Website Overhaul Advice

Some recent advice to a friend who is undergoing an update to her website. May it help you as well!

Congrats on your upgrade decision! Sorry, I don’t know anyone in Pasadena who would be good to help, but hopefully this information will be useful.

Here are the three WordPress training sites that I’ve heard good things about:

I’ve been working with WordPress for a decade now, and here is my advice:

  1. Prioritizing content/ideas before you start designing/visioning is really important. Consider this a ground-up do-over, and only migrate content that your visitors care about — as evidenced by the fact that it has seen real traffic within the last year [hint: look at the analytics].
  2. Knowing specifically WHO your website is supposed to attract and exactly WHAT your visitors are supposed to do there is even more important. Ironically, your website should not really be about you, but instead about your visitors and what they want to do. With a 2min scan of your site, I’d guess that’s: A) booking agents & media looking to hire/cover you [hint: make it easy for them to meet their deadlines]; B) potential customers who are interested in you & your work [hint: you want to sign up for your newsletter so they buy stuff & sign up for workshops/events]. These days, it’s unlikely that anyone will randomly discover you via your website. They’ll more likely have heard of you and go there for more supporting information. This also means that if you want to get your product discovered, Amazon/iTunes/Bandcamp etc. are the way to go, and these require additional strategy (sad but true!).
  3. Work within the basic WordPress/Jetpack setup whenever possible. Going outside may work fine at first, but leads to instability over time. Plus if it’s simple/core, you can get anyone to work with your WordPress site and they’ll understand it right away. [hint: the fewer plugins you install, the better off you’ll be in the long run]
  4. Design functionally, not visually. Good websites change a bunch based on the device displaying them, they are not an artistic statement requiring a full-size computer monitor to be appreciated. Believe it or not, phones are used to access websites more often than computers now.
  5. Keep backups and stay on top of the security updates. Seriously, this is critical. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, it can be mostly automated. But because most of the web runs on WordPress these days (and with good reason!), it is frequently attacked. I’ve had sites hacked to pieces and redirected to all sorts of nasty things because I left them alone for too long. Update once a week (it’s simple) and you need not worry.

Looks like you do some amazing work! May your awesome new WordPress website help you do it even better…

Wishing you all the best in all you do,

Sam Rogers