Yesterday we unveiled our new homepage and the response was… not great. Let me rephrase that. We received lots of great responses, but most were negative. The homepage was too confusing. The mobile ads were too big. Most of all, people simply wanted an easy way to see all of the latest blog posts in one place.
So the team got together, brainstormed solutions, and updated the site. I was happy with the site before and now I’m even more excited about it with the latest changes in place.
Here’s where we stand on each of the major pain points:
Homepage too confusing
We’ve dramatically simplified the page. There are now just four elements to the page: the article spotlight (selected articles that we think are worth keeping front and center for anyone who missed them when first published), latest blog posts (all of our posts sorted with the most recent on top), multimedia (links to podcasts and YouTube videos), and the sidebar. That’s it.
Mobile ads too big
The funny thing about this issue is that it is a coincidence. The big ads you are seeing on mobile would have been on the old site too. The majority of Boarding Area’s direct ad deals have paused as a result of the current pandemic. Now ads are being backfilled by Google’s ad exchanges. And most of these ads are using up all of the available space instead of being the normal old ad size. Bummer. We couldn’t fix this one.
All of the latest blog posts in one place
Done. Simply scroll past the article spotlight and you’ll see the “Latest Blog Posts” section.
Latest blog posts:
Original (now out of date) post follows:
Carrie and the Boarding Area Team got it done! The Frequent Miler blog has been running on a rickety old WordPress Theme since the beginning (Fall 2011). Carrie’s first assignment as our Creative Director was to select an up-to-date theme and redesign our homepage. Today she worked with Boarding Area to launch the new design. Done!
Here’s a quick tour…
Featured Articles (and Quick Deal carousel)
The top of our home page first shows Quick Deals in small text. Quick Deals are shown much bigger further down the page, but we wanted something at the top to grab your attention in case there’s a juicy deal going on.
Next, we show several “featured articles”. Regular readers may or may not be aware that we differentiate between our “big” featured articles and the other stuff (Quick Deals, Quick Tips, and more). At the top, you’ll find the “big” articles. These are the articles that we publish each morning around 6:30 or 7:00 am ET as well as some others that we post during the week depending upon circumstance. You can think of these articles as being the “meat” of the blog.
below the latest featured articles you’ll find one “article spotlight”. This is an article that has rolled off the top of the homepage because newer posts have pushed it away, but we think it’s still relevant and worth keeping front and center. Carrie is working on making this section more graphically appealing in a future update.
On mobile, this top section is a little different in that it only shows one featured article at the top, but you can swipe to see more:
Multimedia (podcasts & video)
Recently Frequent Miler has become more than just a blog. We have our podcast + video series (Frequent Miler on the Air) plus a few more video series. And, of course, if you’ve been following our StayCay to Far Away plans, you know that we’ll be posting many more videos soon. Now, all of that is easily discoverable on our homepage.
If you think of featured articles as the meat, then maybe the multimedia section is the sauce.
Quick Deals, Tips, and More
The Quick Deals, Tips, and More section is designed to show all the other stuff. This is where you’ll find all articles which are not “Featured Articles”. We categorize each of these articles as Quick Deals, Quick Tips, or Quick Reads.
At the top of this section is the most recent of these non-featured-articles. Next you’ll find a “deal spotlight”. This is a deal (or other type of post) that we felt was worth highlighting. Maybe its an extra special deal or one that we think is important for people to know about for other reasons.
If we stretch out the already tortured analogy, this Quick Deals, Tips, and More section is the dessert.
On the sidebar you’ll find a new and much improved search box. Start typing and it will automatically suggest articles to you before even pressing the Search button.
We’ve also added additional ways to follow us. For example, please follow us on Instagram and Youtube. On both platforms we’ll apparently unlock additional features if we get more followers so we appreciate your help with this!
The Frequent Miler team is excited to get this new look and new functionality. I hope you like it too!