Planning a personal blog design

When I first decided to launch a personal blog, I made it my mission not to perform any optimisation on this site.

At the time, my thinking was that I would just run entirely off the Garland theme. I got tired of that pretty quickly, just as I couldn’t stand the Kubrick/K2 theme on WordPress.

I switched to the Zen theme for Drupal, but to be honest, that’s not personal enough either. I’m starting to hanker after a theme for this site that gives it a personality. Or gives me a personality.

After my rant last month about the scope and limitations of a personal site, I’ve thought long and hard about how my website should represent me. And probably the best way to do that is to treat myself like a client.

My Site: Aims and Objectives

OK, so what do I do? I’m an IT Professional (or like to think so). I design websites. I write for weblogs. I suppose I’m a pro-blogger, if you like. But anti-establishment with it. I love art, music, photography and I love expression of individuality. This site needs to be individual, and make a statement.

Despite my desire to remain relatively anonymous, I do not want this site to be generic. I can’t emphasise that point strongly enough. I am sooo tired of generic gradients and conventional website layouts.

Here’s ultimately what I want this site to achieve for me:

  • Showcase my CSS/XHTML design skills. It needs to be almost good enough to make an appearance in some of the CSS galleries.
  • Be visual. I want to create something eye-catching and bold that draws people in and inspires them to subscribe or return every once in a while.
  • No SEO. This isn’t a visual design thing, but I still don’t want to appeal to search engine traffic. I still have to try not to write search engine focused titles and content, but I’ll persevere. I’d sort of like this site to exist for the people who find me via social media or blog comments I’ve left rather than organic search.
  • No Adverts. I want a streamlined site that is content only. Possibly the only thing I’ll be selling via this site is myself. I consider it a loss leader.
  • Social Media Integration? I’ve got an online presence that I enjoy and that makes up part of my online identity. I need some way to integrate either my StumbleUpon links or my Twitter feed to fill out the blog. It’ll be another great way to get up-to-date content on here to compliment (or counteract) the longer essay-ish articles I write.

In terms of design, I want something grand. A small part of me worries about being embarrassed by being too visual online. I intend to tie that part of me up, gag it and lock it in the boot of my car…

Anyway, I think a lot of the objectives are partially achieved. My big challenge at the moment is to come up with a visual theme that’ll represent me. I’m going to have a browse through some stock photography and some design showcase sites to see what inspiration I can get for this. Stay tuned.

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