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Redesigning a web site

How to develop a new site and replace the old one?

     
6:45 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm redesigning the look of an existing web site and looking for advice on the simplest way to develop the new site and, when ready, replace the old site. I use Frontpage 2002.

So as not to adversely SE rankings I plan to keep all file names the same (plus there is no real reason to change them).

8:51 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Use templates for the new look. This will allow you to keep tweaking/experimenting with new options and every page will update itself. Much easier. Design your own or search for "web templates" or "frontpage web templates" on a search engine for lots of choices.

Of course, if you have several different parts to a website, it's possible to use more than one template...

9:58 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'll definitely be using templates and includes. What I'm looking for, and didn't explain very well, is a way to manage the changeover from the old site to the new site.

I don't know if it's best to develop the new site in a subweb and then, once the site is ready for publication, overwrite the current site. Or perhaps use some other method.

10:06 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I like to do it that way. I'll upload everything for the new widgets.com to a stale domain like boringwidget.com/widgets/ to test and explore. If all goes well, then upload it to widgets.com. This keeps it private but lets friends take a look and give advice. You can do several options this way, and ask them to pick their favorite.
10:09 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'd make it a completely new web, not a subweb of the old one. Work with both oldweb and newweb open so you can copy whatever content over.

I'm basically doing that now. When all is ready I'm going to wipe everything off the server to make sure that all the old bits and pieces are gone. Then simply publish newweb to the server.

<added>
treeline's idea of using a test domain first something I'm now definitely going to do.
</added>

3:14 pm on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have redesigned several sites. I usually start out with the new site on my own web because the owner is usually changing hosts and moving the domain. that way they can give input on the redesign. However I put a meta tag in there with "no index/no follow" so search engines will not consider the new version duplicate content. Then when I'm ready I update the meta tag and move it to the new site and remove the old one.
3:50 pm on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just to add my $.25..

When I am going to redesign a site, I first do the design in a layout program. For me, the absolute best program every invented for this is OmniGraffle by OmniGroup. It is kind of like Visio fr Mac OSX but is just so much more powerful. You can drag and drop anything, sping things, drop shadows, etc.

Anyway, so I come up with a design on that, then take that and write it out in XHTML/CSS using a text tool (BBEdit, UltraEdit, etc) to make sure it works in all browsers.

Then, since I am using a template driven website, I upload the new images and modify the main templates (for me, just standard_html_header and standard_html_footer) as well as drop in the new CSS. That is 95% of the work.

If the site is designed well and uses the right elements, everything works. Of course, you always find a few issues, but I post news items to tell users that a new design is coming (maybe post a PDF of the design in advance) and ask for feedback or if they find bugs. I have found that most users love looking a new things and helping out.

BZ

 

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