I was reading this Medium post from Eric E Anderson on blog design and especially on sidebars, and decided to rework the design of this blog. No more interminable list of categories – instead, just one little picture of me upper left, and a link to the book I'm working on upper right.
The full article is worth reading; it suggests that the footer is unexplored territory for blogs, and that you're better off with a single column with the relevant consequental contextual information at the bottom, not on the side.
I'm a little hurt by making the sidebars full of white space, but not much. My paper notebooks have lots of marginalia, but they are marginalia that change with every page, and a lot of it is sidebar note-to-self rather than publishable anything. Still, the pages load a lot faster when they don't have quite so much crap on them, and I haven't even started to explore adding more stuff at the bottom.
Typepad is particularly good as a place to play with designs, they have a lot of premade ones that look much better than anything I would cobble together on my own (see e.g. this early effort which I wrote in vi, which is probably where I'd start from if left to my own devices).
Pages load a lot faster. Zoom! And that alone is worthwhile to do a redesign for.