Makeover – How to Spice Up Your Blog

In the unlikely event I have any regular readers, they may have noticed I’ve been revamping the look of the blog, to make it a bit cleaner and easier to navigate. I was especially inspired by the open friendliness and welcoming feel  of one of my favorite travel bloggers, Kylie at Between England and Iowa, and the neat prettiness of Brey at Ordinary Adventures.

The first thing I did was identify what I didn’t like about my blog (messy and inconsistent) and what I did like about the other blogs. (Neat lay out, less cluttered, both introduce themselves as bloggers). Then I took a look at the themes the blogs I like used.

TOP TIP: If you want to see what theme a blog uses, hover over the pop up menu in the bottom right of your screen that tells you you are following the blog and then hit the dots for extra information.


Checking this information isn’t about copying someone else’s blog, it’s about looking for inspiration, and also about ensuring you don’t end up with a carbon coy of someone else’s blog. So for example I steered clear of Toujours , the layout for Between England and Iowa, since Kylie and I both blog about immigration and travel and I felt it would be too much like copying her.  Ordinary Adventures is much more of a fashion/makeup lifestyle blog, so I felt comfortable that I could use the same theme, while maintaining a very different blog identity.

Compared to my old theme Twenty Twelve ,  Gateway gives a cleaner looking top image and neater menus. So instead of having to choose between displaying the title of the blog or having a picture at the top, I can now have the title and tag line over my image.

old header
The very first header and picture I had in the old theme.

Another thing I really like about Gateway is the ability to randomly rotate the header picture.  So instead of having one picture that only relates to the long distance part of mine and JT’s story, which is actually behind us now, I can select photographs I have taken on my travels through the USA.  As well as showcasing my photographs, it makes the blog theme unique to me.


Gateway also showcases your featured image next to an except of the post, so my next job was to go through all my posts and ensure I had selected an appropriate photograph for each.

Then it was time to check the widgets.  As you will recall, I learned the hard way that changing themes, switches off widgets, while doing the Blogging 101 course. So I carefully went back and added in my twitter feed, a follow me button and a list of subjects and posts. I kept the comments and blogs I follow and added in my Gravatar profile as a quick introduction and also added my Instagram feed.

Then I checked the preview on a couple of blog pages.  Sadly the one downside to Gateway is it doesn’t support pulling block quotes to the left like Twenty Twelve did. (Which gave it a magazine feel) So I have had to go through and manually delete the old block quotes where I’d duplicated the text to make it sit in the right place on the page, before reselecting the text I want to block quote.

However, it is the only downside to my  new theme and otherwise I am absolutely loving that it looks like my blog grew up!

The Make Over is a 2013 update to George Benard Shaw’s Pygmalion , not to be confused with My Fair Lady.  Director: John Gray Writer:  C. Jay Cox  Stars:  Julia Stiles,  David Walton,  Camryn Manheim  |


5 thoughts on “Makeover – How to Spice Up Your Blog

  1. I’ve been thinking about – putting off – livening up my blog for some time…so you’ve given me the push to start doing something about it.
    My problem is that it is a sort of rag bag of a blog – it wanders about in Costa Rica, moans about France, has a hissy fit about politics….so finding a theme which suits it has so far defeated me.
    Still, thanks for the kick in the proverbial…yours looks super ….I’ll start looking again!

    1. Thank you Helen, it took me ages to do anything about it, and then about three days to actually sort it, so I do understand the urge to put it off. In the end I just looked at lots of other people’s blogs to pin down my very vague frustrations with the layout of mine. I love the variety of subjects on your blog so Im sure there is a theme out there for you!

  2. I noticed it had changed! And I’m definitely a regular reader, I get the email updates! Thanks for the kind words! I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if you had used the same theme haha, there’s so many options for backgrounds colours etc etc! It’s looking good!

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