New Seo Book Homepage: Need Your Feedback Please

In a recent post I stated that one of the biggest flaws from a conversion perspective with this site was that the homepage was a blog. I just made a new homepage that features more of the site's content. I think it is a bit text heavy still, but I wanted to get your feedback on what you think of the new homepage.

Published: September 9, 2007

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Comments

September 9, 2007 - 3:22pm

Aaron,

That will increase your SEO book sale since people will land on a page that gives them details about the book, rather than seeing a blog post.

Your "blog" link on your tools sub domain still points at the home page. You should have one header for your entire site, rather than header for each sub domain, so you when you change the code in one place, it gets reflected everywhere....

Adi

September 9, 2007 - 3:17pm

I agree that it's text-heavy. What I'd do?

Preferably, I'd create a line of nice big pretty icons that represent each of the sections (book, blog, tools, etc). with short titles under each. Learn more link under each of those would expand a description of it under that)

If that doesn't work for you, then at the very least, i would put a nice big pretty icon in front of each of the current sections that you have there now. In other words, no other changes, except an icon representing each of the sections just before each section.

September 9, 2007 - 4:32pm

Hey Aaron:

I think you need to put that graphic or your SEO Book on your homepage right above this line "Become an SEO Professional & Dominate Google's Search Results". This might sound sort of crazy but when I was looking for a good seo book - I did a lot of searching and research - that picture of your book kept popping in my face. I think that's what really grabbed my attention in the first place and caused me to look into your book more seriously than other books - ultimately resulting in one of the best decisions I've ever made which is purchasing and reading your book. Just my own humble personal opinion.

Ed

September 9, 2007 - 4:42pm

consider adding icons in each section like you did with the pencil-- i.e., a brain for "want to learn SEO today?"... etc. it'll help people orient themselves.

September 9, 2007 - 4:58pm

Give one of your chapters away. Stick it on the homepage. Make people register to receive it.

September 9, 2007 - 5:15pm

Thanks Adi.
Fixed it :)

Gotcha Donna and Julien.
Part of why it came out all text is because I am so bad at graphics. I just added little graphics, and I think that helped a lot. Thanks for the suggestions

Hi Krooglik
That is a good idea. I might not be able to implement that before I fly away in a couple days though, but I will probably do something similar.

Hi Ed
Great idea. I just put a picture of the book there.

September 9, 2007 - 5:45pm

My first impression was it still looked like a blog since it was mostly text straight now the center of the page. The book image definitely helps.

I would create some icons and graphics like Donna and Julien suggest. I also think the sidebar needs to be utilized more. Select a couple sections and adapt them into the sidebar with a list or two along with a header graphic/icon.

I think a list of your most recent blog headlines would be nice and draw people to it.

......sidebar, graphics and lists will do the trick!

Chris

September 10, 2007 - 3:03am

Thanks Chris
I will look for a way to include recent post headlines soon.

September 9, 2007 - 6:35pm

Good change - never thought about it.

I think you should consider making the header smaller. Getting more of the site's content above the fold will communicate that seobook is more than just a book (guides, tools, etc.)

September 10, 2007 - 3:04am

Many of the headlines are still a bit broken. It was a first step in changing the site. Hopefully I will be able to make them better in the coming days and weeks.

September 9, 2007 - 6:47pm

Aaron,

I'd keep the amount of home page content as is and wouldn't clutter it with additional info. The only recommendation I would give is to improve your headlines as they are too plain and don't grab my attention.

For example: Instead of Search Our Site, I think something along the lines of Search Our Site for Answers to Critical SEO Questions would draw more interest.

The same goes for the rest of your headlines.

Read Our Blog for (benefits)
Free SEO Tools for (benefits)
The SEO Glossary for (benefits)
etc...

Better icons and a background color/graphic for each headline to make it stand out would also help.

September 10, 2007 - 3:11am

Hi cmswebsiteservices
The icons are a bit temporary. I hopefully will eventually come up with better ones. This set was available in Istockphoto for under $10, and solved the crisis short term, but they still need work.

Good point on the headlines. I was going for clarity first, but then forgot to offer any benefits. I just tried spicing them up a little.

September 9, 2007 - 7:11pm

You could try using a javascript content box with tabs (like on Yahoo.com) to display some of the content.

September 10, 2007 - 3:13am

Hi Patrick
Do you know any good sources for this type of stuff? Any integration recommendations? There probably is a way to customize Drupal that I can look into.

September 9, 2007 - 7:31pm

Hey Aaron,
I think it would be useful for you to display the most recent 5-8 articles written in a custom view or block using Drupal.

Perhaps the article title, date written, and short article snippet would work well... I miss just landing on the homepage and seeing what was just added. Also, the different areas of information on the homepage seems a little to similar. Maybe blocking the information or utilizing more of the right column real estate would help a bit.

Otherwise, simple and clean. I like it.

September 10, 2007 - 3:14am

Hi Brian
I think I want to head in that direction soon. If not now, then when I return from my wedding and honeymoon.

September 9, 2007 - 8:15pm

I would make your header smaller like suggested here so more text can be found above the fold. I don't feel it's text heavy and I'm sure if you change the layout & position of the texts it would make a big difference.

September 10, 2007 - 3:19am

I might need to reduce the header size sitewide. It is a bit large, which made this site unique, but it might honestly be a little on the excessive side.

September 9, 2007 - 9:32pm

Personally I find the Headline styling a little to large from a graphic design perspective.

This is a bit of a subjective thing, I really like large headlines, but not so bold. If it were my call I'd unbold the Headlines, see what it looks like, then maybe bump down the font size just 1 or 2 pixels.

September 10, 2007 - 3:19am

Thanks for the tips Tommy.

September 9, 2007 - 9:36pm

And on second thought, the header at the top of the page sucks up quite abit of real estate... just a thought...

jbspartners
September 10, 2007 - 12:08am

Aaron,

You might consider adding a page count to the opening book description and indicate that it is an e-book (no shipping).

Much of the text down the page references numbers and industry experts and I wonder if a newcomer will find this more compelling than sharing some benefits.

So, if I buy this book I can get free updates,learn to..., understand how/why... Everybody wants more qualified visitors and the ideas in your book help obtain them. Say so.

More visitors has more universal appeal, assuming I have your target market right, than the number of readers, visitors or comparisons with other bloggers.

You may be writing to the insiders more than you realize.

The "Need help" and "Register" graphics at the top of the pages are only subtly different and might get overlooked after someone clicked on one or the other them. Change Click Here to Register Here.

As far as the blog graphic of a pencil. You write, we read.

I figure that the graphics and headlines will improve over time.

Did you consider writing a great paragraph with internal links rather than creating the sections as you did? I feel like an opening paragraph /intro is missing.

Lastly, not a fan of the visited links going black. Try 50% opacity or something else besides black. I miss the color.

September 10, 2007 - 3:35am

Hi jbspartners
Good call on the ebook mention and page count. I added those.

I agree that the new page is not maximally geared towards sales and could expound on benefits, as well as have a big lead in. The truth is that I find it hard to write sales copy unless I am really in the mode for it.

I tried to set it up more as a navigational page. A bit more focus on the book and some testimonials would probably help quite a bit. I also need to unlearn writing for the insiders a bit.

I plan on improving the graphics and headings over time.

I might try to change the links too. I like the idea of making them bit dimmer instead of turning them to such a bold black color.

September 10, 2007 - 1:40am

i have to say selfishly that i'd prefer the blog right away on the home page... that extra click ...

i definitely make use of other resources on your site, but the blog is my primary destination

the new homepage seems to serve the first-time visitor to your site well.. but after this first exploration, is it really necessary

maybe for registered users you could allow them to customize their start page - i think drupal lets you do something like this...

September 10, 2007 - 3:01am

Good idea. When I get back from my wedding I will give that Drupal hack a look.

September 10, 2007 - 1:55am

I think the homepage looks good. I wonder, however if conversion rate is the right metric for your focus. I didn't know who you are a year ago. But since then I have purchased your book BECAUSE I was reading your blog.

I have since been to your blog hundred's of times and sorry I only purchased the book once (hence, the low conversion rate). So, I wonder if this change will improve your conversion rate but you end up selling less books.

I think the number of people reached and influenced is the right metric and it fits better with your stated business model. Just because you can't easily track that does not mean it's the wrong thing in which to go after. Good luck with the decision and I have the widget on my home page, so it won't bother me which way you go.

September 10, 2007 - 3:00am

I think the blog is one of the most remarkable parts of the site, but I also have to think back to when I first started learning SEO. If I ran into this site too early (especially in its old form) I might have been scared off by the complexity of some of the ideas covered in the blog.

The blog still serves the same market, but now the site has a welcoming front door rather than just dumping a person in an ocean when they ask for a glass of water.

My friend Jonah gave me that last line, when referencing my blog on the homepage design.

September 10, 2007 - 2:38am

Aaron, umm... hmm...

Its just different. I am so use to getting your initial blog page. Myself it feels like one more click I have to make for the initial reason I revisited your site. However, it points more focus to a broader variety of your site's focal areas. As you have more to offer than just a blog. I think its about deciding your focus.

I read a comment above about making more use of the sidebars. Not sure what you can do with that, but my thoughts are an Ad to buy your book.

Think about how many people never make it down the whole page. I feel your Ad

"Today is September 09, 2007
Is Your SEO Strategy Up to Date?"

Would be better served at the top of the page on the right. I doubt any changes you make will keep me from coming back, but like I mentioned before my final statement is "it's different".

September 10, 2007 - 2:56am

Hi Mack
True...that is a good marketing angle that should be seen more prominently.

September 10, 2007 - 6:25am

A little off topic. You have so much spam on this page:
http://www.seobook.com/archives/001848.shtml

September 10, 2007 - 7:11am

Thanks LoveShackCanada
I cleaned it up and left you a reply there :)

September 10, 2007 - 7:47am

I quite like the look & feel of problogger.net - I hate digging around blogs.. especially the big ones! it would be nice to see snippets of popular posts & a featured post on the homepage.. :)

September 10, 2007 - 6:22pm

Aaron:

I wouldn't worry about the page being text heavy, just that the text isn't balanced in favor of sales and the layout is inefficient.

You should shrink the logo a bit and remove the green horizontal stripe above the navigation. Move the Search box and make the h1 go all the way across the page and replace the "register" graphic with something marketing a blog focused on the beginning to intermediate SEO person.

What is the value of the Register link or even the RSS on the homepage? That's about the Blog and I am afraid you need 2: One for you target market for the book and another for your punditry on search and very advanced stuff.

You can link over from your beginner/intermediate SEO blog to interesting advanced pieces, but relative newcomers to search are the cash cow and should be nurtured by a pragmatic, advice focused blog that contains the most practical advice what you have already written over the last few years.

Finally, move some of the content and the first testimonial from the conversion page, which is really very good at its purpose.

September 11, 2007 - 10:39am

Great feedback Jonah :)

September 10, 2007 - 10:52pm

Just a FYI, there still are some 404s with the newest template like http://www.seobook.com/conferences/2006/wmw-boston/

September 11, 2007 - 9:19am

Thanks Sufyan
I will try to get that fixed soon.

September 11, 2007 - 12:03am

The new front page is probably best for new comers to the site and worse for returning visitors. Why don't you just let your sales figures tell you whether it's worth it. Maybe also set a cookie for returning vistors. Ie

if cookie = been here before
//show blog as homepage

else
//show sales copy as homepage.

I dunno just throwing it out there.

Ultimately, I'd look at the sales figures.

September 11, 2007 - 9:18am

Hi Shawn
One of the problems with the last version of the site is that it scared off people new to the market by throwing them right into the middle of a blog stream instead of offering them a way to get acquanted with the site.

I am not sure if starting people at the salesletter page helps people learn to trust the site so that they want to convert.

Plus the site has more features than most blogs and I was looking for a way to try to emphasize it.

I am not just interested with sales numbers, but also like the idea of creating a bit of a community.

September 11, 2007 - 12:19am

I tend to agree with shawnwalters here. But the problem is: he is not a very money-driven individual. If many of us keep telling him 'the new front page sucks' then he will most probably change it to what we want it to be. Hehehe

September 11, 2007 - 10:25pm

If I was a beginner I'd be overwhelmed by the new page. There's way too many options, really. It's very logical, quite intense, lots of links, not much in the way of emotional communication (apart from the fact you're trying immediately to sell me your book, which isn't necessarily the emotional communication you want). The old style had far fewer options - just a few navigation links and various blog posts to read.

The content being 'difficult' isn't going to be solved by this approach, maybe. If difficulty is the problem why not try a different approach? Make the content 'easy' if that's the market you're aiming for. So, either have a home page that has lots of simple, emotionally-connecting, comforting words, or (if it's possible - Drupal?) have easy, simplified excerpts of your posts on the home page. Tempt people in, make them WANT to come in. It's everything to do with emotional connection.

Anyhow, couple of other things I noticed - when enrolling, the email box is yellow - this is due to auto-complete tools (usually Google) and can be overcome by using !important in the stylesheet to keep a background as you want it.

Also, I had to hunt around to log in to comment - for a while I thought you'd turned comments off. Perhaps the log-in link could be big and bold?

Oh - and where are the 'continue reading' or 'read comments' type links at the end of every post? For example, 'Ride New Verticals or Go Against the Trends of the Web' shows only a few lines but is actually a long, detailed post whilst 'Death of the Book: Publishers Will Become Interactive Media Artists' is the full post but has no link to comments.

Incidentally, I had to go to your archives link to start reading what I came for - the posts!

Anyhow, good luck with the wedding!

September 11, 2007 - 4:00pm

Hi Richard
Yes I need to get more blog on the homepage and look for ways to communicate in a more compact space. Perhaps place the book stuff to the top right, and pull everything else up a bit. Am still trying to think it all through and find a way to modify Drupal as well.

September 11, 2007 - 9:25pm

Hey Aaron,
I really like ProBlogger's new theme. The utilization of 3 columns and the real estate potential for what you have on your site would be huge...

If you had that amount of real estate to work with you could feature your book foremost, SEO videos, SEO tools, and still have well more than enough real estate for blog posts to give people that "fresh" feeling of content always being updated on the homepage. ;-)

You said:

"Plus the site has more features than most blogs and I was looking for a way to try to emphasize it"

I agree 100% and think Darren at ProBlogger did a great job of not looking like a blog so much but offering up some differentiation in styling and functionality. I also love the tabbed section under "Best of Problogger" in the middle column, front page. This would suit your blog very well.

I agree with some of the comments above as well about the header logo/image being a bit too large, font size reduction, etc.

September 11, 2007 - 10:36pm

I hope it won't be hard to change http://www.seobook.com/node to http://www.seobook.com/blog/ and it would look cool.

jbspartners
September 12, 2007 - 12:44pm

Aaron,

Have a great wedding trip.

Below are some potential rewrites, no new ideas.

Want to Learn SEO Today?

Alternative:
Learn SEO to get more customers!
( I think that will fit in the space available)

The SEO Book is a 328 page downloadable ebook currently available for only $79.

Alternative:
The SEO Book is a 328 page ebook currently ready for download for only $79.

Since 2004, over 10,000 SEO professionals have learned SEO by reading The SEO Book.

Alternative:
Since 2004, over 10,000 SEO professionals and beginners have used The SEO Book to increase traffic and convert visitors into customers.

I publish The SEO Book as an ebook so that you won't pay for shipping and can download it immediately.

It would be interesting to produce two home pages that alternate and do some split testing.

Not sure about the link to the "free" article. Pretty base motivator. Might lose some sales. Could continue to offer the link, but position it like, "Want to see my writing style or get an intro to the subject matter, then head over to work.com to read my article on SEO."

September 13, 2007 - 7:54am

Here we go Aaron - http://www.snap.com/about/shots_central.php

This should be your solution to links - seems pretty fast, really nice, doesn't appear to need anything installed on users' browser, and right now is free (but that won't last long).

Your user mouses over the link and a very fast preview appears.

So no need to make links any clearer!

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