I mentioned last week that I changed my Squarespace template and redesigned my website in one night. Today I'm going to take you through a bit of my process in how I was able to accomplish what seems like a super daunting task in relatively little amount of time!
The first thing I did was narrow down the most important things I wanted to incorporate in the new template.
- I knew I wanted a way to better highlight more wedding images throughout my site through the use of header images
- I also knew I wanted a blog sidebar. Can't live without my sidebar
- I also didn't want the change to be too incredibly drastic. I wanted the same look and feel but with minor tweaks to really elevate things I wanted to highlight.
I thoroughly researched all of the squarespace templates that I thought would all of my requirements and I landed on the FIVE template.
- It had header images that spanned the width of the page and they could be unique on each page.
- Five actually has the capability to have a sidebar on EVERY page of the site. I didn't need that but it's a nice option
- It still had the same look and feel of my previous template, but with the minor changes.
I knew that it would be too difficult to try and simply envision all of the changes, so I wanted to build the new site before I made it live, however, my blog is pretty active and I didn't want to take my whole site down for an extended period of time while I went through the changes. Luckily, Squarespace offers you the ability to create a trial site for 14 days in your same account.
So I waited until I knew I would have enough time to devote to building the site from scratch on the new template within 14 days. Then I created the trial site, and got to work!
This is obviously the most important part of any project. I had to plan out what I was going to do in detail before I actually went in and made all of the changes. One I had the trial account active, I installed the Five template and got to work planning out every page of the new site. I uploaded images so I could see what they would look like and played around in the Style Editor a lot. I got the fonts and colors the way I wanted them and went through changes to copy and layout.
Some pages stayed relatively the same (like the gallery pages) and some had some pretty big changes (the about me page). I didn't recreate the site EXACTLY the way it would look once published, mostly because all of the images and info on my current site would still be there just in slightly different format because of the template change. But I did as much as I could to make the go live date as quick and easy as possible.
Once I was ready to start making the changes to the live site, I threw up a cover page as my home page which indicated I was working on the site and to check back soon. Granted this wouldn't do much if someone clicked on a direct link to my site, but if anyone was simply accessing cinnamonwolfephotography.com they would see the cover page.
Once I had the cover page active, I did the scariest thing you can do on your site....I clicked install new template and made it live!
Once I installed the new template I went through each individual page and made the necessary changes. I uploaded all of the new header images onto every single page. I kept the trial site style editor open and then copied all of those settings into my live site so they would match. I moved images around and updated the copy where needed.
I did all of this on a Friday night when I knew traffic would be minimal so as to avoid any major disruptions.
Since I had planned everything out so well beforehand, the majority of the changes were finished that evening and I was able to confidently take off the cover page that same night!
And there you have it. With the ability to build a website on a trial account you can make all the changes there to see what everything will look like before you take it over to your live site. I could not be happier with the results and I am so glad I did the refresh!
I'd love to know your favorite aspect of my refresh! Have you seen anything that has inspired you concerning your own site?