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Will You Reboot on May 1st?

cssreboot

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.

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Comments

  1. I’m planning on a reboot for May 1st. Actually, I must admit, I’ve jumped the gun and thrown up something new earlier than expected. I’m one of the types that most bloggers should avoid. The type that is constantly changing the layout and content presentation on a page. I’m going to try my best to stick with the current look for a few months without touching a thing. The issue with constant redesigns is that readers who visit your page, rather than subscribing to your feed, will often find themselves disoriented. Anyway.. I can’t wait for the 1st to roll around. There are a number of fantastic designers out there that seem to pull magic out of the designer hat. I’m still trying to find mine.

  2. sg GOD says:

    I just started a new site. So NO near future plans.

  3. Eric Giguere says:

    I barely have time to do a spring cleaning on my house, let alone my websites….

  4. brem says:

    I reboot constantly

  5. Andy Merrett says:

    Nah, spring cleaning a blog is far more fun – less messy (at least, in terms of dust).

    By coincidence (I’d totally forgotten the CSS Reboot date) we’re officially launching a site on May 1st – not sure if it counts as a reboot if it’s new, though.

  6. vivek says:

    Anyways 1st may is compulsory reboot for me as it is going to be my birthday :)

  7. mark says:

    Darren, you mis-typed the CSS REBOOT url within this text..

    “being organized over at CSS Reboot. While I’ve”

    No time to reboot this year. :(

  8. Andy: That would just be a ‘boot’. :D
    Vivek: Thanks for the heads up. It looks like Darren made the edit for me while I slept. ;-)

  9. MeBlogger says:

    strictly noooooo.

  10. I’m at least kicking the idea around – and I’ve done some pre-May tweaks. But honestly planning to do this really seems too much like work.If I just on the spur of the moment decided to spend six hours obsessing about which shade of pale pale pale greyed down green works for the background – well that’s not work.

    This is probably why I had to laugh when I read Derek’s:
    “I’m one of the types that most bloggers should avoid. The type that is constantly changing the layout and content presentation on a page. . . .The issue with constant redesigns is that readers who visit your page, rather than subscribing to your feed, will often find themselves disoriented.”

    My visitors are probably disoriented anyhow so they probably wouldn’t notice a difference in these miniscule “refinements” that I make while (probably) leaving big gaping design faux pas sticking out like a sore thumb.

  11. Doug says:

    Metalunderground.com will be rebooting for its 5th anniversary! If you’ve got a site you need to cleanup and redesign, you might as well participate in a reboot, since it’s free promotion and links back to your site.

  12. Angela says:

    The only thing that I know of that is happening here in the United States on May 1st is the great illegal immigrant boycott. My thoughts on that – BRING IT ON.

  13. IceMan says:

    yeah im considering a “reboot” on my sites design

  14. Phu says:

    “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.”

    Good point; a lot of people confuse design with style instead of understanding that design is all about communicating, interacting and presenting information from the author to the intended audience. I’m distinctly conscious that the design of my site not only has an impact on how readers access information but also on the way I produce content.

    “Will You Reboot on May 1st?”

    I already have:)

  15. Just launched my reboot. ;)

Trackbacks

  1. Spring Cleaning in Cyberspace

    I haven’t organized myself to the point of planning on the reboot day which the bloggosphere does kind of informally each May first. Probably because it sounds too much like work if planned. Apparently I understood on some level the need to put a fres…

  2. [...] Will You Reboot on May 1st? 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 […] [...]