About two years ago, I wrote a blog post that broke down what I learned about you through 4 redesigns. In case you missed the post, here is what I learned from you from the first 4 redesigns:
- You don’t really care to find new blog posts through categories. Due to this, there is a “most popular posts widget” in the sidebar, which you tend to prefer.
- The most effective way in which I have been able to monetize Quick Sprout was by linking it to my two companies, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, in the sidebar. This blog currently drives a few thousand people to my companies every month.
- By adding a “top commenters” widget, I was able to increase the number of comments on Quick Sprout by 79%.
- When I removed the “subscribe to comments” option, my comments per post went down by 26% (I’ve added it back since then).
- The only social media icon that you clicked on was Twitter, so I removed all other social media buttons.
- You prefer simple commenting solutions, which is why I am not using anything fancy like Disqus.
- Out of the 4 redesigns, the one that increased subscriber growth the most was the first design, which had a subscription option in the top right.
- To reduce email spam, I added a contact page, which states what I will and will not blog about.
Now that you’re up to speed, I recently decided to redesign the blog again (this is the 5th redesign). With the help of Digital Telepathy, I’ve redesigned the blog based on these 7 new things I’ve learned about you.
Don’t take colors for granted
Since the blog has a ton of content on each page, especially if you include the comments, it’s really important to make it easy to read. The content has always been formatted for readability, but the colors weren’t.
The background color of the old blog was grey. The new color is a calm yellow.
If you look at the image above, you’ll notice that the yellow color is much softer and easier on the eyes. Although it is a small change, it is an important one because, on average, you spend more than 4 minutes and 17 seconds reading each blog post.
Emails drive traffic
Do you know what the number one referrer to Quick Sprout is? I know, it’s not a tough one to guess as it’s probably Google, right?
Yes, it is Google, but do you know what the 2nd most popular referrer is? It’s email! That’s right, you prefer to come back to Quick Sprout by email. Because of this, I’ve created a landing page, which helps me collect more emails.
Let’s be friends
The third most popular way you use to come back to Quick Sprout is through Twitter and Facebook. With my old design, I just linked you to my Twitter and Facebook profile, but the issue was you really didn’t click on it.
With 150,000 visitors coming to Quick Sprout each month, you would think I would have more Twitter followers and Facebook fans, right? Well, once I removed the links to my social profiles and made that section in my sidebar a bit more social, my social profiles have been growing.
Instead of just linking you to my social profiles, I now give you the ability to add me as a friend with one click. Plus, I use social proof by showing you the number of Facebook friends I have, which helps entice you to become one as well.
I now have over 90,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 Facebook fans.
You want to learn more
About a year ago, I detailed my failed attempt at monetizing Quick Sprout. It wasn’t your fault. I just executed it poorly. There were two main issues:
- I didn’t have a solid product/service offering.
- Most of you didn’t know that I offered a product/service.
I fixed the first issue by spending more time on creating a solid product offering. And as for the second issue, I fixed that by modifying my homepage.
If you now go to the Quick Sprout homepage, you’ll find the product offering. If you want to get to the blog, you have to click on the blog “navigation” menu item. The old homepage is now the homepage of the blog section.
Sharing is caring
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of my traffic comes from Twitter and Facebook. So, to help encourage this, I’ve added social buttons to the side of each blog post. As you scroll down, the buttons move with you.
Adding these buttons increased my traffic from these social sites by over 27%.
In addition to having social buttons for Twitter and Facebook, I’ve added a button for Google Plus. It’s yet to be seen if Google Plus votes will increase my Google search traffic, but I feel it is worth a shot as Google is the number one referrer to my site.
Messaging is important
Every day my inbox gets flooded with hundreds of emails. A lot of them are questions from you, and a lot of them are sales pitches. I love the emails from you because I love helping people. I also learned from you a lot over the years. But I hate emails with sales pitches.
In my past redesigns, I created a contact page that clearly stated what I will blog about and what I won’t blog about, which reduced the number of emails I receive each day. But that page didn’t help me get more of the “right” type of emails.
So, with the new contact page, I clearly state what type of emails I want: I love interviews and press inquires. This has helped me get more press for Quick Sprout and my company.
You don’t want to be too social
Over a year ago, I added a questions and answers community to Quick Sprout. I did this to encourage more conversations on the blog. But there was one big issue: it caused more of you to participate in the Questions and Answers area of the site and stop leaving comments.
Because of this, I removed that area of the site as it didn’t fit in with my larger goal. I was hoping that you would use it to ask me questions, instead of emailing them to me, as I get asked the same ones numerous times.
Plus, I wasn’t able to build a big enough bond with you through the questions and answers area as it seemed that we connected better over email. My guess is that it happened to be this way because you got more personal with your questions over email than on the site.
Although I want this redesign to be my last one, I don’t think it’s going to be that way. I am constantly learning from you and will continue to modify the design to best fit your needs.
I hope this blog post has inspired you to redesign your website. When doing so, make sure your changes are based on what your visitors want instead of what you want.
Lastly, when redesigning, you don’t have to do a complete overhaul. You can do what I do, which is making small tweaks.
So, what do you think of the changes to Quick Sprout?