I started out this blog nearly 5 years ago on Blogspot and didn't really have a clue what I was doing. Part of me wishes that I had screen shots over the years to show you the evolution of the design. Last year I made big changes, trying to make the blog fit into a website format as much as possible, making a large amount of information easily accessible to readers. Things like the gallery and badges section continued to annoy me though. So it was a matter of rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in.
Musings of a Housewife has a great tutorial. I prefer to make my own buttons for Facebook and twitter instead of a live feed as I really hate the look of them and they clutter up the sidebar; taking away from the overall design. I continued with the polka dot buttons for my sidebar, punctuating the space with these blocks of blue making it's easier to navigate. I also go rid of some of gimmicky gadgets from this section in an effort to clean it up a bit.
I also thinned out the number of tabs by joining my two 'shop' tabs into one, and linking to my Etsy shops through a collage of images. This has the added benefit of opening the shop in a new window rather than drawing people away from my website. I did the same thing with my gallery tabs. I now have one page from which my clothes, graphics and crafts galleries link. I made collages for these galleries in Photoshop using the same polka dot background, again trying to keep the design consistent.
I added images to my Categories page, so that it's nicer to read than just a plain list of text. Another page that I had a lot of trouble with in this area was Party Badges. It was a big long list of information that I found impossible to break up. But I discovered that you can publish hidden pages, allowing me to have live information which I can link to, but that isn't listed in the tabs at the top. This allows me to have separate badge, mirror, opener and magnet pages, effectively cleaning up that whole section. I linked the pages with images, so that the options are easily identifiable, and because they open in a new window people can flick between them easily to compare prices.
These changes took the bones of a day to get through, but I'm much happier with this tidier look. Earlier last year I wanted to invest a sizable amount of money into getting a website built for me, now I'm glad I was too broke to make this investment, with a fair bit of hard graft I've gotten quite near to what I wanted, but it was for free.