Steps to update your WordPress site

I have a strong desire to update this website’s design and update the look of As a way to prepare, I am sharing my process for overhauling the look and design of a WordPress site.

It is a simple 8 steps process.

1) Look at other sites for reference

Go to websites you love and search for new blogs to see what you like and don’t like about each. I make a list of features, designs, column styles, etc. that I like on other sites and what I hate.

For example, the blog I like the side panel and how it is designed but I hate that it is on the left of the page. People will read it first because their eyes go there, but it should be on the right side of the page like all other blogs.

Update: they recently switched their panel to the right side.

2) Determine your site’s purpose

Just having a blog up without having a purpose is like painting the house with any paint you can find. You might get the house painted, but all those mixed match colors will make it look weird.

You get the same thing without a purpose for your blog. If your site is to sell affiliate links, it will have a different look and different content. If it is to help people, then it should have a different look and feel.

You can have a site that has the primary purpose of helping others and still sell affiliate products, but that will be entirely different as well. The most important part if the site has multiple goals is to determine which one is more important and design everything else around that.

3) Go over theme options

The look and feel of your blog is steaming from the WordPress theme you choose, so it is important to pick one that portrays the brand you are trying to represent.

My blog’s purpose is a place for me to vent and think through the projects I am working on. In some ways, it is a journal with a focus on sharing whatever it is I am currently learning or creating. This is why I choose a theme that looks like a comic book. I create comic books and enjoy comic books; it is a theme that fits my goals.

Down the road, I might choose to adapt this blog into a tool to exclusively teach people or as a selling tool for my projects. When that happens, I will consider getting a new theme or adapting this one.

NOTE: If you have the money, getting a custom theme is a good idea.

4) Design a look around a theme

Themes have limited flexibility. The point of buying a theme is to use it as a template to create your unique blog.

Look at the limitations of your theme (limitations are usually good in this case) and plan how you will make the theme into a website you are happy with.

5) Look at Widgets and Plug-ins

Widgets and plug-ins can make a huge difference in the look of your site. You should pick these out now so that while you are designing, you can see how they all work together.

Plug-ins and widgets are by nature not very customizable, so having them on the site early will help in the process.

6) Choose/create images for site

This always takes longer than expected. Grab all the visual components you need to fill your site.

This often includes (but not limited to):

  • Logo
  • Profile Images
  • Banners
  • Buttons

7) Create Site

Not it is time to turn that design into a reality. Add those images to the site, play with the color scheme if you haven’t picked one yet, and make all those small adjustments that will give your blog individuality.

8) Evaluate and Test

Go over your site and make sure it is working.

Important things to check:

  • Links between pages
  • Newsletter Sign-up
  • Social share buttons
  • Contact forms (if any)
  • Comments


You have a beautiful new website.

If you are doing or revamp of your site or have done one recently, I would love to hear your thoughts on the process above.

Feel free to share those in the comments below.