Malcolm Reynolds, yet again? If you read my article about getting your blog to take off, you remember I advised your to be like Mal, quick on the draw. Mal is not one to hesitate. He’s back, still acting without hesitation.
Now I am saying be like Mal when it comes to editing your site as well, so what does that mean? It means you don’t exactly have to overthink things. It means you can be a bit playful when you let your creative side loose on the design elements of your blog.
There is a scene in the movie Serenity, where Mal is talking with the enemy, referred to as “The Operative”. This interchange takes place between them:
The Operative: I want to resolve this like civilized men. I’m not threatening you. I’m unarmed.
[Instantly pulls gun and shoots Operative in the chest, knocking him into the wall, Mal then grabs the woman Inara who is with him, and gets ready to leave]
The Operative: [grabbing Mal from behind] I am, however, wearing full body armor. I am not a moron!
Mal acted quickly, as he usually does. He takes the situation in, just like he did when he shot Dobson during the hostage situation, without a seconds hesitation, and he acts with lighting speed. This time, because he did not realize “The Operative” was wearing body armor, things went sideways after the shooting.
Get the best of both worlds
So it seems a little insane then to suggest that you take the Mal approach when it comes to editing, if things can go terribly wrong when you don’t have complete insight as to what your actions might bring.
The thing is, WordPress has some beautiful features build in, which allow you to act like Mal, but with a safety net in place, in case things don’t turn out as expected. It’s a bit like you are the one wearing the body armor. Act on the first thought you have, draw and shoot without thinking it over, and when it works out the way you thought it would, great! On to the next thing. When it doesn’t work out – “Ta-da”, you get a do-over! You get to roll back time and try another action, to see if you might end up something that you like better.
That sounds sweet doesn’t it?
The WordPress Customizer & Preview allow you to shoot first, without worrying about consequences.
If it turns out you made an error in judgement, it’s like having a time machine and you can get back to where you were before you took the action. Ready to try the next thing again. No damage done, and the best thing is, only you saw the changes that didn’t work out. You don’t have to make anything public before you are sure everything looks just right. That’s a great way to work, don’t you agree?
WordPress lets you do this, it’s built right into it.
There are two different ways you can employ this approach.
One is when you are writing a post or creating a page. Instead of hitting the “update” button, you can instead hit the “preview changes” button and a new tab will open up where you can see what your edits look like, without first having saved them. If you like what you see, close the tab and you’ll be back on the edited version which you can now update. If you don’t like what you see, no worries, go back and continue editing until you are happy with the results.
The second way to apply the risk free “shoot first” approach is by use of the Customizer. Using the Customizer you can add and edit widgets, change the background color of your site, change the background image if you use one, change the title description, and several other aspects of the site. While making these changes, you will see the effect of the changes right in your browser, but theses changes are ONLY visible to you. Any visitors to your site will not see these edits until they have gone live. So if you are not happy with your edits, all you have to do is exit the Customizer without saving first, and your site will be untouched.
Have a backup in place, if you decide to do any editing that cannot be rolled back using these two option. Failing all else, the backup is your best safety net when making edits or updates.