Simple Mom has a new look!

New design!

avatar
by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Wait, don’t click away—you’re at the right place. You’re at Simple Mom. I mentioned awhile back that the blog was getting a facelift. Well—here it is! Definitely the biggest change since its inception in five years. What do you think? Wait, only tell me if it’s complimentary. Just kidding—I really want to know what you think.

(If you’re reading this via email or RSS reader, click over to the blog to see the redesign.)

I had several goals with this redesign, the main one being meeting my personal need for a big change. Aside from some experimental designs the first year of the blog’s life, Simple Mom has more or less looked the same. I thrive on change, so I was hankerin’ for a big new look.

Secondly, I wanted something that would showcase what I think is the best part of this online community—the content. I wanted to make it front-and-center, while still making everything else findable. The most recent post is RIGHT HERE, in nice, big, clean typography.

Third, I wanted it to be painfully easy to see who was writing what post. Including me, there are now TWENTY-THREE regular writers on Simple Mom. 23! That’s a lot. The writers here take time to publish great stuff, so I wanted to make sure readers could see their faces right away. (Note: I know it’s hard to see who wrote which post when you’re reading via email or via an RSS reader. We’re working on that…)

Also to know: As I mentioned earlier, Simple Bites is staying on with our ad partner, so that site will have a very similar look soon, too. We’re planning on a nifty recipe index there, making it super-easy to find what you need. Stay tuned!

old Simple Mom, new Simple Mom

And finally, it’s time for the acceptance speech. Massive, huge, unbelievable thanks to the design talent and prowess behind Brian Gardner and Rafal Tomal, the brains behind this design. Brian’s the founder of the Genesis WordPress premium theme and a partner with Copyblogger, and Rafal is part-wizard, apparently.

Applause also goes to Connie Gabbert, who designed the new logo. She’s an illustrating genius, which makes me incredibly psyched to have her also design the cover for my next book, which will be out early next year!

This redesign is still a work in progress, so if you see tweaks, please let us know! Leave a comment below, or contact us here, and choose “There’s something wrong with the site.” (Keep your comments more to stuff like broken links and missing pages, and less on stuff like you not being a fan of the kelly green. Because, well, I love kelly green. Thanks.)

So… What do you think?

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Comments

  1. I still fondly remember those little shoes from ‘s some time back in 2008. My word you’ve come a long way. Congrats, it really beautiful. I particularly love the how background images frame the top of each post. Feels all new!

  2. Already tweeted you about this, but SO well-designed, functional, and pretty! Love that it better clarifies who wrote which post and that new logo–adore!!! Such big kudos for taking on the endeavor. Hope K lets you sleep in tomorrow morning! :)

  3. I LOVE the redesign! It’s clean, bright, cheerful, easy to read. Great job!

  4. hi Tsh! I’m a big fan of yours since quite a while and, with all the latest changes, I was expecting a new look – here it is!
    The new image behind the post title makes think about the ‘head’ in facebook, maybe it is intentional, maybe not.
    Each time there’s a change we need some time to adjust and get used to it. What I’ll surely miss most is the shoe logo. There’s something warmer about it, probably because is hand made. I loved the watercolour kind of logo, also the watercolour social media buttons.
    These new logos are also beautiful but, in my opinion, they lack the cosy, hand made, organic warm feeling all the others (kids, homeschool, bites, etc) had.

    the new website organization is very easy and user friendly (:

    all the very best

    • Well, if it helps, the new logo is hand-drawn as well. :)

      • And it is beautiful, elegant, charming and girlie (;
        Love it as well, with it’s funny small movement to go back to the main page/home
        It’s a question of habitude!

        It would be nice if, some day, in a post you could gather all the old logos, otherwise we won’t be able to see it ever again and – that – would be sad (at least for me, big fan of them)

        and, for sure, the new organization is great!

        all the very best for this renewed internet adventure

  5. Great design – I love the left justification, it’s refreshing!
    xo, Becky

  6. I like it, so fresh!

  7. It’s gorgeous, Tsh! Your excitement is justified. Love the whitespace and how easy it is to navigate. Lovely.

  8. The design is clean and simple which reflects what goes on in this space. You don’t know how much I love the fact that the ads are still there, but not so prominent. I am always turned off by blogs that have all the ads front and center with the content delegated to a small space on the side almost as an afterthought. This is refreshing! I am thrilled for you!

    • There are two Hyundai ads in the right column that are identical. I don’t know if that is on purpose?

      • Now they are gone. Sorry.

        • I can’t always control what order my ad network displays ads, though we’ll be watching closely the next week to see how they handle two ads of the same size. Thanks. :)

          And yes, I have to have ads here, but I was about to stab my eyes out if I had to look at my leaderboard ad again (the 720x wide one). I have no problem with other sites using them; it was just feeling constrictive for this one.

  9. Wow, Tsh, I love it!!! :)

  10. I like it a lot! It is nice to see that the ad is not front and center any longer.

  11. I love the organization of this lay-out! I love the categories on the sides and top. As someone who fell in love with all 5 sister-sites and would always check each of them out, I love the easy to find Simple Bites button and the clickable links to all the sites on the bottom of the page!

    I must admit, I do miss the watercolor logo, but I also had a hard time when the shoes disappeared! Every design change just doesn’t look quite “right” to my eyes for a while (clearly I don’t thrive on change!) but I do love the organization of the site and I’m sure the rest will follow : )

    And I love the way you bravely try new things! Definitely a trait I admire : ) Thanks Tsh.

    • Oh and I forgot to say, a big thank you for the book recommendation link! That will make it much easier to pick out my summer reading (although I would love another “recommendations” post- Maybe with on recommendation from each contributor?)

  12. avatar
    MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I think it looks lovely and clean. Elegant and simple! It’s great!

    Only thing I noticed is when reading on an iPad in landscape mode, the text is getting cut off on the right side of the screen. I like to read blogs that way because the keyboard is bigger for responding!

    • Thanks! (And thanks to all who see little things here and there on the tablet and phone versions, below.)

      Brian and Rafal will take a look at these things soon, probably Monday. They’ve been working hard. :)

  13. Looks great on my mobile :)

  14. It’s lovely and calming! I like how the first thing you see is the content (current post) as opposed to an ad. It looks well polished. Great job!

  15. avatar
    Jennifer says:

    I like the design on my laptop–it is crisp, clean, and simple. It didn’t work quite right on my kindle fire, though. For some reason it chopped off the last few words of the post, and the left sidebar wasn’t there at all.

  16. avatar
    Jennifer B says:

    Tsh, the new design looks awesome. I love the element of being able to clearly see who the author of each post is – great idea.

    Congratulations on all of these revisions . The content has been stellar, and the redesigned look is further enhancing the experience of reading your blog – well done, truly!

  17. It looks like the second ”I” in simple bites is capitalized in the header link.

    Love all the changes!

    • Hmm… Not sure what you mean there, Archer.

      • Tsh, it only happens when viewing the new site in portrait mode on a tablet (I use an iPad, not sure about other tablets). On my web browser and in landscape mode on my iPad the Simple Bites link at the top of the page is the Simple Bites logo; in portrait mode on my iPad it is a text link like “About|New? Start here.|Recommended Reading” etc. And on that text link it says Simple BItes, not Simple Bites.

        I’m glad that everyone is serving as testers for you, in all different software/hardware configurations!

  18. I really loved the old design. BUT the new design is super-cute too! :)

  19. Love it! Love the green ;)
    On my phone, there’s kind of a large white space between logo and content, although when I switched over to iPad I noticed it wasn’t there. Just a small aesthetic thing, not sure if it makes a difference…
    “Simple” design – looks awesome!

  20. I love the new look. I am having trouble with the last letter or two on the right side being cut off. That might just be because I am on the Internet on my iPad though? But it looks great overall.

  21. I think it is very refreshing! Bittersweet for you, I am guessing. Enjoy all your hard work! I sure am.

  22. I thrive on change too and I really love the new look! It’s clean and simple yet still pretty. The shoes will be missed, but the new logo is beautiful! One thing I noticed is that the right side of the page gets cut off when I’m using my iPad in landscape mode. Other than that, it looks great. I love your blog and you are very inspiring, thanks for all of your (and your staff’s!) hard work!

  23. I LOVE it!!! So simple, bright and cheery :) Such a beautiful new space, so excited for you.

  24. Looks so fresh! I agree, the author photo feature is a great addition!

    Cheers!

    ~H

  25. New design is great! As noted earlier, when reading on the iPad in landscape mode, the right edge of the words is cut off. Thanks for a great blog! I love reading it!

  26. Lovely! My biggest suggestion would be to make it center on the page; for readers with large monitors, it’s way over to the left. It didn’t all load at first for me, which is probably my dumb connection. Don’t get me started on that. :)

  27. I love it! It’s so fresh and modern, and I love the lighter kelly green color scheme.

  28. Love it! I love kelly green, too. I have to admit, I will miss the shoes (but the new logo definitely suits you). The site really looks fantastic. Congrats!!!

  29. Looking at it on my iPhone and loving what I’m seeing!

  30. So regarding the shoes, to everyone who misses them… I can understand, especially since they’ve been with me from the beginning. They were cute, the last logo we had was FABULOUS, and they added a fun “kick” (pun intended).

    But wanna know the truth? I’ve been tired of them for about two years now. Know when you accidentally stumble into something and it becomes part of you, and at first you think it’s no big deal, but then it BECOMES PART OF YOU, and you’re all, really? I mean, they’re nice and all, but they’re not the biggest deal in the world. But that’s what everyone thinks of when they think of you? That’s kinda what happened with those shoes. They became part of a brand that was growing tired for me.

    And if you wanna know more truth, THIS logo better reflects who I really am. Sort of a vintage-modern vibe. Feminine, but not girly-girl. Edgy color. Definitely more me.

    I’ve been working on this rebrand for all of 2013 so far—not just the redesign, but everything about the content, the structure, and even how I see my work and what I’m about. And you’ll see one more new “feature” in about a month, so there’s that, too. In some ways, I wanted to change more of the logo than just the shoes—be glad the site is still called Simple Mom, because I was toying around with that, too. ;)

    So yeah… shoes are still in the metaphorical closet. I just want to wear these new ones right now.

    • avatar
      Sarah Westphal says:

      Congrats! LOVE the new design!

      It is refreshing like a crisp white wine on a warm spring/summer night–may they come soon(!!)

      I am surprised the name didn’t change actually. However, your write-up in “Hello and Welcome” says it all :-) Very exciting!

    • I never liked the shoes, from the moment they showed up, and I’m really glad they are gone! Love the new look! I also like the picture of the author of the post being at the top. I don’t know how many times I read a post on the old layout thinking it was you writing it, only to find out at the end that it wasn’t.

  31. Despite my response further up about the shoes, I’m quickly adapting and getting used to the change. I have to admit that I loved the original design especially the shoes and the watercolour circles for Facebook, Pinterest etc but I’m sure I’ll love this one too. Viewing it on my iPad in landscape It’s cutting off the end of the sentences and the right hand column and in portrait view it cuts off the right column but the words are all there. Not sure if that’s a problem my end or yours? Oh and did I mention? Bring back the shoes ;-)

    • Sorry, I must have been writing at the same time as you Tsh and didn’t see your shoe explanation which was posted a minute before me. Looks kind of dumb that I harp on about shoes right after your explanation! I really will shut up about shoes now!

  32. Love it! Feels very fresh and clean, but still feels familiar like the prior design. The only funny thing is there is so much white space in between the comments it takes up a lot of space (and scrolling time). Otherwise, can’t wait to see the change happen at Simple Bites too!

  33. LOVE IT!!! It’s so clean and fresh and bright and I love the layout cause it’s not something you see on every blog!!! :)

  34. avatar
    Jessica B. says:

    Awesome!! I, too, am not getting the last couple letters on the right side when reading on my iPad. I did like the shoes but I love your new look so much that I could easily do without the shoes. Very easy to navigate, very elegant and FRESH! Congrats!

  35. I love the new design! Very clean and easy to read. I like seeing the name & photo of the writer at the top! I will definitely click over to the website to read instead of reading in my email.

  36. Looks great!

  37. Love it! So fresh!!

  38. Hey Tsh, It was great to work with you on your new theme design. I’m glad you receive such great comments from your readers.

    BTW, my last name is misspelled – it should be “Tomal” ;)

  39. Love the new look! As a fairly new reader (longer podcast listener) I thought the shoes didn’t really suit how I thought of you and Simple Mom. The new design is great & I love the kelly green. :)

    • Oh, that is AWESOME to hear, Laura. Because yeah, I felt like the old look was about two years past how I felt. So I’m glad to hear a new reader feels the same! <3

  40. So I tried to use the contact form…but when I clicked “send” it gave me a 404 error! :)

    I was just going to let you know that I love using Yoast’s SEO plugin over at Kindred Grace: it makes it so easy to add a byline at the top of each RSS post. It’s highly recommended by WPBeginner and the other WordPress blogs I follow for SEO purposes, as well. Hope that helps!

    Looking forward to clicking around the new site more. It’s beautiful!

  41. avatar
    Heather Tenney says:

    I love it! I love the freshness of the green! And I love that everything seems to be on the left instead of the right. It always looks cleaner to me. I am having the same issue on the iPad with the text cutting off in landscaped mode. I have screenshots if you need them. It doesn’t happen in portrait mode…though portrait mode does seem to squish a few things together. I notice that simple bites becomes a second row link in the menu bar in portrait vs a single menu line in landscape. And the ad at the bottom of the page ever so slightly overlaps the text links next to them in portrait, but not in landscape. Oh the joys of designing for hundreds of different platforms, eh?

  42. I love knowing that this new look is ‘you.’ And I must say, you wear it well! It’s been said that green is the color of hope and if that’s true…you have a very hopeful place for friends to gather and receive inspiration.

    You have the best team putting all your creativity to form. Yay!

    Congratulations!! Looking forward to all that is in store in the near future!

    p.s. I’ve have enjoyed Simple Mom for quite a while…though I am not a mom and it hasn’t been a part of God’s plans for me. I have been involved in ministering to kids and families and your blog (s) has been an excellent resource. ;)

  43. Hi,

    As much as I do love the new design, I’m having the same right margin issue, reading in Firefox on my laptop.

    Thanks!

  44. I love it! I’m really digging the simplicity, but also how you’ve made it different from most of the other websites out there!

  45. Congrats on going live with the new design. I usually read via RSS, so I’m glad you included a before and after graphic to remind me how it used to look. Great job!

  46. I really enjoy the changes. I love how you’re using ads. I don’t feel as if they’re blasting the blog but rather they fit right in.

  47. Very clean and very easy-on-the-eyes design! Not that the other was a sore (far from it!) but I like simple design and not having to navigate visually to get to the meat… and this one is brilliant!

  48. Popping over from my RSS reader to check out the new design. Wow, completely different! Still getting used to the new look & feel. One thing I noticed though, was the entire post doesn’t fit on one page. Even when I scroll all the way to the right it’s still chopping off part of the right margin. I use Internet Explorer 10.

    Change the look, change the name, just keep coming back bringing more great posts! ;-)

  49. I totally understand the need for change–that’s me too. Love the new layout! But I also LOVED loved loved the old logo…

  50. I think the redesign looks great. Perhaps you’ve changed it since the earlier comments (it doesn’t look exactly like the screenshot you linked), but it looks clean on my iPad without truncated lines or anything.

    I have my RSS reader set to show posts in their native format; I know you guys work hard on your site designs! There’s something a bit more warm and familiar about seeing the actual site and not just a big block of text :)

  51. avatar
    Janey Backer says:

    This is a great change. It lost the busy feel, it has space to breathe. There could be even more space between the three vertical sections.

    It reflects a sophisticated edge instead of the “preschooly-feel” from the shoes. Very elegant in simplicity which is what Simple Mom is all about! It has a more defined style and I LOVE it!

  52. avatar
    Kristi Veitenheimer says:

    Love the new look!

  53. Love the look, Tsh! It is fresh and vibrant. I particularly appreciate being able to see who wrote which post (even though I generally read through email.)

  54. Looks Great! Refreshing and Clean! Your other site design looked good to though! I like both either way :)

  55. Love, love, love it! It’s so cheerful, fresh, clean, and fun! Love the green. Love the simplicity. Well done, Tsh (and all the designers/programmers who put work into this).

  56. Overall I really like it. I thought the shoes were cute, but I’m not going to miss them, and also didn’t think they fit particularly well with your “brand”. I LOVE the green, and the way the logo swizzles when you hover over it, and the fact that when you highlight something it’s the same green – nice touch!

    A couple of things are going to have to grow on me – the thin green line at the top keeps making me want to scroll up, like I’m missing part of the header, and the fact that the logos aren’t full circles bugs my brain a little.. but that’s it, probably just me, and I won’t even notice them in a little bit.

    Great job :)

  57. Love the new look, especially since we’re still buried in snow here in MN! It’s springy and refreshing.

    My only complaint if that on my PC monitor, the entire 1/3 of the right side of the screen is just blank. Perhaps a resolution setting on the monitor? Although it doesn’t happen with other websites. ??? Also as I scroll through comments, it’s blank for 1/2 the screen.

  58. Tsh- very long time reader and I haven’t commented much. Just want to say that I love the re-design! Very clean and crisp. Change is good :)

  59. I love it Tsh! It’s so clean and fresh, and I love the whimsical, energetic vibe. When I first heard you were redesigning, I was apprehensive because I loved the old one so much, but this is amazing!

  60. I absolutely love it! Bravo!!

  61. I love the new design. I TOTALLY love the shade of green. I have been in the garden all morning and it fits my mood precisely. I can’t see the links to simple homeschool, simple bites, etc. though. I’m sure I’m overlooking the obvious. Where are the links to the other sites?

    • As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we’ve transitioned from SLM being a blog network to it being simply my company that owns several blogs. The women that run those other sites are doing an amazing job, and I’m happy to promote them and pass traffic on to them whenever I can.

      Because of changes in our advertising network, Homeschool and Kids are retaining different ad sizes from Bites and Mom. Plus, one of the big goals with our new layout is simplicity. Having the feeds from each of these sites in the sidebars would have cluttered up the clean design.

      The links to all the sites owned by SLM are in the footer (scroll down). I plan to make these more visually appealing soon, when I have time! But these links work just fine.

      In the meantime, the best way for you to stay in the loop with the content on those sites is to subscribe to them. :)

  62. Great new look, very fresh and easy to navigate. I do have what I hope is a constructive quibble: the single S in the green circle that appears in the browser tab looks like a dollar sign. If you had a Simple Finances blog, it would be perfect, but it doesn’t make me think Simple Mom. Perhaps a font change–a cursive S would better match the new logo. But that’s just my two cents and I’ll keep reading anyways!

  63. Love the new look! Lots cleaner and easy on the eyes. Great job!

  64. avatar
    Joy Cherrick says:

    My goodness! What a creative layout! I love the ad placement, social media buttons and new logo! It will take a little bit of getting used to, but you have done well! Seriously, I absolutely LOVE the use of three columns! Well done!

  65. Have you changed the font size? It seems bigger and I really prefer the size of the old one.

  66. I think it looks fantastic! Simple and functional with just enough flair from the logo. My one complaint would be that, as another reader commented, it is difficult to find the links to Simple Homeschool and Simple Kids. I know that you’ve changed from a blog network to independent blogs, so that is probably intentional, but…I will say that as a new reader a year or so ago, I LOVED that when I stumbled upon Simple Mom, I was also stumbling upon some other great sites that shared its mission. I was new to the blogosphere (and a little overwhelmed by it all), and Simple Living Media both focused and expanded my exploration in ways that have really changed my life for the better! Thanks, by the way :).

  67. I love the new look. I was going to say that I hate the ads – especially with all the moving graphics, but when I click on “read more” they disappear. So as long as I can make them go away, then I won’t mention my dislike for them.

    Oh wait…I already did. : )

    • I understand about the ads. But if you want to have Simple Mom on the Internet, there’s gotta be ads. I can’t spend the time it takes to run it for free. :)

  68. I love it! It’s still very you.

  69. I really love the new, clean look. I hadn’t really thought about the author thing, but now that I think about it, several times I have found myself reading a post on one of your Simple sites and thinking, “Really? I didn’t know that about her!” and when I got to the end of the post and found it wasn’t you writing (or another editor) but someone else, I had to go back and reframe the post. So kudos to you for picking that up and changing it.

    I feel like you are my neighbor and friend, even though you don’t know me from Adam. Thanks to you and your books, in the last year I (and by extension, my family) have reorganized my kitchen, started redecorating the house on a budget by following The Nester (podcast!), get spiritual inspiration from Lisa-Jo (podcast again!) and have paid off nearly $20K in debt and started a substantial emergency fund using Dave Ramsey’s principles.

    You are changing lives. Thank you for recognizing your gifts — and keeping at it! May you continue to be blessed on your journey.

  70. I love the new design! So pretty!

    I’m having trouble with the text on the right hand side of the page. The ends of the lines are being cut off…how do I fix it so I can read the whole thing?

  71. I love the new green…very organic and “mom” looking! Very clean and easy to read design! I’ve recently designed my website myself (and I’m NOT a web designer, graphic designer, artist, or anything of the sort) and I know how much thought goes into it. If your team is anything like me (which I’m sure they’re not) they keep over-thinking it. Well, it looks great. Although I do miss the shoes a little…

  72. Love it. When I hold my ipad horizontal (how I usually read everything) the right side is cut off. I cnat move it over and see it, its like the last 4 letters of each sentence just arent ere. But vertical is fine…weird, huh? Wish that comment luv wansnt automatically checked.

  73. Love the look. Only comment is that I can’t see the whole right side of the screen. Parts of words or really small words get cut out. I am viewing it on an iPad, so maybe your designers will know how to tweak it. But other than that, it looks great! Oh, and the Kelly green is perfect for this time of year, especially since spring is taking it’s sweet time coming…

  74. Loving the new logo… very clean yet sophisticated in a fun way… does that even make sense?

    I am having the same ipad problem with the cut off right side and when viewing on my desktop using Firefox 20.0 everything is left justified instead of sitting centred in my screen… wasn’t sure if that was intentional?

  75. Love the new look. Great job. Question: What about the other Simple Living Media sites, like Simple Kids. I only see a link to Simple Bites here – are you no longer associated with the other sites?

  76. Beautiful redesign. Lots of beautiful little details to enjoy – and it seems like it’s very easy to navigate, too!

  77. Actually love the design – it’s clean and simple and looks just wonderful. Change is good for all. Sure, I’ll miss those little sneakers but I’m already liking the Icktionary!

  78. Congratulations, friend!! You are such an inspiration for being able to visualize this and then see it through. It’s stunning!

  79. Hi, I’m actually a Simple Bites reader who followed a link here, truth be told ;) So I can’t compare… Thought I’d mention that I’m on an iPad. In vertical, everything reads fine but in horizontal, the whole right of the main post column disappears… Technical glitch territory bummer, good luck ;)

  80. I keep meaning to post a comment here—WE KNOW ABOUT THE RIGHT SIDE CUTTING OFF thing. Thanks to the 18,473 people who’ve told us. ;) I’m sure Brian and Rafal will get to it this week. Thanks, everyone!

  81. I think it looks amazing and I believe you have accomplished everything you set out to do. I’m not a follower of any Mom type blogs as my son is almost 29 and married, but your site is a cool place for Mom’s. I like the green a lot. I hope someday to be able to afford a professionally designed blog – if I last that long! Great job and congrats on the new book.

  82. In all honesty I was kinda not looking forward to the new design cause I thought the old one was so well-done. But I like this even more! It’s easy to use, easy to read, and pretty to boot. Great job!

  83. I am not a fan of change I have sadly discovered about myself, but this looks great! Are you still partnered with the other “Simple” sites as well or just Simple Bites?

  84. I don’t know if it’s a compatibility issue on my end, but on IE (I’m on IE 8), the “sidebars” don’t show up until the very bottom of the page. Like BELOW where I’m typing this comment, I can see first the left sidebar and THEN the right sidebar. This means, basically, that I can’t get to any of the links unless I scroll through all the comments…

    I LOVE the new design, though, and the quick links to recent posts and other SLM sites = awesome!

  85. When you said somewhere (maybe on your podcast, which I love, btw) that you were redesigning, I was so sad! I loved your old look. But I love this one even more! Great job with the author thing-I hate having to struggle to see who is writing something. I also love that the most recent article is front and center.

  86. avatar
    Heather H says:

    I LOVELOVELOVE the redesign!

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