A Brand-Driven Blog Redesign

February 22, 2012

You may have already noticed but yesterday I quietly launched a redesign of my blog. To help with any whiplash you may have, I thought I’d take a moment and give you a quick tour. My purpose in all of this was to build a stronger blog brand, enhance your user experience, and pave the way for some cool things ahead. 

First, in a classic case of physician heal thyself, my blog brand had been a little minimal to say the least. While this is still my blog with my insights, I wanted to bring a concept that had previously existed as a tagline up into the spotlight. For many years, I’ve spoken of the concept of being brand driven. While I talk about social networks and emerging platforms, I really look at all of this through the lens of brands serving as enduring totems in our rapidly evolving culture. Thus this blog is really my Brand Driven Insights.

As such, our firm worked to engineer a logo to that conveyed this concept of being brand driven. What emerged is the “conversational gear” icon that now adorns the header, footer, and various buttons, illustrating how social conversations drive brands and vice versa. I’m really pleased with this.

Next, it was time for an overall site redesign. The new design makes your user experience easier by:

  • Simplifying the navigation — eliminating sub-navigations all together and stacking them vertically
  • Opening up the exterior site borders and letting the white space flow which also helps in …
  • Making the posts easier to read — the bigger lead-in paragraphs help with this too
  • Framing in the featured images — while this is an aesthetic enhancement, I’ve always worked to find attention getting post images. This new design helps these bold graphics pull the reader in even more.

Last year, 75% of the visitors here were new. While this is exciting news, I wanted to do a better job of helping new visitors learn what this blog is all about so I added a New Here? page with a hard-to-miss link at the top of the sidebar.

Finally, I spoke of paving the way for cool things ahead. Sadly I’m going to keep you waiting a little bit more on this one — other than to say that it’s part of a New Year’s resolution to better connect the insights of this blog with the services we offer. As such, building a stronger brand here is key bridge to another brand in the works right now. More on that later.

Design is an evolving process. We’ll make some additional tweaks as we roll along (including playing with responsive design to enhance your experience across mobile and tablet devices as well) but I was so eager to share this with you I wanted to get started ASAP. Big thanks to my co-conspirators Bradley Dicharry and Jeff Hamlett on the work so far.

As you know, I value your insights. As a big part of this redesign was enhancing your user experience, I wanted to ask you how we did. I’d love your feedback — good or bad — in the comments below.

Photo via Flickr user Mykl Roventine
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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.