I know most people use readers these days, and hey I do too! But it's always nice to click into a site and find they've made some upgrades. Guess what friends, if you haven't been around these parts for the past week or two, you should probably click in and see the upgrades.
I had a huge epiphany while at Alt Summit this summer. One of the best things I did was sit down at the Ask a Designer Table and have a frank chat with the extremely talented Laurie Smithwick.
I let her know that I work with Fortune 500 companies in digital marketing for a living. I help with usability, design, content placement, and overall digital strategy, and I knew I needed to sit down and analyze my own blog for usability and already had some ideas.
She was super patient as I did so, and went through with me and gave design tweaks and suggestions to take Friday We're In Love to a new level with design and usability. I love that we agreed on all the changes up front. Everything I pointed out she was like "Yes, and while you're at it...." I knew that if nothing else came from my awesome experience at Alt Summit Summer, it needed to be my takeaway to upgrade my own site and give readers what they want in an easier, more authentically pleasing way.
So I started how I usually do, by looking at data. I love data, data doesn't lie! A deep examination into my Google Analytics helped me see how users come to the site, what they are looking for, and where they drop off with content. It lead me to realize I have two types of readers- those who come for each post and read me like a book. Thank you dear readers who do this, you are invaluable!
The second type are coming to look for date ideas mostly on Thursday and Friday, which thrills me! We've always had this blog to keep ourselves accountable to date and to inspire others to date too. I love it's happening! However, I wasn't doing much for these readers, and after about 3.5 years of blogging our dates, I'm realizing we have a fair amount of content and date ideas out there! It was just time to make the content easy to find, easy to navigate, and more organized. And with that, a restructure of navigation and design happened.
I think after only two weeks, I'm seeing some good things! You guys are finding what you want easier, staying on the site a little longer, and can find the index of date ideas much easier! I'm also pleased with the look update. Here's some of the changes to help with look and usability you can see:
1. Updated navigation with the content most commonly searched for at the top
2. Dropdown menus to access content more easily
3. Date Ideas with indexes by type, price, location, season as well as the 12 Months of Dates Project and the 101 Date Ideas post, that happens to be the #2 most visited page.
3. More about us and the blog, it's what we're asked most often!
4. Travel section- After Europe, several U.S. getaways, Peru, any many Arizona weekend trips, we've learned how to travel on a budget without skipping out. I'll be writing several posts in the coming weeks about how to plan, pack, and prepare for trips, as well as share our itineraries for several destinations so you can glean from our experiences too!
5. An Aside From Friday section. We cook, run marathons, and I have many people looking for the AZ Blogger Meetup Group I founded. Also, post speaking at Alt Summit, many have asked me to share more digital marketing information online. I always think, meh, the Internet has plenty of "How to be a better blogger" posts. However, I guess working in the industry with large companies has given me some knowledge I assume everyone else knows. Thanks for the push friends, I'm going to continue to add to the "Blogging Tips" list I created.
6. Three columns to two columns. I love the trend of simplifying sites and taking away the clutter in the sidebars is going away. I'm happy that most my content is up top, and only 2 columns were needed. Normally I'm all about owning your brand and not looking like everyone else. However, for usability, this is one trend you just can't argue with.
7. Updated social media. Things have changed in the past few years. Facebook no longer is king (unless you pay big time to make it be), Stumbleupon, G+, YouTube are becoming increasingly more popular. It was time to add some of the new kids on the block to the sidebar for access.
8. A Shrunken logo to help access content faster for readers on Bloglovin' and visiting the actual site.
9. A better branding guide with colors and fonts defined, including web safe fonts for easier reading.
You can still expect a weekly date post, some lifestyle content, and the same theme throughout. Hopefully this only helps people come back and search for what they were looking for better.
Let me know your thoughts-
Do you like the updates?
What do you usually come to our site for?
Any other changes you'd like to see?
And a huge shoutout to the amazingly talented, affordable, and truly patient Lauren of Lolo Made Designs for making all the upgrades a reality!
- DATE IDEAS
- ASIDE FROM FRIDAY
- DATING 101