If you have been following NichePursuits.com for a while, you will know that just recently I went through a major redesign.
In fact, when I started my blog back at the end of 2010 I simply found a theme for about $37 that I liked, got a cheap logo and I was off and blogging. I used that same blog design and logo for 4 years!
During those 4 years, my blog great tremendously and do I dare say I've had a small impact on my ever growing community? So, the first lesson is that you do NOT need an expensive design to get started blogging. People care more about the quality of your content then the quality of your logo…really.
However, I finally decided that it was time for a fresh look. So, I hired Taylor Hendrickson of HendricksenDesign.com to tackle the task. Taylor did an amazing job, and I definitely recommend him if you are looking to have your site designed.
Today, I want to review some of the stats related to my new blog design. I'll be diving into things like pages viewed, time on site, opt in rates, and more.
Hopefully some of this information will help you as you think about getting a fancy new design for your own site!
Before and After…
As mentioned, I used a very cheap WordPress theme and logo for 4 years on my site. I actually think they looked pretty well…for something under $100.
I want to to share some before and after screenshots as well as the statistics.
NichePursuits.com Before Nov. 2014
NichePursuits.com After Nov. 2014
For the overall look and feel of the site, I think it's a huge jump forward in terms of design and feel!
The process of getting the logo figured out was actually probably the most difficult. Once Taylor and I got that in place, everything else seemed to go without a hitch.
I have to admit that I attribute how smooth everything went to Taylor and his great eye for design AND understanding my goals. He understands my market very well and was able to come up with design, opt-in copy, and more with very little input from me.
However, there is much more to a site than looking great; I want results. So, let's take a look at some of the stats to see how my website is performing now vs. the old design.
Avg. Session Duration: Increase of 23 seconds
Old site design: 2:51
New site design: 3:14
An increase of of 23 seconds per session is pretty significant. This means that people are staying on the site longer and as we will see below, visiting more pages.
I have to suspect this is due to a more professional design that helps people feel like Niche Pursuits is a quality site. My related posts and project pages have also been strategically designed to encourage people to stick around and read more content as well.
Pages / Session: Increase of 0.13 Pages
Old site design: 2.03 pages/session
New site design: 2.16 pages/session
Having people stick around longer and visit more pages is always a good thing to build trust and engagement. This metric is mostly driven by the quality of content. The most interesting your blog posts, the more readers will want to stick around and see what else you have written.
However, as you can see a site redesign can also have a positive impact on this metric as well. I'm definitely happy with the increase here.
Bounce Rate: Improvement of 1.01%
Old site design: 64.06%
New site design: 63.05 %
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As you can see, there was only a slight improvement here…but it is an improvement nonetheless. Since the content of my site has not changed, I have to attribute this improvement to the new site design.
Average Daily Opt-ins: Increase of 30.03 Email Opt-Ins
Old site design: 20.59 average daily opt-ins
New site design: 50.62 average daily opt-ins
Building an email list is SO important, so this is a metric that I care much more about than some of the previous ones mentioned.
This increase is HUGE! In fact, I now get 2.5 times as many new email subscribers per day than I did before the site redesign. That's pretty amazing.
A big part of this was more than just a fancy new design. I also finally got around to implementing some of the strategies that I knew I should have been using all along. Call me lazy, but I finally got around to adding things like pop-ups, content upgrades, and more.
Perhaps you have seen my new splash page on my homepage. This has helped:
In addition, I now have content upgrades within most of my blog posts (including all my old ones) that has significantly improved opt-in rates.
And then I've added timed pop-ups to improve the opt-in rate even further. I'm sure I could be doing even more, but I'm quite happy with the significant increase in email subscribers that I'm now getting.
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I should also mention that all of these splash pages, content upgrades, and pop-ups are all custom designed. I'm not using any out of the box plugins or designs. These we also customer programmed and design specially for my site by Taylor Hendricksen.
Email Opt-in Conversion Rate: Increase of 1.49%
Old site design: 0.77%
New site design: 2.26%
I know an increase of 1.49% doesn't sound like much, but it really is in raw numbers. That's an increase of almost 300%!
I know that only 2.26% of people opting into my email list doesn't sound that great, but I'm very happy with it. You also have to realize that I get A LOT of returning visitors that are already on my email list anyway, so I'll take it.
A Few Final Thoughts…
Overall, the statistics are speaking loud and clear to me, the new site design has been a HUGE success! People are staying on my site longer, visiting more pages, and are more likely to opt-in to my email list.
Privately, people have also shared with me that they absolutely love the new design as well. I was nervous going in to all the changes, but I'm quite pleased with the design and the results.
I do want to give another shout out to Taylor Hendricksen for the awesome design work he has done. He had so many ideas and was able to implement the few ideas that I had without any issue.
In fact, I was so happy with the work that Taylor did, that I've had him redesign the look and feel of Long Tail Pro as well! That's right a new design of Long Tail Pro is coming out very soon.
The impact of my new blog design has been huge. While I still think that people just starting out do NOT need to spend thousands of dollars with a fancy design, when you have the money to upgrade your site, it's definitely worth it.
Bootstrap your way to an audience with a cheap WordPress theme, then give your site a facelift only once you know your business has some legs.
As always, I would love to hear any comments or questions that you have about designing a site or anything else related to this post.