If you’re loading up WPSteam today, then you might have noticed that I have a new website design. Considering the last design was from April of 2020, a lot of you would say that it’s about time that we gave WPSteam a refresh. I wanted to share with you some insights from our redesign process, what I have learned, why it took so long, and most importantly what’s new in the new design.
A Little Background
I started WPSteam in April 2020. In the first 2 months, WPSteam went through 4 redesigns. That takes up a lot of resources which could have been better spent on my core mission:
Help small businesses grow and compete with the big guys through our tools, team, and training.
After WPSteam V1.6, I made it a point to focus on our core mission and the results are astonishing.
While all of those are great accomplishments, I have a new set of challenges that need to be addressed if I want to continue to improve and serve my mission.
This brings me to WPSteam V2.
Design with Data
In the last few years, the usage of mobile devices has gone up quite significantly for most websites. That’s why I always recommended everyone to choose a mobile-friendly responsive WordPress theme when starting a blog.
This was a bit ironic because my own website was not completely responsive. I got a lot of criticism on social media from other WordPress designers and developers in the community.
Occasionally I would get emails from readers asking why WPSteam was not responsive.
While I understand the importance of responsive design, it’s even more important that you make data-driven decisions when it comes prioritizing tasks in your business.
In 2020 when I launched WPSteam v1.6 design, less than 10% of my audience was on mobile.
Today in July of 2020, that number has increased to about 45%.
But it makes sense because most folks don’t install plugins on their WordPress websites via mobile devices. Most folks don’t make code changes on mobile. Most folks don’t try to fix common WordPress errors on mobile.
That’s why making WPSteam responsive wasn’t our top priority. However once the mobile usage passed 5%, we started planning for the redesign that addressed other challenges as well.
Another challenge I faced was usability on site. As we added more content, it became harder for users to find what they were looking for. For example, I had some articles talking about speeding up WordPress, but no comprehensive step by step solution.
I looked at the top typed search queries in WPSteam search form to create a comprehensive step by step tutorials that are now promptly highlighted in the design.
We also made searching WPSteam easier with a full-screen search overlay in the header and an additional search bar in the sidebar.
Going forward, I will be making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for by creating content portals that creatively leverage WordPress tags.
What’s New in WPSteam V2
The core functionality of the site has stayed the same. Here are few notable changes on the website:
New Home Page
If you’re new to WPSteam, then you would appreciate the new homepage
Responsive Website Design
WPSteam website is now 100% responsive, so it looks great on all devices.
I’ve chosen to stick with the popular Genesis framework to build my custom child theme.
If you look in the sidebar of every page, you will see a new section “I need help with…” which highlights comprehensive guides like how to speed up WordPress, how to improve WordPress security, AWS, and more.
FontAwesome and New Font
You might notice the use of icon font in the new designer. It’s called FontAwesome, and I’m a huge fan of Dave Gandy’s work.
I use his work on all of our products, and are proud supporters of FontAwesome.
New Share Plugin
In the past, I have used a floating share plugin included in the theme.
After the changes from Twitter, Facebook, and others – I felt it was time to switch to something better. So I chose AddThis plugin.
It accurately pulls the Twitter count, but more importantly it now has a total shares count.
Aside from the front-end changes that have been implemented, more changes are coming really soon, although those changes won’t be significant, they will be enough to significantly improve the user experience
I want to thank you all for your support and feedback.
Founder of WPSteam