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New Project Gallery and Blog Redesign

One of my biggest regrets since my early days on this blog was not starting a Project Gallery from Day 1. Why?

Well first of all, the more projects you do the harder it becomes to get them all into a gallery later on because it feels like an endless sea of photos and pages to go through and gather up into one pocket. I am a very busy person and I did not have the luxury of time to get that all done. I started to make one last March. That’s where it stopped.

The second reason is you save people that visit your site all the time and effort of searching and scrolling through countless posts trying to find all your work. The “You may also like…” photo links at the end of each post only do so much. I found that whenever I visited a bloggers website one of the first things I did was go and check out their Project Galleries. It in many ways was the deciding factor as to whether or not I wound up following their blog because it showed me all their work.

And yet with my blog, I felt like all these fun projects were all hidden throughout my site where no one could find them unless I threw them into my sidebar.

The problem with that was every time I put some there, it felt like it added so much clutter around the ads. I also wanted to save the sidebar for seasonal posts that I could add change up (which is my next project), social media widgets and create an overall cleaner more streamlined feel for it. I find sidebars in blogs can get cluttered very easily and feel chaotic on the eyes.

So I finally did the smartest thing I could. I got Stacey my I can’t survive on the internet without her friend and website guru to overhaul my blog for me. And now I finally have the Project Gallery of my dreams.

I even had to make the bubbles for you to show you how to use it because you know, Project Galleries are complicated creatures to figure out.

northstory project gallery main page

We both decided that in order to best organize my projects as my little blog grew and the more content I added to it, rather than having all the projects on a sole page where one day it would just be like scrolling down a page that never ends, she created a Category based Project Gallery. Basically this means you can click on the Project Gallery then choose the topic that you’d like to check out.

It also means that whenever I write a post, all I have to do is choose a Category I want it to appear in and it will automatically get added so I don’t have to manually put it in there. And should I expand my blog topics, all I have to do is create a new Category for that topic and it will appear.

I’d love to be able to tell you that this Project Gallery that is a Plug In for WordPress or some magical pill that you can swallow and have it appear Matrix style on your computer along with matching Unicorns. But alas it’s not as Stacey designed and customized this one for me based on my blog theme.

Don’t get discouraged, you can totally hire her to do yours (keep reading!)

But here are some of the goodies you can find. Say Christmas for example. Where you’d find Page 1 of Christmas Projects and many more to come.

northstory project gallery christmas

And you may also find Easter. Where you won’t find as many projects.

Yeah. I need to work on that. It’s all the pastels, the plastic eggs and sea of ugly and I mean ugly decor you find in stores.

I have an Easter challenge coming up that myself and another blogging friend are working on for this coming year. In other words, trying to find a way to make Easter decor less gaudy and more fresh and modern.

northstory project gallery easter

One day I also hope to get another gallery entry going for travel as my husband James and myself really want to start traveling more together.

For the overall look of the blog, one of the biggest changes we made were enlarging the photos that you see on the MAIN page and in the LIFE section. I love taking photos and really wanted to emphasize them on here as opposed to their previously smaller size.

In the LIFE section, you will continue to find all my musings about blogging, product reviews, sponsored posts, giveaways and the like. For example, posts like discussing the importance of What’s on your bar cart? and if you think blogging is easy, wait til you have a creative block and stare at your computer screen for hours not sure why you can’t type a single word.

northstory life and editorial section

In the footer you can find my Copyright Policy, Sponsors, other companies I work with and my monthly Archives.

As well as Stacey’s ridiculously tiny link to her freelance web design company that I am making her make her own logo for to add because she’s awesome and deserves way more space than that.

northstory footer and copyright  section

And if you need to connect with me, you can find my social media buttons at the top of my sidebar.

As a side note, I would just like to say I would appreciate it if all developers would stop inventing more social media platforms for us bloggers to have to join, as I am running out of sidebar space for my buttons.

And time. That big giant huge thing called time to actually spend time on all of them. But if you want to find me somewhere other than here, that’s where I am as well. My husband can attest to this by how often my day is spent staring at my iPhone.

northstory social media buttons

I am really thrilled with how my blog looks now and I finally feel like I’ve caught up to what I envisioned for this site and it is ALL thanks to Stacey! And while it stayed the same because I love it, she also created my header and blog logos.

She has also redesigned and finessed several of my friends blogs such as Kate’s Creative SpaceLa gang à Nat and Suburble. Go and take a look.

If you would like to hire her for to help with your website, you can contact her here at A Goode House Web Design. And did I mention she also has a phenomenal blog of her own where her and husband are renovating their MCM home.

If you would like to see that eye candy, go and check out their stunning progress at A Goode House.

And as a finale note, if you’re a new blogger and are thinking about getting a Project Gallery going, don’t think about it. Just get it done. I swear you will be so happy you did a year from now.

 

16 Comments

  • Reply
    Time With Thea
    February 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I think I am the first to comment Alex. I love your new look and the work Stacey did on your blog. This is totally my kind of look. It is clean, stylish, not too busy but interesting and so well presented. Kudos to you and your designer. Thank you so much for sharing. I am inspired!

  • Reply
    Karen @ Dogs Don't Eat Pizza
    February 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Great blog! I need to get my project gallery project going again. I started it and then stopped. You’ve inspired me! (Oh, and everyone needs a friend like your friend without whom you cannot survive the internet!)

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 14, 2014 at 10:14 am

      I would be completely dysfunctional if it weren’t for Stacey. I don’t even breathe in the direction of my CSS without running it by her first. She is my internet hero!

  • Reply
    natandgang
    February 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Alex, great job with the project galleries, I love them!!! Stacey does it again, doesn’t she!!! I love my little galleries too… I can appreciate that need for organization and to perfectly line up all those precious blog posts. I really like your larger images on the main page… I might have to get Stacey to help me with that myself…

    And thanks for the shout out!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

      I really love what she did for your site. I like you, am a big fan of clean simple easy to read designs. Some blogs are so cluttered that you can’t even find the simplest page to contact them.

  • Reply
    Jo-Anna@APrettyLife
    February 12, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    It’s looking mighty fine over here! Loving all the new changes Alex! I need a blog overhaul and I’m thinking Stacey might just be the perfect person to do it! I’ll definitely be checking out her site!!

  • Reply
    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
    February 13, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Okay, you were SO smart to get Stacy to code that gallery up…using the Catablog plug-in is VERY tedious and I hate having to remember to update it (because I never do). This is seriously rocking my socks off! Yay for working smarter, not harder.

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 14, 2014 at 9:58 am

      I know tons of bloggers use Catablog and while it does do what it’s supposed to do, I know myself well enough to know that I won’t have time to update it. I’ll say I will but never would. This is the equivalent of a click of a button at the end of each post. Now if I could only figure out how to rotate my arrows in PicMonkey…

  • Reply
    Victoria • Restoring our Victorian
    February 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

    In my next life I am going to marry a tech guy… (My inner feminist is screeching– no, do it yourself!! But, I HATE that stuff! )

    When I finally took the time to set up galleries for myself, I wish I had done it so much sooner!! Your site looks great! I

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 14, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Do you ever notice how tons of bloggers with epic blog designs have husbands (or themselves) are graphic designers? And we sit there and go So what wordpress theme is that again…

  • Reply
    beckipeckham
    February 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Love the project galleries Alex! Great job

  • Reply
    Thalita @ The Learner Observer
    February 17, 2014 at 9:32 am

    No lie, I just contacted Stacey. I am in DIRE need of a project gallery but I can’t… I just can’t. No plugin has been easy enough and the task feel so daunting! I also “lost” some menus on my header somehow and need them back! Thanks for giving me someone trustworthy to go to! Nothing better than personal recommendations!!!

  • Reply
    Pillows A-La-Mode
    February 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Very nice, Alex! I always love your projects!

  • Reply
    Shauna Oberg
    February 28, 2014 at 11:06 am

    This is what I’m working on right now. I have a PG, but it’s difficult to add new projects to all the time. I need something that’s simple and well organized. Can’t wait until all of it is done. You must feel relieved!

  • Reply
    Jamie
    April 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Love this! I did mine through Catablog but I have to add them manually every time I post, ugh. Love your blog 😉
    Hugs,
    Jamie

    • Reply
      Alex
      April 30, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks Jamie! If you ever need one of these contact Stacey anytime. She’s phenomenal!

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