Welcome to the “new” Mind The Gap Public Relations website! A website redesign has been on my To-Do list for a while now, but like any professional or tradesman, we are the last ones to take care of ourselves. You know the plumber’s bathroom always has a leaky sink or the cobbler’s shoes have holes kind of deal. As I like to say we should always be in beta and that goes for websites as well. They need to be refreshed to reflect the evolving brand and technologies.
I finally decided a website redesign was in order. While I loved the old Mind The Gap Public Relations design, it wasn’t a responsive design and the template wasn’t being supported any longer. It was time to say good-bye and move along. Especially since I advise clients on their digital properties including website redesigns. My site didn’t reflect the advice I was sharing with clients about responsive design, compelling graphics, and easy navigation. Not that my website is unattractive, it was a solid clean design. It wasn’t a responsive design since I was using a mobile plug-in. Don’t get me wrong the plug-in was super; however, it really dated my site and didn’t look, well, very modern. It was projecting an image that wasn’t what Mind The Gap Public Relations stands for.
A website redesign is a process. It just doesn’t happen. It takes a plan with some effort.
Recommendations for a website redesign:
1. Start first with questions:
– What do you like about your current site? What don’t you like?
– What do you want to accomplish in this design? A refreshed look? Easier navigation?
– What websites catch your eye? Think about what you like and dislike about them.
– What do you want to keep from your site?
2. Draw out how you want your site to look. Pencil and paper work fine. Or if you have an iPad then you can use the Paper App draw it out.
3. Decide what content management system you are going use. I prefer WordPress, because it is widely used giving you many options.
4. Select a template you like. There are thousands of good WordPress templates. Some are free while others are paid. Look for a developer who has support. I’ve used SimpleThemes and ElegantThemes, which are both paid templates, and have outstanding support. Nothing ever goes without issues so having support is key.
5. Create a folder within your hosting called “newsite.” Unless you are a whiz at WordPress and can rebuild your site in an hour, I suggest this route. Your hosting provider should be able to assist you with this process. It will allow you to take your time with the design while keeping your old site live.
6. Build your site in this new folder. If you are moving within the WordPress platform you can do an export/import, which will help speed up the process. Install your plug-ins from the old site including your security plug-ins. And if you don’t have a security plug-in then get one. I suggest iThemes Security.
7. Back up your sites along the way in case something goes wrong. You should be doing this anyway. Depending on how active you are on your site, you should be doing back-ups at least once a month. I do mine weekly since I like to fiddle with the site and post twice weekly on this blog.
8. Test your site as you go along. And share the URL with folks to look at it. Feedback is always helpful. This is also a good time to review your SEO.
9. When switching the new site to live, don’t completely dump your old site. You don’t know if you may need it in the future. Or if something goes wrong bringing the new site online. Create a folder called “oldsite” and put it there.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact support if you need it. Or get a WordPress Tutor to help you with your questions. Or invest in hiring a professional to handle your website redesign.
Once the website redesign is done. Exhale. And feel good about it. I know I’m feeling pretty good right about now.
Need more resources on building a website? Go here.
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