Thoughts and feedback on new site?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by macbookairman, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. macbookairman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    #1
    Hey,

    So I just launched a new website a few weeks ago called NewtotheMac.info. The original goal for the site was to be a small site to help out friends and family with their Mac questions when I'm unavailable, but as I started working on it I realized it was a much bigger project than I had realized. So what was intended to be a couple week project became a massive several month project, which still isn't done. BUT, I launched it anyway and will continue to expand it in the coming months.

    Now that the site has launched, I'm struggling to figure out how to drive traffic to the site. I've bought ads on several smaller tech sites, as well as Facebook and Google, with some success, though nothing spectacular. I've been thinking that maybe the best strategy is to just keep pumping out reviews, guides and news, and with time it'll bring in readers. But its really tough mentally writing massive amounts of content that only 20 people are reading. Is this the best way to go at it?
    I feel like giveaways or competitions might help, but I can't really afford anything like that (or any more ads), as I'm a college student and I've already put more money into this than I probably should have.

    Besides tips for how to get more traffic, I'm wondering what sort of feedback you have on the site?

    A few specific things I'm wondering:
    Does the theme seem inviting? (if that makes sense)
    Guides like this will be the "flagship" feature of the site. Do you like the layout? Is it overwhelming/too much content on a page?
    When you visit the homepage, do you notice any of the social networking features? I'm really wanting to get new visitors to follow the site on Facebook/Twitter/G+ but there hasn't been much success with that.


    Any other suggestions, criticism (positive and negative) are of course encouraged.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    Yes. Content worth reading is pretty much the only way your site will be successful, if you define having a large number of visitors as one of your metrics for success. That and increasing your prominence in Google results, but that really follows from having content worth linking to.


    I don't know, but I find the huge rollover image a little distracting.

    I think it's a little busy, but not awful.

    No. The buttons are very small.

    Success does not happen overnight. Your post suggests that you were expecting hundreds of hits immediately. This is an unreasonable expectation.
     
  3. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #3
    The guide is a good start, though it has some orthography errors and some repetitions. You may want to proofread it again.
    Now some more detailed critique:
    • Sidebar section: The screenshot of accessing the Preferences is cropped too much. You should leave in the rest of the Menu Bar to the top, the Menu Bar is only 22 pixels high anyway.
      Ah, I see, one can click on that screenshot, and only the automated script to create the "preview" has cropped it.
    • Status Bar: It says this "of your screen and select View>Show Status Bar." I would leave a space between View > Show to make it easier on the eyes. That goes for the rest of those "click here > click here" routes too.
    • Path Bar: "The Path Bar is disabled by default." appears twice.
    • Preview: It is called "Quick Look", Preview is an actual application.
      [​IMG]
    Btw, what application do you use for the text and arrows? Preview?
     
  4. macbookairman, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012

    macbookairman thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 15, 2008
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    #4
    My number one goal is to have a decent sized community of new Mac users who help each other out learn from each other, with the site's content as a springboard for that to happen. So yeah part of that requires a decent number of visitors to be successful.


    This surprised me, though I suppose I've just become accustomed to it so I don't find it distracting. But as I look at it, I can kinda see why it would be distracting. I had plans to to remove it in a few weeks and switch to a different slider, though with this feedback I may move that closer to the top of my to-do list.


    Noted.


    Very true. I need to find a better placement or some other solution for social networking.


    Thanks for the feedback. I suppose I should clarify by what I mean about traffic. The site is actually getting more traffic than I had expected. I think my disappointment lies in the large amount of drop offs after the first page view, and then they don't return. I'm wanting to get traffic that sticks. I guess that will probably come with time too.


    I'm hoping to find some time soon to really proofread the site, I know there are lots of issues with repetition as a lot of the pages and sections were copy/pasted duplicated from previously finished areas of the site.


    Fixed
    Thanks, thats great feedback. The finder preferences screenshot was intended to be completely visible without having to use the lightbox, so I'll go back and fix that.
    Oh wow thanks so much for pointing that out. I can't believe I hadn't caught that. I need to stop writing at such late hours :roll eyes:

    I've been using Voila for the most part, though I think a few might have been with Preview.
     
  5. jwm2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    #5
    I don't find the rollovers to be distracting, but they are suprising. When i hovered over one i was shocked to see 4 different tiles pop up individually. I would remove the rollover effect and just have the tiles displayed. That way folks know when they visit the site that information is available. Otherwise i think you did a great job. Content will help a lot, but also be sure to use some basic SEO knowledge when creating content, page titles, etc. You need to know the keywords your target audience typically searches for and use those through out the site and in your link building campaigns.
     
  6. waloshin macrumors 68040

    waloshin

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #6
    Your high bounce rate is likely because you don't have any posts on the front page.
     
  7. macbookairman, Feb 14, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012

    macbookairman thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    United States
    #7
    Thanks for the tips. I've been trying to learn everything I can about SEO, and I can see it starting to pay off slowly but surely. I'm working on some changes to the homepage similar to what you described. I've really been keeping an eye on my google analytics, and its becoming pretty clear that the slider is a big issue. It takes a hover and two clicks to get to anything, and thats too much.

    Edit: Actually, the change you described for the homepage was a really quick fix. It'll need some touching up (graphics need to be redone), but its probably enough until I can implement further changes.

    Yes, this is true. I'm working on a solution to this as well. I don't want posts/news to be the main feature of the site, instead I want the pages/guides to be the main feature. So I think the main page still has to be mostly related to the "feature content", as it is now. That said, the new homepage layout I'm working on will add a small section for news, which will hopefully be enough.

    Edit 2: Already seeing a huge difference with removal of the rollover image on the homepage. Today's average time on site and amount of pages/visit are way higher.
     
  8. willfurnell macrumors member

    willfurnell

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #8
    I like the layout and look of the site, however...

    I think that the red of the slider font looks very out of place on the slider, I think a light grey would probably look better there.

    The Follow Us bar on the front page could be replaced with something like a weekly featured article or something that will want the user to stay on the site and read on, who knows, once they read that article, they may go on to read more.

    I really like the recently reviewed box, especially with the star rating at the edge :)

    I'm not quite sure about the questions interface, it does not seem to really fit with the site at the moment, and maybe have the recently asked questions at the front, instead of having all that white space.

    I do notice the social networking features, and think that the Facebook sidebar could be slightly better integrated. The Twitter one seems fine.

    Sorry for being so critical about it! I really like the idea, and hope it catches on, I like the site a lot overall, and if you keep posting good content, people will come to you :D
     
  9. macbookairman thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    #9
    Thanks, I'll experiment with some other colors. I didn't really put much thought into the color choice, so there is definitely room for improvement.

    I don't really like the spacing of the follow us bar (and I can't get it changed to look the way I want), so it probably won't stay much longer anyways. I'm really just experimenting with all sorts of different layouts to see what works best. So far the follow us bar hasn't made any difference. I just need to come up with a good way to display a featured article, and then I'll implement that.

    Thanks, I think they look pretty great too :D.

    I totally agree with you on that, I'm considering just scrapping the whole questions area of the site. It looks bad, and out of around a thousand visitors, I believe less than 10 have gone there. I've been thinking of swapping it out with a subdomain running this or a true forum, though I think the site is a bit small for a full blown forum at this time.

    Is there anything specific you have in mind about the Facebook sidebar? It's just the official Facebook like box plugin, I'm not sure that I can style it to fit the theme or anything like that. Or did you have something else in mind?

    Don't be sorry, this is exactly the sort of feedback I was looking for! And you're right about posting new content, I'm already starting to see it pay off. I've been getting a lot of search engine traffic based off of articles the past few days, including several surprise hits from Apple HQ yesterday.
     

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