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.
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