Wow, it was just a little over 7 months ago, when I wrote about WPBeginner version 3.0. After a lot of hard work, reconsideration, and optimization, I am proud to present WPBeginner 4.0. We pushed this new design live right before BlogWorld, so roughly 2 weeks ago. If you read our website via email or another feed reader, then I would highly appreciate if you take a look at the website. Let us know your thoughts. There were a lot of major changes in WPBv4 new design and site structure.
Why we switched to WPBv4 so fast?
When I first launched the redesign, some of my good friends asked: didn’t you guys do a redesign not that long ago? Yes we did about 7 months ago. Having two major redesigns in a year period must demand explanation. So why did we switch to WPBv4? Well I think the main reason was poor conversion. Ever since WPBeginner was launched, we had a signature “orange” bar at the top. In the last design, we got rid of that. That not only made the site look very dull, but a lot of our users complained that they couldn’t recognize the site. The last design was really cool because it attempted to emulate the WordPress dashboard however that got old really fast. I started missing the orange myself.
Another big complaint that we heard from a lot of users was that the content was very hard to find. To see blog categories, the user had to be under the blog section of the website. Having the site responsive for numerous screen sizes demanded shifting of content. This resulted in decrease of conversion (opt-ins, sales, potential clients, etc). I knew that we had to do something about it FAST. I got to the white board and started making a list of things to do. With so much feedback and complaints, I saw that to-do list just got out of control. Next thing I know, we were having the talks of a re-design. Now here we are with a new design.
What the Heck Changed?
There were a lot of changes (some major ones too). I will do my best to highlight each of them and explain why we made those changes.
- Gallery Shutdown – We launched our gallery in the hopes to showcase the best WordPress designs. All the content was user-submitted. The task ended up being a lot harder than expected. Over 90% of the sites submitted didn’t meet the cut. I almost felt that we weren’t making any progress there. We would moderate through the sites daily just to find out “No Quality Site Submission” AGAIN. So I decided to pull the plug.
- Coupons re-branded as Deals – Do you remember our coupons section? Well, it has a new name now. Its hosted under Deals. It is no longer a multi-site subdomain. Instead it is a custom post type. There were a few reasons why we made this change. The biggest reason was better structuring the site. Coupons were limiting us to post only coupons on the site. This made the News section of the blog fairly crowded. With a new name, Deals, we can now post everything in one place. Having it as a custom post type makes it much easier for us to integrate it through out the site.
- Videos Launched – We finally launched WPBeginner WordPress Videos. We were suppose to launch it a month or two after the last redesign. Because of all the feedback/complaints, we decided to hold back on the launch. Currently there are 17 videos that will show you the WordPress Basics. There are plans on adding more video tutorials in there as time goes by.
- WPBeginner’s Blueprint – After doing the case-study of List25, we got bombarded with emails from users asking for a Behind the Scenes of WPBeginner. This is why we have launched WPBeginner’s Blueprint. This gives us a single place where we can list all plugins, tools, and services that we use. It also allows us to keep it fairly up to date. Blueprint Videos are in the works to make that area more personal.
- Guides Initiative – Often we would get emails or tweets from users asking us where is the guide? I always felt like smacking my head on the wall. My answer was like, the whole freaking website is a guide. However, I understand that it is our job as a team to make our site easier to navigate. The guides will have a step by step guide of using WordPress. Currently its fairly basic, but we will be adding more items there. For those who are wondering, this is just an area where we show hand-picked articles that we have already covered.
- WordPress Hosting – In the past, we had a list of recommended WordPress hosts. In the new release, we want our user’s feedback as well. We have added the ability for users to RATE each host and leave reviews. Please take a look at our WordPress Hosting page to see if your hosting provider is listed there. If they are, then please consider leaving a review. This will help others making the right decision.
- Services – In the past, our services page was never super elaborate. We provide a wide-variety of services that we do not market. Never found a need to because we have always been packed with clients. As we hire more people, we have decided to make our WordPress services public. That page is still in the works. I want us to have a custom landing page for each.
- Genesis Framework – WPBeginner is now powered on Genesis. The last design was a stand-alone, but we are back with our favorite framework.
- Livefyre – In the new design, we have switched back to the default WordPress comments. We switched away from livefyre. We wrote an article about it already “6 reasons why we switched away from Livefyre“.
- Visual Changes – There are a lot of visual changes. Fonts, font-size, etc.
I still have a long list of things to do. I am super excited to see the direction we are heading in. We will soon start to offer Freebies. I want us to have a good compilation of books. If you have book recommendations, then please contact us. I want WPBeginner to cater to niche markets as well. There are some more interesting stuff in the works for that
A new giveaways section is in the works, then we will get back to doing our regular giveaways like we used to. I just don’t want to crowd the news section anymore. More news coming on that soon.
We are working on a “semi-responsiveness” of this theme. Basically you can call it a mobile-version. The biggest complaint we got from our users previously was that our mobile “responsive” design didn’t give them a way to switch back to the full version. So we are trying to figure out the best way to tackle this issue.
I will do my best to keep you guys updated as we add more features.