One of the most exciting things you can do for your blog / business is get a new design. Trust me, I’ve both spent lots of hours on the edge of my seat while working on my own site. There’s something about having that new look that makes me feel inspired and ready to go after our goals all over again.
Even though it’s really exciting to get a new look, there are a few things that you’ll want to consider before just diving right in. It’s not quite as fun to spend time thinking about these things, but stopping to prepare will help you make sure that you really need a new design and aren’t just getting one because you feel like you should.
It’s also a good reminder that getting a new design isn’t necessarily a quick or easy process. Since you’re investing money, you want to make sure that you’re really intentional with your decisions and getting something that’s not just visually pleasing but will also help with your goals.
So let’s dive in!
Get an idea of the style you want
Before you pick a designer or start looking for a theme you can purchase, you have to know the style that you’re looking for with your site. Obviously if you’re not planning on updating your brand, then this will be obvious: you want something that’ll work with your existing brand, but if you’re ready to update your brand as well, then you don’t have to consider that.
If you don’t know what style you want, you’re likely going to end up changing your design more often until you find something you really like.
So, how do you discover your style?
A great place to get started is by collecting inspiration on Pinterest. Most designers are going to have you do this anyway, so even if you’ll be hiring out for a custom design, this will be beneficial. All you have to do is create a new board and just fill it up with things that speak to you. This would be fonts, colors, photography, other designs, etc. Once you get 20-30 pins on your board, you’ll likely start seeing a pattern.
Decide if you’ll hire out or DIY
Once you know what style you like, it’s time to decide if you can do it yourself or if you can afford to hire out the process. A lot of people think that you always want to hire out, but that’s just not the case. When you’re just getting started with your blog, you’re still figuring out if this is something that you’re going to be doing long term. If it ends up being a short-lived hobby, you don’t want to have spent a thousand dollars for your design.
When should you DIY? Well, if you’re within your first few months to even a year or two of blogging, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with simply picking a pre-made theme and even a pre-made logo. These things are usually pretty customizable, so you can make it work for the style you want.
When should you hire a professional? If you’ve been blogging or in business for a few years and you have the budget to hire who you want to work with, this is a great time to hire a designer or team to take care of creating a custom design for you. Having that custom design will boost your blog / business, so if you can’t (or don’t want) to do it yourself, think about working with someone else.
Preparing your content
Regardless of whether you’re working with a designer or team to create a new design for your site or if you’re simply installing a theme you’ve purchased, you want to make sure that as far as your content goes, you’re ready for it.
The first place to start is to understand that your content and brand make affect the way the overall design appears. When you’ve been looking at mockups or a theme demo, it’s easy to think that your site will look exactly as good once your theme is on your site with your content. If you’ve purchased a theme, it’s important to keep in mind that unless your content looks identical to that on the demo site, your brand and content may make the theme look a little different. Instead of trying to recreate the demo, look at it as an amazing opportunity to make your design, which isn’t one-of-a-kind, more unique and work for you.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re saving your content before any design is installed. Install a plugin like BackWPup or BackupBuddy so that you can get a complete backup of your site and save it in a few different places. A good designer or team will do this for you, but it’s good for you to have a copy as well. If something goes wrong during the install process, you want to have the peace of mind that your content is going to be safe and sound.
Moving forward with your new design
Just because you have a new design, doesn’t mean you’re done! If you rebranded while getting a new blog or web design, now is a great time to update your graphics with your new fonts and colors. If you have time, you could update all of your graphics, but at least start with your most popular posts.
Getting a design is also a great time to make sure that your links and any other graphics around your site are still linking and working properly. It’s not uncommon for something to break in the update process, so make sure you check your most important links and images.
Lastly, as your blog and business grows, make sure that you’re checking in with your design and whether or not it’s still working for the goals you have set for yourself. After more than a year, it’s not very surprising that your design may need a few small tweaks at the least to keep working right for you.
Ready for a new design, but can’t decide on a theme?
I have the perfect thing for you! I’ve created a 3-day mini series to help you figure out what you’re looking for in a theme, mistakes to avoid, and my process for picking a new theme. Click that button below to read a bit more about the series and sign up!