Tips for Launching a Blog or Site Redesign

January 10, 2009
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As many of you may have noticed (I hope) this site has been completely redesigned.  I must say that it wasn’t easy but I did learn a lot during the process.  I’ve been using a standard wordpress theme for around 8 months and finally decided it was time to go with something more branded.  A […]

tips for site redesign

As many of you may have noticed (I hope) this site has been completely redesigned.  I must say that it wasn’t easy but I did learn a lot during the process.  I’ve been using a standard wordpress theme for around 8 months and finally decided it was time to go with something more branded.  A blog redesign is a very important stage in a blog life cycle and can mean the difference between losing readers or gaining new ones.  If you’re looking to redesign your site here are a few tips and ideas that you may want to consider.

Have some sort of idea/design in mind

I found a designer and basically said, make something from scratch, which was probably not the best idea.  I gave no direction or ideas, I just asked for a new design.  Sure enough this led to countless designs and revisions in addition to frustration both on my part and the designer’s.  Moral of the story is have a list of things/features you want added and try to provide as much information as you can on what it is you are looking for in a new design.

Create goals for the site

If you’re going to redesign your site you’re obviously going to do it for a reason right?  Create a list of goals or objectives that you seek to get done as a result of your new site design.  Some of my goals included things such as making it easier for people to find me, increase RSS subscribers, add consulting services (still coming), etc.  The point is you want to have an idea of what you want to accomplish with your new site.

Communication

Make sure that you work with a design who is willing to speak with you on the phone.  All of my communications with my designer were either through chat or email which made it a nightmare to explain or describe changes.  Oftentimes I would ask for one thing, yet receive another.  My designer just didn’t want to talk on the phone.  As a result a 2 week project turned into a 2 month project.  Communication between yourself and your designer is absolutely crucial so make sure you get some phone (or better yet, in person) time.

Support Issues

Having a new site up and running is great, but does everything work?  My site has been live for around a week and still has several bugs that I’m attempting to fix myself (while I wait for my designer to do it).  I’m not talking about anything really major, but for example, my email icon didn’t work and I had to add the link to it (so you can email me), my pictures wouldn’t align and I had to ask folks on twitter how to fix that, some of my plugins aren’t functioning correctly, my site doesn’t display properly in Internet Explorer, etc.  These are all things that I would expect to get fixed ASAP.  A site that is live but not functioning properly doesn’t do anyone much good.  So, my appologies to all of you who have been emailing me or sending me messages on twitter, I’m aware of the problems and I’m hoping that they will get fixed soon.  Point is, make sure that your designer is able to respond to your problems in a time effecient manner so that your site isn’t live with bugs…nobody likes bugs.

User feedback

Once my new site design launched I immediately asked my readers, twitter followers, and connection what they thought of the new site; some even got a sneak peak a few days before the release.  The result was unanimous, all of you loved the new design, and so I kept it.  Had you told me that you hated it and that my old design was better, then I would have kept the old design.  My job is to provide content and share information (as well as learn from you), however if you don’t like the way you access the information on my site, then the content won’t matter much.  Make sure you get user feedback once the site is live.  I have found a lot of useful ideas and tips from all of you that I have incorporated into my site, so in a way, you helped build this site with me…thank you!

These are what I consider the 5 essentials to a blog or site redesign.  What other things would you consider or look at for a site redesign?  Do you have any good/bad experiences of going through a site redesign?

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