I love the New Year. One of my favorite things to do is redesign Pushing Social. You’re looking at our latest iteration.
You may have noticed that we’ve made some drastic changes and many subtle ones.
Here’s what we did and why:
1. No Sidebars
Sidebars are like cranberry sauce, some love ‘em others wish they would never show up again on the Thanksgiving table. I am in the “Ick! Sidebars crowd”. We’ve seen a steady decline in sidebar effectiveness for almost 2 years. On some days, it would be better to use a banner ad than a sidebar! This year, we bid them farewell.
As you see, our new “No Sidebar” look feels uncluttered and minimalist. This design focuses attention on the article content not the bells and whistles we tend to dump in sidebars.
Removing the sidebar does create a few issues:
- How do we promote new products?
The old-fashioned way, write an article. Most people aren’t ready to click on a sidebar button without context. Our data shows that we get significantly better results when we use an article rather than a sidebar to share new product benefits.
- How do we direct people to less popular items?
We don’t. A minimalist approach forces us to eliminate the content that doesn’t make sense for the reader. So knick knacks like category listings, book promos, testimonials, etc are integrated into others areas of the website. For example, testimonials will be shown with products. We will link to landing pages when we want to draw more attention to specific items.
Simple Home Page
There are some fancy designs out there. Rotating photos, animations, you name it, there’s a template to get it on your website with a few clicks. My last home page had the latest, state-of-the-art features. But I noticed that all people really wanted to see was our latest articles. That’s it. Everything else just got in the way.
Our new home page has the last 5 articles and a search bar to help you find a particular article.
This approach places emphasis on our articles. It also makes our homepage lightning fast shaving off a second on loading time. Loading time matters to Google; they prefer sites that load quickly for their users. A fast site also keeps visitors happy since they can quickly get what they need.
Social Media Icons
This breaks my heart but social media icons aren’t as critical on Pushing Social. We still use them but they have been placed at the bottom of the article. Our loyal sharers are happy to scroll an inch to click on the icons. That’s good enough for us.
We’ve also continued our focus on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. We are active on these platforms and can engage when needed.
Wait, aren’t you going to lose social media traffic?
Maybe. But Google search, email, and bookmarked links perform much better than social media. Our most loyal and engaged readers find us through search not social media. Social Media still works well for many industries but for us…not so much.
Isn’t Social Media the best way to “engage” with an audience?
No. Email, instant message, and phone calls are the best way to create relationships with people. We are flippin’ out of our minds if we believe that 140 characters or a Pinterest board is sufficient for creating business relationships. We’ve built Pushing Social by focusing on real interaction. I recommend you do the same.
Tell me something, would you like to get another newsletter in your inbox. No, I didn’t think so. Your likely a marketing type which means you are drowning in newsletters. So, I’ve decided to make it easy to sign-up for article updates without the obnoxious boxes. Look below the article title…see the CLICK TO GET UPDATES? Not obnoxious. Easy to find. Enjoy.
Also, at the bottom of every post, you have another opportunity to get updates. Soon that will be replaced with an invitation to sign-up for the Content Toolbox.
Simple, clean, and minimal are the hallmarks for 2016.
For most of Pushing Social’s history, the brand has been about “ALARM!” Take action before it’s too late. Move now. Act now. Get off your butt. I’m a little older. I can’t dunk a basketball anymore. Some say I’m a bit wiser. I’m more concerned with quality, artistry, subtlety, and inspiration. You can motivate yourself.
As such, the 2016 color palette still retains our tried and true #a20000 Pushing Social red with a few gentle notes adding PS Blue [#7e9fc0] and PS Tan [e0c6b1]
Excellent design comes down to what you remove. Fancy color palettes are being sacrificed for a design vocabulary that focuses on what is being said without being harassed by technicolor dreamcoat doodads.
Templates – Coming Full Circle
For years I stuck with the templates produced by StudioPress. But I’m a geek and a tinkerer and couldn’t help but use themes from ThemeForest, WooThemes, and the like. After two years I began to appreciate StudioPress’ thoughtful take on template design. Their templates are fast, uncluttered, and relatively easy to customize.
This site is built on the No Sidebar template and I adore it. There’s not much to look at buttons to appreciate.
We’ll be focusing on different types of content in 2016. Pushing Social has a deep textual heritage. Podcasting, video, and outrageous photos have made appearances from time to time but haven’t found a permanent place on the site. In the next few weeks, we will be adding richer content to all areas of the site.
The additions will be contextual and easy to enjoy. One reason for the white space you see is to give other types of content the chance “fit” without feeling “bolted-on” to the experience.
The Content Toolbox
We added the Content Toolbox to give our regular readers an easy way to download the tools and checklists that accompany most posts. We felt that making you register for everything was clunky and – well – rude. The Content Toolbox has all of our Guides, Special Reports, Presentations, Video, and Checklists in an easy to navigate format.
You get everything for no charge (for the moment). All you need to do is register.
We toyed with getting rid of the toolbox, but with close to 700 subscribers in just a few months, we felt it would be – well – rude to take it down. So enjoy it while it’s still free.
Making the Site Go
WordPress sites need plugins. I’m a plugin junkie so I have more than the recommended number of plugins. Oh well. The 2016 version of Pushing Social uses 44 plugins. Content Toolbox members can take a look here. You can too – > just register for free.