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Monday, September 26, 2005

Kaizen - Bootstrapping Your Blog/Website Redesign One Step At A Time

The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second EditionOne Small Step Can Change Your Life : The Kaizen WayI've been taking a break from the blogosphere for the last couple of days because of several new website projects that I'm working on. My websites and blogsites disappoint me visually, but despite my creative abilities, I'm self-taught in the graphic arts. So designing, while I love it, isn't easy for me. For the past few months, I've been throwing out sketch after sketch until I've finally got a couple I like.

What's more, every indication, at least according to other bloggers, is that readership goes down if a blogsite is unattractive. No matter how accurate, detailed and informative your blog is, if it's unattractive, readers not only don't want to come back, they don't associate as much credibility. A simple change of blog template can make a huge difference in readership. I learned this lesson when I was a print publisher, but hadn't had a chance to apply it online. I have one website to redesign and three new sites to design and optimize for the search engines. And that's on top of writing my multiple blogs and redesigning them, plus my regular commitments. My time is very limited. I've only got a little bit of time each day to make any changes.

As I've said in previous posts, we bloggers are such because we want people to read our creative expressions. We wouldn't be doing it otherwise. So if good design, or at least acceptable design, is a crucial factor for maintaining and increasing blog readership, then it's something that needs to be done. Except what do you do when (1) your budget is tiny or non-existent and (2) your time is extremely limited? Easy. You bootstrap as much as you can, and follow the principle of "kaizen".

Kaizen is a Japanese word (but derived from Chinese Tao te Ching principles) which, translated, approximately means "improvement by slow degrees" or one step at a time. If you don't have the time to do everything you want all at once, then do them one step at a time. Sketch out your plans on paper first, to get the creative juices flowing. Then slowly implement your changes as appropriate, and as you are able. There'll be times when you'll need to take on more than one step simultaneously, but if you plan properly, taking on a big website/blogsite redesign project can even be managed on your own. If you're not visually creative, you might want to consult with a few artistic friends for some input. Software packages like Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive, and others offer starter templates that can get you going. There are also free templates galore available for download on the Internet. (I'll blog about a few do-it-yourself online template generators in some upcoming posts.)

By the way, many search engines including Google prefer that websites change slowly. It's been written about all over the Internet that your Google page rank can suffer if your website/blogsite content, file count, and links change too rapidly. So brainstorm, sketch out several ideas, plan the progression of your change, then start implementing them one step at a time.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash, http://blogspinner.blogspot.com

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BlogSpinner-X serves two primary purposes. Firstly, it houses the original version of my Blogspinner blog, and contains the full-text of my older entries. Secondly, the more recent entries are excerpts of the full-text entries posted over on Blogspinner V2.0. In other words, the "X" stands for "eXcerpt".

About Me
I'm a geek/ philosopher/ composer/ artist/ cook/ web programmer/ consultant/ photographer/ blah-blah-blah who is also a published writer and author. This is one of several blogs that I write.

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(c) Copyright: 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash, http://blogspinner.countwordula.com/