The blog redesign is now just about finished. There are still a handful of tweaks left, but I am 90% of the way there.  The feedback from readers — see this and this — was very helpful.

I have seen immediate improvement in the site:  The main page loads 4X faster; it now generates much more detailed page analytics (what people are and are not clicking on/reading); the page views/visitor have increased. The average length of time per post has also increased.

Based on your comments and emails, here are the changes I implemented:

• Changed the color scheme from candy color to something more subdued

• Reduced the size of the artwork (“marginalia”)

• Reduced the size and color of the navigation links in the header

• Removed the Twitter/Facebook/G+/Linked In  icons from all 10 home page posts (only on the top/open post)

• Removed superfluous content in the sidebar

• Reduced the number of adverts on the page;

Since the last few iterations, the site is light and fast and pleasing to the eye.

I still think the navigation links up top are too big and spread out – since the way I run my business is strictly word of mouth and referral, I prefer these to be smaller and less in your face. Also, I think I can get rid of “Home” and just go with: Asset Management/Speaking/Book /Contact.

I still have a few other things left to tweak:

• Reduced the size of icons next to each headline ((I’d like to make those icons about 30-40% less large on the page as well)

• Reduce navigation links down a font size

• Replace blue Favicon with old color (black & tan)

• Make the “Read More” red or more visible

The 5 little icons correlate to the tabs in the old design. According to Google Analytics, those old icons were hardly clicked. The reason, I assume, is as soon as you scrolled an inch or two, they were off your screen.

Your most emailed questions and their answers are after the jump . . .

Q: I don’t like clicking to open each new post.

A:When we had all 10 posts open, it loaded very slowly. The new version does not have to load 10 posts of graphics, charts, videos, etc. And, I now get analytics as to what specific posts you folks actually are reading. Its a huge improvement

Q: I am reluctant to click on something that I may not like.

A: You have to have a wee bit of faith in me that I ain’t publish crap — I would hope that after 11 years, 25,000 posts and a 137 million page views, I have earned at least a teeny bit of trust. Besides, its a click — what’s that cost you?

Q: I might be interested in posts if you gave me more info — a teaser paragraph

A: That’s a really good idea. Currently, the teaser intro is automated (the first XX words), but I can use a specific excerpt as a teaser (I just have to remember to cut & paste it each post).

Q: Sometimes the home page loads slowly.

A: Its likely the adverts. When we see an add slowing the site down it gets tossed. (Please email me if an ad is problematic)

Q: Could you set it up so that the post expands within the open page like Andrew Sullivan or FT Alphaville does?

A: I am looking into that; but note that Sullivan is now a subscription site. He bills his readers for the extra bandwidth programming costs!

Q: I don’t care for the mobile site you developed with OnSwipe. 

A: I love it! Its functional, easy to navigate and looks great, Besides, you can always default back to the desktop version.

-Barry

Category: Weblogs

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

32 Responses to “TBP Redesign: Final Thoughts”

  1. key-bit says:

    Very clean and impressive. Maybe update the favicon with new color scheme? Small suggestion but noticed the old colors.

  2. DiggidyDan says:

    Site loads fast, and new layout is great. Thanks for toning back the color scheme to be less distracting. IMO the nave bar needs redone in general. To corroborate your initial thought, you don’t need a home. I just intuitively click on the big picture b logo to get back to home if necessary. The rest of the nav bar links are just kind of afterthoughts, and they are just lost, undefined, and floating up there in the spaced out right justified header.

    As always, your site is awesome and content is fantastic. Use the analytics to figure out what works and tailor your content so that you aren’t wasting your time trying to please everybody.

    Thanks again Barry, for all the great info and entertainment.
    - Dan

  3. DiggidyDan says:

    Also, I would ask the designers to do a final overall site “tying up” of the color palette. You still have colors from previous color scheme, including the one you cite above, and the “Icon” colors seem to be optimized for the old color scheme. It does not look entirely cohesive at this time. A re-evaluation of the palette to match globally would help. (imho of course)

  4. MiloD says:

    The subdued background graphic is total win and corrects the only issue I had with the original redesign. All the rest is just gilding the lily as far as I’m concerned. I come here for the content.
    I hope this blog continues to satisfy your needs Barry, I’d hate to contemplate an interwebs without TBP.

  5. MikeNY says:

    I have no suggestions, since I’m really a technophobe, but I want to say “thanks” for this site, which is greatly valuable, and greatly enjoyable.

  6. joby says:

    I don’t care what Pete Dominick says, that’s a good pic.

  7. Liam M says:

    I love the site redesign, but I find I’m not actually reading you blog as much anymore because you aren’t giving me enough of a hook/teaser to get me to click through. I obviously trust your curatorial judgement, but find myself oddly breezing through it. Perhaps a little more tease for the articles?

    Happy collapse of gold day!

    Liam

    • I am playing with the teaser length — its automated now, but perhaps I need to be more proactive with this

      • Liam M says:

        I understand exactly what you’re talking about and agree with most of what you say. At the core is the fact that if you increase clicks you get more data on your user, but you interrupt their access to your data (or at least the flow of their experience); the question is when does the barrier overwhelm the desire to continue I suppose.

        I certainly trust you curatorial vision, but you cover a fairly wide range of topics – some are completely uninteresting to me (I have no interest in luxury cars; I don’t need more convincing that austerity is foolish, etc) or completely over my head (On Returns Differentials by Guest Author – April 13th, 2013), so there are limits on what my trust will abide. More to my point, though, is that I might be interested in returns differentials if you gave me a little more information about them with a teaser paragraph or two – I have no clue what they are, and what I’ve always liked about your site is how accessible you make your subject matter. Judging from the comments a lot of your readership is like me – here to learn/absorb new information, and more than a little ignorant of the granular details of the financial services world. Without a hook to let me know something about the topic I’m more likely to blow past it.

        Fwiw – I think Andrew Sullivan’s blog does the best job of getting it’s clicks without disrupting the reader: if you click on the “read on” button it delivers you the rest of the content without dragging you off the page – when you are done you simply continue reading. I’m shocked that system hasn’t completely taken over the internet already.

        I’m also not sure how much you should pay attention to your readerships clicks – after all, this is your blog and we want the content you curate, not a feedback loop of what we are known to like, necessarily. I know from my own business my web metrics explode when I post really cheap apartments for rent – that’s great and all, but I’m not looking to rent only really cheap apartments! The comments probably make it clear when the content isn’t to our communal liking. The artwork looked fantastic with the candy colors but it totally overwhelmed your content; it does look much better now, and agree you should get rid of ‘home’; I’m always clicking on the banner image to get me there.

        Anyway, I still think the upgrade is awesome and looks fantastic – I’m just warning you to watch out for the incredible laziness of your readers :)

        Have a great weekend, and hope you’re in town to enjoy the great spring weather -

  8. zdog says:

    The only issue I have is the dark teal color (#007776) for the RSS headline, button hover, tabs, links, etc. really *clashes* with the tans/greens/grays. You could go with one of the darker greens (#788C51) in the background (i.e. color next to the $ sign just left of the logo).

  9. wisegrowth says:

    The site is very pleasing to the eye,… i still can’t see where to click for other posts… is it the twitter feed?

  10. Math Teacher says:

    For the AM/PM/Weekend Reads, I really preferred the old bulleted arrangement where all the post was visible on the home page, including the links, and where clicking on a link opened a new tab. It took me about 5 seconds to scan the post and decide to click on a link, or to keep scrolling and come back to it. If I clicked on a link, it opened a new tab, and once I closed it I was back to my place on the home page without having to re-scroll.

    Now, by putting the topics with no links all in one graph and omitting a few, you’re saving…5 or 6 lines? And now I must right click and open the “read more” on a new page to see all the topics and links and then be able to return to where I was on the home page. This is not an improvement.

    I’m also a little mystified about page load time being an issue. I never had a problem with the old page. I can’t imagine that anyone else with more than a 56k modem did, either.

    Otherwise, nice redesign… although perhaps the green plumbing could be faded so its meandering linearity is less distracting.

  11. Ivana Puke says:

    Nice. A little larger font would make it geezier on the eyes. Maybe in a future iteration you could install an audio button that reads the posts to me. Robert Mtchum’s voice would add a certain flair to the blog.

  12. Josh says:

    What a great redesign ! Congrats, Barry.

    Still have a problem with it not being centered – always have to move the bar below to read the entire sentence. Surely, this can be fixed ? If so, also advise Josh. Thanks.

  13. garsar says:

    Excellent redo on the changes. I concur on the font size issue, otherwise a terrific upgrade of the site. Anxious to see it finalized.

  14. dina says:

    You can add day of the week (like Monday) to “April 13th, 2013, 6:00pm”
    Useful while reading older posts.

  15. mavery says:

    Re: “Q: I don’t like clicking to open each new post. A:When we had all 10 posts open, it loaded very slowly…”

    BR, I’ve been a web developer for >10 years, then fulltime and now freelancing while working at a big bank, and I don’t follow your reasoning here. I tend to think you’ve been misguided.

    1. Why did the site load slow?– Was it because of data volume, streaming, bandwidth? Server processing? Server caching (or lack of it)? Users using ancient web browsers? Before your redesign, graphics would only load when they came into view (e.g. when the user scrolled to them). So to blame speed on data download just sounds wrong. I think it was similar case for your video and other plugin media, but if the bottleneck was observed there, then it’s got more to do with the user’s web browser (and computer) than your website. I recommend you go back to your developer and get a better handle on what exactly was “slow”.

    2. You want better analytics? You’ve seen sites like bit.ly or tinyurl.com, right? Why not do similar for your site? So instead of linking to “nytimes.com/somearticle.html”, you’d post “ritholtz.com/forwardme?nytimes.com/somearticle.html”. For a developer, it should be extremely easy, plus you get analytics on what links are being clicked. When you search for something on google.com, every search result is handled as described so that google can keep track of what results get clicked (and which don’t).

    So again, I’d take this back to your developer and get a better solution. To just tell your readers to ‘deal with it’ (more or less) seems to be just deflecting the fact that it can be overcome — not to mention you’re annoying your users, probably turning off (albeit a small percentage, of them) and putting yourself at a (albeit, perhaps slight) disadvantage to your competitors.

  16. Yes, please, Change the Font..

    Here, in what ‘We’ call the “English Laguage”, the “i”‘s are ‘dotted’…
    ~~~

    and, on this end, this: “Copyright Ginormous Content Limited 2013. All Rights Reserved.”, even, has the ‘Body’ “bolded”..

    “Out:think”, maybe, has out-thought itself..
    ~~~

    past that, ‘New’ Site looks Good, seems to work Well..~

  17. lkiser says:

    I agree with others who would like a longer “teaser”. I would also prefer the bulleted “AM Reads”, “PM Reads”,etc. to be out in full.
    Thanks for your blog. I’m medicine-trained, not economics-trained and this blog helps lessen my woeful ignorance.

  18. hue says:

    I don’t like the paisley colors, as MEH once said, the T-shirts won’t go with anything.
    The font is too small, and make all your posts available as podcasts, so that I don’t have to read. Videos would be great too, with the lovely racecar driving Caitlyn as newsreader. And can the TBP be translated into other languages, English is more American exceptionalism, Don’t you have international readers?
    The AM, PM, Weekend reads, why can’t you leave them in the bulleted layout like when they are the top post. Because once they move down the page, they are scrunched up, I actually have to click on the post to make sense of what is in there. Also, can you write a short summary, the headlines are not enough, I don’t like to click on stories I may not like. Do you know how long it takes to click on Read More or to click on a link? Then for the page to load. You are no Andrew Sullivan!
    Finally, since I like the sound of my voice, I only read my comments, which is being moderated like forever.

  19. Barry999 says:

    I’d like to be able to go back to the categories -
    Weekend was perfect as the office blocks most video. Now I have to search through the history to catch up. I figured I could click the category to get there, but no luck.

  20. jezza says:

    Really miss having more information on main page, especially the AM/PM Reads. Load time is a non-issue for me. Content continues to be excellent.

  21. roeske says:

    this new text font is hard to read :(

  22. I am moving to sans serif and larger

    We are still iterating!

  23. roeske says:

    Thanks!