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Please Review My Site Redesign
Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:17 AM
Is this site completed or under construction?
How long has the site been up?
Nine years in it's old form, several hours in the new form. If you get an ugly looking site with a flag in the top right corner you're seeing the old site still, please try again tomorrow it that happens as the DNS update is still propagating it's way around the web.
Do you have incoming links?
What keywords are you targeting?
Haha, this is where it gets silly:
1) Mp3 downloads
4) artist_name / song_name (download ~ ringtone ~ lyrics)
5) artist_name (downloads ~ ringtones ~ lyrics)
We have over 150,000 artists, over 300,000 singles and albums, over 3.5 million mp3 downloads, over .1.3 million lyrics and about 50 thousand ringtones. As you can guess that's a lot of search strings.
Do you want your code reviewed for errors or improvements?
Yes please. As it is right now the code is valid and set out in such a way that the page content is at the top etc.
Who is your target audience? Think about:
Someone is in my target audience if they can answer yes to this question: do you like music?
(Pretty broad I know)
Gender: M or F
Age Range: 18 - 88 (been tested between 24 and 72 with good feedback from both extremes of the age spectrum)
Income/Education level: Has a budget for music and entertainment
Likes/Dislikes: Likes value, likes music
The more you tell us about your target audience, the better. We don't know them- you do!
My target audience is as wide and vast as any music lover who wants a song!
I want them to:
1) Subscribe to our premium service
2) Buy tracks without committing to the subscription = better margin for me
3) Share our site with friends on Twitter, Facebook and so on
4) Click on ads
Why is your site different from sites selling/offering similar info/goods/services? Why will someone want to do business you?
1) No software downloads
2) All songs are DRM free
3) All mp3s are high quality = many encoded at 320kbps which makes them better quality than iTunes
4) Customers can listen to their songs online through our streaming service
5) We accept PayPal and even payments using your mobile phone account or top-up (UK only)
6) We make it simple, no forms, no complications, no BS, no software, no card details....
7) We are lucky to have license to sell some tracks which are hard to find
How important is usability?
Very! (Very, very!)
What is the purpose of the site? (inform, sell, online community, support B&M business, contact info only, etc)
Do you want design suggestions?
Please be as harsh and brutal as you can.
I'm thick skinned and can take it!
Posted 20 June 2010 - 05:35 AM
It's been up here for a couple of weeks now and whilst it has had loads of views not a single comment.
I'll give it a couple more days to see if there's any feedback before I post some post-re-launch stats as a compare and contrast.
Posted 20 June 2010 - 10:54 AM
I'm new here (as of last night actually) Page rank 4 is impressive.... congratulation.
My background is in design. The first thing that I noticed is something that many people do. EVERYTHING is important right, so you <b>BOLD</> it. First suggest is to turn the bold off. Only use bold for your headings (and then I don't use it all the time).
Second suggestion is to create more contrast between in font SIZE. The whole purpose of headings to a list is so that the eye can quickly find the find what it's looking for fast... when everything is close in font size (and everything bolded) the eye cannot quickly deliniate headline for body content. That creates a subliminal negative in the mind of the user and we want none of that, right?
Don't be afraid to make you list of song titles non-bold and a point size or two or three sizes smaller. You will get a lot more 'on' your page and the more you get 'above the fold' (a newspaper term for being the top portion of a newspaper when folder) the better. Let you headings stand out and your content for that heading reside 'tightly' within that imaginary space of that headings topic.
Let your site breath.
Giving your site more white space around each category and the site in general helps the user to relax. That brings the users to understand that everything is easily organized on this page... "let me stay a while and check our what this pages has to offer".
Lastly, I'll address color...
The physcology of color is immense. Red and blue are are the two most visible colors to the eye. (It is also a STOP color). When I first look at your site the first thing I notice was the bright red... a good thing right? Well... nothing wrong with red. I love it. But to use it effectively one must use it 'sparingly'. You want people to see your CONTENT first and never notice that the layout was anything other that interesting and effective. Use color to bring the eye to where you want them to go. I actually use a lot of VERY light tones of grey simply to hold content together (like you have done with the light red/pinkish color). Another little trick is to use a dark grey color for your text in lieu of black. I know that may sound strange but it reduces strain on the users eyes, keeping him on the site longer.
I'll give you an example to try on your site specifically to do with the red. Notice how the bright red is so strong in between the top tabs? Insert a medium to dark grey background BEHIND the tab elements (but in front of the red) completely across the header horizontally blocking the red and see how much easier it is to look at those tabs. Might also consider changing the horizontal red bar below the header to maybe the same grey.(No real NEED to bring the eye to that bar, right?)
OK Mooro, there's my thoughts. Hope that helps. Hit me up anytime.
Posted 21 June 2010 - 08:08 AM
Thanks for taking the time to take a look at the site and write up your thoughts. Appreciated.
All listed menus are bold, I see no reason to change that, the use of bold is much better on actual product pages with calls to action.
Font sizes: I'm not making any of the core text smaller, I can see where using smaller text in places would be of benefit so I will be writing that into things when I'm back into coding this monster again. Just things like related artist lists and so on, everything else has a good degree of readability to me.
As for above the fold, really, no need to explain thanks but I've already used the idea of placing priority content above the fold aready, for example if you search for an artist and they're touring we shown an image of them on stage when we can, this is yet to be monetised but will get a better return than an album sale so that's top, then it's the related artists which I now see would be better smaller to bring the next chunk of page higher up; that's the most popular tracks, to be a popular track we need it in mp3, ringtone and polyphonic file formats along with the lyrics.
The product matching like that puts the most popular tracks higher up, then albums, singles, ringtones and so on. I know I need to work on the search engine side of things to make it slicker, faster and more user friendly.
In terms of spacing, I've used a fliud layout that fills the screen, there's sufficient white space within the page to allow for the flexibility in larger and smaller screens. I've tested on a few sizes and depending on what you use you're gonna get different impressions. It fills my MacBook nicely in full screen and closer to 800 wide, on my Mac Mini viewed through a flat screen TV as a media hub it's great.
The spacing and the way things are also work on the mobile version so unless I can see a reason to change that I'm not touching it.
"Let me stay longer" - stat: people already do.
Red: always going to be an issue. Tough, it stays and it is a million times more toned down than the old site. It's always been a bold sit, it will always remain so.
There's a clear difference in how the page is yet at the same time it managed to keep certain aspects the same.
As for product pages, they too have come a long way.
The results two weeks after re-launch
The following indicators are all UP
Number of pages per visitor
Time on site per visitor
Bounce rate has gone from 75% to 61% which is a giant leap in the right direction.
Now the really interesting bit, uniques and search terms:
Relaunch day: 1,111 uniques on PC, 2,432 on mobiles
Yesterday: 3,270 uniques on PC, 3,152 on mobiles
So we've kinda gonr from three thousand uniques a day to six thousand so I can't moan too much.
Relaunch day: 891 keywords
Yesterday: 2,690 keywords
This is great news! Our meteor is starting to shine bright and is leaving a nice long tail lighting up the sky.
It's a long way off the traffic we had at our height a few years ago but is showing massive leaps forward.
It's good to see us up there on the results with brand new content in such a short time frame.
I've a year old mp3 download site this relaunch is now competing with and it's doing a good job.
As for conversions, the bottom line is looking better, 'nuf said!
My top tips for a relaunch:
Keep existing URLs or 301 to the new structure
When removing content do it with grace; either 301 to the nearest match you can get or 404 nicely. For example, I killed off thousands of mono / rtttl ringtones, the kind that go beep that you enter on your handset. I kept the database info and do a lookup on the old artist and title and if I find a match on a ringtone I'll 301 through to that. When I can't find a match I 301 to the top ringtones.
Don't redesign for the sake of keeping up to date with the latest design trend, redesign to bring your site closer to your user's expectations and / or realign yourself in the market place. There's an awesome article on A List Apart by Cameron Moll, it's dated 2005 but well worth a read prior to a redesign or realignment of your site.
Monitor as much as you can in realtime. It will help you spot things you didn't see before. I created an AJAX script which shows the last 50 entries in our referrer log, it makes for interesting reading to see which terms are bringing us visitors. It's even handier for finding errors.
Read Jill's guide. This was kinda handy though I read broadly on other folks relaunch experiences to be aware of potential pitfalls.
Final tip, spend another day or two going through bugs on a fresh PC, fresh account, as fresh as you can. Ao matter how many things you test, no matter how many transactions you put through there WILL be a bug you only see once the new site is live. The bug you aren't even aware of will be huge and will only arise from it's sleep once you flick the switch.
Posted 21 June 2010 - 10:40 AM
"Guideline: Use bold text only when it is important to draw the userís attention to a specific piece of information."
It might have dawned on me after the fact but I get that bit now so will address it.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:03 AM
Number of pages per visitor
Time on site per visitor
Has anything useful actually increased?
Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:19 AM
Yes, I handle questions I feel are laced with negativity and sarcasm a lot better than I used to.
I take it you missed this line:
Traffic is up, revenue is up. Still more to do, still better results to work towards.
I'm aware a bounce can mean different things, I've real-time referrer logging so I can see how users are interacting with the site.
It is more of a case of someone finding us through searching for a song, then checking out the album the track is on or viewing the page for the artist that recorded it.
There are cases when we didn't find a match on old content I've killed and the case you pointed out would apply but I've done all I can to manage those the most user friendly way possible.
The logs and results show me it's more page views for good reasons, the revenue report makes me smile.
All positive from my own biased perspective.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:26 AM
We hear all about the:
"Time on page",
pages per visitor,
And other such trivial "metrics". YET actual earnings are treated like an afterthought.
It's a bit like a shop keeper saying, "I have no money in the till, but at least I meet new people everyday"!
Your boss coming to your desk and saying, "We won't pay you for today because you had more people today at your desk looking through your work". and if your site isn't commercial in any way why would you care how many people look at it?
It often seems that actually taking money is an embaressment or somehow sullies the perceived nature of the site.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 05:12 AM
Oh no, money is the only reason why I let my fingers hit this keyboard!
I love what I do so am grateful I can work on what I wish, when I wish, still the driving factor is, always was and always will be how much money I can earn. As long as I earn more off my own steam that I ever did in conventional employment I'm not going to moan too much.
You're right though, too many folks consider the bottom line as an after thought, why when that is the primary aim in business surely.
I'd rather be on a boat, on a beach or in a coffee-shop in the Netherlands than coding away like a good little chimp!
I'm more than happy to talk visitor figures and so on in a public forum, as you can understand I'm not so keen to openly discuss the revenues, that said customer numbers up, bottom line up. We even seem to be back on track with our old targets from the good old days.
I can kind of understand why people don't tend to talk money so much.
Put it this way, I'm buzzing and very positive about the revenue sources though there's still a long way to go before I'm happy with where we are!
If I ask myself this:
Was the three months working like a mad thing worth it?
The answer would be a resounding:
Posted 23 June 2010 - 10:23 AM
Glad I could help stimulate some interest... :-)
Of all the dialog above... I gained miles of respect for you with this one line.
"...money is the only reason why I let my fingers hit this keyboard!"
Too many people don't look at it as a business just because they're sitting at home
working behind a computer. It's business, period! Because we love what we do is just
the icing on the cake.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 01:22 PM
If you enjoy what you do, you'll never work another day in your life - Confucius
I've just been playing with the bolds in the style sheet, I'm starting to see different options now which is cool.
As for treating it like a business, we are in every sense: payroll, tax, tax and more damn tax.
Even if you're not a proper business you need to have at least some accumen, an idea, a goal and as much damn determination and pure brute force as you can muster.
I know folks who have websites but haven't done anything with them yet and are waiting for their first organic order to drop in whilst they watch the World Cup and sip a cold one. Ain't gonna happen.
I know folks who want sites that can deliver a gold plated miracle to save their business overnight but are yet to lift a finger on it and their PC isn't even plugged in. Ain't gonna happen.
Then I know a girl with a site, she has her niche and exploited it so well she's now cancelled taking any more bookings as she can't cope with the demand. She's using the reputation she's built online to now push herself into a new marketplace and is re-aligning her site to do just that. She'll succeed. She'll rinse and repeat that formula till she's where she wants to be.
I seriously think that anyone embarking online has to have clear goals of what they want before they start out, then they need to accept there are no overnight solutions that don't want your card details and then they need to keep at it till they get there.
It's all about what you want to get out of it and how much you're willing to put into it to get that result!
Cheers folks, beautiful evening here in the UK, speaking of sipping a cold one........
Posted 23 June 2010 - 01:51 PM
LOVE to hear the success stories!
Have a great evening, my firend!
Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:03 AM
A month has passed since I relaunched the site.
Since then it's done 105,000 uniques on the web site and 85,000 uniques on the mobile site, traffic is up, money is up but not up enough!
That's a pretty huge leap forward in web traffic, the mobile traffic isn't impressing me yet I see mobile conversion kicking in much higher than web conversions.
How do I take it to the next level?
When I say next level, I mean taking it over a million visitors a month.
@kemo - she's a teacher so her orders are bookings for her time, she's stopped as her diary is full and her waiting list is too: as you say it's the kind of problem that's nice to have! (Technically she's an ex-girlfriend, she wanted a wedding ring so I escaped quick!)
Posted 07 July 2010 - 07:13 AM
A VERY good problem to have! ( and there's nothing wrong with a wedding as long as the ring is not thru the nose! )
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