Layout Image

There’s Gold In Them Thar Archives: Motives Behind the Site Redesign

I’d been planning the reorganisation and redesign of Confident Writing for weeks, and looking forward to having the time and space to put the plans into action after my house move. But when the allotted day came… I found myself nervous, delaying the start of the work, procrastinating.

Doubts were creeping into my mind.

What if it doesn’t work? What if it’s not ‘right’? What if my readers don’t like it? Everyone loved the old design, why do you need to change it? Why not leave things as they are?

The kind of doubts that creep in whenever we attempt something new, whenever we move to the edges of the comfort zone, whenever we make a significant change.

We press into the unknown rather than the known. ~ Julia Cameron.

That’s the beauty of the creative process, of living a life creative… and also the stuff that makes it so dratted hard!

My way round the doubts and the whispered fears was to get back to the intention. The difference the change was going to make.

(And the other way round was to write about it. To name the fears as the means to letting them go. A simple Facebook update. The drafting of this blog post.)

There were a number of motives behind the site redesign. A number of “I wants”, which run something like this.

I want to:

  • move to a different pattern and style of blogging, that leaves more creative energy for teaching, the studio space, and creating a suite of new products
  • freshen things up so the site feels intriguing and inviting - to me as the writer (and hopefully to you as the reader too)
  • signal a change to myself, that I’m moving to a different stage in the blogging journey (to make room for the projects I mentioned above)
  • experiment with a different look and feel. Okay so I might not have got it ‘right’, but if it’s not ‘right’ I can always change it again. (Perfectionism is a hard beast to live with!)
  • make more of the material I’ve already written. This is a key driver. I’m really proud of some of the material in my archives and I know some of it can help to make the difference in your own creative journey. That means new readers and visitors need to be able to find it.
  • get clearer on what the blog is really *about*. (This is a constant work-in-progress by the way. What you’re really trying to say can take a long time to reveal itself.) I spent a lot of time re-reading old posts, writing summaries to focus more on what they were saying, and reorganising the categories so the big picture became clearer. Two main themes, creating with confidence, and developing a writing practice, emerged from this, loud and clear.
  • help you find some of the key resources. Some online conversations reminded me of the value of some old ‘how to’ guides (like this one on how to create an e-book). I don’t want them to languish in the archives. I’ve tried to design the site in such a way it’s easier to find the things I believe are of greatest value.
  • celebrate the bits I love. There are some posts I read in my own archives that I simply love. I am often astonished by them, that I wrote them, because they contain something I didn’t (still don’t) know I had. They’re the bits of gold.

Lion Heart Dandelion


Share on Twitter


  1. Robert Hruzek says:

    Very nice design, Joanna - though I will say that for me, your site now loads and responds v-e-r-y slowly. Photo optimization needed?

    I like the layout, though; very fresh and inviting. I’ll have to do some exploring myself soon.

    A tip o’ the hat to ya!

  2. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    @Robert Hruzek: Thanks Robert….I thought that was going to be the downside :-( Another technical challenge for me to get to grips with! I think there might be other things that slow it down too (like the FB fan box…) - will keep experimenting and see how it goes.

    Thanks for being here to notice the change… loyal readers are the very best :-)

  3. Tweets that mention There’s Gold In Them Thar Archives: Motives Behind the Site Redesign | Confident Writing -- says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Todd Rutherford, Her Media Agency and Megan Micciulla, Joanna Paterson. Joanna Paterson said: There’s Gold In Them Thar Archives: Motives Behind the Site Redesign: I’d been planning the reorganisation and r… [...]

  4. Conor Ebbs
    Twitter: ebbstachio


    Welcome to the new you :)

    I like it. Change has been my mantra for this year, some chosen, some imposed upon me. I’m glad to have company.

    I like the new design. It’s fresh and bright.


  5. Janice Cartier
    Twitter: jancartier

    I. LOVE. IT. :) Congrats!! Gorgeous look and freshness. Brava!

  6. Sonia Simone says:

    I like it a lot! Fresh and lots of air. The white space really sets off the content (verbal and visual), imo.

    My machine & connection are very slow today but the site didn’t load slowly for me, just another data point.

  7. Davina Haisell says:

    Looks lovely, Joanna.

    Congrats on making changes. And I love that Julia Cameron quote you shared: “We press into the unknown rather than the known.”

    Makes me think about writer’s block and how we press into IT. Maybe we could instead, consider what we do know, rather than what we don’t.

  8. Robert Hruzek says:

    On the other hand, now that I’m logged in on my home computer, it seems to be just fine! Maybe my work computer just had a headache this morning…

  9. Terry Heath
    Twitter: terryheath

    Love the new look and the idea of repurposing, or at least repositioning, old content. I’m of a similar bent lately, mixing new with old on a new website. Great minds think alike!

  10. Suzy Turner says:

    A lovely change, Joanna. The site opened quickly and smoothly for me.
    Your site is one of the few that I subscribe to and I always enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the great work!

  11. Iain Broome
    Twitter: iainbroome

    Looks smashing Joanna and much better to give people a good overview of your content on your homepage. I tried to do the same with WfYL for the redesign. You know your subscribers and regular readers will dig deeper, but for newcomers it’s important to reflect the tone and depth of the site, which your new look does nicely!

    Also, can’t go wrong with WooThemes - easy to use and great support.

  12. Iain Broome
    Twitter: iainbroome


    Give me a shout if I can be of any help. Might just be a case of resizing images or tweaking plugins and what have you.

  13. Julie Gibbons
    Twitter: JulieGibbons

    Wow. Did you really do this in one day? Joanna - it’s really super. Didn’t load slowly that I noticed…

    Liking the new magazine style home very much … it works beautifully and does make much more available than before. I have some reading to do :)

    … and stealing of some ideas ;)

    I hope you feel at home with it. You’ve done a cracking job. Especially the love <3

  14. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says:

    Congrats on the new look and feel! I hope it delivers to you the best of success and helps you give to your audience exactly what you desire.

    Very nice fresh design, woot!

  15. Lillie Ammann says:

    I especially like how you highlight the posts you love. I recently wrote a post about the popular posts plugin: does highlighting popular posts make them more popular and keep people from reading other posts that may be better? Consensus in comments: that is the case. Popular posts get more popular and other posts, possibly better, get completely overlooked. Someone suggested an Editor’s Pick, which I’m thinking about adding. It would be similar to your “Best Of.” Seems like we’ve been thinking alike on this.

  16. Diana says:

    No slow loading here. I like the changes. I am always surprised at what I find in archives. Anything that makes them easier to find is great by me. (I need to look into this idea myself.)

  17. [...] Creating With Confidence, Poem Writing Previous [...]

  18. Fred H Schlegel says:

    Interesting switch. I’m glad you pointed it out because those of us who follow your RSS feed wouldn’t have seen the new home page and the virtual studio concept. Like it.

  19. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Thanks for the feedback everyone, and in particular reporting back on the loading time - hopefully looks like it’s going to be okay. Although keeping a blogsite speedy is always a bit of the work-in-progress isn’t it?

    @Terry Heath: I think this is one of the biggest challenges of long-term blogging Terry… making more of what we’ve already done, rather than endlessly presing on with the new. Another work in progress! Good to see you back.

    @Suzy Turner: what lovely feedback Suzy, thank you!

    @Lillie Ammann: Lillie, yes your post was in my mind as I was doing the redesign - I was going to say more about it in this intro, but it had got too long. Might write separately about it, and different approaches to showing off the best material in your archives

    Thanks everyone for feedback and comments… all much appreciated. Sharing a new design makes you feel kind of naked until you’ve heard back like this!

  20. [...] This was one of the things that was uppermost in my mind when I was redesigning the Confident Writing site. [...]

  21. [...] realise it would make sense to develop your blog into something a bit different, reposition the material so what’s already been written is more readily accessible, reducing the need to come up with [...]