My techie husband built my old website at least a decade ago in Dreamweaver, an Adobe web design tool. It served me well over the years, but I got frustrated trying to update it. I didn’t understand HTML code, tables or how to repair all the bad things that happened when I pressed the wrong button. My website languished.
Several kind people inferred that my website needed a facelift. I was too terrified to do act. I’d heard horror stories about the time sink. I pushed it off. For years.
Finally, a colleague told me about a good experience she’d had with a designer. Plus I loved the clean, strong design of her blog. I took the plunge. It was time to move to an all WordPress website.
The designer and I worked together on several drafts. That was the fun part. I won’t bore you with what came next. The technical people — my husband and our WordPress guru and friend, Stephanie Stiavetti, worked on my website revision for weeks.
All the things I worried would happen came to pass: It took way longer than I thought; it cost more than I thought; and there were meltdowns (hint: not Stephanie). I have just three tips to pass on, if you’re considering a redesign:
1. Mind the gap. Many designers aren’t technical. Many technical people aren’t designers. There’s a gap in the middle and my blog fell into it. For a while, it felt like quicksand. Apparently this is common. For your own sanity, line up a technical expert in your type of blog software to close the gap.
2. Adapt. Designers don’t know every single WordPress version or theme. They have their favorites and may not know how to work with yours. If you like your blog software and want to keep it, that might be irrelevant.
3. Get files you can edit. Some of my new pages contain images with embedded text. I can’t edit the text without using Photoshop, and I have to buy the font. Fortunately, they’re not not going to change that often, but I don’t recommend this approach. Plus, the designer left behind some HTML code, meaning I will still have issues with editing.
But overall, I’m happy. Thanks to my patient husband and Stephanie, who fixed problems and moved this site over dinners and late nights.
And if you’re procrastinating, I don’t blame you. But I’m here to tell you that you too can redesign your blog or website. You’re looking at living proof that it’s possible.
I’m off to Dubai tomorrow to do a workshop, and then on holiday to Jordan and Israel. I’ll be back here soon.
(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)