New Look for A Beautiful Mess

Hey friends! You may have noticed but our site is looking a little different this weekend. What gives? For the last year (yes, a whole year! crazy, right?) we’ve been working to update our site in a LOT of ways. There are a lot of things we’ve changed, we hope for the better, and I’m excited to walk you through a mini tour. First let’s look at some of things you can see, and then I’ll tell you a little more about improvements we’ve made “under the hood” too. 🙂

When you visit, you are landing on our homepage. That’s right, we have two main views on our site. We call them the homepage and the the blog view. The blog view can be seen by clicking “skip to the blog view” or by bookmarking

So what’s the difference + why did we want to add this homepage view? A couple reasons. First, we wanted to create some better tools and resources for you guys, in case you were looking for a certain DIY or might’ve missed a particular post we’ve done in the past. And second, we realized our site might not be as “new user”-friendly. While many of you check in on our blog regularly and are able to keep up with the chronological feed, we also get a whole lot of new or more casual visitors that found us from Pinterest or a Google search. We will have created 10 years worth of content this year, so we wanted to give those new readers quicker access to the breadth of content we’ve done over time.

However, we didn’t want to transition the site into a whole new homepage-style structure, when so many of you, our core audience (hi friends!), were just fine with the OG blog view. So we left that entirely in tact with The latest post is up top and you scroll to see everything. We had considered adding jumps (read more) to this page but decided not to for now, although that’s a tricky one. Here’s why. Our site is extremely photo-heavy. We like it this way and have a feeling you do too. But the problem with this is it can lead to really long load times, which tends to turn readers off a site. We’ve heard from many of you that our site takes a long time to load, and we knew that adding jumps would cut down on this. But ultimately we decided that for now, we are ok with longer load times so that our site can feel more like an old-school blog. We’re exploring other solutions for cutting back on load time, and I’ll talk about that more at the end of the post.We kept our newsletter sign up in the side bar and added a freebie! When you sign up you will get an article called ’10 Tips for growing your audience organically’. Fun, right? We hope to update the freebie every now and again so that you will be getting something extra just for signing up. And if you are already signed up for our newsletter, check your inbox later today, as we’ll be sending it out to all our subscribers shortly.

On the homepage if you scroll just a little you’ll see this area called ‘What are you looking for?’ Our goal here is to keep some of the most trafficked posts on our site easily accessible, again, in case a readers lands on our site from something that may not have been linked correctly and they want to find the project or recipe they are looking for FAST. We hope this area helps! If you’re curious what some of our most popular posts of all time have been, you’ll probably find them in this area. We’re actually still updating this section, as I write this. 🙂

We’ve also added a ‘DIY Destination’ area on the homepage. We are still tweaking this area some so right now you can experience the beta version. The main idea here is to highlight tutorial videos and other DIY content by certain categories (budget, difficulty, purpose, etc.). We hope that anyone looking to make something will be able to quickly find a great resource in this area. But again, you may see some changes to this area over the next few weeks as we finalize things.

And the last thing I’ll mention for now is something that you can’t really SEE. It’s under the hood. We have moved our site to WordPress! For the last ten years we were blogging on Typepad, which we really enjoyed. But as we’ve watched WordPress grow and grow, we felt the resources available on the platform suited our needs at ABM better. So, we’ve made the switch. With well over 5,000 posts and lots of needs and users to consider, this has been a MASSIVE undertaking for us. To be honest, it was really scary and still is.

But, we felt that making this switch would allow us to have a faster load time, a better experience for our readers, and more tools available for our blogging needs. So we held our breath and took the jump into the deep end of trying to move a massive site to a new platform. I am sure we will have more tweaks and things to fix in the coming days/weeks and we’d love your help! We’d also LOVE to hear from all you fellow WP users what your favorite tools and plugins are. We are new here and we’d love to learn more as we’re excited and a bit overwhelmed by everything the platform seems to offer.

OK, that’s the new site in a nutshell. We hope you love it as much as we do—we’re excited to continue doing what we love most here on the new A Beautiful Mess. Hooray! xo. Emma + The ABM Team

  • This new look is gorgeous! I love how it’s so bright and clean, plus there’s so much to see and do here. Congrats on making the change.

  • Very good look! Well done. I’m a web developer, so naturally I see the little things:
    1. Submit button in this page below is cut off on an iPhone 7. Need to adjust button positioning in the responsive part of your new theme.
    2. The layout on mobile is slightly off. Again, responsive design needs a touch of adjustment.
    3. You are worried about images and load times. Switch to a CDN for image delivery. There are several. Cloudinary is perfect. You can get an enormous amount of server side image resizing so that you always deliver optimally sized images to any device.
    4. Homepage on mobile seemed “cluttered”. Desktop looks great. Mobile needs a little work.

  • LOVE the new look!!! I’m so glad you decided to feature a second homepage with an old style blog layout, you’ve built the best archive ever, it looks like everything is reachable and I’m grateful for that, because I often find myself browsing through your archives for tutorials and inspiration. Congrats! <3

  • Quick thing: Under the picture of the two of you, it says “sister’s” where it should say “sisters”

  • Congrats to you all for this major accomplishment! So far I’m loving the new look. Although I’m a pretty frequent visitor to the blog, I really appreciate the homepage view. After reading the most recent blog post, I find myself lingering on the site and browsing old posts. This new layout will likely indulge that even more 🙂 also, welcome to WordPress! I’ve only used it for really simple things like portfolios, but I really appreciated how user friendly it is. Can’t wait to see all the ABM potential that is unlocked through this new platform!

  • Absolutely loving the update! And really happy that you didn’t go with the jumps/read more since I personally actively avoid any blogs that have this. For me, reading a blog is all about scrolling through the different posts so when I have to click “read more” to be able to see the whole post, it ruins the blog experience for me. Just thought I’d share this since I wasn’t able to fill out the reader survey.

    Thank you for a great blog!

    • Yeah, we totally get that. Our number one goal when it comes to web design / hosting / etc. is to make sure you all have a good experience reading. If a website is hard to navigate, annoying to read, or loads too slow then the experience isn’t as good we so are aiming to try and make it the best we can. But, there are a lot of things to balance and consider. So… we’re doing our best and continuing to evaluate as we go. 😉

  • I love the new look! I’m also a frequent visitor, and while I will probably mostly look at the blog page, the home page is SUPER helpful for finding old posts! Love it!
    – as a side note, one of my other favourite blogs recently added jumps and I found it didn’t interrupt the timeline feel as much as I thought it would, and I really appreciated the faster loading time.
    Great work guys!

  • The two home pages are brilliant! I’m a long time reader so appreciate the OG view 🙂 Thanks for always being so thoughtful.

  • Love the new look! I hope you guys like WP. I’ve been using it for years. I’m a designer and I love setting up my clients with WordPress sites because of the many options as well as the ease of use with the CMS.

    In terms of must have plugins I’d say Jetpack and W3 Total Cache, although Cloudinary sounds amazing too.

  • It’s absolutely gorgeous, team! So well done. It instantly felt fresh and exciting while still being completely and 100% ABM. Two thumbs up!

  • Hey Elsie and Emma! Long-time reader here and I love the new look! I’m such a creature of habit that whenever blogs and websites I like are redesigned, my first response is “Ohhh noooo!” 🙂 But not this time. I love how you’ve made your content more searchable and kept the “blog view” option. Nice work!

    • OMG that seriously means SO much! I’m honestly the same, it takes me a while to get used to new looks and I sometimes find myself wishing the website, app, etc. hadn’t changed. But then I usually get used to it. But I’m a total creature of habit myself so I completely feel you! Means a lot that you are already digging it–makes me feel like we did a good job.

  • Correction needed in introductory paragraph: When you visit abeautifulNess

  • Hi – British reader here. There seem to be a lot more adds in between the text of your post (4) and a pop up banner ad at the bottom. Major turnoff for me.

    On the design side the titles on the clickable images below ‘total collection’ ‘lightbox magic collection ‘ etc are not centred and the words on the longer titles are cut off.

    Good luck

    • There are actually the same amount of ads in between posts as we’ve had for the last 4-5 months, but maybe they feel different on the new site? Idk. There are actually less ads overall, but of course we still have ads and I don’t necessarily think any one is counting them as they read our site… but just wanted to point that out anyway as it is something we took into consideration while we were building this. Thanks for the input!

  • The new face-lift is fabulous! Everything looks so clean and fresh.

    I was anti-jumps for the longest time until I actually start implementing them myself on my blog. They’ve grown on me and I really don’t mind them anymore on other blogs. I think I was just being stubborn and millennial-minded (I want everything NOW!) but have had my mind changed. Being able to load a blog and quickly scroll for content I’m interested in is really what sold me on using jumps. Just my two cents!

    Hannah | The Outfit Repeater

  • Yay! Congrats! The new site looks BEAUTIFUL.

    For plugins, I HIGHLY recommend CoSchedule. It’s an editorial / marketing calendar plugin. Super great for teams.

    I noticed one glitch: the last post to come up on the ABM Bloglovin account (which is what I use to stay caught up on all your posts) hasn’t pulled up a post since the Grown Up Strawberry Shortcake post. So, it looks like it’s not pulling up your posts since the switch went live.

    Congrats again!

    xo, Caitlin

  • The new site is so beautiful!!! I absolutely love it. I’m viewing on a desktop and it’s so clean and bright, and I really like that the bios have been updated with new pictures. Well done, ladies.

    (A quick thing, I noticed that Laura’s last name is misspelled under the “Meet Our Staff” section, just wanted to give you a heads up!)

  • The new site looks lovely…. I’ll go for a pootle around in a bit and check it all out. It’s a big deal, so well done!

    Just wanted to add my two cents about the ‘read more’…. I am so delighted you decided not to add them. The long-form action is much more like reading a magazine with it’s inherent sense of relaxation and ease. Clicking around completely changes that feel for me. So much so that I’ve stopped reading or greatly reduced reading blogs that have introduced the jump. It wasn’t really intentional. With the new reading experience, the blush had just gone off the rose, so to speak, and I found myself wanting to visit less.

    Love your stuff! And thanks. 🙂 Keep doing what you do.

  • Congrats on the new look! I really like and appreciate that I can read whole articles without clicking through! On the other hand you’re absolutely right, faster loading time makes a big difference. Jetpack plugin has this nifty feature – Infinite Scroll, which loads next posts automatically, when the reader is near the bottom of the page.