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The Revamp: Why and How

by | Jun 16, 2014 | Blog, Mobile, Wordpress | 1 comment

The RevampMay be it’s because I’m a Saggitarian, or perhaps because as a third culture kid, change is about the only constant I know.

It was inevitable that two years in, Moonpreneur would also get the same revamping treatment I subject my unsuspecting family to. I still have fond memories of the look on my husband’s face when he came home one day, about a year into our marriage, and found the living room completely re-arranged. Just because.

But I digress.

I wanted to revamp Moonpreneur for three reasons:

Objective #1: Mailing List

Yes, the main objective was to start that elusive mailing list. After 2+ years, I’m dismayed to say that I still haven’t got a mailing list “properly” started. Yes, there are a number of blog followers (thank you guys!), but none of them actually signed up for a Moonpreneur newsletter.

Oh. Perhaps that’s because I didn’t actually have a sign-up on site. Duh.

Objective #2: Visually Compelling

I wanted to make the blog even more visual. I wanted fresh, bright colours, lots of white space, and generally more inviting AND easier on the eyes. This meant looking for a new theme, and you know what a rabbit hole that is.

Objective #3: Create Content Streams

With over 120+ posts on blogging, content creation, marketing and productivity hacks, I wanted a better way for new visitors to find the relevant sections and be able to consume archives in a useful manner. This would include creating a Start Here page.

It took me roughly around two weeks to complete, and below are some of the key changes.

A New Theme

I’m a big fan of the Genesis framework and have used Studiopress themes for a long time. The last theme I used on this site was Eleven 40, and I loved it. Usually, whenever I’m looking for a new theme, I tend to stick with Studiopress.

This time, I decided to open up to other themes as well, since I work with other frameworks when working with clients. In fact, for the last 3 clients, I had created child themes based on well established free themes.

Needless to say, the new theme had to be responsive, fast, and preferably have a home page template.

Responsive: this means the theme rearranges itself to fit nicely on any size screen, so that the website looks amazing on a PC, a tablet or an iPhone. I read somewhere recently that mobile devices account for around 30% of web traffic, and 15% of sales.

That makes a responsive theme pretty much non-negotiable.

I eventually settled on creating a child theme based on Revera, and the time spent tweaking it is well worth it, and compensates for the time I would have spent trying to find one that fit perfectly from the get-go.

In addition to the theme, I also updated the logo, and harmonized the colours between the logo and the website.

The Home Page

Several of my favourite blogs make really effective use of the home page. Their home page may display the latest posts – as a blog is supposed to. But before getting to that content, they usually have some kind of orientation content, e.g, Start Here, and they always have a call to action for subscribing to their mailing list.

Some even go as far as having a Welcome Gate, sort of the splash page that immediately asks you to subscribe, with a No Thank You link at the bottom that then takes you to the home page.

I wasn’t quite ready to do a welcome gate, but I did create the orientation content, including the start here, and pointing visitors to the important bits, like my books and the blog content.

The slider content will eventually change to highlight the latest in resources. Its next rendition could well be a call to action to get on the pre-release list for my latest product (I’m so excited about it … more later).

The Notification Bar

I wrestled with this one, but decided it must happen. My notification bar is courtesy of a plugin. I came across the WP Front Notification Bar plugin on one of my client projects. The bar is fully customizable, easy to use and free.

I plan on changing the call to action there from time to time, as I complete new resources to share with Moonpreneurs.

The Child Theme

First of all, what is a child theme? A child theme is one that is based on a …., ahem, parent theme :).

It is best to create a child theme when you like most of the stuff that’ s in the parent theme, but want to make a few changes. For example, you might want to change the main font used, or the colour scheme – and the parent theme doesn’t have an options panel to let you choose those things.

Rather than make the changes directly in the parent theme’s files, it is better to create a child theme, and place your changes there. That way, when the parent theme is updated, your changes are not lost.

I made more changes than I expected to, but once I got started, it wasn’t too bad, and I’m happy with the end result.

Font Matters

The blogs I follow the most have all switched to a Medium-like appearance: nice, easy, big font, lots of a white space, and an absolute pleasure to read. I took that to heart, and experimented with a variety of sizes and fonts.

I settled on Avenir (might change again …), and I also made sure the line spacing is a generous one.

These are the changes I went with as part of Phase 1 of the revamp and rebranding exercise. I have a few more scheduled to be rolled out over the summer, all designed to showcase the content even more so that Moonpreneur readers can find useful nuggets for content creation.

So, whaddya think?