Some of you have already noticed the fresh new look of Dans le Lakehouse! Even though I've been blogging for many years, I've never spent money on my blog design (or even having my own domain for that matter, because I'm intimated by the prospect of actually moving from blogspot.com). My DIY header and social media buttons just weren't cutting it anymore though, so I took the plunge and purchased an affordable template from pipdig, which I customized a little:
I am so thrilled with how Dans le Lakehouse looks now, so I wanted to give you a tour (if you're reading via email, click over and take a quick peek!) If you're a fellow blogger looking for a budget-friendly, customizable, and super easy template for your own website, read on for my review of pipdig.
Here's a look back at my old, DIY "design":
To the right you could spot my sad little social media "buttons," made by me. Honestly, I'm super proud of myself for figuring out how to make them clickable, but I readily admit that they didn't look very chic or polished.
The whole look wasn't horrible, but it looked homemade. I did, however, love the black headers and the simple, clean(ish) look, because I like my photos and projects to be front and centre.
When I decided to upgrade the look, I wanted to keep the same feel. I looked at many different template providers, but I liked that pipdig offers something for everyone - for both wordpress and blogger. At first I was drawn to the "Minim" template because it featured the same black and white scheme I had before, but after I realized that I would be able to customize colours, fonts, and the layout of any template, I chose "Nineteen" instead.
The "Nineteen" blog template looks like a more polished version of what I had cobbled together. I started fiddling with the look and chose black (again) for the headers because it looks so sharp with my colorful photos:
There are so many little bonuses and fancy touches that come with the template that would have taken me months to figure out how to create on my own. I especially love how the pages at the top ("about," "diy project gallery," "lakehouse tour," etc) move with you as you scroll down the page:
The Pinterest and Instagram widgets were included in the template and I love how they feature four uniform photos each (so slick), but I still need to make my own Etsy widget. I also have a search bar, so if you're looking for a particular post or theme, you can find it quickly now!
I also updated my favicon (the little icon beside my blog url) to an anchor - my little nod to coastal decor. I've changed it a few times since updating the blog look because it's hard to make an image that small actually clear!
Because I mostly read blogs on my phone these days, having a sharp look on mobile devices was important to me. I've noticed that a lot of blogs looks good on a desktop but are a hot mess on mobile devices and I wanted the look to be consistent. Luckily blogger created a somewhat okayish mobile version that it defaulted to, but now Dans le Lakehouse looks so chic, no matter where you're visiting the lakehouse! Here's the look on mobile devices (although you can always scroll down and choose "web version," even if you're on your phone or tablet):
The mobile version has a great menu, too:
Installing the pipdig Blogger Template:
If you're a blogger, you probably want to know how easy this template was to install. It was incredibly easy to install (15 minutes), but I did spend an afternoon fiddling with sizing, colors, my pictures, widgets, etc. They can install it for you, but I really recommend doing it yourself because then you start to know the nuts and bolts and customizing everything will be easier. I had a few questions during the process and the pipdig team responded about a day later, which was pretty quick - although I did figure out one of my own problems in that time frame. My old "link within" widget stopped working in the transition, so the pipdig folks installed a somewhat similar widget (free of charge) that suggests different posts. Recently my Pinterest widget stopped working so I had to email the support team and was told Google had made some updates, but all I had to do was re-install the widget and it was working perfectly again. It has been pretty straightforward and there's always support, which I really appreciate.
There is only one thing I miss about the old look: I had added some lines to the code long ago to auto-size all of my photos to the same width, but I lost that code alteration in the process. They still auto-size with this template, but only if the photo is already a certain width. I sacrificed a bit of blurriness for the same width before, but this template does not. It means I have to go back to some old posts and re-size photos manually, but that's okay - every time I dig into the archives, I catch a typo, so I should probably be looking through old posts regularly anyway. I'll be updating the pages this month and will be sure to give you a tour when they're all ready!
So, What Do You Think?
I'd love to know what you think of the new blog look! I'd especially love to hear what makes your experience as a reader better and if there's anything I can do to make visiting the lakehouse as fun and easy as possible!