My site has been live for nearly two years now, and so I thought it was time to give it some attention and redesign it. I ply my trade as a web developer, not designer, so was tempted to get someone else to mock up my site, but I like a challenge, and wanted to stamp my own style on my site.
Where to find inspiration? Most design projects will include some sort of brief or branding guidelines, but when you're working on your own projects, you start with a blank canvas. The inspiration for the colour scheme of the site came from my 60's reissue Fender Stratocaster. It's a Mexican copy of an all time classic, but it still has those great strat looks.
Brown and beige aren't exactly sexy colours, but I thought they would work well in contrast with a bright green. Chris Spooner's blog uses beiges, and I really liked this shot on Dribbble by the Dribbble man himself, Dan Cederhorn.
I decided on orange for the link colour, and to keep the main navigation and links very similar to make it clear where the links are on the page.
The layout of the site is standard for a blog-type site. The most important element to include was the elevator pitch on the home page ("A web developer based in Manchester..." etc.). These are now very common on professionals website's, my last design included one, and they are a great way to communicate what you offer to your visitors. There is a great article from Yoast about summing up your business as succinctly as possible, which explains how an elevator pitch can help your SEO.
I'm a developer so I have to write a bit about the development!
The site is built with HTML5 (I've written a post about how to do that) and a little CSS3. This means that my site will look different in older browsers; the large headers at the top of the pages will not have the text-shadow effect, but I'd rather include the effect for people with up-to-date browsers than use images, or not include the effect at all.
The back end of the site is running on my own PHP framework, and the beginnings of my own CMS. This means that some of the time I could be using writing for the blog ends up being used on actually building it, but its a great learning exercise and interesting to see how much functionality can be included in a CMS.
Now, if I'd got round to building the commenting functionality for blog posts, you'd be able to tell me what you think, but for now you'll have to make do with telling me via Twitter, @npyett.