Now that I’ve been at this blogging thing for over 3.5 years, I have learned a thing or two about website design. It was painfully obvious that I needed to redesign Thousandaire, and I’ve finally done it.
The changes are substantial and yet subtle at the same time. I actually made the change last week and haven’t seen a single comment or twitter mention about the new design (except for when I asked people to go look and tell me if they notice anything).
The Homepage Shows Full Posts
I used to a have a big fancy slider at the top of my page, which I thought was really cool and professional looking. In reality, it just put my content one more click away from my readers. The slider is gone and now you can read the full text of my posts right on the homepage.
Research has shown that people simply ignore homepage sliders, and I personally love blogs that give me the full posts without having to click again. This was the biggest thing I wanted out of my new design.
I Have a Recommended Products Page
There are two reasons for this page. First, there are a lot of great products that I highly recommend. Some are investment products like Lending Club. Others are services like Angie’s List I use for my house when I’m hiring contractors. I also recommend the new theme I’m using on this site, and other stuff I love like my shower mirror.
The second reason for this is that most of these links are affiliate links, so if people click on them and buy something, I get a percentage of the sale. My goal is to be self employed one day, so I’m trying to generate a little more money from this site. Of course I only recommend products I actually believe in, so the fact that I might get a commission is just a nice bonus.
I’m Down to Just 3 Post Categories
You may notice that there are three links in the navigation bar: “Personal Finance”, “Politics”, and “Life”. When I really thought about what topics I cover on this blog, everything fit into one of those three.
If you are someone who enjoys my personal finance stuff but hates my political posts, you can just use that personal finance link to see the articles you enjoy most. I want to make it easy for people to find exactly what they are looking without sorting through 100 categories.
My Newsletter Signup Is More Prominent
The last major change I made was to make my newsletter signup much more prominent. It’s in the top right corner of the header, and I’ve also added a pop-up to ask readers to subscribe to my newsletter after they’ve read a post (don’t worry, you can turn it off).
My email newsletter is great because it lets me communicate directly with my readers. They don’t have to remember to come to the site and check for new posts; they just get it in their inbox. Sure, this might decrease the traffic actually hitting my site, but I’m more concerned with happy readers than site statistics.
Look Around for More Updates
I’ve only covered the main changes to the site. There are actually quite a bit more changes if you look around.
I updated the About page to reflect my new life situation and the updated goals of the site (with a new picture of me and a really hot chick). I updated my Lending Club Profit Calculator to look a little bit more fancy. I did other stuff that I can’t think of right now, so you’ll just have to click around and see.
I hope you like it, and please give me your honest feedback. I won the Plutus Award for “Best Designed” site two years ago and I was a finalist last year, so I was a little afraid to “mess with success” but I really do feel this is a better design.
Readers: How do you like the new site? Let me know in the comments.