13 Steps to a Blog RedesignBy
As most of my regular readers know, I gave this blog a drastic redesign a few weeks ago. While many people liked the old design, I was beginning to feel a little boxed in. One Friday morning I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to redesign the site live. No test site for me. No, I felt is was better to do it live and let my readers get involved. They did and I am very grateful!
Here is the before:
Here is a rough list of the steps I went through in transforming the site:
1. Select and download new theme. I had a few restarts on theme selection. There were a few themes that I thought I loved by when all was said and done, they just didn’t work with my concept of bringing the design elements from my portfolio site to my blog. Finally I settled on the dKret theme.
2. Open new theme image files and modify. I open all the theme’s image files in Fireworks and change or replace them as needed. Once I launch the new theme, I come back in and make more changes.
3. Upgrade WP installation. While I was in there I figured I might as well grab the latest version of WordPress. My hosting company, Host Gator, has Fantastico so installation and upgrade of many features is done with one click and extremely easy!
4. Reinstall/reactivate all plugins – one at a time. I activated the essentials – Akismet, Do Follow, Popularity Contest and Get Recent Comments. There are more I’d like to add now that the site is up and running, but I haven’t had the time.
5. Install the new theme. I FTP’d the theme to the wp-content/themes directory then went into the Admin panel and activated it.
6. Do initial round of testing, tweaking, and panicking. Once the new theme was live it made it easier to see what elements I liked, didn’t like and what didn’t work.
7. Put the faces back up. I added my MyBlogLog back in. I really missed seeing everyone’s faces so I gave them a top billing! They may not stay there, but for now I like it.
8. Add About page. I gave this site a shiny new About page so new visitors can get a sense of who is behind the words.
9. Add Getting Started. I wanted a page to keep my posts on the basics of web design, blogging and new media easy to find.
10. Add Resources. Resources is still a work in progress, but it is supposed to be a page that lets you know what products and services I use or highly recommend.
11. Monetize the site. I put the Google Adsense ads in on the single pages only. I have found this to work better for this site. Ads on the single pages tend to be more relevant and my regular readers are not bombarded with them everytime they visit the home page. I also added myÂ affiliate links back in.
12. Review my check list of features. Things I wanted to include are recent posts, recent comments (needs to be added still), most popular posts, featured sites, other blogs I write, categories, links to my favorites, search (needs to be added still), copyright info, badges in sidebar, and subscribe to feed.
13. Continue to listen to reader feedback and tweak as needed. I want you to really enjoy visiting me! Tell me what you like, what you don’t, and how I can make your experience at this site better.
I have a running list of things I still need to do to the site, but I can’t expect to do them all at once. This is a living, breathing entity and as far as I am concerned it is never done.
There are endless ways to go through this process and everyone is different. What would you do differently? What am I missing still? Was this list helpful?