When you first put together your company’s blog, it’s normal to have to make small changes here and there as you get the design and functionality smoothed out. Once you’ve got everything up, functional, and looking halfway decent, do you just leave it that way forever? How often should you redesign your blog once it’s up and has an audience?
1. To Whom Is Your Blog Geared?
If you are writing for people who aren’t particularly web savvy or who are older, you are going to want to keep your design relatively stable. You definitely aren’t going to want to make any sweeping changes without first alerting your audience to the changes that are coming. If your audience is younger and fickle, changing the design could be a fun way to keep them engaged.
Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee
2. Is Your Site Still Functional?
Web functionality and browsers change all of the time. For example: When was the last time you saw a website that utilized or used a browser that was capable of supporting frames? How often do you find yourself on a site in which Java is a primary component? Even Flash is starting to dwindle in its popularity.
It’s important that your blog keep up with these changes as well. You can usually tell when it is starting to fall behind by the number of functionality complaints that people send in. If you are getting a lot of complaints about things not working properly, it’s time to redesign and possibly even rebuild your blog.
You should also test it with each of the major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari) regularly to make sure everything is behaving.
3. Do You Still Love Your Blog Design?
It’s important to like the way your blog looks. If you’ve gotten completely bored with the design and you can’t stand to look at it anymore, it’s time to change things up a bit. If you don’t enjoy looking at your own site, how often are you going to feel compelled to update it?
Obviously if you’re someone who gets bored easily, this could present a problem. Make sure you double-check with your audience before you give in to every impulse you have to make changes.
Photo Credit: Matt Erasmus
Stuff to Keep in Mind
Your blog’s design is part of your branding. Your color scheme, the different graphic elements in your header—it all plays a role in your online identity. When you are redesigning your blog, it’s important to try to incorporate as much of these things as possible. A good designer will be able to work in the important stuff while still helping your blog feel fresh and new.
Getting your audience in on the action is a great way to ease the transition from the old design to the new. A good way to do this is to come up with a few different designs that you love and then have your audience vote on the one they like the best. The design that wins is the design you publish. Your audience will appreciate that you trust them enough to let them play a role in your project.
Don’t forget to have fun! A fresh design can help you breathe new life into your blog and make it fun to write in again. Sure, you want to take the process seriously, but who says that fun and seriousness have to be mutually exclusive?
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon, who, along with Rhode Island home improvement, writes about a variety of small business and internet related topics.