To say that I would like to blog more often is an understatement. However, I do not tend to make resolutions because I do not tend to stick with them and I don’t like failing and I don’t like letting people down. So although I am not going to say that I resolve in 2015 to blog more often, I will say that I am going to try.
As this is a new year, I thought I would recap 2014 here.
THE BUSINESS OF BEING IN BUSINESS
This past year has been my best year for business. I have come into my own as a designer and have created a name for myself. This year I did not do any personal paid advertising. 100% of my clientele was word of mouth. That shows me that my work will speak for itself. While I am not opposed to advertising (every little bit helps, right?), I proved this year that it is not necessary in order for business to flourish.
MOST REQUESTED THEME
2014 was the year of Foodie and Foodie Pro Genesis themes.
Foodie was released in 2013 by Genesis Developer Shay Bocks, but it took off running in 2014 with the update of Foodie Pro. The theme was created to be a solid foundation on which your blog can be built and your website shine. The page templates on this beauty and the featured post widgets are second to none. It is a big deal to me because it was my #1 requested theme to customize and in some cases I used it as a basis for custom sites by adding additional templates for those who wanted additional indexes for their categories. Its minimalist design leaves room for unlimited creativity. In designer talk, that is a dream. And honestly, it’s not something that as a blogger you should think that everyone has it so you should go for another theme. The reason I have a service to customize is so that a theme does stand out. I don’t just plug in a color and call it a day…that would be stealing your money. Just look how different these customizations are.
So that was Foodie/Pro.
In the same light, 2014 was the year of the whisk. I can’t tell you how many requests I had for “a whisk or something like it”.
MOST INSPIRATIONAL SITE
Chelsea’s blog took the cake this year for most inspirational site. I don’t know what it was about Chelsea or her site but sometimes things just work well. Often, it is when I have the most creative freedom. I always say that the site is not about me, it’s about you. But let’s get real for a moment because when I can design something that I love too, everything just pops a little more.
2014 was also the year of watercolor, hand-drawn logos, neutral colors and logos (as opposed to headers). Gone are the days of the elaborate banner designs. Last year, the trend was to brand with recognizable symbols. And of course, visual category/archive grid indexes. Parallax sites, continuous scrolling and staged photos are all 2014 trends as well.
Also, good-bye BlogHer campaigns. Well, more like BH took a backseat this year for my blogging clients. Google Ads won out with most of my clients with requests for “above the header” ad spaces. I have to admit, not having to make it so the MASSIVE BlogHer ad stayed above the fold was a big weight off of my shoulders. For those of you who still use it, it’s fine and I understand it…it’s a money maker and it might make sense for you. I just didn’t love working with those ads from a coding standpoint.
Flash (as in Adobe Flash) photography websites were on the out to be replaced by blogsites. The world of photography has changed immensely in the last 10 years. Actually, make that 5 years. Pinterest forced photographers to up their game. Competition is fierce and there is no room for poor social media gurus. I’m sure photographers are frustrated by it (it, meaning people like me who will email a photographer a Pinterest board full of idealistic pictures with props they don’t own and locations that do not exist in a 50 mile radius). I mean, whatever happened to the laser backgrounds at school where if your eyes were closed or you were looking away, it is what it is? Now, high school seniors have outdoor portrait sessions wearing $200+ outfits.
Alas, 2014 was the year of photographers moving towards having a blog more prominent, thus allowing a conversation with old and new clients. Rather than simply posting a portfolio, the blog allows photogs to update more frequently and display more work.
2015 WEB DESIGN TRENDS
I think watercolor will remain a prominent trend in blog designs (remember we are talking about bloggers, not necessarily large business web designs).
You will see more minimalist designs with white backgrounds and clean lines. Functionality will grow as a need rather than a wish. Visual searches are not a trend. We are a visual society and it’s a vital piece of having a successful site.
I also think mobile responsiveness is going to change in the next few years. I do not know how exactly, but it’s just a prediction. There are too many opinions on what a mobile responsive site “should” look like. What is considered easy navigation to some is considered too different from the PC version.
I will be working with more niche bloggers. Food bloggers and photographers are my most common clientele and I will continue this year.
I am constantly improving my work ethic and process. I like things as streamlined as possible. It’s one of the reasons I have not changed my website in a while. I like it. It works well. I actually created a demo site for myself a few months ago, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Anyway, my 2015 will consist of continuing to work on my productivity and process from communication to development to launch.
In the past I have considered developing premade themes, teaching more classes or growing my premade illustrations for sale. And while I will still probably explore these ideas, in 2014 I realized that I simply like what I will do. As my productivity and skills improve, prices will naturally rise, but for now, I really enjoy custom designing blogs for people. Sure, more passive income would be nice, but my productivity is at its best when I work one on one with someone. So while never say never, I like the services I offer now.
WHAT I’M COVETING
The newest theme from Restored316 Designs: Bloom
Uh yeah, are you kidding? I *WILL* have this font in my font library. It is called Cereal Script and it just also happens to be 25% off right now so if I were you, I’d hurry and grab it while it’s discounted!
Ugh, Tombow watercolor markers. Simply the best. I want all.the.things. They are these dual brush markers that just glide and are so beautiful on paper. And bonus, they scan really nicely. Obviously that is a huge set, but they do have smaller sets. I just need to decide whether it makes more sense to get the whole set since naturally I only really want a few shades from each of the smaller packs.
It’s just fun to change up the tools I use! These are high on my list.
So that about wraps it up. 2014 was amazing but I have this feeling that 2015 will be even better. I am excited to learn, grow and create. Thanks for being a part of it!
*There are some affiliate links in this post. I appreciate your support but please know I would never recommend a product or service that I do not trust or don’t believe in.