Nothing like a change of your blog’s style to make you feel better. And it can be such a quick and relatively pain-free exercise you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

One of the best things about using a blog as your primary means of online business communication is the ease with which you can change the style, the look and feel. It wasn’t so long ago – in those 90’s “Wild West” Internet days – that to change the layout, the style of a website you had these choices:

  • re-hire the person who designed your site, whose costs would sometimes and rather curiously prove to be much higher than the first time around
  • hire someone new, who would tell you they couldn’t possibly tweak the site you had paid thousands for, implying you were ripped off by their competitor anyway, but for a few or more thousand new outlay they could give you a humdinger site that would serve you well for, oh, another year or so easily
  • do it yourself, which if you were not a techie meant a big learning curve and probably a site that said “designed by owner”.

How the world has changed.

It’s not that there isn’t a place for web designers. There is. And for sites requiring more complex interactions I’m all for engaging a designer, as long as she or her firm have expertise in installing an efficientl engine, not just a pleasant looking design. But for many of us in small business, a level of interactivity and content management such as comes with industry standard blogging platforms is often all that is needed. And for the more tech-savvy among us there are products like Drupal which can do handstands and whistle at the same time (not me btw – after a few days of trying to get a Drupal site installed and working for me, I decided that was a “bridge too far” for me).

With a WordPress site of mine, the Business Blogging Show blog, I was able a couple of days ago to quickly change the whole layout, installing in a matter of minutes a different “theme”, to use the WordPress terminology. Getting the functioning right was a bit trickier, but the guy who developed the theme, Chris Pearson, explained – and re-explained – to me and other users how to fix the particular problem. And all this as his contribution to the WordPress community. Amazing!

Then yesterday, walking on the beach and thinking about this Thinking Home Business blog, I decided it was time for a change here too. After all, the basic template and configuration hadn’t changed much, probably since late 2004 – a very long time in blogging years.

So last night, in about twenty minutes, I had changed the look and layout completely. Actually, the basic change took a nanosecond, or maybe a whole second, or two. Pretty quick anyway. And the cost? Just my time, all twenty minutes of it.

The design is from John Keegan, the man behind BlogHarbor and renowned among BlogHarbor customers as Mr Never Too Much Trouble Support Guy.

There’s less “stuff” on the site, which I suspect is a Good Thing, and I have some reorganising to do, but I do like the look and I hope readers do too. Comments welcome.

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