This post has been submitted by regular contributor – Aaron Brazell
There’s been an unofficial holiday on the web for the past 6 years or so. It’s called the May 1st reboot and it refers to the date that web designers have chosen as “spring cleaning” day. The day is used to go through websites and apply a new design, or cleanup artifacts that have been left lying around the site. In just a handful of days, the blogosphere will play its own part in the May 1st Reboot and it’s being organized over at CSS Reboot. While I’ve already done my reboot a few weeks early, there are currently 1,319 signed up to participate in the CSS Reboot which offers no rewards save tons of exposure and potential for traffic. From their about page:
The CSS Reboot is a community event for web professionals. May 1st, 2006 at 18:00 GMT Rebooters from all over the world will launch their web standards-based redesigns simultaneously, bringing traffic, interest and a little respect to their sites. There are no prizes or arbitrary winners, just great exposure and the knowledge that we all participated in something great.
Of course, to reboot you don’t have to join up with the official site. Perhaps some spit and shine on your own or grabbing a ready made theme will do nicely.
I see a few reasons for doing a CSS reboot on a blog. There’s probably much more that can be said as well so feel free to add your own reasons.
Cleaning Up What You’ve Left Behind
Every spring, folks head out to their lawn sheds or garages and start rummaging through stuff. They toss what they don’t need and keep what they want. They start cultivating the lawn, trimming weeds, pruning the rose bushes and washing the sidewalks (or is that only my father-in-law that washes his sidewalks?! ;)) You usually know when it’s spring cleaning time as the pickup trucks hauling trash start queuing up at the county dump. In the same way, blogs tend to collect rubbish in the form of broken links, file
downloads that are no longer needed, or if you’ve moved between hosts one or more time in the past year, possible messed up text (usually because character set settings are different between settings or blog platforms). Setting aside an annual Reboot day, like Darren does at the beginning of the year, puts you into a cleanup and dispose mode that only helps to keep your site lean and trim and served up well for Google.
Gives Opportunities for New Features
One thing that I’ve always enjoyed about blogging has been the technical side of things. I enjoy the code and making it do things that it wasn’t intended to do with clever use of plugins or add-ons. WordPress has a gallon of plugins (150 points for someone who can help me translate ‘a gallon of plugins’ into metric units!). A reboot provides an opportunity to examine what features you are using and how you might employ new and different features on your blog. There’s heaps (or gallons) of plugins available
for WordPress and Movable Type. Give some of them a try and see how you can spice up your blog life a little.
Keeps Readers’ Interest Alive
If there are two things I have learned in my professional life it’s that 1) change is inevitable, and 2) people hate change. The exception to this rule seems to be websites. Most people (and I say most because it’s a suspicion that I have no way to prove one way or another), seem to like change in design and layout because most layout changes seem to be evolutionary – that is, they get better and more user-friendly with time. A Reboot is a kick in the butt to freshen a users experience,
place a fresh face on your work and, in general, break monotony that tends to set in after awhil
When I rebooted a few weeks ago, it was because I found that the architecture of my blog had backed me into a corner. I found I could no longer effectively present older content, new content and that ad placement was not effectively optimized. I’m still not completely happy with my current design but for what it was intended to accomplish, it has done well. Perhaps my next entry will dive into some of the techniques that can be used as well as passing along some of the things I’ve picked up from other
established and highly-effective blog designers.