I can’t believe I’m sharing these with y’all, but thought it would be fun to kick off the launch of this new site by taking a look back at the evolution of my main website – Kristaajones.com. Honestly I had suppressed these designs deep into my subconscious. It was a terrifying, yet fun experience to revisit my old site designs using the Wayback website–a similar experience to revisiting old middle school photos.
Okay, let the embarrassment commence…
The beginning. Otherwise known as the time when I had no idea what I was doing. This site was pure HTML because setting up a WordPress site was beyond my college-student skills. See that link for the “blog” in the upper right hand corner of the page? Yep, everything on it was hand coded. Which meant that every time I added a blog post, I had to write all the HTML, create new pages by hand and spend hours putting it together. Not exactly an efficient use of time, and I’m sure the number of times I blogged a month was minimal. And let’s just pretend that you don’t see the photos on this site. Those filters…
A year later I figured out how to tweak other people’s WordPress themes. I found a free one for photographers, and used CSS to add my own fonts and background colors. This was also the debut of the palm tree – but in circle form. I’m not sure if you guys have ever worked with a circle logo before, but they generally don’t work out well. They take up so much space and the text is hard to read. Looking back at that bright green also makes me cringe. It’s hard to look at… but I can’t look away! I hadn’t realized yet that bright colors don’t do great things for photography.
I’m sad to say that by the end of 2011 I still had not grown out of the bright colors and circle logo, but I had figured out how to create a custom WordPress theme. I also added a side column to the site with more information about myself and big, chunky icons leading to my social media pages. Let the learning begin!
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed by now, but I have a habit of re-designing my site every winter. In January of 2012, the site took a big step in moving towards my current brand and aesthetic. I softened colors and figured out how to add elements outside of the sidebar. The terrible circle logo also went away and I figured out fancy things like displaying my latest tweet.
The next January (never say I’m not predictable) – I figured out how to add custom homepages to sites. This page isn’t bad but it was hard to get images to look good in the latest blog post section on the right, and it was inconvenient trying to update the boxes at the bottom.
I was also really into about pages that listed everything people loved. Thus the debut of this baby. It was one giant image and every time we found spelling errors or our lives changed, I had to edit it in Photoshop, export it and upload it to the site. And while it’s fun to know that my favorite move is When Harry Met Sally, I’m pretty sure brides don’t care unless I take amazing photos. Plus, I don’t want people knowing Davey is a Texans fan…
Then last winter, I gave my site a pretty big overhaul. I changed the menu from simple text listings to a grid and simplified the content my homepage. Other pages (like the about page), got a lot more simple as well and for the first time in the history of my photography business, this site didn’t get a re-design over the winter. And I still really love it!
I announce the launch of this site – The Palm Shop! Over the years I’ve gone back and forth between keeping my design work on my photography site or giving it it’s own site. And then when I stopped mixing design and photography blog posts together on Kristaajones.com, my design work has felt a little neglected.
I take a lot of photos, but I also work with a lot of really amazing creatives (especially this time of the year). I wanted to create a space where I can talk about how brands come together and also share tutorials and tips for brands + websites. Since I started teaching about branding, websites and search engine optimization at the Bayside Workshops and Creative at Heart, I receive a lot of emails asking for help. I often find myself answering the same questions over and over again, and they’re generally questions that other creatives would really benefit from too!
So what can you expect from this site? Hopefully quite a bit! WordPress tutorials and help, SEO tips, branding inspiration, encouragement and advice from other creatives I’ve worked with, business management tips, business book reviews and more!
I really want this to be a helpful resource for small business owners and if you have questions about design, branding, WordPress, websites or other business-related topics, I would love to answer! Feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Take a look around and enjoy!