The best website layout is the one that makes it easy for users to accomplish their goals. That means that the best layout design is going to be different for each website. If you’re not a professional web designer, it can be hard to know what’s going to work best for your particular site. And even when you do make a decision on the layout design, how do you know if it was the right one? These few steps will help you through the process of designing a layout for your website.
Designing a website is a lot of work, but redesigning a website can be even harder. When you start fresh, you don’t bring any baggage from an existing website. When you redesign, there are pages and pages of existing content you have to account for. What do you keep, and what do you change? How does the old content fit in with the new? These questions go on and on, and what started as a simple design change turns into a complete audit of your existing site.
Squarespace is like a paint-by-numbers kit, and WordPress is like an entire art store (including the paint-by-number kits, if that’s what you want). As long as the picture on the box is exactly what you want, the paint-by-numbers approach might be perfect for you. But if you want a platform with unlimited room to grow, and expand, and develop your site, then WordPress is a better fit.
This was going to just be a post about WordPress themes. We were going to talk about why you might want to pick one type of theme over another (and we’ll still get to that). But when you look into what is happening in the world of WordPress themes right now, you start seeing articles and posts with titles like this one: The End of WordPress Themes is in Sight. And that’s worth talking about. That headline might be a bit extreme, but there is definitely a change in the role themes play looming on the horizon.
As your WordPress website evolves over time it is inevitable that you will remove old pages, rename pages, and add new pages. This is especially true when completing a redesign project or content restructuring. Another common instance we see this occur is when an organization grows, changes the business model, or merges with another organization. When this happens, you need to take special care to ensure that any page URLs that were removed or changed are properly redirected to an existing page, otherwise your site will generate what are called ‘not found errors’ until search engines like Google fully re-index the site (which can take some time). Also, any links back to the site you or others posted on social media, online directories, or via other site’s blog comments which no longer exist will return that same dreaded ‘not found error’. These external links, called ‘back links’, are especially important for search engine optimization (SEO) not to mention user experience (linking to a ‘page not found’ as a first impression of your website is far from ideal). Oh, and those ‘not found errors’? Too many of them can have a negative effect on SEO too.
Design on the web can seem to be changing at warp speed. Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond the worst of the worst of the beginning days of website design. But now that we’ve mostly filtered out the lowest common denominator, where do we go from here? What does stepping from good design to great design in your Wordpress site look like?