25 In Blogging/ Life

WordPress Blog Redesign & Strategy

Hello friends! No workout tonight, still trying to get over Saturday’s mysterious hamstring fail. Hoping it fixes itself! But in the meantime, I’m snuggled up with my puppy-dog on the couch, plowing through episodes of Parenthood.

Ok so, holy cow, two things: 1.) THANK YOU for all of your kind words after Saturday’s hilarious botched race and 2.) Who knew so many of you also either wanted to TRI a Tri, have experience with them, or even have the same questions I do! I received some fantastic feedback, and think I could write a book on the beginner’s guide to triathlons! Here are a few of the MANY wonderful comments you might enjoy reading as well:

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It’s safe to say that if you have a question, just ask a group of bloggers. I also believe the verdict has been decided, and it’s TRI. Now if I can just pick one out, commit, and go for it! It’s definitely on my pre-baby bucket list, not going to lie, so I’m ready to knock this out!

Ok, enough talk about pre-baby bucket list because that’s a whole other post in and of itself! Am I right?? Let’s talk about less terrifying things.

 I’m redesigning Sweet Miles!


My full time day job is in a web design/digital marketing shop, umbrella’d under a full service advertising agency. I spend all day working on other people’s websites, and I think it’s about time I work on my own and actually use my knowledge and skills to my advantage. At work we develop on a different CMS than WordPress, so developing my own blog, fully on my own, on WordPress will be a bit of a learning curve, but I’m excited to learn! I’m not talking about just installing a new theme or template and changing a few things here or there, I really want to install a very basic, empty theme and really develop it out how I want my dream blog to look. 17% of the world’s websites are built using a WordPress framework, so it will also be helpful for my resume to add WordPress development! I’ve always blogged using WordPress, and the theme I use now is a pre-designed template so I already know the ins and outs of customizing  the “skin” elements, but there are so many elements of my blog I want to change, and a pre-designed fixed-width theme can only offer so much. The web design world is increasingly being taken over by responsive design, and with all of the mobile devices and tablets out there today, it’s almost necessary. Otherwise, who knows how much mobile traffic you’re losing because your site isn’t responsive, meaning it doesn’t compress down to fit a mobile device or tablet correctly. Also, apparently my theme was never designed to open correctly in Internet Explorer in the first place, or contain threaded comments, and when I emailed the designer, I never heard back. Awesome!

If you’re curious how Sweet Miles is currently built, I’ll explain:

-self hosted WordPress account, using Blue Host, <– affiliate link…but I highly recommend hosting through Blue Host!

-domain name purchased through Blue Host, previously used Go Daddy

-Blake theme purchased through Pro Photo, a WordPress theme company used by photographers mainly because of the capabilities for large images and portfolios, I’ve had a Pro Photo account for a few years and ended up finding another site design that I loved right before I started Sweet Miles, so I just stuck with Pro Photo. Photos are obviously still very important to me so I want to make sure my new theme displays them nicely as well!

-The sliders at the very top of my blog are part of the functionality of my theme, and I customized what each “slide” looked like.

I made an inspiration board of the direction I’d like to go! I loved my theme when I first found it, but in the end, it’s what another designer dreamt up and not me. I’ve got in my head what I’d like for it to end up looking like, so the process of making that happen is going to be interesting! I know I want a simple white background, and a very minimalist feel but with splashes of fun color and a new logo.

Here are my ideas:


If you steal this, not cool.

I’m going in the sherbet color pallet direction with touches of gold. I think it will fit my thoughts of Sweet Miles perfectly and I’m in love with these colors! I’m being open and transparent about this blog re-design in hopes that it helps some of you maybe figure out what YOU want! It can be hard to conceptualize a design in your head and then make it happen on the web! So, come along on this journey! Who knows how long it will take! No promises!

What do you think?


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  • Reply
    Emily @ More Than Just Dessert
    February 4, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I am also in the “inspriation and ideas” stage of blog redesign…so much to choose from! 🙂 I wish I had your background to do a lot more of it myself!
    Emily @ More Than Just Dessert recently posted…Why I haven’t blogged in 2 weeks (a glimpse into grad school)My Profile

  • Reply
    February 4, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Good for you! I’m slooooowly getting more and more used to the guts of wordpress so that I can change stuff in my theme. I can’t even imagine building one from scratch- but you go, girl!

    I love the theme board you’ve put together- those colors are great and I’m sure it is going to look amazing! Also, “poop on you, and not cool” is probably the best anti-theft warning I’ve ever seen 🙂
    Ashley recently posted…Cats, Hockey, and BBQMy Profile

  • Reply
    Jana @ Happy Wife Healthy Life
    February 4, 2014 at 9:41 am

    You know I am excited for this venture! I would love to redesign my blog, but I get lost easy with website design lol. Maybe someday I can hire you to redesign mine for me! 😉

    Can’t wait for any tips you may share along the way!

  • Reply
    Kristin @ A Mom on the Run
    February 4, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I love the new color scheme!

    I’ve gone back and forth in my head trying to decide if I wanted to try to learn how to design my own theme in wordpress. I work in IT and write web based software for the department of defense (it’s funny that you mentioned responsive web design, since we’re rebuilding our site now to incorporate it!), so I have the skills.. but at the end of the day, I don’t really want to sit down at the computer and do more work, even if it is fun work. Not yet anyway. Maybe seeing you go through the process will give me a swift kick in the toosh to get it done.
    Kristin @ A Mom on the Run recently posted…ZOOMA Florida Half MarathonMy Profile

  • Reply
    February 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Someday I’m going to go through the work of self hosting my friend(emily of more than just dessert) seems to think it is easy and I can handle it. I’m not so sure about that….but eventually I will get there!
    katie recently posted…Peace Perspective IV: RisksMy Profile

  • Reply
    Marissa @ Barefoot Colorado
    February 4, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I’m currently working on a blog redesign, too! I’m in LOVE with your colors… those are so cute and fit your personality/blog PERFECTLY. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
    Marissa @ Barefoot Colorado recently posted…Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas That Won’t Break The BankMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 6, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Marissa- YAY for new things!! Can’t wait to see what YOU come up with! Thank you, I’m hoping it turns out like I think it will, ha!

  • Reply
    Courtney @ LifeAsAConvert
    February 4, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I think your ideas are great.
    Courtney @ LifeAsAConvert recently posted…Twelve Days of Valentine’s DayMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 6, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Courtney- Thanks girl!

  • Reply
    Ksenija @ With An Open Mind
    February 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Blog design is a pain in the a** sometimes and then so rewarding when you finally get what you wanted. I’ve stuck with a pretty basic wordpress design for a while and adjusted it so much, that there are barely any similarities left. But I have to say that recently it bothers me more and more that it isn’t a responsive design and some of the ways I tried to build in features it didn’t offer don’t always work out the way I imagined. As soon as my thesis on online marketing is written, I’ll hopefully find some time to work with a new theme.

    Curious how sweet miles will look after the change. I really like your inspiration board!
    Ksenija @ With An Open Mind recently posted…Open Mind Weekly {05/14}My Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 6, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Ksenija- I still love your blog though! Especially the logo, it’s so fun!! Haha yea, I bet that thesis takes up ALL your time!!

  • Reply
    Beth @ Mangoes and Miles
    February 4, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I wish I had those skills–I’ve always wanted to learn design but have never had the time for it. 🙁 I can’t wait to see what you come up with, though. It sounds SO gorgeous!
    Beth @ Mangoes and Miles recently posted…Embracing ChangeMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 6, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Beth- Girl, I feel like I can tell someone what I want in my head and draw it out, but have never been taught how to draft it up in Adobe or anything! I wish I had more graphic design experience too!! Now that you’re learning photography, you can totally branch out 😉

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food
    February 4, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I love your inspiration board- such pretty colors! I’d like to be self-hosted so I can have more control over my blog, but I want to take my time, so it looks like it might be a summer project for me. I’m just too busy/lazy right now!
    Your idea board makes me think of spring, I bet it’ll be so pretty!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted…40 minute treadmill challengeMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 6, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Kelly- Thank you! You should definitely self host, much better for the search engines, and much easier for you 🙂 I think all of this snow and cold weather is making me REALLLLLY ready for spring and more of those HAPPY colors 🙂

  • Reply
    February 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I have been wanting to redesign my blog too, but I know I couldn’t do it myself lol. I need to find someone to do it for me. I am also glad you mentioned that you self host through Blue Host. I want to change to self hosting and have my own domain name, so I need to do this. Do you pay a one time fee for blue host or is it monthly? I need something that is affordable.

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      Becky- Mine is $4.95 a month, but I think I paid a one time set up fee when I first started!

  • Reply
    Leslee @ Her Happy Balance
    February 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Just hearing you talk about blog redesign sounds complicated! Love the idea of adding hints of gold to the color scheme, that should look super nice. I’ll definitely have to follow along as you change things around, I would love to pick up a little design knowledge.

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 6, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Leslee- Yea girl! I talked to my friend who’s helping me design the graphics yesterday and I’m super excited 🙂

  • Reply
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak
    February 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Sigh, I really need to re-do my blog but no clue how!! I wanted to do a fancy theme but don’t even know how to customize the simple 2013 theme. I may have to pay someone to do it!
    Patty @ Reach Your Peak recently posted…Runners And SuperstitionsMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 6, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Patty- Haha! Aw yea, it can be complicated and confusing for sure!! I wish I could help you!

  • Reply
    Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens)
    February 4, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Oh wow, you are creative! I would love to follow along your blog re-design journey b/c while I have learned alot over the past year, I am still pretty clueless! And I wouldn’t even know how to steal your ideas if I wanted to, haha! (But I don’t, of course)

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      February 6, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Sarah- Ha, thanks! There’s a lot to learn, I feel like I learn something new everyday at work! I just keep thinking how I wish I had studied web stuff in college instead of majoring in something I’m not even interested in anymore!

  • Reply
    Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens)
    February 6, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I hear ya! Web and graphic design is the field to be in right now!
    Sarah (Shh…Fit Happens) recently posted…Girls Gone Sporty Guest Post Swap: Things Running Has Taught MeMy Profile

  • Reply
    Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead
    February 6, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I am saving this post for when I become a grown-up blogger and do things like self-host. 🙂 Thanks!
    Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead recently posted…Throwback Thursday: Eventually, I Married HimMy Profile

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