New Year, New Look

Well, I’ve done it… I hope. After four years of blogging (I published my first post on September 5, 2013) and hundreds of posts, I’ve finally changed the look and feel of my blog… somewhat. I was pretty happy with the simplicity of my old theme so I wasn’t interested in making any radical changes, but I wanted to make a few updates and add a feature or two. If you are reading this, I guess that means the transition worked. Yay!

I read somewhere that most blogs last an average of 18 months before withering on the vine. Maintaining a blog is harder and more time-consuming than most people realize. A few of my favorite bloggers have taken a “break” never to return, and I can’t say that I blame them. That I have been at this – albeit with varying intensity – long enough to celebrate my four-year blogoversary is amazing to me.

What keeps me motivated, besides that I enjoy writing and sharing stories and photographs, is the blogging community. Like most bloggers, I like the “Likes,” but I love the comments. The fun begins when a dialog is started, especially when conversing with a group as generous, smart, and supportive as you all are.

And, speaking of being “generous, smart, and supportive,” if you see anything wonky with my new blog design, please let me know. I’m sure it will be a work in progress for a while.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

93 thoughts on “New Year, New Look”

  1. This is a very nice look. Crisp, easy to read, works on mobile. Congrats on making it to four years. I know what you mean about folks who have taken a break, never to return. I still miss some of them.

    1. Thank you for all your help and encouragement! It really made a difference. Sometimes I think we need to put together a search and rescue team to find some of those who have gone away (Sammy, I’m taking about you…) and make sure they are OK.

  2. Congratulations! I do all of my blogging on my iPhone, so I have no idea what my site looks like! Likewise, I do all of my blog reading on my phone, so I just got a hint of the new you. You’re still fabulous.

  3. I absolutely LOVE this! This is such a great design and layout, Janis. It’s inviting, pleasing to the eye, easy to read and still quite simple. Congratulations on the new look. It suits you well!

    1. Thank you! That’s exactly the type of feedback I was hoping for. I need to go back and re-categorize my past posts. I just added “Travel” as a category so none were tagged that way in the past (and, I think there are a lot of them).

  4. Love the neat clean look. And congratulations on continuing to blog – it is tough sometimes but worth it.

  5. I love the new look, Janis. Well done and congratulations on your blogoversary 🙂
    Thanks for adding the Instagram link, it gave me a chance to find you there!

    1. I couldn’t figure out how to make my font bigger either. I don’t know if it was my lack of skills or the theme. Anyway, the default font of this new theme is bigger and easier to read, and that’s a good thing.

  6. Love the post, your photo and your theme! Congrats on 4 years and renewed commitment to blogging. You conveyed those thoughts well about the fun of blogging and the wonderful relationships that are built because of it.

  7. Janis, it’s beautiful! I’m sort of one of those who has been “missing in action.” But I’m coming back…promise! I too miss the on-line relationships and dialogs! ~ Lynn

    1. Holy cow, Lynn! I’m so happy to “see” you again! You were one of those I was thinking about when I wrote that a few favorites had faded away. I’m really, really looking forward to having you back in the community.

      1. Thanks, Janis! I sort of let myself get overwhelmed. But then I started looking through my reader, and I realized how much I missed it, and my blogging “pals!”

  8. Very attractive and appealing look, Janis! It’s clean, crisp, and very readable. Nice new photo of the author, and beautiful photo at the top. I always enjoy reading your blog.

  9. It looks beautiful! I really like the clean, non-busy look. Lots of wonderful white space so the eye can easily scan the page. And that’s a nice pic of you too. 🙂 Well done! – Marty

  10. It looks awesome! I am now following you on Instagram, at which I am a novice.
    I am another culprit of a “neglected baby blog” returning soon after life so rudely interrupted me.
    So admire those of you that remain consistent!

  11. Hi. I am so glad to read that someone has exactly the same experiences with their blog and how they think about it. Your blog looks good. I’d love to ask some advice but I think I’ll enjoy reading about your travels, too, as my husband and I also travel and ride our bikes, so maybe we have a bit in common. I’m looking forward to it.

    1. Welcome and thanks for the comment! For some reason, my travel-related posts aren’t linking to the category on my header menu, but I hope to get that fixed soon. I’ve enjoyed looking at your pictures in and around Australia – I’ve never been there, but it’s definitely on my list!

  12. Your new look suits you, Janis. I like the headers you’ve chosen for your nav bar; if they were on the last site, I somehow missed them. Now it will be easier for me to go back and read some of your earlier posts. Congrats on working through this, and so quickly.

    1. The menu headers are new. For some reason, “Travel” is giving me some problems (I can’t get my older posts to link up), but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. It will probably be a long time before I change again, but at least I now know I can do it without too many issues.

  13. Congratulations on an Anniversary and a new look!
    You show a lot more restraint than me – I can’t count how many themes I’ve tried over the years!

  14. Love the new look! And don’t see anything ‘wonky’. I agree, administering a blog is the hardest part of having a blog. Sometimes, the writing is the easiest thing I do! You remind me that my blog probably needs some updating – ugh – the very thought makes me nervous. Good job on yours. I especially like the header photo. Happy 4th Anniversary! K

  15. Congratulations! Twice. Once for lasting 4 years. Twice for revamping your site. It looks very nice and clean. I need to do the same thing, but I keep putting it off. Argh. It is very hard to keep up with the community, to pay equal time to everyone else by reading and engaging and to keep the content coming on our own sites. It’s no wonder blogs tend to whither on the vine. I had not heard that 18 month stat, though. But as I think back, a lot of my favorite blogs that I followed when I started in 2009 have disappeared.

    1. Thanks for the congrats! I think many people start a blog and just expect the throngs to flock to their site. Or, they follow a blog for the sole purpose of getting a follow back. It can be a lot of work, but (at least so far) I have found the rewards to be worth it. That you have kept your blog going for 18 years is amazing!

  16. Congrats on 4 years! You’re an inspiration to me, as usual. I need to figure out headers as well… not sure my theme has them, but it’s starting to get hard to navigate older posts on my blog. I too love the community and support I’ve found here, so I’ll keep blogging for a while still. 🙂

    1. After my experience, I really encourage you to make the changes you want. Your theme may have what you are looking for but sometimes it’s hard to find where things are. I found the (I think you are a “.com” like me) forum to be helpful for specific questions. Yes, the community and support is fantastic… I’m glad to know that you’ll be around for a while!

  17. Wow, Janis! This looks amazing. I like all of it so far, from the layout to the simple theme to the font and look of the letters I am typing right now. Don’t see anything funky so far. Well done! And, congrats on four years of retirementally challenged! When I first looked at this blog post after clicking on it in my inbox today, I was thinking “What’s going on?” then I realized you mentioned the change in previous previous Grati blog. I love it!!!

    I liked having my blog about our sailing adventures, which was on Blogger, but I love WordPress better, the last two years. Thing is that the times have changed from me just writing a blog or two a month, those eight years, summarizing what had happened to us and our boat, to being much more involved now. It is hard and time-consuming work, but the new friendships are definitely worth it!!!

    1. I’m still a little surprised when I see it too! I guess the new look will take some time to get used to. My favorite part is the bigger font… my older eyes were having trouble 🙂 .

      My general impression is that WordPress just works better. Even when I make comment on blogs using other providers, it is more of a hassle, especially when using a handheld device. They were also very helpful to me as I was struggling with a few of the changes I was making… I needed some hand-holding.

  18. Well done Ms. Janis! Congratulations. I, too, enjoy the comments and written dialogue. There are so many blogging friends I miss who just ran out of gas. It is easy to do. One of my favorites, who we often spoke of getting together, passed away before we got the chance.

    Keep up the great work. All the best, Keith

  19. Congrats on 4 years! I’m only at a little more than 2 years, and I am definitely understanding the 18-month slump thing. I appreciate your thoughts on how to keep going. I like the new look too. It’s easy and clean to read!

    1. Thank you. I definitely go through ups and downs and have more than once asked myself if I have anything left to say. Maybe an even more important question we all need to ask ourselves (especially as we get older) is: “Am I doing what I most want to do at this moment?”

  20. It looks amazing and gorgeous, and I love both of the new pictures! You really did a great job ! Clearly it is a hit with everyone. (I left a message earlier, but WP and I seem to do a do-si-do about what my password is, so apparently my earlier comment did not stick.) One little thing – change your favicon to match your new look!

    1. I’m not sure why your first comment got lost or why your second comment went into my “to be approved” file. Fun with WordPress! Anyway, thanks for your comment(s) and the heads up about my favicon – I had no idea what a favicon was but, now that I do, I’ll attempted to update it.

  21. I really like the new template. How’s it working out for you? Which one is it?
    The one I’ve used for 6 years is occasionally a pain. Photos aren’t easy to place.
    It looks like your transition was smooth. Maybe it is time for me to follow your lead.

    1. I’ve only made one post so far using the new theme (which is called Twenty Sixteen, by the way), so I’m hoping things will continue to go smoothly. It supposedly has a greater number of features and options as the older one did. But, of course, it’s only as good as the skills of the user… and I’m not a whiz by any means. Good luck if you decide to make a change!

  22. 2016 looks like an upgrade on 2012 (I think that’s the one I have!) I think if I hadn’t done a child theme to get the larger header photo, I would have had an easier time with the literal upgrades over the course of my 4 years. Since I just gave up on them, and I’m the process is harder…darn!
    The fact that one day you announced the changes in celebration of your 4th and the next (seemingly) you’re proudly posting on new theme pages really shows your determination, acumen and perhaps wisdom in not doing a ‘child’ theme with your original theme!!!!
    Brava, Janis!
    ps-I do like your new gravatar pix, too

    1. Thank you! I’m not sure I completely understand these “parent” “child” designations so I can assure you that it wasn’t anything I did on purpose! As I move along, adding posts and trying different features, I’m sure I’ll learn more about what this particular theme can – and can’t – do. Fortunately, I don’t ask for much 🙂

  23. Love the new look of both your blog and profile picture. I was talking with a friend the other day who wanted to start a new blog and was trying to come up with a snappy name so I mentioned your blog name, which I love, as an example. It’s got to be, hands-down, the best name I’ve run across yet. And I agree with you – it’s awesome to be a part of the blogging community and foster some wonderful online friendships! Anita

    1. Thank you so much! I hope your friend finds a blog name they love too. I’ve been lucky enough to meet several blogger buddies face-to-face and, when we got together, it was as if we had been friends forever. It is a special community.

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