The Frugal Law Student has a new look. I’ve been toying with the idea for a while, but felt I didn’t have the know how or time to create a new template. I was going to pay for someone to do it, but yesterday morning I decided not to go through with it because I didn’t know what I really wanted. But some how I started tinkering with some script. One hour turned to two, and two turned to eight, and before I knew it, I had a brand spanking new theme. Today I’ll have to hit the books hard to make up for the time I spent working on my blog.
The theme was inspired by Nate at Average Joe Blogger. I recently found his site and was really taken with the design. I looked down at the footer on his blog and saw that his theme was based on Internet Center 1.0 Design by Luka Cvrk. I downloaded that and started tinkering with it a bit. Nate really was my muse for the new layout. I hope I changed it up enough so that it doesn’t look like I’m copying him.
Here’s some of the improvements I’m stoked about:
Cleaner look- The old theme felt really cluttered. The new site has a lot more white space, so it’s not as busy looking. I’m sticking with orange as the blogs main color, but I’ve also implemented a blue and green to the mix that complements the orange. The font I’ve picked for links is Century Gothic and it adds to the clean look I’m going for.
The third sidebar also helped reduce the cluttered look. There’s plenty of room now for adspace and navigation.
Easier Navigation- The big implementation for navigation was the addition of the picture menu at the top of the page. I’m breaking down posts into either personal finance, frugality, law school. productivity, and career. I figure people come to The Frugal Law Student looking for those things, so I should make it easier for them to find. Not all the posts are categorized yet, so bear with me.
The addition of the third sidebar should make things easier to navigate as well. In addition to displaying my most popular posts, I’m displaying my most recent articles, most recent comments, archives, and the expanded list of categories. Hopefully this will help people find what they’re looking more easily.
I’ve also created a “Best of…” page so people can find that without having to dig too much.
Improved Comments- I’ve added threaded comments, so readers will now be able to respond to each other’s comments easily. I’m trying to install MyAvatars, so people can have an avatar show up in the post, but I’m having some trouble with it. If anybody knows how this thing works, help would be appreciated. The sidebar is also displaying recent comments, so people can see what others have been saying about different posts.
Awesome new logo- I’m really proud of the new banner. I created it myself using GIMP. All those blogs on design I’ve been reading (i.e. Life Clever, Typographica) has really paid off. I’m thinking I might turn the logo into a T-shirt. What do you all think? Great idea or no dice?
What I learned during this experience
For starters, I finally learned how to use CSS. While I’ve messed around with PHP a bit, I never really saw the connection on how CSS works with HTML. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pro, but I at least feel comfortable now making customized blog templates with the assistance of a premade one.
I’m really amazed how far I’ve come in a year. When I started blogging, I new zilch about computer code or web design. Now I’m customizing templates. Who would have thought? It just goes to show when you’re passionate about something, nothing will get in the way at your success at it.
Speaking of being successful, I better hit the law books. That’s one area where I don’t want to fail!
What do you all think? Do you like the new design or should I go back to the old one?