Today we’ve given the Christian Web Trends a brand new look. The new design embraces a number of trends and values we believe are important for blogs. Here are some of the changes we’ve made.
1) Gave it a cleaner look. The previous design was very cluttered. We removed the image and 5 ads from the header. We removed the entire left sidebar. And just in general I think this font, spacing, and color of these theme is much easier on the eyes than the last one.
2) De-emphasized OurChurch.Com. Previously, Christian Web Trends was designed to be more closely integrated with the OurChurch.Com site. The header was the same, the menus were the same, the sidebar was the same. We’ve removed most of that and given CWT its own look. We kept the logo at the top to make the association clear and kept links at the top to our main services.
3) Included more imagery. Communication in general has become less about text and more about imagery. We’ve intentionally move in that direction as well. We added the big Featured Articles feature just below the menu on the homepage. You’ll also notice that on the homepage the intro text for each post is shorter. This goes back to a lesson learned in the 31 Days to Build a Better blog project where I realized the similarities between a magazine cover and a blog homepage, and realized the goal of both is to get people to get inside as quickly as possible.
4) Added more social media. It’s got our latest tweet at the top as well as the Facebook Fan box in the right sidebar. We’ve also added the icons with links to our Facebook page, Twitter profile, and RSS feed at the very top right. One of our highest priorities is to turn a first time visitor into a regular participant. The best way for that to happen is for a person to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
5) Diminished the emphasis on RSS. Before the rise of Facebook and Twitter, the best way to keep people engaged was if they subscribed to our RSS feed or our weekly email notices. However, the use of RSS feed readers has peaked and never quite gone mainstream, while more and more people follow their favorite blogs on Twitter and Facebook.
6) Introduced new advertising opportunities. The previous design included the same ad sizes as displayed throughout the OurChurch.Com site and our member sites. With the redesign, we’re now displaying new ads separately here on Christian Web Trends. That gives organizations that provide products & services a new opportunity to reach the thousands of people who read Christian Web Trends every month. While OurChurch.Com ads are seen mostly by your average, church-going Christians. Christian Web Trends readers are on average more involved in leadership, more technically knowledgeable, and more likely to purchase items online. Additionally, since CWT gets significantly less than the 2 million impressions OCC sponsors get, there’s a lower point of entry.
The ad space here is so fresh, we haven’t even published rates yet, but we’re anxious to sell the ad space as quickly as possible, so contact us if you’re interested.
What do you think of the new design? What do you like? Anything you miss or think we should change?
If you blog, has anything we’ve done in our redesign got you contemplating changes to your own blog?
Thanks for your feedback!