Why? Mostly, just for fun.
I love blogging about blogging and this site re-design is a perfect opportunity to do just that. Also I genuinely want input and constructive criticism of my design choices. If you disagree with something I've done or written go ahead and comment! I promise, I'll love you for it.
So today I'm thinking about the big picture: width & background.
I think the style and content of your blog is going to at least partly determine the best width of your blog. A blog that is primarily words should be narrower than the blog that is mostly images. Your photography blog should ideally be big enough to use extra large images. While I was messing in the back-end of blogger I noticed that it's super-easy to change the width of your blog now.
Go to your blog's home screen click on the little down-arrow circled in the image below
Click "Adjust Widths"
Type in the width of your blog or use the slider to adjust the width. The max size is 1500 - on my screen this causes the right edge of the blog to bleed off the edge of the screen.
Having a nice neutral background for your photography blog is also important. Neutral doesn't have to equal boring. I found some nice chevron stripes at Tiny Sea and I downloaded my canvas textures from Fuzzimo. I've seen subtle patterns work really nice.
Or you can click on the background tab pick one of the backgrounds from blogger or upload your own.
I'm a big fan of simple backgrounds for photography blogs, but journals are an entirely different set of design ideals. Shabby Blogs was one of the first places I downloaded a pre-made background from. There are a lot of choices for pretty much any type of blog. There are also some nice pre-made backgrounds that would work well for photography blogs.
As far as the general design for my blog, You know I'm a huge fan of minimalism. When I come across a blog that shows me an entire weeks worth of posts simultaneously I get overwhelmed and a little confused, except for when it's on a 365 project blog.
What about announcement areas? Do you have an opinion? I like them, I think they are a great way to direct traffic to top posts for the week, but I also find that they take up a lot of design space so I'm on the fence about where and how big it should be.