For the last several months I have been teasing that a new design for this website was on the way. Today, I am announcing what you already know; that the new design is online and finally ready to be unveiled.
As you can see the new design is a far cry from the last version. In addition to a breathtaking new look, the new website also contains quite a few new upgrades. When I first started blogging last year my original plan was to use a blog to showcase my artwork. It didn’t take long however for the focus of this website to change from a portfolio to a full-featured design website. As soon as that happened I realized that the design that I was using was not appropriate for the type of blogging that I wanted to do. It was then that I started thinking about what I wanted from my website and how to follow through with those goals.
The first thing that I had to do was to come up with a logo design that I was happy with. If you have been following this site from the beginning you have probably noticed at least 3 different logo concepts come and go. I finally settled on the logo that currently resides at the top of this page and could not be happier. Once I had a solid logo, I started working up some concepts; this I knew was going to be the hardest part.
I have always said that I am by far my most difficult client to work with. As most designers know, the hardest person to please is usually yourself. I struggled at first to come up with the perfect concept but eventually things started to come together. You’re going to laugh but I came across this promotional website for Burger King and decided that I really liked the pattern that they used in the background. I combined a similar pattern with some texture, created a set of custom Photoshop brushes that I eventually gave away on my website and the rest started to come together fairly quickly.
I’m a huge social networking person so it was very important for me to place my social networking icons at the very top of the page. During the beta testing for the site, a lot of people mentioned that they thought that the buttons were too big. While I will agree that they are a bit big, this was done on purpose and to be honest, I really like how they look; even if they might be a little over powering in relation to the logo.
Inspiration for the new design came from a number of sources. I always liked the way that Go Media used some subtle grunge effects to set off some of their content areas. You will notice a similar effect at the top of each of my content areas. Again, I used brushes available on this website to create that look. I also looked to websites like PSDTUTS and Tutorial 9 for some inspiration on how to layout some of my pages. The featured item area from Tutorial 9 and the way PSDTUTS laid out their excerpts for articles were some obvious examples.
There are also some fairly innovative examples of new features that I used on this site as well. The first example is what I call “Promotional-Time Sensitive” advertising. If you notice at the top and bottom of each page is an area for a small amount of text and a link. This area is for people who have a sale, promotion, or event that they would like to promote but for only a limited amount of time. One limitation to banner advertising is that they are purchased monthly. If you only need an ad for a short amount of time; a week for instance, you might not want to purchase an ad for an entire month. Time sensitive advertising can be purchased for a 3 – 7 day period and can be very helpful at promoting an event or pushing traffic to a web page for a short amount of time. Pricing for this is very reasonable. Check out the advertising page for more information.
In addition to the time-sensitive advertising, the new site also contains a lot more traditional forms of advertising. Banner ads sold through Buy Sell Ads can be found in various locations throughout the site including the sidebar, the footer and at the bottom of each post. Text link advertising can also be found at the bottom of the sidebar. Visit the advertising page for more information on text link advertising.
In addition to text advertisements and banner ads I have also improved the way in which this site promotes my friends and visitors. Version 1 of this website included a friends list in the side bar. You may have noticed that while I still have a friends list, that it is considerably shorter than the last one. If your website used to be listed here, please don’t freak out. I haven’t deleted you from the list. I just adjusted the amount of links that would display and have set this area to display all my friends at random. I did this for a number of reasons but mostly because I felt that this area was becoming too cluttered and also because I felt that a shorter list might actually improve the number of referrals that my site produces. My complete list of friends can be found here.
Advertising and links are great but I have also like websites that have user submitted links sections. I think it’s great when websites let their users have some control over the content. That is why I created a user link feed of my own so that you guys could promote articles of your own on my site as well.
If you don’t have a website to advertise or if you’re not listed in my sidebar as a friend, don’t worry, my new design has you covered as well. I have enabled full Twitter integration on this site, as well as CommentLuv for anyone who wants to promote their Twitter account or newest blog post.
I have also installed a more robust social networking area to the bottom of each post. This includes a “Tweet This” icon to make is very easy to Tweet articles out to your followers.
Anyhow, I hope you guys enjoy my new site as much as I do and remember I’m now soliciting guest articles so if you would like to join the Colorburned Team and publish an article on my site feel free to pitch your idea to us at any time. Thank you so much for your support of this website and I look forward to celebrating my first year with you guys in mid May. So keep your eyes peeled for a monumental giveaway to celebrate next month!