September 9th, 2011

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve always been among the ugly ducklings of web sites. We’ve been ok with that, though.

“It’s what’s on the inside that’s important,” we kept telling ourselves.

Sure, we had seemingly random bits of information strewn around in various places, a colour-scheme that might best be described as “meh”, and sidebar sections that seemed to stretch on for miles with only one or two words per line. Maybe “ugly” isn’t the right word, though. Perhaps “hap-hazard” is better. Either way, we didn’t worry about it too much because the site was functional and people kept coming back day after day.

And we’ve been pretty good at keeping a loyal audience over the 5+ years that we’ve been doing this. Our readers want new contests to enter every day, and we’ve been delivering them. Seven days a week. Fifty-two weeks per year. Even weekends and holidays don’t slow us down.

As long as people keep coming to the site, who cares what we look like?

Well, I guess we do. The truth is that first impressions mean a lot, and when someone came across our site from a Google search, we were not likely to impress them with the look that we had. Sure, if they took the time to look around and see how many contests we have and how valuable the visitor comments are, they’d likely come back, but there would be fairly sizable group of people that would take one look at our home page and move on. We want to reduce the size of that group.

So, after days of slaving away in the basement office, we have emerged with a new look! It’s still a work-in-progress, so there will continue to be changes, but we’re already pretty pleased with the difference. The updates also open the door for some more changes that we’ll be introducing in the next few weeks.

The site’s functionality should still be the same as what you’re used to, other than the fact that a few things like the Categories list and Recent Comments have moved to new locations. We moved the Recent Comments section to the bottom of the page because it takes up a lot of space and doesn’t really fit in the sidebar. What do you think of this? Do you often look at the Recent Comments? Should it be more prominent?

And, overall, what do you think? Have we gone from ugly duckling to swan? Or at least from ugly duckling to ugly duckling with a cute smile?

Please feel free to let us know in the comments.

 

28 Responses to Our New Look

  1. artman says:

    I, for one, love how this place looks now. Kudos to the powers that be. 🙂

  2. Jill says:

    I enjoyed seeing the comments listed with the relevant contests. It was more convenient if I was hoping to find an answer/upc required for that particular contest.

    • Mike says:

      Yes, the comments will still be with the relevant contests. It’s just the “Recent Comments” section that has moved to the bottom of the page. It shows the 12 most recent comments for the whole site.

  3. Ronnie says:

    Love the new look but I notice that the site doesn’t size to my screen and I have to scroll right to see whatever is posted there (sponsors/donate button etc). Keep up the great job!

    • Mike says:

      Thanks Ronnie – yes, it seems that it’s a bit too wide for people that are running at 1024×768. I’ll make it a bit more narrow.

  4. Larry says:

    Much more user friendly.

  5. spamgirl says:

    It’s very pink. My only complaint is that the titles of each post no longer change colour when clicked – I used to do that to see where I left off the day before. Now I can’t 🙁

  6. change is always good(and inevitable!),but whatever you may throw our way is easier to swallow with the help of Artman’s quirky humor!can’t tell you how many times you’re words have made me bust out laughing!keep up the good work and with all those cool contests..

  7. artman says:

    Thanks Mike Mottishaw and thank you everyone for the helpful tips to improve the site. >>>Group Hug<<<

  8. kat says:

    i liked the ‘old website’, there was nothing wrong with it..i don’t like it as much now ( sorry ) as it fills my monitor screen ( TOO BIG! ) in FULL and I have to scroll down to see it all..BEFORE I could see it on my screen perfectly without having to adjust anything! oh well..such is change i guess..i still of course appreciate having this website to peruse and thank artman for all his comments that giggle my funny bone often! 😉

  9. Fay VanHorn says:

    I agree, although Thanks to Artman for all his work. I guess change must happen, but if it isn’t broke, please don’t fix it.

  10. SusanB says:

    I’m loyal. I love it. 🙂

  11. SUSAN K. says:

    I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED YOUR SITE…AND I BELIEVE I HAVE BEEN WITH YOU FROM THE BEGINNING. I HAVE GIVEN YOUR SITE TO MANY OF MY FRIENDS WHO ALSO CONTEST. THE SITE IS GREAT…THE NEW SITE IS ALWAYS ‘BETTER’…AND I AGREE WITH JILL ABOUT THE COMMENTS. THE COMMENTS ARE FANTASTIC WHEN FELLOW CONTESTORS SHARE UPC, ANSWERS, AND A LAUGH!! THANKS FOR HELPING ME WIN ALL THESE YEARS….KEEP ON TRUCKING!!!!!

  12. Dana says:

    Ugly? Never! And Artman is still here, so that’s a plus! Thanks for all your hard work! Hope you get a lot more traffic!

  13. Cathy says:

    Love, love, love it!! All relevant info is plain to see, site is not overloaded and busy. Thanks for all the hard work in bringing us this site! Can I say it again…..love it!

  14. Mottypark says:

    i very much agree happily that sharing UPC,s etc. always helps others who have the shared passions-i have been fortunate to have been generously gifted without warning,and always do my best to ‘Pay It Forward..”as much as possible.Keep it Up One and All-great jobs everyone.

  15. Mike says:

    Thanks for the great comments everyone! One thing we all seem to agree on is that as long as Artman is cracking jokes, the site will do ok. The next thing I want to look at is getting a new discussion forum up-and-running (the old one is badly outdated and has lots of problems) , so you can expect more details about that in the next couple of weeks.

  16. Gerald says:

    I didn’t notice, but don’t be disheartened by that. What I noticed was that the site looked cleaner, but my conscious thought processes didn’t follow it through to figure out there was a new design.

    Cleaner, but not scarily different, is definitely a good thing.

  17. Dana says:

    No pressure, Artman! 😉 We appreciate you too Mike! So will there maybe be a Contest Winners section? I love reading what people win!

  18. Patricia says:

    I go away for a week and BAM!! Thought my computer was hijacked to some new site. Once I got over that shock though I started to look around and I must say “I LIKE IT!” The voting section is a nice touch but what happens when the page fills up? Maybe you could put that in a separate section or something. Anyway, I love the new look, but I loved the old one too! This is a great site and very easy to move around in. Great contests, lots of humor and wonderful daily updates. Thanks for all your hard work.

  19. needed a while to get used to it but its fine