A Better Version of Garden Betty for 2024!

The last time my site got a new look was seven years ago. A lot has changed on the Internet since then, but one thing has stayed the same: my focus on creating inspiring, meaningful, and—above all—helpful resources that people connect with. The goal with the new design was to help you find it all quickly, come back to it easily, and enjoy a better user experience. Here’s a look at what’s new.

Linda Ly
A better version of Garden Betty for 2024

At the beginning of the year, I had a lofty goal: redesign my 14-year-old website and organize it in such a way that my archive of over 700 posts was easier to find, read, and save.

A fun fact: I first redesigned my site in 2013, and then again in 2017… which means the last time Garden Betty got this big of a face lift was seven years ago.

Was that really the last time I changed things up?! Seven years is pretty much dinosaur status in the blogging world, and it was about time I gave this space a new look!

This go-round, I decided to hire a designer—my first time doing so. I am extremely nit-picky about design (having been a graphic and web designer in my past life—it’s how I got into blogging). But I wanted to hand the reins over to a professional so that I wouldn’t spend months obsessing over every little design detail when I could be doing more of what I love: messing around in my garden and writing about it.

I ultimately signed on with Katy Boykin (and her website design agency DIY Dream Site) and seriously can’t say enough good things about her. She turned a truly daunting project into an exciting, fun, and smooth experience that was incredibly well-organized from the start. From our initial strategy call to the final design to the execution, I had a solid partner who was super attentive, approachable, and such a star at what she does.

The project took two months to complete behind the scenes, all the while Garden Betty remained live and functional for the entirety of the rebuild. I’m happy to say we’re about a month post-launch, (mostly) bug-free that I can see, and ready to take you on a tour of what’s new around here!

More visually appealing layouts

Let’s start with the overall look, as that has changed the most from the previous design. I wanted to go with a fresh, warm, friendly vibe that’s clean and modern without being stark.

Above all, I wanted the site to be intuitive and simple to navigate, yet interesting enough to make you want to click around and explore. (Some of my nicest emails have come from people who landed on my site for one answer, then stuck around and found many more things that got them hooked!)

Katy and I created several custom pages that put the most important content front and center in an easy-to-scan (and swipe) format (especially if your only computer is your phone).

You’ll notice that the homepage directs you to trending and recent articles, and this is a good place to start if you’re looking for seasonally relevant topics. All the main categories across the top menu take you to landing pages that highlight the most popular articles and make it easier to find everything I’ve written about.

But if you’re unsure of where to begin, well—there’s a page for that called Start Here.

Easier access to recommended products

With the new design, I wanted to improve two sections that I felt were previously an afterthought: Books and Shop.

My new book pages now give you a better overview of each of my cookbooks, with more photos of what each book looks like inside, the chapters and recipes included, and reviews from real readers (along with links to all the places you can buy them).

The shop pages have been reimagined and now serve as a resource hub for all the items I regularly use and recommend. Want to know where I buy my seeds? Which tools I own? What’s inside my home? You’ll find it all in my Shop.

A new and improved search function

One of the most significant improvements made to my site is an integrated search. You’ll see this as a search icon in the top right corner of the page and as a search bar on various pages throughout my site.

My site search is now powered by Grow, a robust, privacy-focused internal search engine that also allows you to save your recent searches and favorite articles all in one place.

You’ll need to create a free Grow account, but that one account (a single sign-on that doesn’t require you to keep logging in each time) works on every site that uses Grow—not just Garden Betty. With your Grow account, you can bookmark an article to read later or create a library of useful links for your own personal reference. There is never any cost for this service.

To save an article, simply click on the heart icon in the lower right corner of the screen. This floating widget is where you can also share your favorites on Facebook or Pinterest—social shares are valuable as they help spread the word about my work! (And I truly thank you for doing so.)

All in all, I was aiming for a better user experience with the new design—from the visual layouts that flow more smoothly on the front end to the more technical aspects of ensuring every page functions well on the backend (especially on mobile and tablet).

I absolutely love how everything turned out! I think Katy totally knocked it out of the park (highly recommend her for all your WordPress design projects) and I hope you enjoy it too!

If it’s been a while since you’ve looked around, here are a few pages you might like:

Thank you for being here, for giving me a reason to continue blogging, and for supporting the years of work I put into Garden Betty!

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