New Year, New Look: My Quest for the Ideal Website

To celebrate the new year and Dutch Girl in London’s 5th anniversary this autumn, I decided to give the website a complete makeover. After postponing it for months, I decided to dedicate this whole weekend to finally do it. Have a look around and let me know what you think!

This was the second time in almost 5 years that I changed the design. I remembered from the first time around that it can be quite painful having to adjust fonts and images to match new functionalities and a different layout, so bear with me while I redo some old blog posts. You might notice that photos aren’t displayed properly or are inserted twice, but I’ve already started fixing this issue. Since it has to be done manually, it may take a moment.

There are three responses to a piece of design—yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for. – Milton Glaser, graphic designer

And I do hope that you will think WOW after seeing my new design! One of the main reasons for a new look is that I wanted a more sophisticated and ‘grown-up’ design. Especially now I have connections with the Dutch Embassy and even Dutch politicians! (As you could read about here.) Here’s a short overview of the new features that might be interesting for fellow bloggers who are considering to change their website:

  1. Magazine look: the 3-column homepage has a magazine layout instead of a single column which, to be frank, looks pretty boring. With the current 3-column layout, the reader won’t have to scroll down as much to see more content at once. And have you noticed that elegant hover effect on the homepage?!
  2. Full width: the sidebar on my old website was really bothering me in the end and was the main reason for switching to a new design. Sidebars are SO 2017 (or 2013 even) so it was about time to get rid of this. Texts are now spread out over the full width which doesn’t only look more pleasing, but also makes it easier to read blog posts.
  3. Bold typography: one of the main features of my new design is the bold and playful typography. There’s no chance you’ll miss the website title Dutch Girl in London when you open the page, that’s for sure! The new theme automatically combines different font styles in post titles and, if you’re reading the desktop version, the first letter of the post is displayed as a so-called ‘drop cap’ which might be a minor detail to you, but an exciting feature for me (I know, I’m just a big nerd).
  4. Cool navigation features: if you open a post, you’ll see some very subtle yet cool navigation tools on the right. The arrows allow you to go to the previous or next article while the grid pictogram takes you directly to the homepage.

In the beginning

Here’s a screenshot of the very first Dutch Girl in London design! When I first started out in October 2013,  the main goal of my website was to promote my Shoreditch walking tours. I therefore chose for a static homepage and highlighted my pages with essential travel information. At the time I merely saw blogging as a savvy marketing tool to ensure a higher Google ranking, but shortly after publishing my first blog post I realised I really enjoyed blogging. While I still offer my walking tours and include travel information on the site, the quite conservative (let’s be honest, eh?) design with its static homepage has been replaced by a more playful and funkier magazine-style layout that highlights blog posts.

Dutch-Girl-in-London-first-website

I think it’s clear that I’m totally in love with my new blog design, but as always I’m curious to know what you think of it! Feel free to leave me a comment below. Thank you!
Zarina xx