State of the Blog: New Design

Hi Ladies,

Obviously, there are changes being made to the design.  As you might imagine, sometimes something that looks amazing on paper needs to be tweaked so that it works perfectly.  Feel free to leave your thoughts about functionality in the comments, especially if you see something that is broken or not working properly.  Not every suggested change will be made, but we’re certainly fine tuning as we go.



P.S. Some of the changes we’ve incorporated:

1) We moved comments back to the bottom for your convenience.

2) Sarah made changes to the search function.  I ran some dummy searches earlier and found it vastly improved.

3) The tabs in the side bar provide links to the five most popular categories and, as requested, the complete category archive.

4) At my request, Sarah eliminated some of the purple.  I love purple, but I don’t want to be smothered by it.

5) The content section was widened and the sidebar cut down a bit. 

We’ll likely make a few more tweaks, but for now, that covers the bulk of it.



  1. M says:

    I think the ad at the very top needs to go. The sidebar works as is though. I also find it weird that you have to click at the top of each entry to read the comments. It's awkward. I do love the design, it's very pretty.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. Dallas says:

    I'm not loving it — it's pretty but the comment form looks REALLY buggy and the ad at the top is awful. I don't begrudge you making money, but it's so distracting.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  3. Natasha @ twenty-something blog says:

    Congrats! Love the new look 🙂

    <3, natasha @ <b><a href=””>twenty-something blog</a></b>

    June 16, 2012/Reply
  4. Beth says:

    Looks like the comments system has some bugs. The ad directly across the top detracts from the aesthetics, especially as it is somewhat garish (what I see is red and yellow, mostly, wtih some blue – kind of like McDonalds).

    June 16, 2012/Reply
  5. annie says:

    it showcases the ads more than the content, which i find quite distracting.

    June 16, 2012/Reply
  6. jes says:

    i feel like the actual content side (left) is awkwardly small when compared to the tags/ad side. i think the left side should take up more space. maybe its my browser?

    i agree with the comments link thingy too

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  7. Sarah says:

    Hi all! Belle's web designer here – thank you for all the comments. If you don't mind, it would be super helpful if you posted what browser you are viewing from (Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari, etc.) and whether you are on a Mac or a PC. That way, we can figure out where the glitches are as soon as possible. Thank you!

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  8. M says:

    My issues are visible on my PC which I use Internet explorer, as well as safari on my iPad.

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  9. Belle says:

    The top ad is a Style Coalition ad. I have a lengthy contract on that ad, I can't remove it until the contract is up next spring.

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  10. Rory says:

    I think it looks great, although I'm having a trouble reading the titles that are in the lavender color. Maybe go a bit darker? I'm using Safari on a PC.

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  11. Theresa says:

    Lovely color and I love the clean lines! But the previous header was much cuter and made more of an impact. It also makes me pretty sad that the ads and sidebar take up only slightly less space than the posts!

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  12. Eva says:

    Belle, this is my first time posting, but I must say I really like the changes you've made. They are subtle but much easier to navigate. I really enjoy your blog – it's helped me navigate interning in BigLaw. Thank you for all your great content.

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  13. Kara McK says:

    Often I am on a mission…looking for a particular archived post or just a general topic (e.g., hairstyles, beauty, splurge or save). I appreciate when there is an archives directory, as I believe there was previously to the left of your posts, that allowed me to search for a specific topic. Other than the five very general topics you currently have posted to the left, I don't see any way to search for your expert posts on a specific topic. I am using Safari on a Mac.

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  14. Belle says:

    KAra: We're in the process of re-adding the archive.

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  15. CSB says:

    Love it!!! Especially the categories on the right.

    June 17, 2012/Reply
  16. E says:

    I love it, Belle! I find it much sleeker overall.

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  17. Carrie says:

    I like the clean lines and the site is definitely easier to navigate, but the width of the sidebar on the right throws off the spacing a bit. It pulls away from the content and toward the ads. Larger, san-serif fonts are typically regarded as easier to read online. You're already using a san-serif font on your site, and I think incorporating it into the body of your text would improve cohesion and readability. Enlarging and changing the font and darkening the post titles would make it much more readable and perhaps balance out the width of the sidebar.

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  18. Cara says:

    I like the changes. I've always appreciated that your blog doesn't bombard me with images like so many others. It's a nice break for the eyes.

    Like Theresa, I preferred the original logo font, but the change gives the blog a sleeker, more professional look.

    In general, I'm not a fan of ads at the top because they tend to distract from the rest of the blog design. But since you have no control over that, I'll get over it. I support bloggers making money off their blogs. At the end of the day, if I have to scroll a little farther to get to your content, I'll survive…somehow. 🙂

    I never associated any color other than black and white with your blog before so I feel like I'm seeing more purple now. Perhaps it's my browser. I'm using Safari on a Mac.

    All in all, it looks really good. As long as it's easy to navigate and the content is good, I'm fine. Thanks for all you do!

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  19. MM says:

    I like it, except for the center alignment of the text on the entries – I find left justifed much easier to read. Center aligning to pics on 3 things looks fine, it's just the centering of the text entries and comments that looks weird to me. Love the lilac pruple though!

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  20. Clare says:

    I would love to see the “Next 25 Comments Most Recent Comment” at the top of all the comments instead of having to go all the way to the bottom of the page and the center alignment is a little hard to follow, other than that the changes are lovely.

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  21. K says:

    I also find the center-justified text hard to read.

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  22. An says:

    Love the new logo! I also find the center-justify distracting. It is more professional and functional to left-justify. Belle, your content is the star!

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  23. Belle says:

    Ladies-If you're center justified, what op system, etc. are you using?

    Everything on mine is left justified except for 10th Commandment and Happy Hour which were always centered.

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  24. MM says:

    I'm using Windows 7, and IE 8. The old posts, and today's save & splurge are left justified, but this one & the happy hour one, as well as comments in this one, and the last couple of comments in today's save & splurge (but not the first few) are centered. I thought that might be part of the new design – glad to hear it's not intentional for most of them!

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  25. Ashley says:

    I think everything looks like great…much more stream line and cleaner than the previous design. I am using Chrome on a PC and the headings are left justified.

    P.S. Who uses IE these days?

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  26. SEB says:

    I think the new design looks great!

    Overall it feels less “crowded” than the old version – it just looks crisp and clean. Also, I find the new design to be very easy to navigate.

    Good job!

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  27. LS says:

    The State of the Blog and Ask Belle posts are center-justified. So is the Archive listing. I'm at work using IE8 on a PC.

    Is there any chance that the posts in the archive could be in list form or a thumbnail and not the entire post? The latter is great if you want to catch-up on a recent Two Ways or whatever, but makes it much harder if I'm going back a few weeks/months.

    Lastly, I don't know how feasible these suggestions are but they would be great to have:
    -a sidebar of most popular posts this month, year, ever etc.
    -an FAQ area like matching tights, wedding attire and other questions you get a million times
    -a centralized intern area for clothes and advice

    Thanks! Overall, I love the redesign.

    June 18, 2012/Reply
  28. Chris says:

    Hi Belle,

    I think the page looks sleeker (although I miss the oomph and impact of your former title bar). My one comment is that the sidebar is HUGE! I don't know if it's because the separating line is too thick or what, but my eyes actually get confused as to which section I'm supposed to be reading, since they're almost the same size.
    The ads on the sidebar thus become the center of attention on the page (especially as they are brightly colored and the rest of the page is not).

    It might be helpful to shrink the sidebar a bit (or a lot, if possible) and place all the sidebar ads under your (admittedly charming) category banners so that they aren't the first thing you see.

    June 19, 2012/Reply
  29. Sara says:

    I love having the links to the categories, that's super helpful. Do you think you could add descriptions on the page with the full list? Doesn't have to be for everything, as many are self-explanatory, but there are some that are less clear, especially for new/newer readers who don't know the origins of certain kinds of posts. For example:
    –I always forget what BPGP stands for, and you have a great description in the first/oldest post from 2009 that you could put on the category page.
    –Why is it called “10th Commandment”?
    Thanks for considering my suggestion!

    June 19, 2012/Reply