3 Crucial Things To Remember When You’re Fickle About Your Website’s Look
If you’ve been following my updates over the last few years, you must have noticed a number of upgrades in my website design. As a designer, I’m constantly looking for something new that appeals to my aesthetic sensibility and sparks creativity. I want my website/blog continually inspire me to write and design better. At times this has made my life harder because the time spent working on updating my own website adds to the work hours I spend on clients’ logo design projects and art making activities.
After having changed my website’s look and structure for the 5098th time over the last 10 years, I’ve learnt a lot about making the transition as fast and smooth as possible. Here are my pointers for those of you who, just like me, are fickle when it comes to selecting a template/theme for your web presence.
1. Select a Good Theme + Theme Developer
My go-to place for theme shopping is ThemeForest. Finding the right theme developer is just as important as finding a theme that matches your vision because your theme should not only look good but there are several other factors like code quality, speed etc. that can affect your site success. I use the WordPress framework, but the same holds true for other platforms.
1. Try to Stick With The Same Developer
Today most flexible and powerful themes come bundled with Visual Composer or other page builder plugins. This gives you the power to easily design pages the drag-and-drop way. Also there are several shortcodes in most themes that you can use effectively to arrange your information in a more organized manner. Though these features can make your site building process faster and easier, they are speific to the theme you have chosen. For example, if my theme has a shortcode for creating a button as [edge_button], the same shortcode will not exist in other themes, except may be themes created by the same developer. So when selecting your first theme, try to make sure that the same developer has a wide range of other themes that you could use as well in the future. For example, shortcodes and visual composer elements in themes developed by Edge are common across their range of themes. So in the future when I decide to go for another look, I can easily switch over to one of their other themes and my actual data/content will pretty much appear the same to my visitors. On the other hand, if I switch over to a completely new theme, developed by some other developer, most of my pages will show up with garbage code that the new theme cannot recognize.
3. Choose a Host That Has a Staging Site
Having a staging site seperate from your production site is a big plus because it lets you set up your site using the new theme on the staging environment while your current site remains live on production, undisturbed. You can then move your staging site to live only once it is ready. Wp Engine is one of the leading WordPress hosting companies that offers this particular feature.
Shopify has a feature where you can set up several different themes and sites on the back-end while your front-end live site remains unchanged. This is not exactly a staging site feature however, because though the back-end sites can be set up using different themes, most active plugins will only work with the theme that is live at that moment.
4. Use ‘Restricted Site Access’
After moving staging to production, if something still goes wrong or your pages don’t look right, install the ‘Restricted Site Access‘ plugin (for WordPress sites) and set it to block your site from visitors temporarily showing them a custom message instead until you fix the problem. You can say something like “Our site is undergoing an awesome upgrade. Stay tuned. We’ll be back up in just a bit.”. It’s much better than your visitors being greeted by garbage code.
Are you thinking of changing the look of your website/blog?
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