A Behind The Scenes Look At The Redesign Of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com

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It’s been almost 4 years since I last changed the look and feel of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com so I knew that a complete website overhaul was long overdue.

One of the reasons that I’ve waited so long is because I don’t believe in changing things unless something is broken. And because my blog has been steadily increasing its readership and making more money every single year, I didn’t feel like anything needed to be changed…at least not until this past year.

redesign

I don’t know exactly what triggered it in me. Perhaps it was because I took a look at my site from a distance and decided that I wanted to brand myself better. Perhaps it was because my previous site looked like it was designed in the late nineties. But looking back, my objectives for the blog have definitely evolved over time.

During my last redesign in 2010, the focus was to provide as much space for advertising as possible. As a result, you probably noticed that my previous design was completely plastered with ads.

I had ads above the content, below the content, on the sidebars, in the header and in the footer. In fact, I still remember when my mom first saw my blog that she thought it was an online billboard.

Also back in the day, I didn’t really know what I was doing and I didn’t have any concept of website conversion optimization. Grabbing newsletter subscriptions was an afterthought and most of the signup forms on the site were haphazardly bolted together.

Finally, because it was my first WordPress blog design, the source code for the site was an unintelligible mess of php, html and css that was all garbled together.

This time around, I wanted to be much more deliberate in my design choices with a specific focus on improving the reader experience. Here’s what was going on in my head during the redesign and my motivations for some of the changes.

I Removed All The Spammy Ads

spam
First off, I pretty much removed almost all of the ads on the site. Whereas my last design was all about making money with advertising, the focus of the new design is about building authority and mindshare.

In my previous theme, I used this service called BuySellAds to sell advertising spots on my website. While I highly recommend this service, the problem was that my website tended to attract ads for info products about making money.

spam2Some of these ads were really spammy(as shown to the right) but I decided to go with the “John Chow” method of monetization and accepted them anyways. My reasoning at the time was that they offered a decent payout and earning an extra 1200-1600 bucks a month wasn’t anything to scoff at.

But here’s the thing. Some of these ads were so spammy that they really detracted from my own reputation. After all, if I was displaying spammy ads, wouldn’t people think that my Create A Profitable Online Store Course was spammy as well?

The last straw that broke the camels back happened late last year when a reader scolded me over email because he signed up for one of the products in one of my ads and lost his money in a get rich quick scam.

Even though it was not my product, he thought that I had endorsed it because I was willing to display an ad for it on my blog. And when he lost his money, he lost a little bit of faith in me as well.

Long story short, the spammy ads were hurting my reputation even though I couldn’t directly measure the effects. And earning an extra 1200-1600 dollars a month simply wasn’t worth the lost mindshare.

In the current design, you’ll probably notice that I’ve replaced the large banner ads with testimonials and there are no get rich quick ads in sight.

I Added More Personality To The Site

MeAndDaughter
My previous design was all about site speed. So as a result, I didn’t use many photos on the site and I focused my efforts on writing great text based content.

But one thing that I’ve learned over the years is that the key to running a successful business is infusing your personality into everything that you do.

It’s one thing to write about your wife and your family, but it’s a whole other ballgame to tell your story visually to the audience. In the new theme, I’ve added many more photos of my family and myself with the hope of connecting better with my readers.

With larger photos and more story telling, I hope to leave a lasting impression to those that can relate to my story.

I Improved The Navigation

navbar
Getting around my blog in the last design pretty much sucked. The main horizontal menu bar was cluttered and used really tiny text that didn’t stand out at all.

The only way to view older posts was to use this little sidebar widget which provided links to previous, featured and popular posts. And it wasn’t entirely obvious how to access the main blog portion of the site.

Having ads plastered all over made things even worse because not only did you have to search for the navigation but you were constantly distracted by random get rich quick ads as well.

So in the present design, I decided to use large arrays of photos and text to highlight the main portions of the website. The navigation totally stands out now and it’s very obvious what I have to offer on my website.

navtable
On the sidebar, I’ve implemented a “sticky” block that fades in and stays visible on the site while the user is scrolling to direct new visitors to the 3 most important pages on my blog.

In fact, every feature in my new theme is designed to guide the reader to one of 3 things, a newsletter signup form, a page with my background story and/or posts that promote my course.

I Added More Social Proof

socialproof
Over the years, my blog has been featured in many mainstream publications so I finally decided to use this to my advantage. On my main page, I now proudly display a banner with some of the more prominent sites that I’ve been featured on.

Also, I decided to publish my readership numbers in the header as well. While 90K visitors isn’t as much traffic as some of my colleagues, it’s still not a bad number and my readership is very focused on learning more about ecommerce and running online businesses.

I Implemented Bolder, More Readable Fonts And A Responsive Design

responsiveBy now you’ve probably realized that mobile is all the rage. If you look at the traffic stats for MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, over 30% of my readers browse my site on a mobile phone. Therefore it was imperative that my blog displayed well on a smaller screen.

As other webmasters have done, I opted for a responsive design. But instead of having support for 3 or more media screen sizes, I opted only to support 2 in the interests of time and verification. After all, each additional screen size needs to be thoroughly tested across a wide variety of devices.

For this design, I had to test my new theme on Internet Explorer 7 8 9 10 11, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, iPad, Android tablets, iPhone and various android phones. Needless to say, it was very tedious.

The other important emphasis of the redesign was on readability. The serif font that I used in my previous theme was too light and hard to read. Plus, I used a much smaller font size which forced my mom to bust out her reading glasses every time she visited the site.

As you can probably tell, the fonts now are much bolder, larger and easier to read.

The Results

Of course there’s no point in redesigning a website without a target in mind. The primary objective of my redesign was to remove all distractions and focus on getting people to sign up for my email list.

And I’m happy to say that in the 4 days that my redesign has been live, I’ve increased the conversion rate of my signup forms by over 108%. On one hand, removing all of the ads is costing me between 1200-1600 dollars a month. But at the same time, I’m adding more potential customers for my online store course.

Only time will tell whether that trade off was a wise one. But if anything, the user experience on my blog is now vastly improved and I’m much more proud to show this site off to my friends. Admittedly, I always used to cringe every time I saw one of those spammy get rich quick ads. But now I can breath a sign of relief since they are all gone.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes analysis of my site redesign. What do you think of the new layout?

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56 thoughts on “A Behind The Scenes Look At The Redesign Of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com”

    1. Thanks Alexa and thank you for finding that subtle bug on my contact page

  1. Looks great, Steve! I’ve had the pleasure of updating many client sites to a more modern, responsive design and they’ve seen similar improvements in conversions. It’s always so interesting to see how what you target (whether it’s ads, your email list, your content, or something else entirely) is what people will focus on.

    I adore the new homepage! It’s amazing how a layout change can make things so much easier to read and navigate. Great work!

    1. Thanks Andrea. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of conversions but I did know that there was a decent percentage of people clicking on those spammy ads. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. Debi says:

    Nicely done, Steve! I’m a relatively new reader, and the difference between the two designs’ messages is like night and day. While the goal to make money hasn’t changed (and I think most folks are okay with that), this design says you hope to do so by helping me, whereas everything I write about the old design sounds really snarky, so we’ll just leave it at that. 😉 Would you mind sharing which plugins you’re using for your sticky-sidebar widget and bottom-scroll popup? They’re slick!

    1. Hehe. Those were my sentiments exactly:) I’m glad that the new design is conveying my new message loud and clear. The stick sidebar widget was written by a friend but the bottom scroll popup is a plugin call Quoate Scroll Triggered Block

  3. Love the redesign. Very clean and easy to navigate. To be totally honest, the old design was REALLY bad and frustrating to read with all the ads. As hard of a decision it must have been to lose the extra income, I think long-term, it’ll pay off big time.

    1. I agree. I wasn’t really proud of the old design but it was working at the time. I’ll find other ways to replace the lost income.

  4. I just switched from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress so I’m looking for all of the blog design tips I can get. I love your new design because it’s so clear and focused, easy to navigate and more personal with the pictures. Thanks for sharing your thought process behind it…very inspiring as I work on my own blog!

  5. RM says:

    The new design is fantastic. I have been reading for a few months now and I always overlooked the spam that you had before because I realized that it was probably necessary. On the other hand, I can say that my first impression was that you might not have been on the up and up because of those ads. As time went by and I read more of what you were putting out there for the readers, I realized the spam really had nothing to do with you so I overlooked it. This new design is great. It’s clean, fresh, and sharp looking. The home page is laid out beautifully and the use of pictures really does add to the overall effect. I hope this makes a big difference for you.

    1. Thanks RM. First impressions are important. If you initially felt that way, there were probably hundreds of others who felt that way too and left immediately. Hope it makes a difference too! Thanks for the feedback

  6. Mark says:

    But…I miss the spammy ads:(

    Seriously this is more reflective of who you really are Steve…I like it, and since you’re already seeing a better sign up rate, the true security for you will be in the list. And just because the monetization isn’t hitting you in the head when you show up, the fact is, your credibility will sell more in the long run…it’s a good bet to play out at least.

    1. Mark, if you act now I can make you over 20000/month on autopilot if you simply sign up for my new magic bullet training class:)

      You are correct. The list is everything and that will be my focus in the coming years.

      1. Mark says:

        Did I read that right Steve? $20K? On autopilot…man I think you’re onto something there:)

  7. Judy says:

    Love the new redesign. The title of the blog gets cut off a little bit on the iPhone screen. Also, Steve, I’ve struggled with the idea of posting pictures of my own little one on my blog as well for privacy and safety reasons…what are your thoughts on this? How did you arrive at your decision of posting pics of your family on your blog?

    1. Thanks Judy. I’ll have to look into that. Which iphone are you using? Speaking of posting pics of the family, I had to convince my wife to put her face in the front banner. But in general, I don’t plan on posting too many recent pics of the family on the blog. It’s a fine line.

  8. Mark says:

    Hi Steve,

    Just wanted to pass this on. In the article “Read About Our Entre…Story” the content block is getting ever so slightly cut off on the right side. I don’t know if this is site wide or just a few pages, posts, but anyway, check it out and I think you’ll see what I mean. I’m using chrome, so maybe that’s part of it too.

    1. Thanks Mark. Which platform are you using Chrome on? Tablet, Mac or PC?

      1. Mark says:

        A Mac.

  9. I was recommending your blog and course a few days ago to someone who was just getting started in ecomm and when I opened your site to get the link your happy family popped right out at me :) The new design really WORKS. The top navigation and 6 where should I begin options will make it easy for new visitors to figure out where they want to go. Well done.

    1. Thanks Carole, both for recommending the blog and the course and for your kind words.

  10. You did an amazing job on the redesign! Love the “Where Should I Begin?” block, and REALLY LOVE the removal of the spammy buysell ads! Well done.

    I’ll be using your design ideas in my next project.

    I hope you’ll write in the future on the longer term impacts on your list growth, AND your income growth, which will surely surpass the little bit of ad revenue you gave up.

    Kevin

    1. Thanks Kevin
      I always do a mid year and a final year report and I’ll be sure to mention these things.

  11. Hi Steve,

    Just a few minutes before I received your email update, I took a look at your website and I think you made a great job! I have to admit that the previous design looked spammy and had a 90’s look (reminds me high school, hé hé!) I was kind of annoyed by that but I kept reading your content, I love your blog! It’s very interesting, and even though I quit my online business for some reasons (was selling haircare products from Canada), I’ve learned so much by STARTING an online business that I’ve decided to start another one!

    Keep it up the good work!

      1. Anouk says:

        Not available yet! In progress…

  12. Love it! Way more attractive, less busy—makes me want to read every word! Great redesign.

  13. Very nice improvement! Great getting rid of those boring spammy ads.
    I like you adding more of your personality to your site!

  14. I’m really impressed with the new design Steve. I think it looks and flows much better now. And it’s definitely more personal looking as well.

    I’d love to hear how the design helps with pageviews and conversions once you have enough data.

    1. Hey Glen,
      I will probably be posting a follow up post about this once I have more data.

  15. Congrats steve,

    I like the idea of adding personality and social proof to your site, it has made your site more unique which is very vital.

    The results proved that redesigning your site was truly worth it.

    Congrats.

  16. Love the new site. Very interesting to me because I’m planning a similar “revamp” in the near future. I found one of your old blogs in my files and put them side by side. Huge improvement.

    OK, I know this is nitpicking and I apologize in advance, but it’s not “anyways,” it’s “anyway.” I’ve been known to click off a site automatically if it contains spelling and grammatical errors because it reads unprofessional. I usually grit my teeth and keep going, but since you are VERY professional, I’d hate to think you could be losing people due to one word. After all, we know I’m not the only pain in the a** out here!

    1. Thanks Carole,

      I write like how I talk:) I guess I’ve been talking incorrectly for a while now. Thanks for the correction

  17. Jackie says:

    I am on Internet explorer and have a spam ad in the middle of your text.

    “But one thing that I’ve learned over the years is that the key to running a successful business is infusing your personality into everything that you do.

    SPAM AD here – Shocking Spanish Video……. It shows a young, well endowed, woman in the picture.

    It’s one thing to write about your wife and your family, but it’s a whole other ballgame to tell your story visually to the audience. In the new theme, I’ve added many more photos of my family and myself with the hope of connecting better with my readers.”

    1. Hi Jackie,

      The ads that I have left on the site are Google Adsense Ads. What’s funny about your comment is that 90% of the time, the ads being displayed are retargeting ads. This implies that you must have gone to some Spanish site before coming to mine:)

  18. Paul says:

    A great change Steve

    The only suggestion I would make is that on your newsletter subscriber and
    pop up… the Give me access to the free course, enter your email address etc… the font size should be the same size as the headline “Ready to….etc”

    Just my thoughts

  19. Manny says:

    Hi Steve, I prefer the new site for sure but l liked your old logo more was the only thing I would have kept in the header

    Cheers

    Manny

    1. Unfortunately, the old logo didn’t fit quite right with the new design. The main motivation for removing it was that it pushed the content down below the fold.

  20. Hanh says:

    Wow Steve,

    I’m so glad you removed the spammy ads!! First impression was a pleasant “wow” and so much so that it prompted me to leave a comment which I wouldn’t normally do – so that must be a good thing. I agree with the other reader I actually liked your old logo with the fishing line, added a bit of humour and quirk, but this works well also. I’m also glad your wife agreed to let you post a pic of her! Great pics and allows us readers to connect a bit more.

    1. Thanks Hanh. I figured that adding my wife made up for the removal of the header image:)

  21. Peter says:

    Steve, your revisions are just great! As you know, I am already a student of the course, and this blog post is just another reason why I am really happy that I signed up.

  22. Steve,

    It seems you found a magic wand for this make over, it is 1000 times more appealing than the last one. I am glad you thought of emphasising on Branding yourself and your blog. This will surely increase your blog’s readership and will recoup the ad income you lost within days. Good luck and keep blogging.

  23. Amardeep says:

    Good job and Good Luck

  24. Steve, the redesign looks very similar to Pat Flynn and his SPI. I am glad I have been following you for so long and experiencing the changes. Have a good weekend! Look forward to more.

    1. Thanks Ryan,

      For this website design, I scoured the web for websites that I liked and put together different elements from different sites that I wanted to include. For example, I liked Pat’s floating sidebar idea so I implemented it for my own site. Similarly, I liked his menu bar as well. The front page for my design was inspired from my good friend Jeff and the bottom collection of pictures and nav items was inspired by a group of other sites that I was looking at.

  25. I really have to say I love the new design.
    Much cleaner than the previous and although you added more photos, the site still oads really fast.
    Also the font used are much better readable. The story about your mom made me smile, as I also had (and still have with other sites) to get my glasses on. Now I can read your site without glasses from a comfortable distance. Thanks.

  26. I agree with all of it. It looks great. I don’t feel like I am being sucked into a vortex of random ads. Very nice.
    Curious about your email list and newsletter preference.
    Currently, mine uses two different tools through the WordPress app. I have a separate sign up link from my newsletter link. Not exactly sure how to merge the two. I know it’s costing me, but I haven’t figured out the best way to do it.
    What would you say is the best way to pull in visitors and get them connected? I have a decent following now, but a lot is wasted without that newsletter connection.

  27. Love the new site!

    I’m wondering if you built the site on any specific framework or theme (thesis, genesis, etc..)? Or if it was a complete custom job?

    Also, how did you implement the sticky sidebar? The “Where Should I Begin?” sidebar element seems really effective. At least for me.

    1. Thanks Donnie,

      I’m not really a framework type of guy as you probably know. I like to be in control of all the source so the theme is indeed custom. The sticky sidebar is a piece of javascript that my dev wrote but it’s based on a free and public jquery script called waypoints if that helps.

  28. Your blog posts are so fun to read as always, because they truly are like you are talking directly to me. I’m just now trying to start an online business and knee or really more like neck deep in trying to figure out how to customize my open cart theme and adding products. I’ve had many days that I wanted to scrap it all and go with shopify but I’ve done all this work and I know I just need a little help with tweeting. Anyway, my point is, I can totally understand the work behind a redesign. It looks great. I read all the comments here and I’ll have to agree, I didn’t love the ads before, and sometimes I did think the same about whether your info was trustworthy because you do get a sense of someone just looking to get a buck when they have so many ads. I don’t mind the affiliate ads about products you actually know about, those actually make sense to me.

    But honestly seeing your picture made me continue to read. You actually “look” trustworthy .. Whatever that is .. But to me you do. But then after continuing to read. The information you provided all panned out after researching and was so comprehensive in a sea of lots of fragmented information. So I just ignored the ads and read the information.

    I think you’re well in your way to 100k followers with this new look. And I swear every time I read a blog post or listen to a new podcast I think, “I’ve got to come up with the money for thst course.” So, I’d say your definitely on an even better track now with the new design.

    P.S. Ugh I’ve read a lot lately about how important it is to give a personal touch to your site and I’m dreading putting a picture of myself on my site. I may use my dog .. LOL .. She’s much cuter. That might work if I was selling dog products which was one direction I thought of going but maybe not so much for little princess dresses.

    Anyway .. Good Luck!

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