Thoughts on a new theme for RCG?

4realz screenshotI’ve wanted to update the Rain City Guide theme for a while now, and took some time this week to play around with some different ideas.  I *think*I’ve come up with something that will work well for me, but wanted to run it by the RCG community for feedback first…  If you head over to 4realz.net, you can see the theme (in action) that I’m thinking of launching here.

Here’s what I like about this theme:

  • Magazine-style so more articles are featured “above-the-fold” . This “teaser” style of posts is a bit controversial, and I won’t really know if it’s better until after I have some data with RCG-level traffic. My hope is that the bounce-rate for people that land on the homepage will go down.
  • The pages and categories are featured just below the header which, for a site like RCG, will help show off the breadth of content.
  • I noticed that the existing RCG theme played funny with a couple of new features of WordPress (in ways I didn’t like), and this one plays much better. Just one example is that when I linked out to RCG with a Facebook status update the existing theme is doing something funny so that the title and photos are not being pulled… That problem is solved with this new theme.
  • Threaded comments@ARDELLd and I have been having an interesting conversation about this on twitter, but my opinion is that the threaded conversations will actually help improve the flow of the conversation. It will be interesting to see and would love your feedback on this feature.
  • By pushing the “pages” to the header, I’ll free up some space for bringing recent comments in a more prominent place (I’ll probably put them where the “connect” widget currently exists).
  • And finally, my wife, Anna, says the theme is easier on the eyes (and I trust her “design” sense over mine any day!). When/if I launch this theme on RCG, I’m going to use “RCG” colors instead of “4realz” colors (i.e. maroon instead of blue) and “Seattle” photos instead of “Dustin” photos, but the idea is that the new theme will be very similar

Here’s a screenshot with the colors/graphics I’m thinking I’ll use when (if?) I launch it on RCG:

RCG-idea

One of the main things I’ll be looking at with the new theme is if our bounce rate for people who arrive on the homepage for the first time drops… I don’t know if a magazine-style theme is the solution to our high bounce rate, but the easiest way to find out if to actually launch it on the site.

By the way, the theme I’m using is a slightly modified version of the theme by c.bavota called Magazine Basic. The only changes I made were to:

  • Add some color and graphics (like the 4realz/Raindrop logo in the header)
  • Add an “author” box below each post (much more important for RCG than 4realz!)
  • Add some code so that the “comment preview” shows up with a box around it…

As you can see, really minor stuff… and that’s only because the theme rocks the boat right out of the box!

As always, I’d love your feedback!

About Dustin Luther

As the Director of Engagement at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp, Dustin heads up both the event and the social media teams. In addition to managing Rain City Guide, he also manages Credibility Insights and plays hard on his personal blog.

You can find me on Twitter (@tyr), Facebook (dluther) and Google+ (+Dustin Luther).

Comments

  1. I think the best “theme” would be to have our video play everytime someone logs onto RCG. Those venturing out to Buy/Sell now need all the financial support they can get.

    This is just 1 mans opinion. Its a great video and it cost 1000.00 to make it. Nobody knows who the actor is. He deserves an oscar!

  2. Thanks Ray… Don’t know it hadn’t occurred to me to throw a free ad for your biz in front of everyone on RCG, but that’s a great idea. ;)

  3. I love it dude!

  4. Hmmmm… maybe instead for a little levity to RCG I would also recommend this clip from an all-time classic:

    There must be someway to include this clip into RCG. Something along the lines of don’t let real estate smack you in the face! Come to RCG for real advice! I have to ponder it a bit more.

    All this wisdom I offer to you.

  5. Hmmmm… maybe instead for a little levity to RCG I would also recommend this clip from an all-time classic:

    There must be someway to include this clip into RCG. Something along the lines of don’t let real estate smack you in the face! Come to RCG for real advice! I have to ponder it a bit more.

    All this wisdom I offer to you.

  6. Raymond, there’s more mail headed your way, I can just feel it.

    Mark this comment as a prediction!

  7. haaa. now that is funny David. actually its been nearly 90 days since we got one.

  8. Very good idea.

  9. OK, how about putting in some journalism like space aliens meet with Obama to turn sea water into gold. The best would be if you could get the boy who was raised by bats to blog about banking.

    Wait, how about real live photography of the space aliens shaking hands with the boy who was raised by bats?

    No, wait maybe a banner with the PI Globe and a catchy phrase like….

    Forget it, it’s probably a copyright thing.

  10. OK, how about putting in some journalism like space aliens meet with Obama to turn sea water into gold. The best would be if you could get the boy who was raised by bats to blog about banking.

    Wait, how about real live photography of the space aliens shaking hands with the boy who was raised by bats?

    No, wait maybe a banner with the PI Globe and a catchy phrase like….

    Forget it, it’s probably a copyright thing.

  11. Ray Pepper and other comedy aside, the Magazine Basic theme looks awesome. The only thing I would worry about is tinkering with the code, as there are over 200 comments describing glitches with the download. If those got worked out, I may consider copying you. I think I’ll let you try it first!

  12. Yeah… I read through all those comments and even left a comment myself. I had an issue with the previous version when it wasn’t formatting the sidebars well. The good news is it seems the developer is fixing things pretty quickly as they come up and I couldn’t find any other errors…

  13. Dustin,

    As I said on Twitter, I think the comment threads are good in theory but often confusing in practice. But if someone clicks the “notify me of followup comments via e-mail”, that would solve the issue for the reader interested in a specific post. I am associating the proposed comment format to one I saw tried on Seattle Bubble. The Tim made a few tweaks which helped, so give it a try and we’ll see what happens. If the latest comment doesn’t show at the bottom, it creates problems once the coment has left the “recent comments” sidebar. Only on an issue for posts with lots of comments.

    I think the magazine style format works best if there is a lot of recent content by different authors. Once you go to magazine format you have to decide if you are a daily publication, weekly, monthly or quarterly. The format shows teaser text for a dozen articles. Likely works best if there are at least 12 articles on your “issue”. If it takes a month to have 12 then it becomes a “monthly publication” and would feel the need to turn it into a “weekly”.

    My primary concern is the impact it will have on writing style. People are already complaining when there are high impact “teaser” headlines, but the magazine format will put more emphasis on attention getting titles. Also the teaser text [which I'm not a fan of generally] will encourage a different writing style that emphasizes the opening sentences.

    Graphs and pictures will be “one click away”…leading to redundant openings such as “The graph below…” to alert people that graphs are there IF you click for MORE. I think you will get more “clicks” and less comments. I like comments and conversation and don’t pay a lot of attention to clicks.

    What is the “bounce rate”, what is a “normal” bounce rate and what is your goal as to “bounce rate”? Yes, I think more people will click on something, improving the bounce rate, because they will “HAVE TO” click on something to read anything in full. I’m not a big fan of forced click and ”
    teaser” anything.

    I’m a strong believer in “The Big Why” and when the why is “because ‘I’ want a lower bounce rate” vs. because “readers want” whatever…it’s bad Kharma.

  14. Dustin,

    As I said on Twitter, I think the comment threads are good in theory but often confusing in practice. But if someone clicks the “notify me of followup comments via e-mail”, that would solve the issue for the reader interested in a specific post. I am associating the proposed comment format to one I saw tried on Seattle Bubble. The Tim made a few tweaks which helped, so give it a try and we’ll see what happens. If the latest comment doesn’t show at the bottom, it creates problems once the coment has left the “recent comments” sidebar. Only on an issue for posts with lots of comments.

    I think the magazine style format works best if there is a lot of recent content by different authors. Once you go to magazine format you have to decide if you are a daily publication, weekly, monthly or quarterly. The format shows teaser text for a dozen articles. Likely works best if there are at least 12 articles on your “issue”. If it takes a month to have 12 then it becomes a “monthly publication” and would feel the need to turn it into a “weekly”.

    My primary concern is the impact it will have on writing style. People are already complaining when there are high impact “teaser” headlines, but the magazine format will put more emphasis on attention getting titles. Also the teaser text [which I'm not a fan of generally] will encourage a different writing style that emphasizes the opening sentences.

    Graphs and pictures will be “one click away”…leading to redundant openings such as “The graph below…” to alert people that graphs are there IF you click for MORE. I think you will get more “clicks” and less comments. I like comments and conversation and don’t pay a lot of attention to clicks.

    What is the “bounce rate”, what is a “normal” bounce rate and what is your goal as to “bounce rate”? Yes, I think more people will click on something, improving the bounce rate, because they will “HAVE TO” click on something to read anything in full. I’m not a big fan of forced click and ”
    teaser” anything.

    I’m a strong believer in “The Big Why” and when the why is “because ‘I’ want a lower bounce rate” vs. because “readers want” whatever…it’s bad Kharma.

  15. All great comments Ardell…

    One of the cool things about the format is that we can choose how many articles to feature on the homepage… I threw 12 up on the 4realz.net, but that is only because it seems like the right number for RCG since we’re updating all the time… but if it made sense to show less (even just 6 articles?) that would be a really each change to make.

    I’m not too worried about the teaser elements… I think it’s important to remember that the vast majority of users do not enter the site through the homepage. Almost all are entering on a specific article because they are either coming from a search engine, a link from another blog/website or through a feed reader. Changing your writing style will only help reach a small portion of users to the site.

    To give you an idea, I just looked some numbers up… Out of the new users that came to RCG in the last month (37,466), less than 10% came in through the homepage (3,335).

    Obviously, changing your writing style to reach such a small portion of users probably isn’t a good use of your time. (Although if the new format encourages writers to include a photo or graphic in their posts, I’d say that’s a great thing.)

    In terms of “the big why”, it’s because the bounce rate is a great indicator of how relevant we’re being to users. If people land on RCG’s homepage and don’t see anything that interests them, they bounce. I’m concerned that the existing structure where the latest post is the main focus doesn’t do justice to the breadth of information available on RCG. I’m not sure the magazine theme will fix this issue, but I would like to try. And if, by changing the format, we can guide new users to information that interests them so they don’t bounce, then I’d call that an improvement.

  16. All great comments Ardell…

    One of the cool things about the format is that we can choose how many articles to feature on the homepage… I threw 12 up on the 4realz.net, but that is only because it seems like the right number for RCG since we’re updating all the time… but if it made sense to show less (even just 6 articles?) that would be a really each change to make.

    I’m not too worried about the teaser elements… I think it’s important to remember that the vast majority of users do not enter the site through the homepage. Almost all are entering on a specific article because they are either coming from a search engine, a link from another blog/website or through a feed reader. Changing your writing style will only help reach a small portion of users to the site.

    To give you an idea, I just looked some numbers up… Out of the new users that came to RCG in the last month (37,466), less than 10% came in through the homepage (3,335).

    Obviously, changing your writing style to reach such a small portion of users probably isn’t a good use of your time. (Although if the new format encourages writers to include a photo or graphic in their posts, I’d say that’s a great thing.)

    In terms of “the big why”, it’s because the bounce rate is a great indicator of how relevant we’re being to users. If people land on RCG’s homepage and don’t see anything that interests them, they bounce. I’m concerned that the existing structure where the latest post is the main focus doesn’t do justice to the breadth of information available on RCG. I’m not sure the magazine theme will fix this issue, but I would like to try. And if, by changing the format, we can guide new users to information that interests them so they don’t bounce, then I’d call that an improvement.

  17. Yes all comedy aside this is very scary. My concern about this site grows over time.

    Real Estate is a serious business. Fortunes are made and lost. Constant lead generation is great for something like travel, but even then it’s dangerous for the consumer.

    I don’t see the difference between this site and rebfen. Ray Pepper is at least honest.

  18. Yes all comedy aside this is very scary. My concern about this site grows over time.

    Real Estate is a serious business. Fortunes are made and lost. Constant lead generation is great for something like travel, but even then it’s dangerous for the consumer.

    I don’t see the difference between this site and rebfen. Ray Pepper is at least honest.

  19. “I don’t see the difference between this site and rebfen (Redfin).

    Thank you for the compliment, David.

  20. “I don’t see the difference between this site and rebfen (Redfin).

    Thank you for the compliment, David.

  21. Dustin,

    Do you have a figure for how many of the 37,000 are local? The more we are Seattle Specific as to what we are discussing (and that is not the case most times) the more likely the larger % of people who come and see “seattle stuff” will bounce off.

    I have had a high volume of questions from people around the Country. So getting more traction nationally is not of great interest to me, though I do try to help anyone who emails me with questions.

    Is there any way to determine if those that aren’t bouncing off are more likely to be local? On my blog if I see 90% coming from other areas and bouncing off…no, I really don’t care. If I see Seattle, Redmond, Bellevue people bouncing off, which is a much lower rate of bounce, then I do something to reduce the bounce rate of the locals only.

    As to the # of articles showing on the front page, glad to hear that is optional. Though if you start it at 12 it might produce more posts…which is a good thing. So I would say start at 12 and see if it pumps up the volume.

  22. I totally see your point about caring more about local questions, but moving-related search terms (like “moving to seattle”) are still the biggest single driver of new visitors to RCG, so I wouldn’t discount the value of traffic from other parts of the country/world. Just because they are currently not living in Seattle, doesn’t mean they’re not looking to head this way in the near future…

    In terms of stats, of the 37,000 new visitors, about 6,500 were new visitors currently living in the state of WA… I could break it down by city, but hopefully, it’s suffice to say that the vast majority are from Seattle and nearby cities.

  23. I liked Jay’s comment on Twitter noting that the full post can be pulled by the feed reader.

  24. I agree… I really don’t like excerpts on feeds… I’ve deleted almost every blog from my feed reader that does that!

    • Sorry my comments are getting lost or printed over.

      This is getting way to busy and complicated for me.

      Every other comment I try to send gets lost. so i do them again. That’s frustrating.

  25. I have heard you and others say that, and it is why I was surprised you would be going to a teaser text format.

  26. Great discussion happening here Dustin etal. I’ve just switched over to the most recent post on top, teasers underneath format. I personally love it. ESPECIALLY if you are adding a photo in the teaser. The sites I’ve checked out with no teaser photo are boring IMO. Less interested in them.

    I agree with you Dustin about that helping everyone think of adding at least one photo to a post. Always looks better. :) I also completely agree about full posts in feeds. I usually let the author know they aren’t sending full feeds. If they continue to “excerpt” I drop. The point of the feed is to not HAVE to leave it. It is a choice (like I’m over here right this minute).

    Go with the new layout. Looks great!

    • New theme is launched! And now with threaded comment goodness! ;)

      • I really like it Dustin. Good move.

      • I like it! I especially love the drop downs in the header which I didn’t notice in the 4realz version. I still think it will promote some changes in writing style and content, as change begets change.

        I think people will like the tool bar in the comment section. I’m going to test it in a new comment without hitting “reply” so I can see how the comments thread.

        • so glad! The big writing change I think would be good for the site is to simply include a photo or graphic on the post. This theme will grab the first image no matter where it’s placed in the article and add it as a thumbnail to the homepage, so it makes it pretty darn easy…

  27. RCG does need a makeover…it is insignificant and reads as such. Primary “contributor” should keep it at twitter and why not let RCG morph into something that works with housing reality?…improved and factual content would be most beneficial. Layout is not the issue.
    Best of luck to You in this.

  28. This will be my third attempt at leaving a comment, there must be a server clich or it could be my computer.

    This is a great format that lets people read what they want. It gives choices.

    People will probably be more interested in ad space. It looks very professional.

    I would include a disclaimer that this is a blog of personal opinion. People may be confused that this is journalism when in fact it is unregulated commentary.

  29. This will be my third attempt at leaving a comment, there must be a server clich or it could be my computer.

    This is a great format that lets people read what they want. It gives choices.

    People will probably be more interested in ad space. It looks very professional.

    I would include a disclaimer that this is a blog of personal opinion. People may be confused that this is journalism when in fact it is unregulated commentary.

  30. chet,

    One of the holdbacks on “factual content” is that agents are not allowed to speak on specifics of properties that have sold or are for sale. It is an mls violation and deemed to be “Advertising other agent’s listings”.

    Most meaningful would be talking about houses that are or are not selling in various neighborhoods. Which one sold quickly and which took over a year, and why. Scads of meaningul “housing reality” that is against mls rules.

    It is why I enjoy reading sites like Seattle Bubble and Manhattan Beach Confidential, as those non-member bloggers have more freedoms to discuss these things on their blogs.

  31. It looks great! I also like the option to add an image url in the comments, if needed. Too cool!

  32. essentially, seek no factual content here.
    I don’t – but would find pertinent information more significant than ongoing blather of self-promotion and advertising.
    God Bless the sales rep…just don’t heed special ‘knowledge’ and “disclosure limitations” stuff which is quite simply a feckless/misguided agenda and does not constitute a legitimate profession.
    I leave you until next year when perhaps this site will be worth a look.
    Best of Luck, Mr. Dustin.

    • I agree that turning to a blog for factual information is never a good idea. Since it’s inception, this site has been about commentary, insight, and conversation… When you return in a year, if you decide to join the conversation I think you’ll find that the contributors are all a really decent group of people.

  33. Where did my last comment go? It was complimentary.

  34. Everett_Tom says:

    Dustin,

    Nice changes, the front page layout is much nicer…

    But for us fuddy duddies – any way to get the following two items back? :
    1) the number of comments below each article (this was how I was able to quickly tell if anything changed since last time I visted the site)

    2) no-nested comments… as the nested ones make it virtually impossible to follow the threat of the conversation. :(

    • Thanks for the feedback… I like the idea of throwing the # of comments on the homepage. I’ll definitely look into it. In terms of the threaded comments, let’s give it a few days. I’ve been commenting on a number of blogs lately that use this feature and I’m finding it much easier to follow the conversation. The trick of course is that people have to use it. If folks don’t use it or only use it extremely sporadically, then I’ll revert back to the old style.

  35. Everett_Tom says:

    Dustin,

    Nice changes, the front page layout is much nicer…

    But for us fuddy duddies – any way to get the following two items back? :
    1) the number of comments below each article (this was how I was able to quickly tell if anything changed since last time I visted the site)

    2) no-nested comments… as the nested ones make it virtually impossible to follow the threat of the conversation. :(

  36. Everett_Tom says:

    Fair enough, Thanks Dustin. :)

  37. I kind of like Seattle Bubble format but mostly because I’m used to it. At first glance it looks very professional but don’t overlook the “headknocker” commercial from CNBC.

  38. fillmore says:

    where did the home search, previously located under linkation, go? i couldnt locate it now if i had to.

    • The map on the home search has been broken for a while and I noticed the traffic to it has dwindled (not surprisingly), so I took the link down. I’m in talks right now with someone who wants to team up with me to do some pretty interesting things on this front, so stay tuned… we could end up with a really interesting revamped RCG home search before long.

      • fillmore says:

        sounds interesting. in the meantime, i thought to check annaluther.com url right after i had posted, and it got me where i was wanting to be.

        • Well, I’m sure glad you found it! ;) The site is still up and running, but without the maps working, I figure most folks probably won’t find it particularly helpful.

          • fillmore says:

            is annaluther.com down for good? its almost the only home search site ive used for a couple years because it easily sorts by days on market.

          • Didn’t even know it was down… I’ll check in with Robbie to see what’s going on.

  39. I LOVE this, Dustin! Really cool!

  40. Nice changes Dustin, great first step to the “new look”.

  41. I’m digging it. I think the “magazine” style is perfect for a multi-author blog.

    I’d like to be able to click on an authors name in a home page snippet and get to their archive. A minor thing, and perhaps just me…

    • You hit on the one thing I haven’t yet figured out… which is the author/contributor information. But I really like the idea of having the link from the homepage click over to more information about them… Great idea

  42. I like the theme for RCG but have found that I do not like some magazine style blogs. I agree with you that the large amount of information here is now easier to grasp.

  43. Looks good Dustin- much easier to read (and navigate through). Also it seems to be aimed at a much broader, more diverse audience- homeowners, homebuyers, architects not just the Sales Agent side. J-

  44. I like the new theme! Though, I’m partial to magazine styled themes. It works great for RCG, not only for multiple authors, but because it provides viewers the opportunity to glance a number of articles immediately rather than scrolling endlessly. The nested comments are a plus, definitely keeps conversations intact and easier to follow.

    • Thanks Ben… It’s been interesting to see the various reactions to RCG. Hopefully the new theme will grow on just about everyone over time! ;)

  45. Dustin,

    Take a peek at Courtney’s newest post, as there are some comment glitches in the new format. The reply button goes away after 4 comments. The overlap runs out of room at that point, or so it appears. Also, sometimes I’m a little monster and sometimes I’m not…which is technically correct, but not I believe, why the avatar switches in and out :)

    • All makes good sense…

      I limited the number of “nested” comments to 5 for the reason you point out… we’d start to run out of room at some point… so that’s why the “reply” button no longer appears.

      In terms of your avatar… that’s because you’re using a different email on some of the comments. There’s no gravatar associated with your gmail account, so if you use that email, then you’ll be a “monster” until you either add an “avatar” for that image or change the email associated with the comment back to your cbbain email.

  46. Have my hands full with all the changes today…including my laptop going caput. But it’s a bit exciting too! :)

    • I can’t imagine loosing my laptop. Might ruin me!

      • I always use at least two computers at once, so not a biggee.

        It’s not losing the laptop…it’s losing the Outlook in it…so time to go full NOT Outlook. Forcing me to use one of the other internet options I already have, which are many and varied :) I’m also running on both Internet Explorer and Firefox this morning.

        Luckily the emails in my Outlook are not lost, though they are in 3 different other places. Also the info in the laptop is fine. The screen just won’t light up. So I can retrieve the data.

    • I have had 7 laptops in three years! I am finally keeping my main biz on a desk top – LOL

  47. Just a small bug report,
    Image thumbnails are showing as broken links on homepage when using Google’s Chrome browser. IE and Safari do show the thumbnails.
    Nice layout otherwise.

  48. I just had to respond to a comment 3 times (home inspection one). It finally took when I did it while being logged in. It was no where to be found, like David Losh’s issue. Just didn’t appear.

    • Well that’s no good… In testing, I did notice early on that the toolbar above the post didn’t appear one time when leaving a comment and then the comment didn’t grab. Do you happen to remember if the toolbar (with the bold, italic, etc.) was present when you were leaving your comment? Once I hit refresh the toolbar came back and I never had the problem again…

  49. I’ve been using Firefox today instead of IE. Would that make a difference? I see the toolbar now, but can’t say for sure if it was present before. I don’t think it was, now that you mention it.

    • And now it just occurred to me when I didn’t see the toolbar and why I thought that might have given the error… I came into the site using a “tinyurl” (like the one you’d get from this link: http://su.pr/6GfURb). The problem is that when this this particular tinyurl setup seems to stop the toolbar & the “live” comment preview from loading. Pretty sure it’s a javascript conflict of some kind… and it just might stop this comment from taking, but I won’t really know until I try to hit the submit button. ;)

    • Hmm… I was thinking that might be the issue, but no luck… The comment “took” despite not being able to see the toolbar above the comment box.

  50. Thought you’all might find this interesting. The “bounce rate” for the homepage for the first 2 days of the new theme dropped down to the low 30-percent range…

    alt text

    It will be really interesting to see if that range holds up long-term because as you can see from the graph, RCG’s typical bounce rate on the homepage hovered between 65 and 75%.

    Google has never sent much traffic to our homepage (especially for “short-tail” terms like “seattle real estate”) and I’ve always suspected this is because so many users would bounce from this page. Assuming we can keep our bounce rate in the low 30s on the homepage, it will be interesting to see if we get substantially more “short-tail” search traffic to our homepage.

  51. Unfortunately, I think the new front page here looks rather cluttered. Despite my reputation as Mr. Contrary, I’m not saying that just to be a pest. I’ve actually been thinking of doing a “magazine-style” redesign on SB as well. Something about this particular front page layout just has a really messy feel to me.

    As far as the “bounce rate” goes, isn’t it something of a given that requiring people to click a link in order to read even one full article will result in more people clicking deeper than the front page? Seems obvious to me, and I don’t really get how it’s an improvement.

    • I’d agree that the front page looks more busy… but not sure that’s a bad thing. As I said in an earlier comment, I’ve been looking for ways to showcase more of what’s available on RCG, and I’m thinking this does a better job. Nonetheless, I’d definitely be interested in “simplifying” the homepage over the long run, but don’t want to make too many jumps at once… Going to a magazine theme was enough of a change for the time being.

      In terms of the bounce rate… You don’t see how it’s an improvement from an SEO point of view or a user point of view? I’d hope you’d see how the SEO implications are obvious, which is why I’m assuming you’re talking about user implications. And if a user is landing on the homepage and finding the topics that interest them, then the positive implications should also be pretty obvious, no? Would you agree that most folks who landed on the RCG homepage under the old format would likely find that the “most recent” post was not particularly relevant? So if we’re giving them more options, and they’re clicking through, then we’re more relevant… What don’t you get?

      • I guess I just don’t see the positive change difference between these two scenarios:

        1) User arrives on front page, scrolls through the full posts present there, reads something that interests them, then leaves the site. (a “bounced” visit)

        2) User arrives on the front page, scrolls through the headlines and summaries, clicks through to an article or two that interests them, then leaves the site (a non-”bounced” visit).

        I understand that some people theorize that lower “bounce rates” improve a site’s Google ranking, I’m just questioning the usability value of forcing readers to click through to read content that was previously available in full on the front page.

        To address this in the Seattle Bubble redesign I have in mind, I was thinking that the front page would still feature the latest post in full, with titles and summaries for the next few. At least that way daily visitors are still able to read the complete most recent article without being forced to click to another page.

        Just thinking out loud here, not trying to be negatively critical.

        • Agreed there’s not a huge difference between those two scenarios… but that’s not the only users hitting the site.

          I’m also interested in being more relevant o the people who 1) hit the homepage (don’t scroll), 2) see the title of an article in bold on the homepage (old design) that doesn’t interest them and hit the bounce back button on their browser.

          I think you’re giving most people who bounce way too much credit if you’re assuming they’re scrolling through the page.

          With this new design, I’m hoping we just might catch a few more folks with a title of an article that would peak their interest. Not sure it’s reality, but that’s the idea…

          • My comment got lost again, but it looks like the site has corrected itself, we’ll see.

            Thank you Dustin,

            I come to this site to see how it operates. You have innovation. You have a face Book article that I’ll read when I’m done here. Your content is supplied by others, so the multiple article format gives you the option to offer more choices to a variety of readers.

            In Tim’s case he supplies the content and lightly moderates the comments. He is a personality to watch as much as a source of information.

            What impresses me is that both of you have resisted the blatant ad hawking other sites fall prey to.

            So I like the format and am very pleased to hear you would like to expand beyond the real estate mess.

            The one thing that I would mention is that this box inside a box comment thing restricts comments more than adding anything. Scrolling through comments broadens the discussion even if it goes off point.

          • Thanks for the feedback David!

  52. I went away for a week and thought I was on the wrong blog. Shows how WordPress is a major movement (mine’s WP too). Yes, the front page is busy but I like it.

    I went to your (Dustin’s) user profile and the text was cut off in the middle column which I’m sure someone else will confirm. I’m using Firefox with a 17″ monitor… anyone?

    Man, you get a ton of comments!

  53. biliruben says:

    Problem – when you click on some old graphs to look at the full-size version, it sends you to the homepage.

  54. Love it Dustin! Finally was able to get out from under all the “business” of the last month or so and can check out the new look. Very cool! Still exploring…

  55. I like it! I especially love the drop downs in the header which I didn’t notice in the 4realz version. I still think it will promote some changes in writing style and content, as change begets change.

    I think people will like the tool bar in the comment section. I’m going to test it in a new comment without hitting “reply” so I can see how the comments thread.

  56. My comment got lost again, but it looks like the site has corrected itself, we’ll see.

    Thank you Dustin,

    I come to this site to see how it operates. You have innovation. You have a face Book article that I’ll read when I’m done here. Your content is supplied by others, so the multiple article format gives you the option to offer more choices to a variety of readers.

    In Tim’s case he supplies the content and lightly moderates the comments. He is a personality to watch as much as a source of information.

    What impresses me is that both of you have resisted the blatant ad hawking other sites fall prey to.

    So I like the format and am very pleased to hear you would like to expand beyond the real estate mess.

    The one thing that I would mention is that this box inside a box comment thing restricts comments more than adding anything. Scrolling through comments broadens the discussion even if it goes off point.

  57. Sorry my comments are getting lost or printed over.

    This is getting way to busy and complicated for me.

    Every other comment I try to send gets lost. so i do them again. That’s frustrating.

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