Site Redesign: My What, Who, and Why of Rebranding My Blog

I started this blog back in 2013, fresh off of the cross country move from hell. I was laid off from my job of 17 years in major media, essentially homeless and living in an RV with my husband, our kids, and our managerie of pets while waiting for my husband’s new job to start. What inspired Dangerous Cupcake Lifestyle and drove it for a long time is no longer the same as my current reality, and after languishing and floating along during the pandemic, a major site redesign was overdue.

Rebranding a blog in 2024, when AI is everywhere and theme costs have increased, is still no easy task. It takes a lot of patience, a skilled hosting service and designer, and a willingness to really examine your purpose. (Yes, we get a little deep here, so bear with me.)

But, before I go any further into my site redesign process and wax on nostalgia for the past while looking forward to the future, I want to give a massive shoutout to Debbie of Heart and Soul Co. She listened to my vision and helped me turn my pretty but outdated blog into a thing of beauty without losing any content, or my hair. She’s your person if you need a reliable hosting company with design help. When I hit the delete button a few many times or just couldn’t find THE right button in the theme I chose, she dug in and resolved it for me. I can’t thank her enough.

site redesign homepage

If you’ve been blogging for a while and your focus has changed, the first question to ask yourself is “Do I want to keep blogging?” If you enjoy writing, you’re getting something out of it, and you can afford the hosting and related costs, a rebrand may be something to consider. It’s facts that a well-designed site without errors is more attractive to a possible partnership. Minor fixes may be a band-aid on keeping things running, but after a while, your old theme may not be mobile responsive (like mine was not) and maybe even more importantly, may not be doing you any favors as far as SEO.

Why I Did a Site Redesign

When I first started blogging on this site (not my first blog), I wrote about family activities and entertainment, along with parenting topics and random things moms might like. It was fantastic, and I loved it. The day I interviewed Chris Hemsworth was such a big highlight, I realized that I’d had a wonderful ride but if it ended after that, I wouldn’t regret it. I’d smile and be happy with the amazing memories. And I meant it. As my kids continued to grow up, and now that empty nest life is on the horizon, with just one of our kids living at home, I was on the fence: keep blogging and rebrand the blog to fit our current lifestyle or quit blogging.

After a lot of thought — as in, months of consideration — I chose to keep blogging, and to undertake a site redesign. It’s so much more than just thinking about how I want it to look, which is, I might add, not as easy as you’d think. It’s deeper. It’s heavy consideration and reflecting on the ‘what,’ the ‘who,’ and the ‘why.’ What do I want to write about? Who am I writing for? Why do I want to spend the time and money?

The what: that was probably the hardest question for me to answer. Putting my current life into words isn’t just as easy as saying “I’m a midlife mom who has some time on her hands now and wants to start focusing on her own interests.” It sounds so trite, kind of cliche, and also pretty vacuous. It misses the mark, so I needed to drill deeper.

Midlife is so often associated with menopause, and that topic is not only irrelevant to me (as it is so long past due to an early hysterectomy), but it’s not what I want to write about. There are a lot of people out there writing about it, and I have nothing substantial to add, so I will leave it to them. One blog doesn’t need to be everything. There’s an undercurrent of “oooh a shiny new application, I’ll fill it out and maybe I’ll get the gig” when it comes to blog opportunities, but saying yes to everything means nothing gets done as well. Finding a blog niche doesn’t mean talking about only one thing, but finding a way to make several topics work well together while not being stretched so thin that even Google has no idea what you really are an authority on.

The who: who am I writing for? Me? Other moms? Midlife moms? WHO? I mean, it’s okay if you want to write just for you. There’s success in that, a freedom that comes from not worrying if brands don’t like you or if other readers don’t agree. There’s also charm and appeal with that approach, and people will read you because you speak your truth and reality. There’s value with being real. Don’t underestimate that.

If you’re writing for others, who is your target market? When authors write books, they tell a story, but their publisher markets it with a particular demographic in mind. As a blogger, you’re also that publisher, the person marketing it for readers. This means you can’t just throw it out there, unfocused, blindly hoping people read it. You stand a much better chance of readers finding you if you have a picture in mind of who your readers are. You may not have a tour when you hit that “Publish” button, but you still have to place your thoughts and words in a way that resonates.

Knowing the ‘who’ enables you to more effortlessly craft your story. The words flow more smoothly when you picture your intended audience relating to what you write. If you don’t know who that audience is, you’re fishing without bait. Develop your concrete target demographic and the fish will come looking for you.

The why: am I writing solely for my enjoyment? To educate? To entertain? To provide resources? Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have multiple reasons, but knowing your why helps guide your future editorial considerations. Am I writing to speak to large masses of women, or just random readers who an relate on something obscure? There’s no one right answer, but you do need to know.

Next up, choose your blog theme, or how it will look. I took a big piece of blank paper, laid horizontally, and drew out my idea of the perfect layout. I chose my categories, my sub-categories, and ideas I’d seen on other blogs or websites that I wanted to include. I made a list of things that were non-negotiable, such as: must be mobile responsive, menus must have a drop-down option, must allow for dynamic content changes to feature or highlight seasonal or trending topics, and I needed total control of colors and fonts.

Once I chose a theme that allowed for all that, I handed it to my trusty designer to install and move over my content. I used that time to put in writing my topic ideas, to have the basics ready as soon as I could get into the dev space/maintenance mode and start making changes. This is where patience comes in. If you’re new to Blocks, as I was, it’s a learning curve, but it’s also a glorious experiment in design. You can do pretty much anything, customizing your blog far more than ever before, in less time, but you’ll need to delete a few things, mess up a few times, before you get comfortable. And you will get comfortable, but give yourself some grace.

I chose a Kadence Block theme, so I paid a one-time fee up front for the theme, and Kadence updates are free. This was significantly cheaper than the yearly fee some designers are charging to keep websites updated. I’m no expert, but I’m confident in making changes on my live site now without worrying I’ll break it or display any ineptitude to an innocent reader.

Back to the what, who, and why…MY what, who, and why, because if you’re a longtime reader, you’ll see a few changes. It hopefully won’t scare anyone off, but I want to be true to myself. I can’t write about baby products, school problems, or movies made for teenagers if I’m not really using them, experiencing them, or seeing them. I’m not only aiming for authenticity, but it’s so much easier to write when it’s truthful and it makes me feel good to write it instead of making me feel like I’m struggling.

my blog rebrand and site redesign

My what: 2023 brought some challenges, and while some results aren’t great, there are also good things ahead. I want to give myself space to talk about things going on my life now, so while the main topics on the surface are lifestyle inspiration, mindful living, and fun for almost empty nest moms, I’m going to go a little more in-depth. I want to write about things we midlife moms of young adults deal with on a regular basis, providing resources, recommendations, and encouragement. Financial topics like planning for early retirement, saving for travel, planning those trips, still being there for our kids, but putting ourselves back on the front burner…or at least that middle one that doesn’t get used a lot.

My ‘what’ is finding happiness in this phase of life, and sharing the struggles and the wins with others in the same boat. Moms of younger kids spend their entire life, 24/7/365, focused on their kids in some way. We happily put our hobbies aside so we can make sure our kids have everything they need, but as time goes on, we forget what those hobbies are. We give them up and no longer feel able to start over or pick up where we left off. We can go out on a weeknight, but where? That time used to be spent on getting everyone ready for school, but now it’s free time. I mean, what even is that?

We think we’re too old to do what we used to, which isn’t true, and we feel in limbo. I’m a mom, but I’m no longer having to BE a mom 24/7/365. It’s a wonderful time in life, but we have to take steps to move forward and not wallow in the sadness that can come from feeling like our main purpose is behind us. That’s the what. It’s also the why, and the who, all rolled into one explanation. I want to reach other moms who are looking to rediscover themselves, be it hobbies or self-care or getting out of the house on person missions unrelated to shopping for something someone else needs.

It’s a tough transition, but on the other side, things are amazing. It’s a balance, where we still strive to have that family time but without making our kids feel obligated. We want to find new things to fill our extra hours, while we experiment to see what this new version of ourselves wants.

Much like redesigning our life, to redesign a blog, you need goals. You need to give yourself time to figure it out. You’ll make a few mistakes, waste some time, and question yourself. You may change your focus. You may realize what you initially wanted isn’t what you want now…and it’s all okay. It’s part of the process, and while midlife’s going to be a lot harder, and a lot more permanent than redesigning your blog, there are similarities that you can recognize and prepare for on both sides.

The good news is that other than the fact time is indeed marching forward, nothing else is permanent. You can create a new color palette, which took me a full six hours, which seems ridiculous in hindsight, but I wanted it just right. You can move blocks around. You can say, nah, I don’t want to write about movies anymore…and it’s all okay. You can sit back on the couch with the hubs and watch a movie or book a trip to go ziplining in the jungle. You’re still a mom, midlife isn’t a bad word, and you’ve got the luxury of knowing you don’t care what anyone else thinks about your choices. Make some new ones, make those ones you’ve put off, consider those others that you shelved for fear someone would judge you, and keep trying. Experience things. Be adventurous. And write about it. Someone out there can and will relate to you, and you may just find the one person right then who needed to know they’re not alone. And that new blog look may be how they find you.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *