WordPress logo on dashboard - Nepeta Consulting uses WordPress for websitesOne of the advantages of using WordPress for a website is the separation between theme and content. The theme gives you the look and feel and the content are the words, images. It means you can change how it looks without affecting the verbal message and you can change the words without changing the visual message. Add in the navigation (menus, buttons and links) and you have a third method of upcycling your site.

Day to day changes on your website

Most of the day-to-day, or week-to-week, changes will be additional posts or new pictures that you add to the site. Adding new content regularly is a very good way of making sure that people come back to the website to see what’s changed. Obviously you have to create content that is worthwhile for your visitors or they won’t bother coming back. If you are a product business, then adding a new product or giving more information on how to use an existing one is a good way to add new content. If you are a services business, it’s a bit different. We approach it by writing another article giving simple advice (like this one) to keep people thinking about us.

Longer term changes

These changes can be true upcycling; changing the look and feel whilst leaving the contents as they are. You can go all the way and start from scratch, if you really want to, but most of the time the site just needs freshening up. This is done by changing the theme.

Selecting the right theme

There are thousands of themes for WordPress so you’re bound to find one you like. However, knowing your skills and how precise your design requirements are will narrow the field dramatically.

Ready-made themes: you get what you’re given. You may be able to select from a few colour schemes and change the header images but you won’t get much flexibility. They are ideal if you want a quick change and aren’t too fussy.

Simple but flexible themes: have a basic set up with not too many frills. Usually you can change most of the settings you want and add functionality using plugins. Usually you don’t need to code anything for these, so they are fine for people confident to change settings in WordPress. The only disadvantages are having lots of plugins to update and that sometimes the look-and-feel isn’t quite as coordinated as it could be (if the plugin uses different settings to the theme).

Function-rich themes: have the flexibility of the simple themes but have built in lots of functionality (sliders, portfolios, team pages, etc.). These have a nice integrated look and work well. Obviously, there’s lots more to set up but fewer updates to worry about. The only disadvantage is that when it comes to the next theme change, you’ll need to make sure you rescue all the key information set up in the themes.

Those for programmers only: often require you to code in HTML or PHP. They give you the ultimate flexibility on design as you can set them up exactly as you want. They will probably be harder to keep updated as some of the WordPress updates may require you to change your code. We’d advise staying away from these unless you really want to be a programmer.

Upcycling the navigation

Sometimes you just want visitors to move around your site in a different way. If you monitor your website using Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see how people are using the site, as opposed to how you thought they would. If you notice you are losing visitors before they get to the crucial contact point (“Get in touch” or “Buy”), you might want to consider changing the navigation. Have a look at the site: can visitors see clearly where you want them to go? is something distracting them?  If yes, then it’s time to change the navigation! Add a big button or change the menu to get them to your main destination quicker.

And if you want someone to help you with the upcycling

We are here and ready! We can do the whole job for you or we can advise and assist if you want to have a go yourself. Find out more here.