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Site Redesign – Input Requested

Hello hello, friends! As you know, I have been working hard these past few months to turn this blog into something a bit more professional. Professional, but with a continued heavy influence of fart jokes and “that’s what she said” comments. It’s a thing.

As I think about the long-term plan for this place, I keep coming back to wanting to redesign the site. I am currently using a template from a company that is fine but is not customized for me. I have been on a waiting list to formally apply to the waiting list (yep, that’s a thing) for a company whose work I admire. The waiting list will open later this fall, and then I have to wait in a queue for my turn. I’m the kind of impatient person who will yell at the microwave to hurry up, but for this, I am doing my best to bide my time.

While I twiddle my thumbs, it gives me ample opportunity to think about this space and how I want it to look and feel. My hope is for something fun, user-friendly, easy to navigate, and makes you smile.

But while I have ideas, I am not actually the end user. You fabulous people are! Thus, I’m hoping to pick your brains today in an effort to make any potential redesign kick ass for all involved. If you have a few minutes to answer some questions, I would greatly appreciate it. And while I’ll look at all the results and compile them into anΒ Excel file (#nerdalert), I may not be able to implement all suggestions made.

Please leave your answers to these questions in the comments:

  1. What is one thing (or a few things) about this site that you’d like to remain after the redesign? I’m talking more about the navigation of the page, not my writing topics, or things like that.
  2. What is one thing (or a few things) you’d love to see improved? And yes, I hate the ads too. But until I can figure out a better way to monetize, they are part of this place. πŸ™
  3. I’m not looking to copy any other bloggers, but would you like to share a link to a site that you love? What is it that you love about the site?

I so appreciate your time in advance as I spiff things up!

 

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44 comments on “Site Redesign – Input Requested”

  1. Really, I don’t have anything I would change, you have less ads/popups than many bloggers and I can find any recipe I know you listed. (seriously, nobody expects All recipes search capacity for a food blogger). I can’t think of constructive feedback for changes…keep coming back for the humor, recipes and a healthy dose of the reals.

  2. I read through Feedly so normally only click through to comment. If you could make your most recent post appear first on the home page that would be great. The Bloggess is a good example of that. Epbot recently changed so you have to click through from an RSS feed to see the whole article, I think you get maybe the first third in the preview, I’d be happy to do that if it gave you advertising revenue.

  3. I love how you have a section labeled ‘Hippy Shit’. It makes me giggle every time ?

    • It makes me laugh too. One time, a reader sent me a HUGE email (seriously, it was so long) about how I was trying too hard to be quirky and “cute” and she pointed to the “Hippie Shit” category as an example of that.

      I kindly wrote her back and let her know that on the blog, I’m actually only about 50% as quirky and weird as I am in real life. Can’t win them all!

  4. I love you. I love your blog.

    I want you to update your picture so people can admire your current state of sexiness.

  5. I like: the photos or illustrations you have on every post.

    Please (please please) make it mobile friendly!

    The Frugal Girl has done a good job of having a site that looks great in both desktop and mobile versions.

    • My template is categorized as mobile friendly. You have to have certain aspects to be considered mobile friendly, and all those boxes are checked for my site. You can access everything on mobile that you can on the desktop. Can you please explain more about your experience as to why it isn’t mobile friendly for you? Details will help me so much. Thanks!

  6. I read your blog for the content, and really don’t even notice the design. Maybe that’s just my personality, but truly I can’t think of a thing you should change. Not much help, BUUUUTTT, flattering. πŸ˜‰ I have ditched reading 90% of the blogs I used to follow, but have yours and a couple others that I’m excited to see pop up (I read via Bloglovin).

    • Aww, thanks so much!

      I never read blogs for the site design, but I’ll stop reading blogs if the site pisses me off too much. If it’s hard to navigate or doesn’t make sense, I’ll often just give up on it out of laziness.

  7. I would hate for you to change your blog — it\’s easy to see when you have a new post as soon as I open your blog, your content is AWESOME (or, if you prefer, AMAZEBALLLLS). I like the clean look and, in fact, yours is one of the few blogs that doesn\’t cause me to either sigh or cuss in frustration.

    As far as ads, I disable Java and have no ads to bother me at all. I know you want to change, but I wish you wouldn\’t!

    • Thanks so much. My most recent post is actually under the three posts at the top of my home page. It’s a super weird layout, and always something that has irked me. Same on mobile. But my goal with the redesign to make things better and user-friendly. So if you like it as is, you’ll LOVE any improvements because I aim for it to only get better.

  8. I love reading your blog, but the last design update you did made it very difficult to read, and I must confess that I no longer visit as often. If you could at least get rid of one of the duplicate headers, that would be a vast improvement. I understand that you need to have ads, but between the ad bar at the top and the “share” bar at the bottom, there’s only about 2/3 of the screen left to view your content (the stuff I come here to see).

    • Can you tell me what you mean by “duplicate headers”? Is it part of the design that you’re referring to, or ad related?

      What has made it difficult to read (other than the ads)? This is all great feedback, but I want to dig deeper to make sure I am understanding it. Thanks!

      • By “duplicate headers” I mean that the bar that reads “Home, About Me, etc.” appears at the very top aligned to the left and then again underneath aligned to the right (next to the picture with the mason jars).

        What’s made it a bit difficult to read is that the posts aren’t organized chronologically on the home page. Everything seems a bit choppy on the home page. A couple blogs that I think are laid out nicely are http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/ and http://www.frugalwoods.com/

      • Ah, got it. Thanks so much for responding and for further details!

        Yeah, the most recent post on the homepage is at the bottom. I too find that super annoying. The rest of the posts are in order, but the most recent one throws me off too.

  9. 1. I enjoy your photos with the comments under them. Can you tell I’m not a techie??
    2. Please quit apologizing for the ads. While I’m not a techie, we all know ads are part of the deal. I appreciate your disclosures about products, however.
    3. True story, your blog is my favorite…the one I quote to others, the one I encourage others to check out and the standard I use for the other ones I go to.

    While the design may change, I’m okay with whatever format you use…it’s still gonna be awesome ?

  10. I love your blog and writing.
    1. I like that one can easily look up past recipes. I like that you section out the different type of posts.
    2. I would like to see the most recent post at the top of the page. It is usually like that, but not always.
    3. http://soulemama.com
    I like that the post are in order of most recent. She doesn’t have ads, but has sponsors posts on weekend. I’m not sure if that is something you could also do.

  11. I love smittenkitchen because it’s easy to read and find things. I love your blog but it’s difficult to figure out what’s most recent sometimes because of the separate categories and how it’s presented on the blog’s landing page.

    lime green for links is a little difficult to read (just FYI) but doesn’t stop me from coming by.

    • I never liked the lime either. The template came with a grey, but people complained I never linked anything…they just couldn’t see it because of the font.

      I just changed it to a lighter blue for links. Would love to hear how it’s looking for you.

  12. Keep the ads – as I know that’s the revenue, but can you please oh please not have them pop up along the top/bottom of the page? It makes it really hard to read (they squish the text into 3″ blocks of text), and then I can’t access the scrollbar at times (of course, as I write this, there isn’t one along the bottom πŸ˜‰ ).

    • Are you reading on mobile or a computer? The ads are segmented by the company for different formats, so knowing how you are reading it is important for me to go back to my ad people.

  13. 1. I’d like to continue to get your blog in my email.
    2. I’d like a search option, especially in your recipe section.
    3. You’re my only one πŸ˜‰

    • I do have a search option, but since that is a theme that is coming up a lot in this feedback, it clearly isn’t very obvious. I agree, it should be easier to find!
      RE: #3 (awww, thanks)

  14. My eyes are not what they used to be and I am LOVING your large font!
    Erika touched on just about everything I dislike about other blogs, so I won’t repeat it. One thing she didn’t mention (and I don’t believe you do this either. Please don’t start!) is those things that pop up in the middle of the screen when you are *just* about to start reading that ask the reader to follow you in all the other social media sites. I HATE those. (although I do follow you on Instagram and Facebook already!)
    Also, I have a question for you about your ads. That big one across the top of the screen that we can get rid of with the little x….. I click that x immediately and get the ad off my screen. How do those work for you? Do you get paid if they stay up for a certain length of time? Do I have to actually click on it to help you out? As much as I hate ads, I’d like to help you out if possible (without a purchase) , but I don’t know how they work.

    • Ha, I have one of those social media pop ups! But if you already follow me on social media, it doesn’t hound you. I also have it setup to only ask twice in 10 days before it leaves people alone.

      Do you read my blog on mobile or a computer? The ads are different depending on the format. And truth be told, the “earnings” vary depending on the company. Some pay based on CPM (Clicks per Milieu (or Thousand)), so if someone clicks on them, it caches a tiny bit of revenue for me. But some of the company ads are based on page views to my site and I would earn that money no matter if you click on them or not.

      • Thanks for not “hounding” me then!!!! If I haven’t seen that pop up in a while, clearly I am here too often! πŸ˜‰
        I mostly use a laptop. I never use my phone for computer-y things, I prefer the set up of a computer.
        It’s funny, I was looking at a sale on a store website just before returning here, and the ad at the top of the page was for something I had just looked at! Spooky….

  15. I love a good search option. I reference your blog a LOT for recipes and product recommendations. πŸ™‚

    • I do have a search bar, but it clearly isn’t prominent or very handy. I agree with you and it will be at the top of my list for the new site!

  16. Hi, I love your blog and the way you write. Thank you. I don’t have a specific comment for the 3 important questions but would like to find out if there is a search dialog box on your site. I tried to find the recipe for zucchini chips the other day and never found it. So either I remember it from a different blog or it is there someplace and I could not find it. Keep doing what you are doing and improving where you see you feel good about it. I love your life and reading about it. Thanks again. Susie

    • Yes there is. If you’re on mobile, it is more than halfway down the main page. If you’re on a computer it is under the monthly archives. It clearly isn’t user-friendly for people or easy to find. Definitely, something I will prioritize for the next wave.

  17. 1. I read in my email, so I really have nothing I am particularly attached to Design wise.
    2. I would love to see a “featured post” or something similar that changes frequently. I love some of your older posts and forget about them when they aren’t in front of my face. The updating of old recipes has been wonderful for this!
    3. https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/ The thing I like best about this site is the “Start Here” option. If you are brand new to any blog it is really nice to be able to get caught up instead of coming in to the middle. I think something like this on your blog would be great. Especially for anyone who is struggling financially they way your family was when you started blogging.

  18. I am not a huge blog reader so I don’t know how helpful my comment will be! I subscribe via email so I usually read your posts that way, on my phone either early in the morning or late at night when I have a moment. I hardy have time to get on an actual computer and just browse through the web. If I do go on a blog I like having a search bar, an about me section, blog posts broken down into different categories so if you want to browse all the recipes, or all the sewing tutorials you can.. or even having things broken down even further like dinner recipes, breakfast recipes, etc. whenever I see a new blog I always check the about me section πŸ˜‰ ads I don’t mind but the ads I hate are the kind that block the bottom of photos or the kind that pop up when you are scrolling like right over what you are trying to look at. Sometimes if there are too many ads I will just not even bother reading the persons post because it is too cumbersome! Oh and I seriously hate when people break their blog posts up between pages. Especially f it’s more than two pages you have to click through just to read like a paragraph per page. Often times I will just x right out of that and never bother with their blog again. I can understand if it’s a super long tutorial and you can’t fit it all into one page. Sorry if this isn’t what you are wanting πŸ˜‰ I like your blog. You often make me laugh and you seem very genuine and down to earth! Your kids are super cute and you are relatable.

    • You’re so very busy, and I am always amazed when you have time to read anything. So thank you for giving me a few moments of your precious time.

      I have no idea how people can split their posts into two pages. That is beyond my tech skills!

  19. Nothing bothers me, and I never I thought anything should be changed. Nothing particularly stands out (we are talking DESIGN, not content) as a particular WOW feature, but unless you ask my husband, I’m pretty easy to please. So, overall, I think the site is just fine.

    Please don’t stop reading: you didn’t ask for content comments, but you’re going to get one now (I may be as difficult as my husband says I am. I’d like to see how this fits into your Excel file). Do the world a favor and start a blog for people who are depressed. Fill it with photos of Bennett’s happy eyes and face. That is all. : )

  20. Unless I’m missing it on my iPad… a search option. So I could search site for a specific recipe or post I remember with a keyword.

  21. I don’t mind your ads, but the blog I love doesn’t use ads (she has digital products-which look awesome but honestly I don’t buy them) her blog is http://www.jonesdesigncompany.com.
    It has such a clean but not sterile look. She has a much different type of content so please understand that I am not trying to change your site into hers, just she has a good blog product.

    She also does something called a coffee chat where she videos herself talking about a few small things on her mind lately (a few products she might use or a good book or something she has recently done) I love these because they are a good way to display the personality behind the blog. You get the words (like the blog) but you also hear the voice and see the face which seems so much less virtual!

    So change away but don’t spend too much on your website because when I read a blog content is king/queen/prince/princess! The frills are nice but there asr so many frilly blogs that I have no desire to read, but I read every post you make ?