Having a Blog Makeover | my Experience & a Few Tips


You may have noticed a few changes around here... They're things I've been wanting to do for a while but just didn't pluck up the courage. I'm now so pleased and whilst there are definitely a few things you may want to think about before doing, I thought I would share my experience.

Changing URL

Blogs are kind of like your baby, one of the ways in which this is true is that you name them when they're tiny and have no idea how they're actually going to turn out! Unlike with a baby, you can change your blog name to better suit it after it's had time to grow into its own. There are pros and cons to this. 

Firstly, if you're an active member of the blogging community, people know you by your original name. Secondly, your traffic and SEO will suffer for it even if it's a short-term thing it's worth thinking about. Re-directs can take a while to kick in and also I've noticed my posts dropping out of Google searches since the change, which is a pain! Apparently it will be temporary change but it's still meant this past week I've had a big drop in traffic. I also made the very dumb decision of changing my name after I already had a custom domain, meaning I will also have to keep renewing my old domain name (if you want to do it I would recommend doing it when you're moving from .blogspot or .wordpress to a custom URL). Thirdly, if your Twitter handle and other social media are in your original name you'll have to change all of that which could get confusing for followers. Although I must say I've noticed I'm gaining new followers much more quickly since the change, this could be completely unrelated but it's an interesting change.

However, having said all that, it was the right decision for me. I wasn't really thinking long-term when I chose my name, it just seemed cute at the time. The more time passed the less happy I was with it and I knew that would only get worse! Therefore I went for something simple that summed up my blog and had my name in it to add a personal touch. It's not the most original thing in the world but I think I will still like it in a few years time.

Getting a New Template

There's no easier or better way to breathe new life into your blog than getting a new layout. I chose this simple and clean pre-made design from Pipdig for £29 which I'm so pleased with! I'm also really happy with how this looks on mobile devices as realistically a lot of people access blogs that way so it's important to have a good mobile version of your blog. They installed it and helped me out massively with my custom domain so if you're looking at making some blog improvements and you're not techy or don't know where to start, I'd really recommend their services. Thank you to Phil for putting up with literally dozens of stupid questions from me!

Commenting Systems

One of the things which I don't like about my blog is the Blogger commenting system as it's just a little unintuitive and doesn't even notify people of your responses! I did briefly install Disqus earlier this year however it wasn't quite working with my layout. Now, it's basically impossible to have Disqus if you're on Blogger as you can no longer import your comments from Blogger (as of April 2015). If you're a relatively new blogger or you're on Wordpress I really would recommend Disqus, however if you're like me and have been left some wonderful comments over a period of time that you don't want to lose, it's time to start loving Blogger! The other big option out there is Google comments, however that also has the issue of removing comments on your old platform so if you're going to go there then do it whilst your blog is still quite new.

Which Platform?

Another thing I'd been considering was migrating my blog to self-hosted Wordpress (something Pipdig also offer). The pros are obviously more control over your blog and improved SEO, however I eventually decided against it as I just don't think I'm ready for such a big change! As I've mentioned, I'm not the most tech-savvy blogger out there (installing my own URL was stressful enough...) I may very well go for it in the future but right now it's not for me! I know it's very fashionable to hate on Blogger but if it's good enough for Zoella and Fleur de Force, I'm sure I'll manage!

What do you think of my new look blog? Have you ever made big changes to your blog?

 


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69 comments

  1. Totally agree with you about the url, and I'm the most fickle-minded person when comes to deciding on the name, I have so much confusion created with all my twitter name, instagram name, Facebook, and blog, I need to sort it out. It's quite frustrating.. Arrggh, Love the neat layout. Pipdig, is the most widely used for template upgrades.

    BeautyDetour

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    1. I'm quite fickle too! That's why I've tried to go for something simple :) xx

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  2. I have really really been wanting to do a blog makeover, not so much a makeover but just to sort things out that I haven't have the time to do recently, so reading this post as really been a big help! I have never though about buying a design but I will have to do more research into this! I love the new look and great name! xx

    www.thatgirlrhianna.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It's definitely the easiest way to get a professional template :) and thank you! xx

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  3. I think the new blog and name is wonderful. I did notice the name change but it wasn't that drastic so I still knew who you were :)
    I am currently changing my template and moving to wordpress..scary times :)

    Pams Stuff and Things

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    1. I'm glad it didn't remove my existing identity :) xx

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  4. I like the new layout and the name :) What a shame you can't transfer comments from Blogger to Disqus! I was still able to do so but I did loose some of them :( I've been thinking of going to self hosted site but, like you, I'm not rushing into it. xx

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

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  5. I love the changes you have made to your blog! I've been thinking of making a few changes now, whilst it's still pretty early days for my blog. I would like to change the commenting system but am unsure on what to change it to since you can't transfer you old comments from Blogger (:

    Blushhx

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    1. Thank you :) and yes the commenting thing is so tricky :( xx

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  6. I really like all the changes you have made to your blog and it looks so fresh, clean and professional which embodies what you represent!! I am with you on the blogger commenting system but I am sticking with it at the moment!! ...xx

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    1. Yeah I hope Disqus sorts out the import situation or another system comes along! xx

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  7. It looks amazing! I love reading your blog so it's kinda like finding a new one all over again hehe!
    :) xo

    Lauren // The Beauty Ideal

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  8. I love the new look of your blog! I really want to change my URL but I'm quite hesitant to do so as of yet, but maybe some time in the future! I'll keep your tips in mind though :)

    Emily // Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

    xx

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    1. Thank you :) for what it's worth my re-directs/Google rankings all seem to be fixed now a couple of weeks down the line! xx

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  9. Oh dear, I'm so glad I landed in this post. I've been planning to change my URL to custom domain with .com but turns out it is taken by some random hosting web. Eek! So I might go with .net instead, but still don't know when to do it. You're right, losing some pageviews and ranks can be scary at times -_-*

    Anyway, blog makeover is also something I'm currently dealing with. Been trying to pimp here and there, I've been doing it since the first day I started blogging so I guess I just don't wanna lose that skill as I grow older (and lazier). LOL! :D If you know what I mean...

    So, yeah, been dealing with codes again and it starts to give me migraine after a little error >.<! I plan to finish 'renovating' my blog on the 2nd anniversary which would be this June. Hopefully I can make it! *finger-crossed*



    Have a nice day, Jasmine. The blog looks more professional this way x

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment!

      It much be so frustrating not to be able to have your exact domain name with .com! My SEO etc. seems to all be back to normal now but my traffic was down for a while xx

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  10. Love the new look of your blog. Pipdig layouts are so clean and you're right the way they look on mobile is really nice.

    I never understood why blogger doesn't notify you of replies it's so annoying and such be a basic feature -.-

    I'm not really happy with my blog url but I need to have a long think before I actually do something about it so that I'm not even more sad afterwards lol!

    Vanessa // VNSX x

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    1. I agree blogger needs to up its comment game! xx

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  11. I'm LOVING the rebranding, it definitely suits your content a lot more and the new design is beautiful! I adore Phil from Pipdig, and he's actually helping me out with a few changes myself, as i'm sure you know. He's definitely a great guy to have in your contacts!

    Heather, porcelainbeautyx
    xxx

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    1. Thank you so much :D and I will definitely be enlisting his help if I go to Wordpress! xx

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  12. I love your new redesign! And I know everyone is big on the Wordpress thing, but for my very simple mind, blogger suits me better :)

    RachelShuchatMakeup

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    1. Thank you :) and Blogger suits me fine for now too! xx

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  13. I love the change to your blog! Funny enough I just changed mine today also! I think sometimes we just need to make that change if your unhappy with it. Also, it makes you super excited to put out new content! :)


    www.theweekendattic.com

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    1. I feel exactly the same :) it brings all that excitement back! xx

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  14. This post came at a great time for us as we're thinking of getting a custom domain, some kind of name-change (though we've already changed our name once since starting our blog) and also a potential makeover looks-wise! Luckily we didn't lose our comments (or hardly any of them) before we swapped to Disqus - we found the ease of the Disqus system worth losing our early comments for anyway, as we changed it early enough that there were only a few to lose. Although I do agree it's SO annoying that Blogger doesn't notify you of responses to a comment. We will be sticking with Blogger when we do switch to a custom domain too.
    Thanks again for such an informative post!
    Rebecca | The Two Twenty Somethings
    Xx

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    1. Yeah that's fair enough, I wish I'd gone with Disqus from the start but I was pretty clueless! xx

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  15. i wish that i had read a post like this before i did a huge blog overhaul back in october. i bought my domain name, had to redirect it, set up a new template, and make sure everything was going nice. however, i like disqus for blogger. it took me a while to get used to, but i don't like that the commenting import feature doesn't work. but, it's been on enough of my new posts that it works well for me.

    brooke | brooke elise

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    1. Yeah that's fair enough - if I didn't already have so many comments here I would have done it! xx

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  16. Ah great post, I remember the stresses of buying my own domain name, I got the .co.uk and the .com version and it was so stressful making sure they both amalgamated to the one site. I recently changed to self-hosted wordpress and I really like it, I had a bit of help but I just quite like that it helps you optimise content more, and that helps for my job anyway. Your blog is looking really nice, I love the template :).

    Sarah xo | PolkaDotLemon

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    1. Haha I can imagine! And thank you :) xx

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  17. I was able to get all my comments from blogger to disqus when I switched but have heard loads of people saying that they couldn't which must be annoying. I was also thinking about switching to wordpress but then again think it might be lost on me as I'm clueless with any kind of tech stuff. Love your new design & name, I'm hoping to re-vamp mine in July when my blog turns 1 x

    Beauty with charm

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    1. Yeah it's quite frustrating! And yeah totally in the same boat on that one xx

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  18. Love your new blog layout and Phil also did mine and I love it! xx

    Julie
    www.rainingcake.com

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  19. This is an awesome post Jasmine! I'm loving the new look of your blog! I'm on Wordpress, that's were I started from the begging, and I'm glad I didn't go with Blogger, as I think I'd be scared to eventually change over to Wordpress, too since it'd be a bit unfamiliar at first hehe :) I so want to try Disqus as I love commenting on other blogs using it, it's so much easier and I love the fact that you can see replies as well! I'm definitely going to think about it.

    Paula

    Thirteen Thoughts

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    1. Thank you lovely! And yes knowing what I know now I'd have made a few different choices back when I set this up but hey ho! xx

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  20. I'm a new reader, but I really like your design - it's clean but not too sterile looking!

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  21. Looks great! I'd love to move to Wordpress too, but it seems a bit MUCH!

    Georgina
    foxonthehunt.com

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    1. That's how I feel - when I'm a bit more techy I think I'll consider it properly xx

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  22. I love the look of your new layout and changes, I'm contemplating if I wanna switch to Squarespace! x

    www.angerawrs.co.uk

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    1. Thank you :) I haven't really considered Squarespace but would love to learn more xx

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  23. You blog layout is so lovely! I have been contemplating switching to Wordpress but for now I think I will stick with blogger. It does the job just fine! x

    Mapped Out | Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle

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    1. Yeah I feel the same - it's fine for me for now :) xx

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  24. I did indeed notice your makeover and I LOVE it Jasmine. This post has actually helped me so much because I'll be switching over to my custom domain soon (I'll have to get on to pipdig for that too, he's a genius) and I was also considering disqus but like you, I really don't want to lose my lovely comments. A really useful, fab post hun... excited to see what's come for you and your gorgeous blog :)

    Elle
    www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

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  25. Loving the new changes! The layout is clean and simple, I really like it :) I love Disqus because of the email notifications for replies, and also anyone can comment (even as a guest if they don't have Twitter etc.)

    Kat | www.kathorrocks.com

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    1. Thank you - I agree, Blogger needs to improve their comments xx

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  26. Great post as I'm also thinking of having a makeover for my 1st blog anniversary (soon) and needed some help on where to find good templates, more info on changing domain, etc. Very helpful! Your blog is looking great by the way! :) xx

    Renata | Speaking Beauty UK

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    1. I look forward to seeing what you do with it :) xx

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  27. It was interesting to read your experience with the changes. I've been thinking of making some changes myself soon so your post was very apt. Thank you. :-)

    Beauty Isles | An Island Girl's Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

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  28. I'm so glad I made the switch from Blogger comments to Disqus before April '15, I'd be gutted to lose my comments!

    Loving the blog design - I've used this template before and it's so wonderfully familiar, like visiting a favourite place - and I'm going to be sticking around especially for the travel packing posts! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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    1. Yeah it's such a shame! And thank you :) xx

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  29. First of all, desk goals! And secondly, I adore your new layout it's so classy and fresh! I changed my template in the past 8 weeks and I added disqus to my blog around a month ago, I didn't know about the deadline of losing comments so I'm so glad I did it unknowingly just in time to savour them all! x

    Toni x
    clarkecouture.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Haha thank you! And yes I wish I'd just stuck with it now xx

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  30. Your blog is very pretty and professional looking :)

    xo, mikéla / simplydavelyn.com

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  31. I love the new layout and the new URL! It looks amazing Jasmine.

    Antonia x | Fifi and the Diamonds

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  32. I like your layout, it's super clean and it looks really nice (ah I need to think about a blog makeover myself). Plus is so easy to navigate! Those two things are major pluses in my book! I constantly think about hcanging my URL to something more makeup/beauty related but then I worry too much about my followers being able to follow me/find me after and honestly the whole process is entirely too stressful for me to think about.

    I personally use Disqus and was lucky enough to find out a way to install it early on so I'm not too worried about it but I can see how it's a hassle to deal with (why on earth did they make it impossible to import comments???). Blogger does have that little Notify me button on their commenting system but I have no idea how well it works since I haven't used it. Honestly if Bloger were to step up it's game in term of comments, so many users would probs use it more.

    These things you have learned are so helpful tbh, i can see that these kind of tips are ones that bloggers (especially newer ones) could really benefit from!

    Zaire | By Nyght

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    1. Thank you! That's what I love about Pipdig designs :)
      I completely agree Blogger should put some much-needed improvements into its comment system! xx

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  33. the only thing I've noticed while being on your blog is that often your links don't open in a new page so traffic is diverted from your blog, like in this post - easy to fix - you just tick a box each time you create the link

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    1. I didn't think that was a negative to be honest. I'm not too bothered about the traffic numbers but if it improves the reader experience, I may change it xx

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