It’s been a huge day; overnight we created the new look site. Then there was a lot to do this morning; it’s not until it’s up and running that you really see what needs doing. Then came Bank Charges, the BBC is reporting 20 cases may be struck out in Hull County Court. Two of those involved have already posted on the forum, so I organised getting a draft response for them and seeing if we can get legal help (see Hull CC bank charges post in forum). I won’t mention the interviews I had scheduled, the columns I need to write, and new articles for the site to do. Stress…. I should co-co. Anyway, on to my thoughts about the new site.
First thoughts on the new site
Well I love it. I think it’s crisper and more clear. I know some in the Forum find the colour change and shift of a menu bar from left to right a big jump, but my hope is it’s just a getting used to newness thing. The stats on the new site (for webbies info we use Google Analytics) usage are really interesting, compared to equivalent traffic prior friday….
The Good News
1. Number of pages per visitor up by 30%
2. Bounce rate dropped by 25% (ie people who only come to one page)
3. Section page use up by 30% (ie the tabs at the top)
This is quite staggering. I think it’s down to the fact that newcomers can find their way around much more easily and the navigation is more intuitive. Also the use of Google to power the main site search is making things a lot easier to find. The change above really is enormous, people are using the site a lot more once they get here.
The Bad News
4.. Number of people joining the e-mail dropped by 35%
For me this really is bad news. The weekly email allows me to tell people when they need to act quick to save money, so I can reach them rather than them having to come to the site. It’s always been the site’s life-blood – so this drop is huge. At first I couldn’t understand why – after all, the content of the tip is now a much bigger part of the site. Then I looked at it and realised.
In the past you’d hardly been able to read what the tips were, now it’s much more obvious, and more people are clicking to the tip itself. Yet in the tip we’d forgotten to include a box so you can join the e-mail, add that to the lack of warning page on the front of the site and in articles and you’ve got an explaination. In many ways the tip has now become content on the site, which makes it less obvious that it needs joining. As this is the most important service the site offers and the best way to keep it up to date, we’ve hastily done some changes today.
The old warning bar has come back and there are now e-mail boxes to join in the actual tip text itself.
The No Change
5. Forum use… unchanged
This is as expected really. While the forums have undergone a cosmetic change, they still operate in the same way. There’s a little more space than there used to be (I know many regulars don’t feel it, but I got my ruler out, the Forum starts higher up and is exactly the same width) – so you wouldn’t really expect much to change.
Hope this little note on the changes is interesting.