For me, impulse purchases usually include a fancy new pen, electronics, shoes, sneakers, clothes, watches, bow ties, and who knows what else. Website redesigns are hardly ever on the list of impulse purchases, but that changed this past weekend. Today is just a quick post to familiarize you with your new surroundings and some of the benefits.
I was kind of frustrated with the buggy theme and random things that would break in the old version of the site, not to mention the slow load times and sometimes poor layout, so this new upgrade should improve many of those situations. In fact, the site actually loads about 1.5 seconds faster now, which means if you are a regular reader, we just gave you back 8.97 minutes of time per year. No, seriously, the average user visits the site 3 times a week and visits an average of 2.3 pages. The pages are loading about 1.5 seconds faster than they were previously, so that really does equal almost 9 minutes of time saved for our average visitor in a year. Imagine all of the extra pen and paper shopping you can do with that time!
If you click on the screen shot above you can see that there are a few features that should make navigating easier. But here is a quick rundown of all of the benefits and enhancements that hopefully make this place less of an eye sore and more of a pleasure to check out.
- Big pictures! I love big pictures, (see us on Instagram for even more of those) and pictures in general. The new design allows for much wider images of all the cool office supplies that we review. Of course those bigger images are only visible on large displays. Not to worry though, the new site design runs VERY nicely on all of your favorite mobile devices and all of the big images and navigation elements scale down nicely to even your smart phone screens.
- We’ve added “Office Electronics” and “Green Office Supplies” back to the main navigation menu. They used to be there long ago, but the last version of the site just didn’t have enough space to accommodate them so they had to go. We happily welcome them back now though, hooray!
- In the “Office Electronics” category if you hover it, you will see that we are adding a new sub category called Tablet and Phone Accessories. Things like cases, screen protectors, and styli will be found there once we do the legwork to update some things in our admin system, but you will see some of them there now.
- Each of the navigation menus are multi-level to make browsing easier. Go ahead and check it out if you want. Hover over “Pen & Pencil Reviews” then “Fountain Pens” then “Fountain Pen Ink” and click on a color. Nice, right? We had that before but it was clunky, this is much smoother and hopefully helps you find an average of 2.3 pages much faster. 😉
- We have a nice new breadcrumb trail above the title of each post so you can see exactly how a review is categorized and you can click any of the terms there to step back into a broader list of similar items to compare them.
- Below the post title is a nice new social sharing option for those of you that are so inclined…we thank you in advance.
- In the “Connect” section on the right we have links to all of our social media spots where you can find us. There really is a different use for many of those and its not all the same content re-posted over and over from here. Please feel free to click on those icons up there and follow us on some of them that you frequent. We will do a quick weekend post one day soon to shed a little more light on how we use those differently for those that are interested.
- The nice extra thing in those “Connect” icons though is the email sign up if you click on the blue envelope, or if you click here. The page and form were a mess before, and quite frankly embarrassing, but all cleaned up and better now.
- We’ve cleaned things up a bit on our Newsletter and Twice Monthly Giveaway page and sign up as well. If you have not signed up yet, go ahead and do it now before our next winner announcement. You can win a fountain pen, ink, and notebook from Goldspot or a $25 gift card from JetPens. In addition you will also see about 2 emails per month from us with some things that didn’t make it to the site for a full review, or sometimes some special discounts and sales on cool office supplies.
Thats it for now. You might notice some minor changes over the next few days or weeks while we fine tune things, but the major heavy lifting has all been done, and is the reason we have been kind of quiet the last few days. If you see anything that looks strange or doesn’t seem to be working, just click the About/Contact link towards the bottom of the page and let us know…or just say hi.
Oh, one last thing, this impulse purchase was heavily assisted by a very talented guy by the name of Mike Hemberger who I stumbled across on Google+ in one of the communities dedicated to WordPress design. This was a great eye opener to how helpful Google+ can be in finding skilled and helpful people for any kind of project, not just website redesigns. No kickback or financial recognition here for me mentioning what great work he did and how easy he was to work with. I was just very pleased with his knowledge, quick work, and super responsive actions when it came to any questions or concerns I had regarding the site and wanted to put his name out there. I’d highly recommend him to anyone looking for similar work to be done on their own projects.