Welcome to the all-new Garden Betty!
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Welcome to the All-New Garden Betty!

If you checked my blog over the weekend, you may have noticed that things look a lot different around here! A new design has blossomed (along with these delicious-smelling jasmine flowers in my yard right now) and I’m thrilled to tell you all about it.

My last redesign was in 2013. The world of blogs has changed quite a bit since then, so an update was long overdue. If you’re reading this on a mobile device, the first and most important change you may notice is a mobile-responsive design that works across all smartphones and tablets. That means no more messy sidebars on mobile or desktop versions, plus a lighter, quicker-loading page that puts the content front and center.

Speaking of sidebars, we’re now down to one. Most of the clicking you’ll be doing happens up top, thanks to a new “sticky” menu.

I read every single survey response that was submitted in January (from this post) and I heard you loud and clear: the navigation was in vast need of improvement. This was an area I’d been wanting to overhaul for more than a year, but it was an intimidating project to come up with a clear and concise system, not to mention a hefty commitment to re-categorize and re-tag 640 posts! (And to do so in a way where I hopefully wouldn’t need to touch it again.)

But it’s finished and I’m so happy to finally check that off the list. As you can see above, the navigation is simplified and organized into seven main categories (with several more sub-categories) and the tags are cleaned up as well. Searches are now easier as the results are presented in a neat grid of thumbnails with post excerpts.

Some of you may be wondering… What happened to Mexico content? It’s still there, but tucked under the Outdoor Adventures category. There won’t be many more posts dedicated to the Dream Boat, though we’ll still be visiting our little spot through the end of the year. The hubby and I have been talking more seriously about a major move for our family in the near future, and where we’re looking to put down roots is just too far of a drive from Baja to make it a regular road trip destination. Because of that, we’ve decided to halt any plans we had to restore the boat further, and focus our efforts on saving money and browsing real estate. I’ll be touching on this topic a little more this year, but that’s where we currently stand with the Off-Grid in Mexico series.

Back to the redesign: The overall site layout is wider to accommodate current screen sizes, and all images from November 2015 and on are bigger and bolder, too. (Can you believe I’ve had the idea for this redesign brewing in my head for that long?) A lot of work was done on the backend to optimize the site for faster loading, and I’m continuing to tweak the site here and there. Rest assured that anything out of place will be corrected these next couple of weeks as I comb through the site and resolve a few formatting issues.

In the meantime, please help yourself to a tour of the all-new Garden Betty. I’d love to know what you think! If you’re a new reader, you can navigate to About ยป The Blog (Start Here!) to learn who I am and what I do here.

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  • Thank you so much!

  • Sarah Ku

    I love the new look! Putting all the lists up top is a great idea.

  • It looks great! Hope you are loving your new look!

    • Thank you! And after three years, having a brand-new design is a breath of fresh air. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Your site looks fantastic! I’m actually going through a major redesign myself, so I have massive respect for all the work you’ve done (and are probably still doing) to get things updated. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you! And yes, I’m two weeks into launching the new design and there are still many tweaks to be made on the backend. I suppose a well-functioning blog is never “finished,” right?!

  • Marlene Thompson

    Wondeful! Love it without the side bars. Well done!

  • Beautiful! I just love it! I really enjoy keeping up with all your travels and adventures and hope we run into each other again soon in person! Also, can’t wait for your new book to come out.

    • Thanks Lisa! Hopefully our book events will coincide this year… I miss our leisurely breakfasts and post-conference cocktails. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Laura

    Love it! Sad to say good-bye to the off-grid Mexico series, but looking forward to your move…

    • Thank you! I’m sad about Mexico as well, but the next move will likely have PLENTY of renovation projects to dive into! We can’t wait to have a house we can really call our own.

  • The new site is amazing! I love the simplicity, and the post grid you see after you click a category is just so beautiful!

    Thank you for the Mexico update, I always wonder about that! Mostly because I’ve been dreaming of returning to Baja myself since I took a road trip there in 2007 with a group of friends – one of the most incredible trips of my life.

    Congratulations on the redesign!

    • Thanks Caitlin! And wow, a road trip to Baja? Were you living closer at the time or did you make an epic drive out from the east coast? Either way, I think a return trip is calling your name! I’m looking forward to bringing the baby there for the first time this summer.

      • A bunch of my graduate school friends and I were headed to an international sea turtle conference in La Paz the Spring of 2008. We all flew into San Diego and rented a van and drove south to the conference (which I know might be harder to do today). We drove the whole peninsula and ended up in Cabo. It was the most incredible trip, sometimes I forget it really happened. It was the first place I’ve ever been that felt truly “wild” ๐Ÿ™‚

        • You can still rent a van in San Diego (from certain agencies) and drive it across the border. We did exactly that for our wedding a few years ago, and all of our family and friends drove down in their own cars. It’s as safe as any other road trip on the coast. Going into Baja is easy; going back to the US does take considerably longer if you hit the border during rush hour. I haven’t yet driven the whole peninsula (my husband has though, several times!) but it’s on my life list to accomplish. Maybe once the little one starts surfing… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Looks good, Linda. I did enjoy the off-grid in Mexico series, but am excited to hear more about your upcoming move. Are there more mountains in your future?

    • Thank you Deb! And yes, mountains are definitely in our future… it’s the main reason we’re itching to move. ๐Ÿ™‚

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