Designing a blog from scratch is very difficult, which is why we have things like WordPress's theme library and WooThemes to help us start blogging right away.
Re-designing a blog, however, can be even more difficult—and scary too. Especially if you've been stuck with the same design since the beginning and have grown any kind of audience. More than likely, if you're at this point with your blog you know that you need to change things to grow, but what exactly those things are can be sort of a mystery. Change the wrong things or take away a feature that a lot of people use, and you're bound to fly with some turbulence.
Vik Tantry is not new to the SPI community—he wrote a guest post entitled How to Pick the Right Business Partners about 6 months ago and even came down to San Diego and invited me out to lunch, which was super cool. We chatted for a few hours about business, blogging and niche sites while eating some delish Greek food.
Over the course of our lunch I learned more about Vik and what he was up to and I became very inspired. You see, he authors a relatively new blog at TheresMoneyEverywhere.com, and even after publishing his guest post and visiting his blog in the past I didn't quite understand what his purpose was online until we finally met.
I was fooled by the name of his site because “there's money everywhere” could suggest different meanings, but Vik literally means there is money everywhere, and he's out to prove it. He's on a quest around the world to find, research and learn about all of the different, unique and wonderful ways that people make money as an entrepreneur—not just from the internet, but everything else in between, such as dive bars, call centers, etc—all as he works toward succeeding with his own ventures, which he is doing really well so far.
I thought that was really cool, so I offered to help.
All he asked for was some quick advice for his blog.
Among a number of little things (his content is there, so I wasn't worried about that), the biggest issue that I brought up had to do with the design of his site.
For a lack of better words, it was a bit stale. All of the components were there, it just needed a little more pop, personality and character. Right now, it sort of just looks like a niche site, which makes sense because niche sites are a major part of how he makes a living. It's what he knows.
After a short conversation about it, we said our goodbyes, and right when I got home I saw an email from Vik saying he was already working with a VA on some blog redesign schemes.
A Little Exercise
I contacted Vik later on and asked him for a favor, if he was willing.
I thought it would be a great idea to share a part of his blog redesign journey here with the SPI community. That way, his possible new designs could get critiqued by everyone and he'd come away with some good and honest suggestions to improve them—and everyone here can learn at the same time, both from treating this like an exercise and using your own eye to see what works and what doesn't, and from hearing what everyone else thinks too.
So here it is.
Below are 3 possible designs for Vik's newly designed blog.
I have my own feelings about each of these designs, but I'll share them with you later. All I can say is that it's definitely a huge step in the right direction, but it's not completely there yet.
So—which design do you like and why? Also, what else would you add or like to see.
Remember to think about first impressions—how did you feel when you saw the mockups above?
What works and what doesn't?
You can leave a comment below (compliments and constructive criticism are always welcome) for Vik and the rest of the SPI community, or you can visit his own blog and leave him an opinion there too.
Good luck Vik, and I suspect you're be contacting your VA again very soon. Hehe.