Why I updated my site design after a month


Hey, welcome to dallasmeidinger.com version two. Yes, after just just over a month, it was time for renovations. It was a hard decision because I really liked my site. But, there were a few things that weren’t working and thankfully, Squarespace makes big design changes relatively easy.

What was wrong?

Basically, my bounce rate was too high. For those unfamiliar, the bounce rate is the rate in which visitors stop by your page and then leave without clicking on anything. I did anticipate this when I went with a very simple homepage, but, I thought I’d try anyway. I know my previous layout, with the full-page image as the homepage was a bit cute. No content = not a big reason to stay. But, it looked unique, and the Momentum template was built for visual pages like this. Unfortunately not everyone was continuing on after the home page. When I had enough time to draw a reasonable conclusion from the data I was getting, it was time for a change. That said I’m glad I tried this experiment; at least my suspicions were confirmed. 

...as all writers know, sometimes you must let go of something, even if it’s good, if it doesn’t quite fit.

With this new information in mind, I set out to revamp my site. I liked how visual my homepage was, and I REALLY liked my bottom-of-the-page navigation bar too, but, as all writers know, sometimes you must let go of something, even if it's good, if it doesn’t quite fit. 

To make things better I needed more content on my home page, which meant switching from Momentum to another Squarespace template. Thankfully, I was able to keep some of the visual spark intact while adding more content.

New template: Nueva

I’ve had my eye on Nueva for a while and always wanted to give it a test drive. After having a few clients opt for something a little more standard, I thought, “hey, might as well try it for myself.” And, honestly, I dig it. It has a LOT of styling options compared to other templates. This comes in handy when creating Index pages like my current homepage, as it allowed me to define different style for sections where text is overlaid on images, versus the white sections. In addition, it has a lot of mobile specific styles too. So while this did take more time to configure, it was worth it. I may have lost my beloved bottom navigation, but, I’m happy with how things are looking now. 

Lessons learned

 And that's why you always take your analytics data seriously.

And that's why you always take your analytics data seriously.

  1. Conventional web design wisdom is conventional because it has been proven. While it’s fine to push the boundaries, don’t think you can get away with something everyone else can’t just because it looks cool.
  2. Analytics don’t mean much unless you act on the results. If your data demonstrates something isn’t working, fix it!
  3. Don’t let your personal preferences or ego get in the way of decision-making. While I think it’s very important to let your personality shine through on your site, sacrificing usability to do so isn’t ideal. You can have both, but, it may require some compromise from your initial vision.

Welcome aboard!

Oh, and welcome to my blog! I decided this was a piece that was missing from my original site as well. Frankly, I missed writing. And while this site is most definitely a place for my work, this blog will include much more than just work articles. And there’s a reason for that. But, that’s a story for another day.