You may have noticed that WellnessMama.com recently got a slight website redesign this past week. I seriously dislike redesigning, as the process seems to always take longer, cost more, and is even more mentally exhausting than expected. One of the things I’ve learned since 2006 (when I first started blogging) is that I’d almost rather go through labor (which I’ll be doing again soon!) then redesign the blog, but sometimes it’s a necessity.
Although I really liked the old design, I decided to make a few changes that I think will provide a better user experience for you. Here are some of those changes:
Member Content Library
This is probably the biggest change I made. Instead of asking you to signup for my weekly newsletter, I’ve created a free content library that includes 9 ebooks (more coming soon!), audio downloads, and other health and natural living resources. When you sign up for the content library, you’ll still get my weekly newsletter, but I have plans to add additional free resources for you as a valuable Wellness Mama reader and content library member. If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here to do so!
In the past, when reading a blog post on your computer, there was a right hand sidebar that linked to other posts, social media, a search box, and recommended resources. While some readers found it helpful, it was also somewhat distracting, as I always want the focus of the blog to be on the articles and information provided, and not distracting asides.
The Wellness Mama Podcast has been on hiatus since last summer, partially because I needed a break, and also because I wanted to change the name and format of the show. The new and updated version is called “The Healthy Moms Podcast” and will feature more in depth interviews with experts where we deep dive into specific health topics to get your questions answered. Stay tuned for brand new episodes coming soon!
Several of my ebooks have received a big update over the past year, and I plan on writing several more in 2016. If you haven’t seen the ebooks I have written, you can check them out here.
Along with the obvious design changes, there were a lot of behind-the-scenes changes to accommodate the site as it has grown:
- Upgraded Website Hosting: Thanks to the amazing community of readers, WellnessMama.com has grown quite a bit over the last couple of years and it was to the point that my hosting plan was often more than $400 a month. The new hosting (and some other technical changes I don’t understand) should speed things up and (hopefully) cut down on hosting costs.
- Affiliate Disclosure: To comply with FTC rules and (more importantly) to be as open and honest as possible with you, I’ve updated my affiliate disclosure. It lists the companies I am an affiliate for and any of the links that you might click on that could be affiliate links. With any affiliate programs, I only link to products that I personally own, use, and that I would link to whether or not I’m compensated for it. All of these products cost the same no matter if bought through my link or not, and I earn a small commission (that helps with the ever-growing hosting charges so many thanks if you use any of these links!)
- Comment Policy: One of my goals is to let WellnessMama.com be a community and a resource where readers can help each other. To keep this community positive and helpful, I’ve been battling and deleting a lot of spam comments. I’m all for open discussion and disagreement, but I am not in favor of ads for pharmaceuticals or products designed to enhance various body parts. I’ve updated my comment policy (you can read it here) and some new functionality that should help me stay on top of the hundreds of comments I get each day.
Wellness Mama Design Time Capsule
As we finished the recent updates, I looked through all of the designs I’ve had over the years (since 2006). Each one has definitely been an improvement over the last…
My original site on blogspot.com:
First WordPress.com design:
Second WordPress.com design:
Second self-hosted WordPress design. I didn’t keep a screen shot of the first one, but I did it myself and rest assured, it was pretty bad! 298 people liked me on Facebook back in 2010 and I remember each of them by name. Many of them still comment pretty regularly and I feel like we’ve become e-friends since then.
And then there was the pink theme with the cartoon me 🙂
And my first mobile-friendly design:
My first truly custom blog design, with the updated logo that I still use today:
This was an updated version of the above, but with a more personal touch on the homepage:
Finally, the most recent version:
I get asked for my blogging tips pretty often, and to be honest, I don’t feel qualified to answer most of the time. My goal when I started blogging was to help other moms provide a natural and healthy lifestyle for their families.
I’ve learned a lot over the years about formatting blog posts and using social media, but at the end of the day, my best tip (as corny as it may sound) is to make sure that the focus is always helping others and that you truly care about your readers. This authenticity will show through in your writing and readers will be attracted to it.
My Blogging Resources
This is a list of the blogging resources that I use for my site in case they can be helpful to any of you who blog or are thinking of starting a blog (go for it!):
- Domain name registration: Hover
- Website hosting: Synthesis
- WordPress theme: Wellness Pro from StudioPress
- WordPress training tutorials: WordPress 101
- Website security & backups: Sucuri
- Form creation software: Gravity Forms
- Recipe creation: Cookbook plugin
- Email newsletter: Convert Kit
What do you think? Do you like the changes? What would you have done differently?