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Suggestions for improving the home page?

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Postby Winston » Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:24 pm

Hi wuming,
I've completed the first draft of the all new home page for this site. Check it out and let me know what you think. Look better now?

http://www.happierabroad.com
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby wuming » Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:19 am

It's an improvement over the original, to be sure. However, there are a number of things I'd change:

    Photos used in the header should be of comparable sharpness, currently some are high-res and others are not, which gives a cheap feel even to the good pictures.

    Red should be used sparingly; certainly not in the header. Red means "Stop!" for most people in the West, and is a strong color; overusing strong colors is tiresome for the eyes.

    The side links are helpful, but the ordering is not clear in what it conveys: is it by importance? If so, you probably don't want to use identical-looking button-backgrounds for every item there, because some sections are clearly (just by reading the text/labels) more important than others.

    The text is much better left-justified, but a better font, without bolding, should be used. Arial (which is what you're using now, but bolded, which is unnecessary) or Verdana are standard and designed for readability.

    Using Headers in the text (in HTML, h1, h2, h3, etc. tags) would really help structure your long texts better, for both human readers and robot-spiders visiting the site. Also, a few choice photos interspersed within the text can be very effective design elements.

Have you thought about the information architecture of the site? You can think of that as analogous to the folder structure, e.g.

Code: Select all
HappierAbroad
   About Winston
   Writings
      Book
      Essays
      Feedback
   Forum
   Store
   Services
   etc. etc.


It's important to think of this up-front, and to organize it in a way that makes sense to visitors old and new. Try looking at some content-rich websites (e.g. news sites, magazine sites) to get a sense of how they organize things. The goal (well, the main goal) is to have someone landing on any page on your site to know:

    What is this site about?
    Where am I in this site?
    Where can I go next?


Hope that helps. BTW, I still recommend you use a system like Wordpress, it helps with every aspect I mention here. If you're already comfy with a tool like blogspot, blogger, etc. it's easy to learn.
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Postby Winston » Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:43 pm

Hi Wuming,
Check out my home page now. What do you think? I implemented a few of your suggestions.

Right now, my plan is to first of all, put all the ads about airfares and hotels into one page, and then create a link to it to put on all pages, including the top of this forum. The orange button above is what I mean. But of course, it looks amateurish so I'm trying to find software to create a nicer one.

Do you think I should leave the cluster of ads at the top of my home page the way it is? Is it too many? Or should I just put one link to the separate page I created for them, which is at www.happierabroad.com/airfares.php ?

Also, I'm thinking that on the home page, instead of putting the whole introduction letter for first timers on the front page, I was thinking of putting it as a subpage, and just having a link point to it from the main page. Then that will free up room to put more boxes in the center of the main body. I was thinking of putting a box listing "new articles" or feeds or "recent threads in the forum" which I've seen on other sites.

What do you think? I know feeds are simple. But how do you show the recent threads on this forum in one box? Any idea?

Thanks again,
Winston

PS - BTW, I hope wordpress.org is better than the wordpress.com blog, which I found sucks. I went on there the other day and approved a comment, yet the comment doesn't appear publicly even though it's supposed to. I tried every feature I could see on the screen to no avail. How can something so simple not even work on a popular blog platform? It makes no sense. I never had such bizarre problems that made no sense with blogger.

It might be that there are different types of comments in wordpress, one for posts and others for the blog itself, but wordpress doesn't say. I can't even get wordpress blog to let me insert html code into any of the side bars. With blogger it was super easy to do that into its layout template. With wordpress it seems complicated and not user friendly at all. None of its widgets allows me to insert my own code. Are the people who designed wordpress.org the same as those who designed the wordpress blog? Hope not.
Last edited by Winston on Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Winston » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:21 am

Do you all think the three point comparison on the home page conveys the right message? Does it sound too anti-American? What do you think?
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Winston » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:27 pm

Hi all,
Some questions about the home page.

1. Some people think the home page looks too cluttered. What do you think? Is that because there is too much content crammed together tightly? Does there need to be more breathing space between each part? If so, what should I remove from my home page to allow more breathing room?

To me, all that stuff near the top is essential. It would seem like a loss to remove any of it.

2. I've noticed that most sites now use only top down menu bars. Not many use menu tabs in the sidebars anymore. Should I follow suit and get rid of that left navigation sidebar? I was thinking that that left navigation menu and the top menu are kind of redundant, aren't they? But the left navigation menu has a lot of content links that don't fit into the top menu bar. So if I got rid of it, I'd have to convert the top menu bar into some type of drop down menu that open up into sub-tabs to allow for more content. Would that be better?

If so, what should I put in place of the left navigation menu?

Or should I leave both navigation menus up the way it is?

Any other suggestions for the home page?

Thanks,
Winston

PS - It looks like wuming, the advisor in this thread on web design, hasn't been here in a while, so I will try to email or PM him to see if he can return to this thread.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Winston » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:05 pm

Hi all,
Whew! I just made the changes to my home page that I suggested to Walt Goodridge - to start off with a catchy leading question to engage the reader, followed by a quick powerful intro. Check it out. What do you think?

http://www.happierabroad.com

Does it look better? How do you like my leading question and quick intro? It was designed to generate interest in the casual visitor, so that he doesn't think "Nice site. I'll come back when I have more time." before he leaves.

I couldn't fit my welcome video at the top, so I just put it right below the quick intro, along with my interview from blog talk radio, and a button to Steve's Research Report. Is that good? Then I followed it with my 3 point comparison intro and self guided tour boxes.

What do you think?

Winston

Walt did the same thing. Check out his new home page modeled on the same pattern as well: http://www.waltgoodridge.com
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby lavezzi » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:31 pm

You seriously need to change how your site is solely focused on America; if you count up the populations in countries which experience similar levels of decadence, you'll realize that by doing so you'll be doubling your target audience. Every time you say "America" on your home page, you should replace it with "the West". Or just minimize the amount of times you are location specific, for example instead of "Are you sick and tired of the following norms in America?", you could have "Are you sick and tired of the following norms?". It will be hard to reconstruct everything you've written, but I think doing so is essential for the expansion of your site.
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Postby Winston » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:51 pm

lavezzi wrote:You seriously need to change how your site is solely focused on America; if you count up the populations in countries which experience similar levels of decadence, you'll realize that by doing so you'll be doubling your target audience. Every time you say "America" on your home page, you should replace it with "the West". Or just minimize the amount of times you are location specific, for example instead of "Are you sick and tired of the following norms in America?", you could have "Are you sick and tired of the following norms?". It will be hard to reconstruct everything you've written, but I think doing so is essential for the expansion of your site.


I can't just say the west because the west is a big place, and many people say that they had success in the UK or Australia or France too. It's too general.

Most of my fans are from America anyway.

But what do you think of the new format of the home page? That's the main thing.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Winston
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Posts: 23596
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