Posted in Beautify Your Blog, Blogging

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 9

Hey everyone, check out this article series that I found!  If you find this helpful be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified whenever a new one is posted!  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Technicalities, Technicalities – Or, 3 Ways to Redesign Your Blog Without Making a Mess

When you’re building a brand new website, it doesn’t matter if things look a little wonky for a while, or there’s a big error message at the top of every page, or your navigation bar is broken. When you’re making over a live site, though, you’ve got to be careful. You don’t want visitors to arrive only to find broken links, images out of alignment, and clashing colors. Yuck!
So what can you do when you want to make over a live site? There are three methods that work, depending on how confident you are with the technical side of things.
MAMP/WAMP
This handy little open source project lets you install a web server on your computer, so you can create and run a WordPress website (complete with its own database) right on your home PC. MAMP runs on Apple computers, and WAMP runs on Windows machines, so there’s a flavor for everyone, and they’re both available as a free download.
They are a little on the techy side, though. So if you’re not comfortable with port numbers and databases, they might not be for you. The advantage of this method, though, is that your site will be completely unavailable to the general public, so no one will see it but you.
Development Server
If you’re familiar with how subdomain works, then creating a development server will be a piece of cake. All you have to do is create a subdomain, such as test.yourdomain.com, and build your new site there. Once you’ve completed it, simply move the theme to the live domain and you’re ready to go.
Theme Test Drive
This handy little plugin lets you, as an administrator, see one theme, while your visitors see another. That means you can be working behind the scenes developing a new theme without anyone knowing the difference. You can download this plugin here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/theme-test-drive/
One thing to note about Theme Test Drive, though: It’s not perfect. Your sidebar layout won’t work properly, for example, because the sidebars in your new theme won’t be named the same as the sidebars in your old theme. In addition, any relative links (those that don’t contain the full path to your site) that point to your theme files won’t work. So if your new theme calls it’s header with a link that looks like this /images/header.png you won’t be able to see the header in your test drive. That’s because WordPress will be looking in the wrong folder. Don’t worry, though, when you make your new theme live, everything will work as expected.
The final way to develop a new blog theme is to simply put your site in maintenance mode. There are a lot of plugins that do a very nice job of that, and if you plan to complete your makeover in a day or so – perhaps over a weekend – that might be a good way to go. Again, when you’re logged in, you’ll be able to see your new theme, but everyone else will just see a “Down for maintenance” message.

 

If this post was helpful to you or had good tips, be sure to share it below!  Questions or comments? Ask away in the ‘Leave A Reply’ box below!

 

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Posted in Beautify Your Blog, Blogging

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 8

Hey everyone, check out this article series that I found!  If you find this helpful be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified whenever a new one is posted!  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Giving Readers What They Want

People are creatures of habit, meaning that change isn’t always welcomed. In fact, most people resist change and want nothing to do with it. Don’t believe it? Consider the complaints every time Facebook revamps something. Your blog makeover is no different, so it pays to prepare your fans before the big reveal. Continue reading “Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 8”

Posted in Beautify Your Blog, Blogging

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 7

Hey everyone, check out this cool article series!  I’ll be posting a new one every week or so, so if you find this helpful be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified whenever a new one is posted!  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

More Than Just an Afterthought: The Power of Your Blog’s Footer

If you think the footer is obsolete and unimportant, you haven’t been paying attention to the trend towards larger footers. In fact, many blog owners and developers are looking at the footer as another place to further engage readers with additional navigation, video content, social media feeds, and more.

Besides being a new location for housing valuable resources, the footer also contains some of the more boring information on your site. Some of the more standard footer expectations include:

  • Affiliate and earnings disclaimers. This legal stuff is a must have if you promote products for commission, or if you advise people about how to earn/save/spend money.
  • Terms of service. If you have a membership site or sell things on your blog, a TOS page is important. It contains information about refunds, guarantees, and your cookie and privacy policies. Put a link to it in your footer.
  • Sitemap. While not as important as it once was, your sitemap can help readers (and the search engines) find pages that aren’t readily available via your primary navigation.
  • Login information. If your readers need to sign in for any reason, the footer is a good place to put a link or the form itself.
  • Copyright notices. While not strictly necessary (you own the copyright for your work whether you declare it or not) some people like to put copyright information in the footer.

In addition, you can use your footer to get other important information out to your visitors, such as:

  • Social media updates – real-time Twitter and Facebook feeds can let readers know where you’re most active and how to find out more about you.
  • RSS feeds from other sites you own – Help drive traffic to your other web properties by linking to the articles you post there. An RSS feed automatically updates itself, so this is an easy way to create dynamic content.
  • Awards and recognition – Were you interviewed on NBC or featured in the Huffington Post? Add the logos (make sure you have permission first) to your footer for powerful social proof of your expertise.
  • Top comments – Let readers know about active discussions going on with a top comments list in the footer.

Most themes have “widgetized” footers, meaning whatever you end up putting in this section can always be changed later, so maybe a blog makeover is the perfect time to try something different.

As with anything else that has to do with the design of your blog – just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. You have to always be testing and tracking what you’re doing, including the footer section of your blog.
If this post helped you, be sure to follow this blog so you’ll be notified when the next part of this post series or any other posts are published!  Remember to leave a comment in the reply box below!

God bless you!

Posted in Beautify Your Blog, Blogging

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 6

startup-593327_1920Hey everyone, check out this cool article series!  I’ll be posting a new one every week or so, so if you find this helpful be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified whenever a new one is posted!  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

P.S. I if you are wanting to market a book with social media, See Here.

Getting in Front of Your Target Market: How to Integrate Social Media in Your Blog Redesign

Social media is hot, hot, hot right now! It pretty much doesn’t matter who you are or what business you’re in, you can’t get away from the different social sites out there. That means you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to integrate it into your blog. And more than likely, you probably already have accounts set up and are active on them so it only makes sense you would ‘advertise’ it to your blog visitors by adding the different icons to your blog. Continue reading “Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 6”

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Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 5

baby-84626_1920Hey everyone, check out this cool article series!  I’ll be posting a new one every week or so, so if you find this helpful be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified whenever a new one is posted!  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!–

The Simple Sidebar Offers More Options to Keep Readers Engaged

While sidebars aren’t as important as navigation, they still take careful consideration and need to be set up in a way that will be easy for your readers to use. Done right, your sidebar can draw your reader deeper into your website. Done wrong, and it could be a big turn off. Continue reading “Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 5”

Posted in Beautify Your Blog, Blogging

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 4

young-writerHey everyone, check out this cool article series!  I’ll be posting a new one every week or so, so if you find this helpful be sure to subscribe so you’ll be notified whenever a new one is posted!  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Getting Around: Creating an Intuitive, Meaningful Navigation Structure

If you want to drive visitors away from your site, make your navigation confusing. We’ve all landed on a website only to be greeted by some weird navigation structure that not only doesn’t tell us what is available, but doesn’t less us return to the page we were on easily. Don’t do this to your readers! Continue reading “Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 4”

Posted in Beautify Your Blog, Blogging

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 3

IMG_0331We found this article series online, so I’ll be posting a new one every week or so until the end of the series :).  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Take it From the Top: Redesigning Your Blog Header

It’s the first thing people see when they land on any page of your website. Just as you make a first impression when people meet you in person, your header is also the first impression people have of your blog. Ideally, you want people to look at it and immediately know what your site is about. It should build a connection with your reader by ‘telling a story,’ and that story will depend on the type of blog you have. Continue reading “Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 3”

Posted in Beautify Your Blog, Blogging

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 2

IMG_1168.JPGWe found this article series online, so I’ll be posting a new one every week or so until the end of the series :).  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Endless Possibilities – How to Choose a Theme

If you’ve ever browsed for blog themes (and who hasn’t?) then you know you can easily spend hours lost among the thousands of choices. Trying to choose one for your blog might seem a daunting task, but there are some tools available to you, as well as some techniques to help you narrow your choices. Continue reading “Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 2”

Posted in Beautify Your Blog, Blogging

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 1

notebook-405755_1920We found this article series online, so I’ll be posting a new one every week until the end of the series :).  I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!

Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover

You loved it when you first started. The colors, the layout, the images – everything fit together perfectly.

But as your business grew or your personal mission evolved, your needs changed. Just like you won’t likely keep the same wallpaper in your kitchen indefinitely, you won’t keep your blog theme, either. Continue reading “Beautify Your Blog with an Easy Makeover: Part 1”