Dear WPBeginner Users,
Syed Balkhi here. So as most of you can already see, we unveiled the new WPBeginner design earlier this morning. After tweeting about it and facebook sharing it, I thought we owe our users an explanation and offer more details. Yes, you came to the site and you probably are like WTF! what is this site? Where did that big orange go? What’s going on. Yes, I owe you that explanation. I will format this as to why we made the switch, what changed, and what is the future benefits of these changes.
Why we switched to WPBeginner 3.0
Did you notice we skipped a version there. There was never an announcement about v2.0. Well that is because it never made it live. When it was done, I decided it was not the way I wanted to move forward. The old coupons and gallery was kinda a sneak into 2.0. Since July 4th, 2009 when we first launched, this site has grown to be a huge resource. We have added WPBeginner WordPress Coupons and WPBeginner WordPress Gallery. One of the problem I saw us running into was keeping a consistent user interface. It was becoming very hard to integrate newer sections into a wider scope of things. For instance after the launch, the gallery and coupons were buried. There was only one link under the Sections Drop down.
In version 2.0, we attempted to fix that issue while retaining our main design. Once done, the version looked freaking ugly. It looked like someone just plastered stuff. It was not organized, it was not structured the way I wanted. I as a user would hated that site.
The reason why we switched to this newer look was because it gives us room to grow. The coupons and gallery items will be displayed on each page. Currently they are being manually handled, but in a week or two this will be automated. You will see a random coupon and gallery on each page visit. If you see we have a video section coming soon. This will be live once we are back from BlogWorld Expo. We are hoping to add some very interesting sections that will be very useful.
This new design gives us that room to grow while giving users the ability to browse through our whole content as a network rather than each individual site.
So what the heck changed?
The whole darn thing changed. This new look was heavily inspired from WordPress 3.3 backend theme. We have all sections in the left navigation area. There is the new Explore button at the top. Click on it if you are feeling adventurous.
The design is semi-responsive. We are targeting popular resolutions/screen sizes. Our iPad display is not totally how we want it to be. Yes we are aware of that. We are working on that.
Someone brought up the point, you got rid of that big orange. Yes we did. When we first launched the site, that was very new. Now every other spammy site selling stuff has that. Sure it works in marketing, but we don’t want to look like that. We want to bring out our content more than our services. Content is #1 because it helps users. If as a user you like our content, you will inherently ask us to work for you. I personally am honored to work with so many of our users hands on.
What’s the Future?
This is crazy. I always wanted to keep the voice out. I wanted it written not in first person. But this site is getting much bigger. We are adding a revenue sharing program very soon for guest authors. Each author will get their own credit. So you will see a lot of first person views.
Editorial staff is mainly myself and David, so it may vary. It may still be in third person, or it might be in first based on the article.
The future is very bright. We have some very interesting new features coming along. The first one you can kind of see is the Videos. It will be all FREE and totally for beginners. We are working on guides that users can simply get once they come to the site. Often new users feel too overwhelmed. In the beginning the site was very small. So it was easier for everyone. Now a lot of good content is being buried. We want to make them into free e-books for our users.
We are working on pimping up our coupons section. Currently we have over 30+ coupons but this will be growing very fast. The giveaways that we run on WPBeginner will have their own section. Its getting out of control to manage them as posts. We will be creating a separate section like giveaway.wpbeginner or something along the same line. It will be one page that you can monitor periodically. We will try to have continuous giveaways, so it never stops. Lets see how that goes. My fingers are crossed.
We are also working on cutting the number of ads. Yes, I want to make the ads more relevant. Instead of having 8 ugly 125 x 125 ads, we will only have 1 or 2 bigger ad sizes. We will mostly be promoting our own services that we are coming along with.
The future of WPBeginner is bright or at least I think so. Its been a fun ride, and I am on it for as long as we go.
I want to thank you guys for continuously supporting us. We would be nowhere without you.
I see that a lot of users are already adjusting to the design. I would love to hear from you. If you are going to comment I liked the old design better, you are not being helpful. We are not going to go back. But we really need your help. You can help us by letting us know on how we can improve.
This is a work in progress like everything we do here. It never stops. We want to build it the best we can, and we need your help. Looking forward to the comments.