This is a great question that was asked by one of our members from our community, Digital Stars.
I’m currently looking at launching something big, but I want the new thing to be more elegant and sophisticated than everything else. Is it possible? is it a lot of work?A Member Of Digital Stars
So there’s a couple of ways we can approach this, but the short answer is yes. How it’s accomplished is going to differ based on what software your site is based on, but let’s use WordPress as an example for this.
Cascading Style Sheets are used commonly in site design to control how something looks centrally (so that formatting doesn’t have to be applied to every page of the site. It’s especially useful if you decide you want your site to be in a different font, or you want all of your titles to be capitalised – boom, change it in your CSS and it echos through your site faster than you can say “flibbertigibbet”.
We can also use it to override formatting on a page to make one specific page (or one specific part of a page) appear different from the rest of the site. If you want to have a play with this, you can change CSS on the fly using the “Inspect” element feature on browsers like Google Chrome.
Skills Level: Three Stars
Three stars denotes a level for people who have a fundamental understanding of the platform at large.
The content is designed to be suitable for folks who want to drill into a specific task or feature of a platform that they already use.
So if you have a theme on your website, this sets the look and feel of your site. If manipulating CSS to change a few bits of a page isn’t going to be enough, or if you’re looking for something larger at scale, then you could consider running essentially another site within the domain you already use.
If you have example.com as your domain name, you can use example.com/newlayout (subfolder) or newlayout.example.com (subdomain) as an option here. You install WordPress into that new area and it will behave as a whole new installation of WordPress, with a different backend (dashboard), and also a different theme (and therefore ‘look’), different blog posts, e-commerce products, Pages and everything can be different.
We use this subdomain idea to deliver our e-learning courses at Hypestar Academy. Our main site runs on hypestar.uk, so we created academy.hypestar.uk to stay within the same domain, but separate the platform away so it could have a different look, layout features and content.
Once you own a domain, you can create [anything].example.com (or example.com/[anything])
Skills Level: Two Stars
Two stars denotes a level that requires a small amount of prior understanding or experience.
The content is designed to be suitable for individuals who have already started out or experienced a platform or tool. You may already have an account, but want to learn more about how to use it.
Each site that you add may require additional an additional hosting plan from your website host, so check with them to see how you could use this option.
Both of these options require you have administrative access to your site and/or hosting – whether it’s to change your CSS, or set up a new site. After speaking to the business that posted this question, I recommended a subdomain option as there was a need to have a different experience entirely when on the ‘new’ stuff – but you may choose a different route.
As always, any comments, questions or thoughts on this, let me know in comments below. If you have a question, jump into Digital Stars and ask away; we’re here to help.