Redesign for the Right Reasons at the Right Time22
Redesigning has become a hot topic in the blogosphere, largely because of the redesigns of two of the most popular blogs, ProBlogger and John Chow.com. One blogger went as far as to dub 2007, Year of the Redesigns. Why should time be a factor in a redesign?
Redesigning for the Wrong Reasons
There are many reasons for a blog redesign. However, not all of these are good reasons, and what’s more is that they are no different than they have always been. What makes now so special? Hype.
One of the most frequently mentioned benefits is the hype and attention that a redesign obtains. The amount of attention that John Chow has received cannot be denied, but lest we forget, you are not John Chow. The same level of attention will not be repeated on you. If anything, you will receive less attention than ever as your blog will be lost between the dozens of others changing themes.
Redesigning for the sake of hype is not a good reason to redesign. When the hype dies, what are you left with? If you rushed out a new design, there will be flaws. There will be annoyances and imperfections which will punish your regular readers. What will you do if they prefer the old theme?
Redesigning for the Right Reasons
A successful redesign begins with a successful reasoning. Look critically at your blog analyse its flaws. Ask questions such as,
- What bothers you about your blog?
- What could be improved upon?
- What are the limitations of the theme?
- How have your readers changed since the theme first went live?
Answering these questions will lay the groundwork for your redesign. If you can look objectively at your blog and list every flaw you find, you can set about fixing every flaw with your new design. This is what makes a successful redesign. There is no obligation to keep up with the Joneses. Your only obligation is improve the experience of your users.
When Time Is a Factor
There does come a time when a site may feel old, or when your visitors do deserve something fresh. On these occasions, it does make sense to allow time to dictate when to redesign. Such occasions might be,
- If your design uses features which have become decidedly “old-fashioned,” e.g. Times New Roman font and marquees.
- If your blog’s content flow stagnated for a while, and you want to show that you’re coming back for a fresh start.
- If your blog is dedicated to the latest trends, in any industry, e.g. a tech news blog will always be expected to have a modern design.
- If your design has been up long enough that it has become boring to your readers.
Whilst all of these reasons are to do with time, not one of them is on a time line. Even when your main reason for redesigning is that you feel you have had your old theme for too long, there is no need to rush the process of creating a new one.
Don’t jump on the redesign bandwagon. Take your time, and give your readers the experience they deserve.
So, what bothers you about your blog? And is it enough to warrant a redesign?
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