A blog makeover may be just what you need to take your blog to the next level, but transitioning from an old design to a new one can sometimes be shocking to regular readers. Here are a few tips for doing a successful blog makeover to make sure the transition is a pleasant one and that your readers will like your new design:
Start with the “Why”
Perhaps the most common mistake blog owners make with makeovers is to do a makeover when one isn’t necessary. It is easy to get bored of a blog’s design when you are 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 is crucial to ask yourself why. If you have a good reason, such as you are rebranding yourself or you 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 do so.
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 website 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. Oftentimes makeovers may seem to work perfectly on the surface, but invariably there will be one or two bugs in the system.
Get Some Feedback
Before you push it live, get some feedback from your loyal readers with whom you have a personal connection, and some of your friends as well. Ask them for their overall first impressions. Then ask them to browse the website to determine how easy it is to navigate, whether they got stuck anywhere, and if they have any suggestions. Once you have the answers, make a round of changes before going live.
Watch Your Statistics
After your blog goes live, watch your statistics. See if your bounce rate or length of time stayed goes up or down. If people are staying longer on your website, 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 statistics 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 fans and friends. Finally, watch your statistics after you push your blog live. Do your makeover this way and you will eliminate most of the problems that often come with a major website overhaul.