When Forced to Redesign, Make the Most of It

This is not my new look.

This is not my new look.

The theme I currently use on this site was deprecated (removed from the WordPress repository) a few months ago, and the creator has decided not to maintain it anymore. Well, hum. It works fine for now, but one major upgrade in the near future and there’s a strong possibility it won’t.

I spent 6ish weeks sorting through and testing new themes. Ack! So many themes! Some didn’t have features I wanted, some had too many features, and they all needed major CSS customizing to come close to the look I have now. Finally, I thought, “Why not change the entire design, look, and feel?”

So, I did. My new look will convey (I hope) a more urban fantasy feel. I was resistant, but I’m really starting to like it. There a few wobbles to work out and a few decisions I’m avoiding, but the new design will be up in 2017.

This brings me to some things you should always consider when designing your site.

Sneak Peal *teehee*

Sneak Peek *teehee*

Load Time Optimization

My new header is bigger; I’m talking in bytes. I had to optimize it and retain quality. Any large graphic you use on your site should be optimized to help with load time. I like Optimizilla. It will make a good auto-reduction, and then you can keep tinkering until you at a quality and size that makes you happy.

Screen Optimization

A site can look great on your computer, but on little screens or larger screens, it might not. There are several ways to check it, but Screenfly makes it easy. Go check your own site out now!

Yes, there are a lot more things to consider. But these are two key elements a lot of us forget about.

By the way, my new design is a bit faster and mobile friendly. (This one is not mobile friendly.)

What things are key to your enjoyment when you visit a site? What do you look for?

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38 Comments

  1. Cool, can't wait to see the new design then!

    1. I do hope it goes over well!

  2. Hi Holly – this is easier to read … and I'll look forward to your seeing your new one in the New Year .. you're good at pushing boundaries .. cheers Hilary

    1. So far, the few people who've seen the new site say the readability is still there (font/size/etc.), whew.

  3. Can't wait to see the new one! When I redid my web site, I had my husband make it mobile friendly too. I researched it, and at least half of readers are using their mobiles to look online. Have a happy Halloween!

    1. It's so true! More and more people do everything on their phones. I hope you and everyone one enjoys a great Halloween.

  4. Great tips, Holly. Looking forward to seeing your new site. I've toyed with the idea of changing my site, but chicken out in the end, every time. Right now I'm working to make the tour site easier to read and load. Hope you have a great and Happy Halloween.

    <a href="http://www.masoncanyon.blogspot.com">Thoughts in Progress</a>
    and <a href="https://mcbooktours.wordpress.com/">MC Book Tours</a>

    1. I was sorta pushed into it, but there are good things coming out of it (like being mobile friendly).

  5. Very exciting. I can't wait to see the kaleidoscopic colors burst across my screen.

    1. Could you imagine! Retro 60s party!

  6. they're making everything mobile friendly these days…. which means simplifying everything and simplifying means making new generations stupider 🙂

    1. In some way yes, some ways they are a lot smarter too. By mobile friendly I mean the new site will drop the sidebars to the bottom so the content takes up the space, making it easy to read. If you look a this one on your phone, you have to zoom in and push it over because the text is so tiny.

      1. I know, my blog has been mobile friendly for a few years now, we have that option at Blogger for a long time now, they even offer us to put some mobile friendly adds too…

        1. Yes, that’s so true. But I’ve noticed some blogger sites aren’t mobile friendly. I thought it was an automatic thing. Maybe older sites have to do something special? Up-to-date WP themes are mobile friendly now, too.

  7. Good luck with the design change. Happy Halloween, too!

  8. I look for ease of navigation and worthwhile content. Pop-ups are a big turn-off for me and if a site takes too long to load I often just leave and forget about it. I enjoy colorful visuals or anything that's interesting to look at, but if things are too cluttered then I might get lost. I am easily confused sometimes.

    Good luck with your site.

    Arlee Bird
    <a href="http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/">Tossing It Out</a>

  9. Your post is timely. I'm going to switch to WordPress as soon as I get over how overwhelmed I am by the concept. I love the look of your blog. You're right, one has to take considerable time and plan the perfect layout. Thanks.

    1. This blog use to be over on Blogger too. It is a big step. Best of luck with the move. I think I saved something on how to make it easier. I'll try and find it.

  10. I'm intrigued. Looking forward to seeing the new design. Thanks for the awesome links!

  11. They say that a change is as good as a holiday.
    Looking forward to your new-look website!

  12. Awesome links! I would rather stab myself in the eye than redesign my blog, but it happens. I'm wishing you sanity and MASS quantities of cheese.

    1. Ha, ha, ha. Cheese always helps.

  13. I lived with mine for a year before I bought it. Then I could completely customize it. I made sure it did what I wanted first. I highly recommend living with it awhile. Can't wait to see how it turns out. 🙂 I think ease of navigating is best.

    1. Thanks. I have it up on a test site now. That allows me to fiddle to my hearts content without messing this place up. :p

  14. I know nothing about building a website. But when I visit one, I like it to load fast and not have automatic sound that comes on. I also like it to look fresh and not outdated. You asked, LOL.

    Good luck with yours. I'm sure it will be awesome. Looking forward to seeing it next year!

  15. Good luck with your transition!
    I'm sure you picked something that's right for your blog. I hope it works exactly the way you planned. 🙂

  16. I'm looking forward to seeing your new design!

  17. I tried that Screenfly thing and — OMG — my blog looks like crap! I don't even want to think about loading time since my blog has a bunch of images on it. Probably too many, but I love images. I can't deal with changing mine, but I'm looking forward to seeing your new one! 🙂

  18. For years I designed and updated my own page. Then Microsoft decided to discontinue FrontPage, so I moved to Apple and used iWeb—also discontinued. I tried WordPress and it was too technical, so I went with Weebly. The nice thing about Weebly is that it adjusts for all formats (cell, tablet, desktop, etc). The bad thing is I detest my webpage, but it navigable and that’s what matters. 🙂

    <a href="http://vrbarkowski.wordpress.com">VR Barkowski</a>

  19. Hi, Holly,

    Sounds like you are really enjoying creating your new cyber space…. CAN'T wait to see it! such a bummer today. I have been cranky all day about it. UGH.

    Such a shame neither of us made it….

    Anyway hope you have a great and FUN weekend.

    1. I am having fun! And, yeah, me too. I've tried really hard to not be bummed, but it's not working. 😛

  20. I've got a child theme of a theme that hasn't been updated in over a year and a half. I think if a major update broke my theme, I'd be terribly sad…and then I'd dig through the theme to update it manually and make it work. 🙂 I'm looking forward to seeing your new look!

    1. Yeah, that would be good. I like your theme a lot, even considered it. 🙂 This one now is more than a theme, many consider it more of a framework like Genesis.

  21. Thanks for these tips. I'll be moving to my own site soon and I'm right there with you on the wobbles and … the things I'm avoiding. Ack!

    PS: It's early morning, my bakes are done and I'm headed outside to snap a few shots of the foggy foggy day.

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