Yes, as you can imagine, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with the update. I’ve been working on it this last week and am realizing I won’t be ready to post the update very soon due to visiting family obligations and a couple presentations next week. So, I thought I’d share a little about my process in case any of you are in a similar situation!
One thing I love about WordPress is it’s ability to use themes. You can change the look and feel of your website very quickly – which is great 🙂 but my redesign will be a bit more than just the cosmetic. You can read a bit about my thought process here, but I really want it to be simple to find what you’re looking for if you come to my site. I am most often asked about where to start if you’re new to marketing, where the best book marketing tips are, and if I can help/consult on a project. So I want to simplify the home page down to something that focuses on those three ideas.
I start with free themes and am then willing to buy something if that doesn’t work for some reason. Each theme need a bit of tweaking, probably some graphics made and I still want my personality to be in the site. Since I’m “experimenting” – I want to see what the themes will really look like with some of my content. So here’s what I do:
- Set up a second domain name for testing. I use Dreamhost, which (like many hosts) let’s me have unlimited domains in my account. I register a domain name. It cost $10 for a year’s registration, but that’s my only expense at this point. I’ll only temporarily use it or keep it around for other testing. So in my Dreamhost panel, I can install WordPress on it.
Note: Technically, you don’t need a separate domain – you can save the $10 and use a subfolder like mydomain.com/testing but I find it’s easier to use a separate domain for extra protection against messing up your database 🙂
- Restore your site backup to the new domain. I use a WordPress backup to Dropbox plug in (http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-backup-to-dropbox) because both Dropbox and the plug-in are free 🙂 and do a great job. Instructions are here. If this looks too daunting/technical for your liking, there are many plug-ins that work well and make the copy with just a few clicks. WP Clone is a good one to try. Again, free is good!
- Once it’s there, you should see your site and know everything is working. From there, look through the themes and start adding ones you might like! Here are some I added:
There are actually another 5 or six that I’m looking at, but I want to activate them and really see if they’ll work for what I want. Typically, when you look at themes, you’ll find that many don’t do what you want, have hidden charges (like needing to buy a premium upgrade to change the text), or that it needs several other plug-ins to work correctly.
- So. I activate and test them. Each theme will need some work with graphics and text, and copy, so I want to see what will work and what won’t. Many of there require other plug-ins, so I am installing and testing those too.
- If something looks like it might work I put a couple graphics in place and some text to see what it looks like. I will take a screen shot to have as comparison – even knowing I’ll need to rework and change things.
This is the Engrave (Lite) theme, and one I’m considering. I have a few problems with it, but may be able to work it out.
- Anyway, once I figure out what I theme I decide on, I’ll really dig into the graphics text, and additional pages. As you can guess, I’m going to need to make new pages for each of the new sections. This will take a while, but I think will be a big help
- Split testing. I will do some split testing with design and wording when the site goes live. I’ll write a separate post and show some step-by-step instructions on how to get the most out of each page.