wanted to own my own content.
Moving over was relatively easy, my new host MaFt set me up a background account so I could choose my theme and then once I was happy he redirected all my content for me and I was soon up and running.
As with anything new there were teething problems and tears and I found myself hugely out of my depth at first as wordpress is so very different from blogger. The lovely Chelle McCann came to my rescue and helped me sort my blog so it was working the way I wanted to. On Blogger my blog was on a black background but now it was clean, crisp and white – I was happy.
I had always loved my homemade blog header, which I updated yearly with new pictures of the children, however one of the teens said they didn’t want to be on there anymore so I made the decision to change it. I looked into lots of illustrators and the one that stood out for me was Helen Braid from EllieIllustrates.
I gave Helen an idea about what I wanted, descriptions / ages of the children and let her work her magic. There were two things I insisted on – a beach scene, as my header photo’s were always one from the beach and I wanted “Dorset” in there as people always assume I live in London.
She came back a week later with a proof for me to approve. It wasn’t quite right, but almost there so she made some tweaks for me and sent it back – perfect! She also made a badge for me at the same time.
As the year progressed I saw more and more people change the designs of their blogs and it made me think about re-designing mine. After a year on wordpress there were little niggles I had with my blog that I didn’t have the expertise to change, but I knew someone who had rescued me with problems throughout the year – Zoe Corkhill!
I first met Zoe at Coombemill at Christmas 2013 where she brought her two daughters to visit and ride the Christmas train. Also with her was the cutest dog in a Christmas jumper that I had ever seen. I think we must have been invited to all the same blogger events in 2014 and we saw each regularly, stopping to have a quick natter before being interrupted by the kids at each one.
I didn’t realise that Zoe did web design at first and it was only when I saw her help another blogger that I realised. As I regularly chatted to her online I trusted that she would do the design I wanted so filled our her web design preferences form and let her work her magic.
Zoe set up a test site so I could go in and see what changes she was making and it wouldn’t affect my current blog until I had approved it. Because of my wish list she had to build me a whole new theme and took Helen’s header as inspiration. She took all the colours and tones from the header and worked them into the blog. See how she did it here!
Originally I asked for photo’s as my menu tabs but Zoe suggested I ask Helen to do some illustrations that tied in with my header – now why hadn’t I thought of that? Again Helen did an amazing job and I was so happy with the results. She also resized my header image for YouTube, G+, Twitter and Facebook too.
Zoe has been amazing to work with. She really listened to what I wanted – I kept my photo header at the top of each blog post and she built me a slide show for my sidebar. I have had to go back to her for a couple of little tweaks too – the title text we used was the same is in my blog header, but some of the letters didn’t look quite right so she changed it for me to something more legible.
Another important aspect of being is blogger is having a good media pack to send off to potential clients. I had one that I put together myself which had all the information in it and reflected my old blog look, but Zoe made me a new one, took Helen’s images and themed it perfectly so it looks like an extension of the blog. What’s more, a few of the areas of the media pack are clickable links, including the social icons, contact info & screenshot – there is no way I could have done that. The compressed PDF weighs in at a titchy & email-friendly 979 KB too.
Zoe charges £40 to make a bespoke media pack, just fill in the form here to enquire about having yours done.
I couldn’t be happier with the work Zoe and Helen have done and their prices are very reasonable too. If you are thinking of having a new look or just a tweak here and there, give them a shout – you won’t be disappointed!