Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

January 6, 2016

My New Blog Look (+ A Review of Pipdig Templates)

Blog Template for Mobile Devices

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:

Easy Blog Template

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:

A Review of Pipdig.com Blog Templates

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:

Nineteen by Pipdig Blog Template

I needed some teal in the design, so when you hover over the social media icons they turn teal - please humor me and try it!  When you hover over the titles of the pages, they turn grey.  Speaking of the social media icons, aren't they cute?

Templates for Blogger Blogs

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!

Blog Template with Pinterest Instagram Widgets

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):

Blog Template for Mobile Devices

The mobile version has a great menu, too:

Pipdig Blog Templates

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!
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13 comments

  1. i love how modern and clean it is and how much the aqua in your photos now stands out so much more with black and white!

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  2. Hi Tanya! You can easily add your own domain, Blogger will automatically redirect your .blogspot domain to the new one, so you won't lose your readers, I've done this in a dozens of blogs ;)

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    1. Hi Maira,
      My biggest concern is all of the links coming in to my blog and how smoothly those will re-direct. I've seen bloggers switch and then any links/features don't work and just re-direct to the main page, if at all. That's the scary part for me!

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  3. Congratulations Tanya! Yes, the social media buttons do turn teal, I checked it out :). I think the new has been going on for a while , am I right? Cos I remember seeing about the tabs on the top of your blog, and wondering how to get that. Thanks for the tip, I will surely check them out. My blog is on blogger too, and I just got a DIY makeover done 2 months back. lol. I still look at other blogger blogs for blog-design inspiration, so I appreciate this article. I also like your mobile version. So again congrats!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I did start work on this before Christmas but I kept tweaking little things here and there after my initial switch. I wanted to blog about it because many of my readers follow by email so they don't get to see the changes unless I point them out. Your website looks great - I love the pink!

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  4. Thought you might want to know- The site looks beautiful in Chrome. It looks oddly streached out in IE (like the little round pic of you at the top of the site becomes a 6' by 2' that fills the entire right hand side of the browser) probably that is just the ancient version we have to use at work though.

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    1. That is very good to know! I will check it and and make sure it's not something weird on my end that I can fix. Thanks so much for the head's up, I really appreciate it!

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  5. Black and white is so sleek! But that pop of teal is something s little extra special. Love the look!

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    1. Thanks Crystal! I figure black and white gives everyone's eye a rest from all the color in my home, lol.

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  6. It looks fantastic! I had to change over my template when I started having problems when Wordpress updated the platform and the designer wouldn't respond to my inquiries. I looked for a while and eventually settled on a really simple design but now I've got major blog envy because yours looks fantastic.

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  7. You did it yourself?? I am dying to switch up my blog. I feel so left behind in the "dark ages" with my blog template but teaching kindergarten full time while trying to maintain my blog has been a challenge! I want to switch things up this summer without forking out oodles of cash! I LOVE your new design! Thanks for this post!

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    1. I bought a template, which I installed myself (but they can do it for you), and then I made simple adjustments to the colours, etc., to personalize it a bit. I really like Pipdig because they answer questions really quickly and the prices were really reasonable. I'd buy from them again, which is surprising because I'm so cheap when it comes to things like that! Good luck with the refresh - can't wait to see your new look this summer!

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