Hello there! By the time you’ll be reading this, a beautiful new blog design – one we’ve been working on for months and months (and on a 24/7 basis for the past three weeks), will be live. Things will be looking really rather different around here – it may be quite the surprise at first! But don’t worry – everything is wonderful. Better than wonderful in fact! We have a beautiful new digital abode and I’d like to invite you to come make yourselves at home and take a tour. But before you do, there are just one or two things I must tell you.
We first started talking about a redesign over a year ago. It was two years at the time since we’d last redesigned, but blog design and the way that our readers are interacting and engaging with our blog (and blogs in general) had changed enormously in that time. It has changed even more so over the past 12 months. Our digital environment feels like quick sand at times but we love a challenge and so this time last year, we set out to review our site design, with the aim of ditching any dated design elements and creating a blog that busy social media consumers can more meaningfully interact with.
There are so many more factors and variables one has to take into account in good website design these days – it is light years away from the experience I had in 2009 of creating Love My Dress, myself, from scratch (by the way, take a look here if you fancy a quick butchers at some screenshots of very early versions of Love My Dress. Haven’t we changed as we’ve grown up?!)
So What’s New?
So much good stuff! We really got our heads together on this one and thought very long and hard about (a) what our community of readers want from a wedding blog in 2017 and (b) what we need to do to adapt to ever-changing social media and blog consumer behaviour.
It’s been our biggest challenge yet. We got pretty deep and serious about it it too! Weeks of research, a huge national survey, a series of micro-surveys with our closed Facebook group. We’ve had to square up to and acknowledge our design weaknesses and be brave in making bold new decisions. Not having a well trodden path to follow when it comes to this kind of thing makes for a heady mix of fear and excitement, but, we truly feel we’ve done the very best we can do and are so ready today to share our work with the world today. The ‘we’ I refer to by the way, includes myself, my husband (Creative Director at Love My Dress), our team, and our developers – the incomparably talented and hard working Swash & Fold.
But let’s cut to the chase and find out what we’ve been up to:-
- Big visuals – we’ve made our individual posts much more visually compelling. We took our lead from print and magazine design, with a large ‘cover’ image, strong typography and full-page image galleries. Much easier on the eye and a gorgeous magazine editorial vibe. Pour a cuppa, settle down on the sofa with a blanket, and enjoy!
- Sidebars are gone for good – we thought really long and hard about this, and have decided it’s finally time to say goodbye to the sidebar. Previously, this has been where banner adverts live, which has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you guys know exactly where to look for adverts. On the other hand, you know exactly what to ignore! Instead, we’re taking our lead from some of the most successful online publishers, with smarter advert placements and less opportunity for ‘banner blindness’. Adverts are a critical part of our business success and we are very lucky to be able to host adverts that represent brands we love and adore and that support partnerships we are proud of and work hard for. Without them, Love My Dress would not be here. Fact.
- Stayed true to our watchwords – ‘clean’, ‘fresh’, ‘welcoming’, ‘stylish’ and ‘functional’
- Enhanced search tool – try it! You’ll find a little magnifying glass icon top right that will launch it. It will take over the page completely, allowing you to fully refine your search with ease.
- More ‘at-a-glance’ info – articles now contain a lot more helpful summary info in the header, including links to key suppliers, locations, and wedding style.
- Bridal fashion and other inspiring content – you’ll find these features are much more accessible on the homepage now. Our new ‘Style Files’ development is much more front and centre too. We really wanted to address the ‘how to access content that’s dropped off the homepage’ issue and also make archived areas of our site more accessible.
- Community – community is where it’s at for us in 2017. Very, very much so. In the footer of every page, you’ll find a link to our closed Facebook group for brides to be and newlyweds.
This truly has been a labour of love for the past few months. Part of me wonders how long it will be before our new site has dated and needs redesigning all over again? I have absolutely no idea, but today, I don’t care one bit. I’m bursting with pride for our blog and our team and I’m so thankful for the incredible community that has drawn together because of this space on the internet.
This is a huge change for us and a big leap forward in the evolution of our platform. Because Love My Dress is so much more than a simple ‘blog’ now; it’s a community, a digital neighbourhood, and soon to be collective of several websites that are designed to inspire, inform, encourage and uplift its readers.
Later this year, we will taking our first steps into the world of ‘lifestyle’ and launching A Life Loved®, our first major sister site to Love My Dress and, bar this one, our biggest digital platform project yet. You’ll find a simple, unbranded holding page over at alifeloved.com where you’ll be able to subscribe for news and updates. And that’s just the start – we have many plans for our beloved wedding blog and growing digital platform, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
We would love to receive your feedback on our new look – please take a moment to drop us a line or leave a comment below. And please don’t be afraid to point out any glitches or bugs – we absolutely want to hear from you if you happen to discover any – that way we can have them fixed up in no time.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to visit and support Love My Dress. You really have no idea how much you’ve changed my life and inspire me every day.
Love Annabel x