As you can see, things look a little different around here.
When my old site was put together back in late 2013 I was new to blogging. I didn’t know how a blog worked or even what purpose it was really supposed to serve. The result was a clunky website that lacked personality and was difficult to navigate through. Initially that was okay. I didn’t really know how many people would be reading, or if I’d have readers at all. I simply published stories and waited.
Two years on and this blog has turned into a central part of my life. New readers find me daily, and old ones continue to return for the stories that are shared. However, as my writing evolved and my readership grew, the blog stayed exactly the same. Needless to say it has long outgrown its original shell.
What you see today is a complete overhaul. It has been designed from the ground up by me alone; every colour and font and line and animation. The result is a blog that I feel truly represents me and my ideas – a minimalist theme with bold fonts and simple colours. Nothing complicated or fancy – just how I like it.
Let me give you the tour:
The homepage now acts as a portal and contains direct links to all the major areas of my site.
All important areas for both new and returning readers are just one click away. If you prefer, you can visit brenontheroad.com/blog to access the blog directly.
You may also see some of this new artwork around the place. These pieces were designed by me and sketched by my awesome illustrator who I’ve been working with for a while now. The result is a collection of imagery that aims to reflect the nature of all the things I do here – simple and unique.
The menu is a light grey and scrolls with you as you read. It contains links to all the main pages, my social media channels and also an animated search bar. This allows you to navigate through the site much easier than before. I originally had the menu in all black, but the grey was chosen so the menu doesn’t distract. However, it’s always there if you need it.
Where colour has been used, it is soft. I’ve kept large amounts of white space and few elements of fancy design and animation. This is all intentional. While some sites are very ‘wow’ with a lot of bright colour and glowing photos, this site has been built to be as bare and relaxing as possible, where you can simply enjoy stories. When you come here, I want you to feel as if you’re reading by the fireplace.
As before, this site and my newsletter remain completely ad-free. There are no banners, sponsored posts, advertisements or paid links. That’s how it will stay.
After much deliberation I decided to keep the same header/logo/banner/whatever that thing is. A smaller and simpler logo would make things a lot easier but so many people have complimented the current one that I decided it needed to stay. I still remember obsessing over that thing two years ago when I first launched. It’s a part of me now!
The heart and soul of my site is the blog, where I share stories, advice and my thoughts on life. Now that I have over a hundred published blog posts, it was important that browsing and finding articles was easy for you.
The first step was giving the blog page its own menu. You can click straight into the main categories, browse through a category list, and search for specific terms. The blog page is also cleaner with less crap around the edges, allowing you to simply focus on the writing.
At the bottom of the page you’ll find a ‘load more’ button, which allows you to load older blog posts in a second without having to click through different pages. A link to the full archive is always there if you prefer to browse that way.
Each blog post now has a big, bold title, with limited imagery and a focus on the writing. There is an abundance of white space with a larger font that is easy to read. My goal is to make the reading effortless and distraction-free.
I’ve also revamped the comments section. It was a disaster before. Now it’s far easier to follow the conversation and share your thoughts. Hopefully that will encourage more of you to share your opinions too!
There’s a whole bunch of other stuff too, but nothing that really needs an introduction. I have a sexy new archives page, a popular posts page, a travel tips page and a friends page – you can browse them all at your own leisure. Everything’s a little cleaner, faster and simpler. Have a poke around and see how you like it!
Things may be prettier, but this revamp represents more than just a face lift. This blog is my bridge to the world and I want the stories here to influence and inspire. I do what I do to create change, no matter how small. The blog you see now is stripped down, without the frills, because I want people to focus on the words. Listen closer to what I’m saying. Share your comments and let me hear what you’re saying, too. This blog stopped being about travel a long time ago. It is a blog about learning, growing, challenging yourself and chasing something you believe in. Travel is my vehicle, but yours can be whatever you want it to be.
If my message can move someone’s life forward, even by one small step, it’s all been worth it.
Here’s to many more adventures,
P.S. I am absolutely welcoming all feedback. If there’s something not quite working for you, or you find bugs around the place, please don’t hesitate to tweet or email me. I suspect there are still a few niggles around the place so do help me clean them up if you find any. Thanks!