Life After College: Makeover Revealed!

Today is a VERY exciting day. If you’re reading in a feed reader, pop on over to the blog to check out the fancy new digs!

I’ve had the same logo and tagline since 2005 when I first set-up this website — that’s SIX years! To say that I’ve outgrown it is an understatement (“No one said it was easy” — c’mon, I can do better than that). I feel like my blog and I (yes, we’re basically imaginary friends now) just moved into a mansion after living in a nice comfortable house that we had outgrown.

Thanks to the incredible Nina Cross (@crossnina), I’m thrilled to reveal a major site overhaul today, including:

  • Completely new design that matches my book’s branding. The tagline actually means something to me — it’s the impact I want to have on other people through my writing: to help people of all ages “Wake up. Live big! And love the journey.”
  • A landing page with four clear options so that people can “choose their own adventure” (I’ve gotten a lot of feedback that my current blog landing page can be overwhelming for newcomers)
  • Category landing pages that lay out a clear roadmap for each section so that people know where to start with my 4 years of archives
  • Simplified sidebar — one column instead of two, far fewer options to get distracted by. I also added in some “As seen in…” social proof icons
  • A Store + Freebies page to hawk some new wares — I’m trying to get creative about packaging my existing content and ideas to be helpful to you AND to pay the bills in post-Google life :)
  • I moved to the Thesis theme to help with SEO, customizability, and to clean up some of the clutter from my existing (free) theme. At first I resisted because I didn’t want my site to look like every other Thesis blog, but Nina did a great job personalizing it, and the benefits of using Thesis were too great to ignore.

This upgrade has been a long time coming…

There have been so many things that I’ve wanted to do here over the years, but never felt like I had the time, focus or energy while working full-time.

With Nina’s help, I’ve finally been able to implement my vision for the direction this site can go. I’ve been wanting a site design that is friendly, easy to navigate, inviting, and ridiculously useful. The category archives alone could provide tons of value to new visitors — if only they were easier to sift through — so I wanted to make sure they are well-organized and laid out in a way that focuses on the user (not just reverse chronological order).

I also FINALLY added a newsletter freebie (should have done this years ago). My templates are no longer available from my top navigation — I’m giving them away as part of a kick-butt “Organized Like a Ninja” toolkit in exchange for signing up for my Inside Scoop mailing list.

Curious about what the site used to look like? Life After College through the years…


It started with the HTML version I built in 2005 (notice the “we’ve” in the second paragraph? I didn’t want anyone to know it was just a 22-year-old behind the curtain…too funny!):

Screenshot of the LAC Website from 2005

Then I gave it a face-lift in 2008/2009 by upgrading to a free WordPress theme that I customized (here’s the very first blog post I wrote, when I had zero subscribers. Note to future bloggers: best to create an archive of posts FIRST, then announce to friends and family):

Life After College Screenshot - 2008-2011

Drumroll please….the new site!!

Life After College - New Site!

The brand new “choose your own adventure” landing page — (people clicking over from email/rss/social media will still go directly to the blog page):

New-life-after-college-landing-page

I’m beyond excited to keep building out this site as I continue to grow into my business, and as always, I welcome your feedback at any time!

For any of you looking to upgrade your own sites, Nina Cross is an absolute pleasure to work with. She was able to read my mind and translate my vague descriptions into something beautiful; she was responsive, took feedback incredibly well, and handled every step of the process professionally. Big huge thanks to Andrew Norcross for his WordPress ninjary too — to call him the hero of the blog community would be a massive understatement — he has come through for me countless times, and this launch was no exception. There aren’t enough words to thank him properly…

So wherever you are, let’s lift a virtual cupcake and toast Nina for doing such a fantastic job!

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Blank August 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Wahoo! Congratulations, your new home looks great!

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Laura Kimball August 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Way to go girl, you and your mansion look marvelous!

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Erin Ventura August 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Love it Jenny!!!

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jennyblake August 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Thank you Per!!!! So great to hear from you — love you!!

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Scott Asai August 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Congrats on the upgrade Jenny!

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Heather R. Huhman August 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm

LOVE the new look! Can’t wait for your next newsletter to get more of a “behind the scenes.” :)

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jennyblake August 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Thanks Heather!!! Will be sent out in 30 minutes — I shared even more “behind the scenes” thanks to your comment :) That reminder gave me a push to really share behind the curtain. Have a great week!

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Justice Wordlaw IV August 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

You have a really great design and look to your entire blog Jenny. 

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Laura Simms August 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Congrats, Jenny! It’s a knock-out!

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Caroline August 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Congrats! The site looks great!

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Grace Boyle August 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Look so hot! Congrats – you deserve it :)

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Anonymous August 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm

VERY impressed, looks exactly the way it should!! Bravo! 

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Greg Hertzke August 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I like the new look, very clean and newcomers will be able to quickly find the many great things that you offer – especially when the “choose your own adventure landing page launches”. Congrats!

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Kmccusker127 August 15, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Love you new site..It looks great!!!

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Melissaheide August 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Mmmm, cupcake. You had me at cupcake. Congrats on the rebranding! Looking forward to seeing where you go!

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Meredyth Pederson August 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Yay! How exciting, Jenny! Your new home looks fabulous!

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Holly Grande August 15, 2011 at 11:53 pm

I love the new look. Congrats on the website makeover!

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Thanks Holly! I really appreciate it :)

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Positively Present August 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm

This looks awesome! I love the new look!

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Thank you so much, Dani!!

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Dan August 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Great new design… love the look .

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Thanks Dan! Great to hear from you — Elisa and I were just talking about how awesome your Tropical MBA concept is the other day :)

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Norcross August 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I’m really liking the new look! I wonder what genius did your URL fixing :)

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm

LOL – an incredibly brilliant good looking charming one! 😉 I wrote this post before all your ninajery (new term) — you know you are my HERO andrew norcross!!! In fact adding a note right now at the end just for you :)

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm

LOL – an incredibly brilliant good looking charming one! 😉 I wrote this post before all your ninajery (new term) — you know you are my HERO andrew norcross!!! In fact adding a note right now at the end just for you :)

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Added :)

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Added :)

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Added :)

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Added :)

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm

LOL – an incredibly brilliant good looking charming one! 😉 I wrote this post before all your ninajery (new term) — you know you are my HERO andrew norcross!!! In fact adding a note right now at the end just for you :)

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jennyblake August 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm

LOL – an incredibly brilliant good looking charming one! 😉 I wrote this post before all your ninajery (new term) — you know you are my HERO andrew norcross!!! In fact adding a note right now at the end just for you :)

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Caleb Wojcik August 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Looks tons better and the layout/navigation is leagues ahead as well. Great job Nina and Jenny.

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jennyblake August 17, 2011 at 12:46 am

Thanks Caleb!! Really appreciate the kind words :)

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suki August 16, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Hey Jenny, love the new look, especially love that it matches your book! :) 

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jennyblake August 17, 2011 at 12:46 am

Thank you so much!! And yes — we totally grabbed inspiration from the book — love that blue and the font! 

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Annie Anderson August 16, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Love it, Jen! It looks great. Simple and clean.

One of the few built on Thesis that I’ve seen lately which isn’t all discombobulated. 😉

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jennyblake August 17, 2011 at 12:47 am

Thanks so much Annie!! Yes, I really wanted to make sure it didn’t look too “Thesis-y” since so many blogs are now on Thesis — wanted it to be original, and Nina did a great job :). Thanks for stopping by!

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Ryan August 17, 2011 at 4:00 am

Looks great!  -JB Fanboy

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jennyblake August 18, 2011 at 1:22 am

Thanks so much Ryan!! You rock :)

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Marian Schembari August 17, 2011 at 8:29 am

AMAZING. Love love love. Really beautiful and I love the matching branding to the book – really suits you.

Congrats!

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jennyblake August 18, 2011 at 1:22 am

Wooo – thanks girl!! Nina really did an outstanding job :)

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Raphael Cousineau August 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Wow, good job! The site is much more attractive and easy to navigate. The blue doens’t only match the branding of your books, but also perfectly matches your eyes!

Have a nice day!

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jennyblake August 18, 2011 at 1:22 am

Thanks so much Raphael!! I’m thrilled with it — *I* even feel like a new person! Thanks so much for reading and commenting — it means so much! Have a great day too :)

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Tessa August 17, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Jenny, the new site looks awesome. Keep up the great work!

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jennyblake August 18, 2011 at 1:22 am

Thank you so much Tessa!! Always great to hear from you — big hugs!!

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doniree August 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Looks amazing! 

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jennyblake August 18, 2011 at 1:23 am

Thanks so much girl! CANNOT wait to see you in a few short days 😀 xoxo!

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Jennifer Howard August 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Hi Jenny! The site looks fantastic! I thought it looked pretty spiffy before, but that’s just because I didn’t know any better. LAC is showing its true potential now! Congrats!

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jennyblake August 18, 2011 at 1:23 am

Aw, thanks so much Jen!! Thrilled that you like the new site — I actually liked the old one too, but this one is light years better! Was nostalgic leaving the old one behind, but this feels great for the future of LAC. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

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Abella Amanda August 18, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Amandahttp://www.gradmeetsworld.org

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Brandon Cordoba August 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm

looks good Jenny, & flows w/ the book, nice. How are you?

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jennyblake August 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Thanks so much Brandon!! Things with me are busy but exciting and tons of fun — I hope all’s well with you too. Have a great weekend!

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Brandon Cordoba August 20, 2011 at 3:48 am

So glad to hear, you to.

You know why I’ll never forgot you? Because that heartfelt care/thank you look in your eyes you gave me as I was leaving your book thing. That is soo powerful Jenny never lose that beautiful transparency in you eyes, smile & heart. :)

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jennyblake August 23, 2011 at 12:53 am

Aw, thank you so much Brandon — wow! That feedback means so much to me….and meant the world that you came out to the book launch party!! Thanks so much for being such an awesome part of the LAC community — was great to meet you in person at SXSW :)

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Kristin August 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Looks great Jenny!! 

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jennyblake August 23, 2011 at 12:58 am

Thanks so much Kristin!! Hope you’re having a great week :)

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