If you’ve never redesigned a website — and experienced the thrills and frustrations of the process — then pull up a chair, please. Let me tell you about the pure chaos that happens when you try to makes something good even better.

I’m a big believer in what the Japanese call kaizen, or the constant process of improvement. Every redesign of my consumer advocacy site gets a little better — more usable, readable and interesting.

After a year of using the same theme (that’s geek-speak for the website’s appearance), I knew it was time for an upgrade. We were repeatedly running up against the limits of our code, and had to fix it.

My editors and I reviewed several potential themes. You can buy them online and modify them with the help of a developer. After much deliberation, we decided to go with a popular and versatile new look coded by Themegrill called ColorMag.

We did everything we could offline before switching themes, but knew there were some changes that could only be made to a live version. So on late Friday, we pushed the button and switched our digital skin.

Immediately, all of our company contacts went offline. Then stories disappeared. Our Google Analytics code, which we use to measure traffic, vanished. Links started breaking left and right. It was complete pandemonium!

Ah, but my developer and staff of volunteer advocates are at their best at times like this. We quickly compiled a to-do list, prioritized it, and got to work. By Sunday morning, we were well on our way to recovery. See for yourself, but please be kind if you find a bug.

Make no mistake — there’s still a lot of work to do. But the worst appears to be over, and that’s because I have the honor of working with the best. These are by far the finest consumer advocates in the business, and they are here for you every day.

Interestingly, that’s a subject that comes up often in my advocacy work. Why didn’t you work with the best? Why didn’t you buy a better car? Subscribe to a better phone service? Hire a human travel agent? Why did you cut corners, just to try and save a few bucks?

And, when you have a consumer problem, why wouldn’t you go to the best advocacy team in the business?

I hear the excuses all the time. It’s too expensive, there are too many strings attached, it’s too inconvenient (oh yes, there’s that form we ask people to fill out). But in the end, you pay even more for cutting corners.

Always demand excellence. Never leave well enough alone. Words to live by, especially if you’re a consumer.

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