A website/blog makeover may be just what you need to take your website/blog to the next level. That said, transitioning from an old design to a new one can sometimes be shocking to regular readers. How do you make sure the transition is a pleasant one? How do you make sure your readers will like your new design?
Here are a few tips for doing a successful blog makeover.
=> Start with the “Why”
Perhaps the most common mistake website/blog owners make with makeovers is to do a makeover when one isn’t necessary.
It’s easy to get bored of a website/blog’s design when you’re looking at the same thing many hours a day. Your users, however, who may just spend an hour or two on your blog a week, won’t get bored of your design as easily.
Before you launch a makeover, it’s crucial to ask yourself why. If you have a really good reason, such as you’re rebranding yourself or you’re appearing in the New York Times and need a more corporate-looking website, then be clear about that goal as you begin the design process.
Don’t change a good working design unless there’s a real business reason to.
=> Stage It and Work Out the Bugs
Don’t just push a makeover live. Instead, stage it in a subfolder. There are several WordPress plug-ins that can create a staging blog for you on a subdomain. Alternatively, you can just copy your entire site to a new domain and work with it from there.
This allows you to work out the technical and design bugs before the new design goes live. Often times makeovers may seem like they work perfectly on the surface, but invariably there’ll be one or two bugs in the system once you get down to it.
=> Get Some Feedback
Before you push it live, get some feedback from your loyal readers who you have a personal connection with. Ask some of your friends as well.
Ask them for their overall first impressions. Then ask them to browse the site. How easy is it to navigate? Did they get stuck anywhere? Do they have any suggestions?
Once you have the answers, make a round of changes before going live.
=> Watch Your Stats
After your website/blog goes live, watch your stats. See if your bounce rate or length of time stayed goes up or down.
If people are staying longer on your site, that probably means people liked your new layout and found it easy to use. On the other hand, if people are leaving quickly that probably means they found your new design harder to use.
Watch your stats carefully in the first couple of weeks after a new design goes live. The numbers can tell you a lot about your visitors’ reaction.
In summary, start your redesign process with a purpose. Create the design, then stage it and work out the bugs. Ask for feedback from friends and fans. Finally, watch your stats after you push your blog live. Do your makeover this way and you’ll eliminate 99% of the problems that often come with a major site rehaul.