7 Important Questions to Ask Before Redesigning Your Blog

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time to redesign your blog?

Your blog design isn’t cutting it.  You’ve tweaked and tinkered with the design but you know it’s time for a fresh start.  Ok, let’s get you moving on the right path.

Before you settle on a designer or theme, ask yourself these 7 questions:

1. Can you describe your brand?  Your brand is your promise to readers.  Your brand is represented by blog’s look, feel, style and voice.  Successful blogs create a cohesive brand and consistently communicate it in new and exciting ways.  For example My friend Brenda Clevenger at Midlife Mona Lisa has a fun, sexy brand.  Ben Barden at Quick Blog Tips has a snappy and smart brand.  Teresa Rose exudes authority and practicality on Music Reading Savant. Understanding your brand will help you make smart decisions about your color scheme, layout, and graphic options.

2. What’s is your skill level?  Are you a graphic designer?  Can you navigate Photoshop and Fireworks?  Are you comfortable with CSS and HTML?  I wasted months trying to create the image I wanted for Pushing Social before I finally admitted that I needed a designer. Take a frank assessment of your skills, and invest in someone that can move you forward quickly while giving you the design you want.

3. What is your natural communication style?  I recently helped a blogger who was struggling with post writing.  She was getting burned out and was on the edge of abandoning her new blog.  I noticed that she had recorded an excellent podcast that oozed personality and gritty authenticity.  I recommended that she publish audio posts instead of killing herself with a style that she obviously hated.  Within a few weeks, the blogger had published dozens of great podcasts that are attracting a loyal readership.

Your blog design will need to support and amplify your communication strength.  For example, select a video blog template for Press75 if you are handy with a video camera.  Consider a Tumblr layout if you prefer short concise posts.  A gallery layout would work best for photographers.  Remember that your blog design should show off your talent not block it.

4.  What type of engagement do you expect?  Some blogs inspire spirited discussion. Their comments section sport sophisticated moderation features that are tightly integrated into the blog’s design.  Other blogs rely heavily on social share’s to attract readers and expand their influence.  These blogs give prominent positioning to their social share icons, even integrating them into stylish call-outs throughout blog posts.

The key is to anticipate your engagement needs and design your blog to support your goal.

5. Website, Blog or Hybrid?  The WordPress CMS is an excellent blogging and website platform.  Take a look at your business and decide if you should combine your blog and website under one digital roof.  For example, the homepage of Copyblogger.com is a traditional website homepage with links to products, features, contact information, etc.  You can reach the popular Copyblogger blog via a link which takes you to the blog thousands read every day.

6.  Do you like to change?  I’m addicted to new blog designs, frameworks, and templates.  If I had my way, I would redesign Pushing Social every month.  That’s why, I invested in the Genesis framework from Studiopress.  The Genesis framework makes it easy for me to install and publish a new blog design.

If you are tinkerer then look for a framework that is easy to use and comes with a large collection of professional themes.  Also look for the ability to easily change layouts, font types, and color schemes.  My current favorites are Studiopress, Thesis, and Elegant Themes.

On the other hand, if you hate change and plan to stick with your design until 2020 then focus on finding a versatile theme that can be customized to fit your brand.

7.  Are you a business?  Business blogs need to project professionalism and ease of use. A crisp and clear brand, excellent layout, and usability are essential for success.

Before you invest money in a redesign, make sure your designer or consultant understands your business model and your blog’s role.  Too many businesses are going bankrupt with “award-winning” blogs.

What’s Next?

Are you planning to reboot your blog?  What questions do you have?

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

3 thoughts on “7 Important Questions to Ask Before Redesigning Your Blog

  1. Dave Lucas

    Newbie or Pro, it seems the trend these days (as promoted by most blog gurus) is MINIMALIST. So go another way – add sidebars, gizmos and gadgets… because… if you and your blog are really good, you’ll get noticed and you’ll be rewarded with traffic, period!

    Now, put a smile on your face, another worry behind you, and BLOG!

  2. Paul Pruneau

    Stanford, you make some great points in this post.
    And as you explain, there’s a lot to to get your head around when considering a blog or web site redesign.
    Interestingly, I recently made a post on the same topic with some additional things to consider.
    http://bit.ly/Qp6Eu4
    I would love to hear any comments you might have.
    Keep up the great work!

  3. Russ Henneberry

    Fantastic questions to be asking before a redesign Stan!

    My 8th question would be “What is your budget?” Having a custom theme designed for your blog can be pricey but when you are starting out a pre-packaged premium theme with some CSS, image and sidebar customization will do just fine. When you go this second route you can get by on a shoestring budget.

    Thanks for putting this list together!

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