I often tinker with the layout of this site, it’s nice having WordPress powering it because I just make new themes however, this time I wanted to review the actual content and direction and dig a little deeper.
The design of this site isn’t revolutionary, it’s simply a reflection of the things I like when working – primarily a lack of clutter and as much focus as possible on content and clear typographic direction. There have been several iterations of the site in the last few years but they’ve always been visual tweaks around the existing content which gets more out of date as each day passes so this time I took a decision to remove the portfolio element of the site and replace it with some recent Dribbble shots pulled in using the nifty “rainyshots” plugin.
My redesign hit list
What I’d like to share though is my “redesign process” which was step 1 (of 1) and just highlights a few of the questions, features and areas for improvement that I wanted to work on and for the sake of a half hour notebook session jotting down questions, it’s helped me firm up on the direction I’m hoping to go with the site this year. The following sections and points are a transcription of what I jotted down in my notepad.
- Portfolio is solid but work is all more than 2 years old, some of it stretching back closer to 4 years old. All my current work is done at Offroadcode.
- Portfolio doesn’t highlight or showcase my current role or skillset well enough
- Lacks a bit of punch when it comes to highlighting writing and things like Docpool
- Low retention of visitors – typically less than 2 page views per visitor
- Low number of comments on blog posts
- No actual brand to speak of, just a name
Identify good points
- Good traffic and organic search results
- Simple set up and easy to work with and change
- Reasonably well read blog
What I want to do
- Showcase blog more
- Phase out focus on portfolio – maybe just use logos of past clients & experience
- Add some info about Cutting Edge Knives, What does a website cost, Docpool, BareBones – mention some have been featured on popular design sites like Smashing Magazine etc
- Promote my CV more and generate more freelance enquiries
- Turn off comments and look at interacting more on Twitter
- Increase and promote reading on RSS
- Improve page views and time on site
Results so far
It’s not been that long since I changed tweaked the site but here are some “highlights” so far.
- Secured two great freelance projects with incredibly understanding clients who allowed/allow me to work in the small number of hours I have free. I hope this is a result of being more informative about my current availability and what I can do
- I’m enjoying writing blog posts much more now. I think if you enjoy using your site, you use it more
- I’ve joined the Fusion Ads network which isn’t going to make me rich by any stretch but it’s a nice validation that my writing is occasionally being noticed!
- Turned off comments – wrote a big post about it and how it’s going to hopefully help reinforce the direction I want to go
- My CV has been downloaded over 800 times now, not really sure if there’s any real benefit of that as I’m not currently tracking it in any detail
- Pageview figures haven’t increased however, time on site has rocketed from a mere minute or so 6 months ago to 4 and 5 minute sessions now which is a step in the right direction
- RSS subscriber numbers are up slightly but still difficult to track