Broke for Beauty got a makeover!

Hey all,

Now that I’ve been blogging for a few months and getting to know my blog and writing style, I decided it was time for a complete blogging makeover — internally and externally. I’ve been thinking a lot about the content I’m posting and how it relates to what I imagined my blog to be, and where I want it to be going. Through this thinking, I decided a few things:

I needed to solidify what this blog is about – I wasn’t completely sure about the kinds of content I wanted to post in the beginning, and it showed in how I was categorizing and tagging my posts. I needed to figure out what my blog is about, and what kind of content can be found here. Also, I needed to be comfortable posting content that’s not “what everyone else is doing” or that feels riskier (i.e. contains more of my voice and opinions).

My design was OK, but there were (and still are) and ton of things I could do – a clearer design, navigation bar, and customized header can do wonders when it comes to branding and legitimacy. Also, I wanted a clean, professional look that still feels fun and young, which is much more difficult to achieve than it sounds! I’ve learned a lot about branding through my schoolwork and photo editing on this blog, but I’ve only recently dipped my toes into Design, which deserves a title cap because it’s pretty darn scary.

I needed to step up my content quality – I was so focused on quantity that I realized there are so many topics I’ve been wanting to write about and share with you guys but haven’t, telling myself I didn’t have the time or it didn’t “fit” into my blog. It’s my blog. I get to decide how to make it fit.

I did a lot of thinking and planning with all of this in mind, and I went into a major overhaul this afternoon. I personally apologize to anyone who happened across my page earlier today while I was still making changes. I published some really bad drafts of headers, background designs, widgets, etc. Unfortunately the only way to see how bad these drafts were was to publish them and take a look!

Here are the visible things I’ve changed:

New design – I have a new theme and color scheme, as well as a new header. I’m working on my design skills right now, so even though it took a while, I’m proud to say I did everything myself (except the social media icons…it was tedious last time so I found some free ones online). I wanted to change all of this because my lack of knowledge about WordPress and design left me with a site I liked the look of, but it wasn’t quite me. I can’t say this new one is perfect, but I really am loving it.

New categories and organization – the theme I chose has a navigation bar, where I put the various categories and sub-categories of posts, so if you want to see all of my favorites, for example, you would just hover over Beauty and then click Favorites. This required me to go back through all of my posts and recategorize them so they would appear in the correct menus, but even before that I had to decide what those categories were. Having set categories can really help with content ideas as well as give you an idea of your blog’s focus. And the best part is, these are not set in stone, so they can always change as the blog changes.

Featured photos on all posts – this was unbelievably tedious because I had to go to each post and scroll through my entire media folder to find the right photo. But now you’ll see an image by every post as you scroll through, except for posts that didn’t require a photo, of course. And I have to say, going through each post like that really helped me see my content all together at a higher level, and it made me realize how far I’ve come since I started blogging. So while this started as the most tedious task imaginable (I wish I had a photo of my face when I realized I had to do it), I ended it feeling really optimistic about where I’m going.

No more Sunday Spotlights – I realize I was using Sunday Spotlights as a way to come up with really great content, and I no longer feel like I need that crutch. It helped me come up with a ton of post ideas and got me excited to write, so I definitely recommend something like it to new bloggers, but now I’m excited to always push out content worthy of that “special label.”

And the changes you can’t see yet but will (hopefully!) very soon:

An extended editorial calendar – I was working on a 1-2 week calendar, so while I knew what I had to get done today and tomorrow, I had no long-term idea of what was appearing on my blog. I’m working on extending my calendar to cover about 3 months at a time, so I can get started on posts earlier, take photos as I like, and spend more time with each post. I think I’ll also come up with more ambitious articles knowing I’ll actually have time to execute them.

Content to fill the sparse and empty categories – with new categories and ideas for my blog’s overall mission, I have some gaps at the moment! I’m going to start experimenting with these new categories, trying out new kinds of posts, and slowly filling these up. I may try out a couple posts and realize that a category isn’t working, or that I need a new sub-category, so expect more tweaks coming up, too.

More interesting content – it’s been fun hanging out in the beauty blogosphere, and I’ve learned a lot about content creation by reading as a writer. I do this in school all the time, but applying it to my blogging was a whole different learning curve. However, it really boils down to asking yourself one simple question with everything you read: what made me excited to read this post? I’m still learning and always will, but I want to start pushing myself to only post content I am 100% excited to share, without pressuring myself to post because it’s been a few days since my last post.

I think overall, the biggest change I’ve made today was to add some more me to my blog. I finally feel comfortable enough with my blog that I’m ready to take another step forward. I really hope some of this was helpful to you guys, and please let me know if you have any questions about what I did or how to do any of it. I’ll do my best to explain it to you!

Alright, enough procrastinating for me! Look out for my September Favorites tomorrow 🙂

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