Driving Traffic With a New Design

While my original intention for redesigning John Chow dot Com was to allow me to do more direct ad sales, the other benefit of giving the blog a brand new look is more traffic.

A new theme helps generates renewed interest and buzz for your blog. Readers who haven’t checked out your blog for awhile will come to see the new looks. What kind of traffic increase can a new theme generate? Here’s some traffic stats taken two weeks before the theme change and two weeks after the theme change.

Traffic Increase Because of New Theme

before.pngafter.png

The figures on the left represents traffic for the two week period of August 8 to 21 (the day before the new theme went live). The figures on the right represent the traffic for two weeks after the new theme went live.

As you can see, the theme created a significant increase in traffic. Average daily pageviews went from 10,083 per day to 12,562 per day. The new theme seem to have spun of a wave of bloggers rushing to give their blog a new look. Shoemoney recently got my theme designer, Nate Whitehill of Unique Blog Design to give him a refresh. The same goes for Darin Carter at Darin.cc. Nate tells me he has received a ton of new design work since my new theme went live. I’m sure more business will be coming his way.


95 thoughts on “Driving Traffic With a New Design”

  1. Aditya says:

    You are right dude ;) I had the same effect on my blog though i know i dont have much traffic right now :)

    1. Congrats – nice increase :-)

      That said, I’m sure your traffic increases all the time – is it defiantely due to the new theme and just not normal growth?

      1. Aditya says:

        Hey, its just normal growth, but the new theme causes the traffic to bounce high for few days.

        1. Whoops, I was aiming the question at John – shouldn’t have been nested there! :evil:

          1. DeboHobo says:

            I wonder what the time spent and bounce rate are. Those are important factors as well. John where is the ad for this post? Normally you have a banner of some sort.

          2. The ad is there…bidvertiser has decided to make a snapshot of John review on them and use that as banner, tricky no? ;)

          3. I was a little confused by that – it looks like two posts almost side-by-side!

    2. True that, the traffic on my blog after the redesign increased as well but not only, readers now spend more time (average spending time 7 minutes) on the blog, still have difficulties to get comments, but thats after all my fault since i am targeting the newbie audience.

      Now just if Nate would get some time to decrease the images of your blog would be fine, if not. I will do it :P just whistle.

      1. “redesign increased as well but not only, readers now spend more time”

        This might be a bad thing if it’s because they can’t find things ;)

        1. According to the page views I believe they are finding exactly what they are willing. The redesign actually made the reading more pleasant and eye relaxing, hence the spent time.

          Usually users (at least I) when they can’t find what they are looking do leave the site.

          1. Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek remark. However, if it takes a little longer (not that you can’t find it, just that you first move your mouse to where it “used” to be!) I suspect many people will just get used to it rather than storm off in a huff :)

      2. WarriorBlog says:

        Thats not too bad SEO. :grin:

  2. Michael Kwan says:

    Nate is easily the guy who has benefited the most from this redesign. :) Good on him.

    1. If you’ve got the skills then an “advert” like this on John Chow was always going to be rewarded. Like you said, good on him, give it a few more months and I might be throwing a bit of money his way myself.

      1. Mubin says:

        With all the new ad placements, I think John has still benefited more.

        1. I’m not so sure, Nate’s blog has also taken a bit of a boost. Long term they’re both going to do very well out of this.

    2. Yes, very true :evil:

      Congrats to Nate for the new work. All the designs I have seem from him have been top notch!

  3. Contest Beat says:

    Yeah all the high profile blogs are getting redesigns now too. You started a trend!

    1. Rob says:

      and maybe some new copycats too.
      Then John will have to redesign again… and again seeing the traffic increase :twisted:

      1. Again and again might also result in people got tired to see you changing the look and give up. Remember, in each redesign there are always errors and bugs that need to be fixed.

        1. We’ll just use Custom Stylesheets in our browsers to hide the madness ;)

  4. Sam says:

    I’ve started blogging almost 3 weeks ago and now thinking of redesigning my theme. So far, its been a frustrating experience and hopefully, with the new theme which I’m gonna try next week, I shall have more traffic…will let you know what will happen.

    Best Regards,
    Sam

    1. If it’s only 3 weeks old, I’d say spend the time on content instead. Content is the most important thing, and at only a few weeks old you have a lot less than John Chow :(

      I need a new header for my site, but I CBA doing anything about it until I’ve built up a bit of a subscriber base and some content :D

  5. TheWild1 says:

    yeah man.. i really like your theme a lot

  6. Joshua says:

    Nate is the man!

    PS – This comment is valuable Blogging Experiment! :mrgreen:

  7. Eli says:

    Here I was thinking those were your blogs statistics for a whole month! I was thinking I was pretty close to your stats, but I measure mine in months :smile:

  8. Rhys says:

    I too redesigned my blog recently, and have also noticed an increase in traffic. It has lead to more comments, hopefully I can harness this increase at get more revenue from my blog (not going well, had a server failure and got knocked back a bit!)

    Bluejar.com posted a “Closer look in current Trends” post that analysed all the designs. Amazing to think that even though we all redesigned our blogs, they all got closer to one another in design.

  9. Pam Hoffman says:

    Hey John!
    When do you actually determine that the site NEEDS a face lift? I’ve had my blog running only a few months and I would like to keep it simple. It might need a few things though.

    I’d love other input – the blog allows comments and anyone can help out.

    Thanks,

    Pam Hoffman
    http://seminarlist.blogspot.com

    1. KingJacob says:

      Your next should definently be switching over to a self hosted wordpress and your own domain.

    2. Just do it every few months. Swap the ads and navigation around so you earn some more cash ;)

      1. Pam Hoffman says:

        It’s really that simple? Seems like there ought to be more to it..
        pam

  10. Tim Draayer says:

    I’ve been redesigning my blog and website and have wondered if it would have an affect on the traffic. Hearing this is good news, I’ve got a good following started.. maybe the new design will help create more interest.

  11. Etienne Teo says:

    Pam hoffman, you need a custom domain or rather a host to get your site running well, then you can think of a design :wink:

    1. That’s a good point. Blogspot supports custom domains, and if you don’t change it soon, you’ll be doing well in the search engines and never be able to move away from that blogspot domain!! All the backlinks you’d lose!

      1. Pam Hoffman says:

        Seems like it is already doing well – 400 k range (on Alexa). Is it already too late?
        pam

  12. Tim Draayer says:

    John, I’ve had a little trouble getting this comment through so I’m hopping it will work this time. I’m currently working on the redesign of my blog and I was curious about this very thought. I didn’t know if the redesign might contribute to an increase in traffic or not. I do have a good start on an audience built up so perhaps my blog and website will benefit.

    1. Aditya says:

      Not for you i guess, but for high profile blogs it does help a lot to build up traffic

  13. Softsled says:

    Some went looking for gold….some sold shovels. Nice shovel Nate!

    1. KingJacob says:

      or jeans aka levi.

  14. I am thinking of doing my blog too, but first want to make it a bit more popular

  15. KingJacob says:

    So the real winner in people doing site designs is Nate

    1. Well yeah, that’s what’s great about offering a valuable service people want. But both sides obviously benefit from the transaction.

  16. Nice. I not sure if anyone has commented about your Home Title. But thanks. It made me laugh. People will flock to the the popular.

  17. I can’t afford Nates services (yet) but I do worry about my blog theme. I use somebody elses design and have read that this is not very SE friendly and I should have my own site created. At the moment I just need to concentrate getting my blog up and running and then start thinking about the redesign. So much to do and learn :shock:

  18. Jan says:

    nice theme! it’s wise to redesign from time to time.

    1. WarriorBlog says:

      From time to time?

      Well, once every 6 months or year is good, but you don’t want to keep changing your design every month or week. :wink:

  19. Damner

    says:

    come on!
    it’s not because of the change in look?

    it’s end of summer!

    1. Yeah indeed.

      How can you be sure that this growth was caused by the redesign and not by the end of summer and natural growth?

    2. Elismatic says:

      I agree with you…well it’s not just because of the change of look. Around that same time the second and the third interview that John Chow did at The Lab with Leo Laporte were aired in Canada. It probably attract some attention from a broader audience. The change of look did his buzz, but to give the credit for the whole buzz seems kind of stretching it.

    3. Good point. He needs to bring other metrics and analytics into the playing field if he wants to make a claim like this. I hadn’t thought about the summer surge.

    4. John Chow says:

      Those stats are from last month, taken before and after the theme change. If you want to know if it really had an effect, then the day before I changed the theme, pageviews was 10,500. The next day was 18,000.

  20. Doesn’t traffic naturally fluctuate? I’d think 2 weeks is a little bit quick to be putting the traffic increase down to the design. Like the dude above says, it’s probably got as much to do with the weather as the design.
    My traffic has increased in the past 2 weeks, and my site design is as rubbish as ever.

  21. Chris says:

    Hey John

    I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for listing the plethora of money making strategies to your site. I am very impressed with your new site design. It is definitely an improvement over your previous theme.

    When I first created by blog a month ago I was indecisive about what type of software to use to build my site. I ended up going with Joomla! and I believe I made the right choice based on the functionality it can provide.

    I’m not sure if there is much of a disparity between income generation via a wordpress built site or a Joomla! or a website built with other software. This would be an interesting analysis!

    Talk to you later!

    Chris, Owner
    TheCAInquiry.com

  22. The new design definitely looks better in my opinion. It’ll be interesting to see if the increased stats stay.

  23. Hey John how much do you spend on advertising each month?

  24. Doh, I was posting with the wrong name… I’ll never make top commentor now :(

  25. Paul Bradish says:

    Congrats to both you and Nate – he did a great job on the redesign. I love the footer.

  26. Shaun says:

    Ah, that’s cool. I’ll have to find a new design soon. Besides, new designs are fun. :D

  27. Seems like it was a win-win for everyone. Free-market economies are great :wink:

  28. We have to mention, though, that this is not the main tool to draw traffic with. It is a good buzz generator for sure!

  29. Darin Carter says:

    John,
    If you trusted him with your work … I had to be able to trust him with my work. I love my design just like I know you love yours!
    Darin

  30. F1wolf says:

    Nate is working on my site now, and what I have seen so far is awesome … From the first draft is pretty much what I wanted and expected, well, a bit better than that … I sent it for comments to some of my readers and all gave the new theme thumbs up…

  31. Amit Bhawani says:

    Keep talking about the new design then the traffic keep increasing , other way it just boosts for sometime :)

  32. Andrew says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but the amount of ads and images at the top seems excessive. I do like the overall look though, especially the sidebar with post dates on it – neat idea.

    1. When your site is as popular as Johns you can get away with a few more ads than you really should, because it won’t stop people reading :D

  33. Nice increase in traffic. I have seen quit a bit of talk about John’s new design around the place so it definitely has generated some buzz.

  34. I may have to get Nate to design something for me soon. :)

    1. I agree Nate has some great designs. This is a good niche he’s satisfying and he’s sure to grow as the blogging community grows.

    2. I think he’s gonna get snowed under with all the recent work after doing Johns!!

  35. WarriorBlog says:

    Congrat on the increase John :-)

    Even Problogger had an increase in traffic. Problogger design is better though, it look like your is created to make money and it get a little annoying sometime I have to say :-(

  36. Alopecia says:

    After reading everybody’s feed back I think even I need to go for this redesign immediately. I’m sure by the looks of it an everybody’s response it should help me too.

  37. Are you using some plugin to insert that “More Free Advertising Coupon”? or are you just using a feature of Nate’s new blog design?

  38. I think your traffic increase is probably more from the buzz that your new design generated than the design itself. It’s a great design though… I might hire them when I get bored with my current design.

  39. Amit Bhawani says:

    I think everyone is searching for the previous posts and options and which is the main reason for the increase in page views :)

  40. I’m sure he’s going to be busy for a long while. I hope he can find a way automate his system. He seems to be having very busy days.

    1. Design is one thing that shuold never be automated! We’d all have the same design with different colours ;)

  41. kenny says:

    It looks like this hybrid 3 column/2 column layout is going to be the next played out fad in the blogging world.

  42. Klaudio says:

    Damn! Never thinked that a themechange produce more pageviews!

  43. Word Hugger says:

    Never thought that a design change could improve traffic so much.

  44. Scoot says:

    MAY WE NEVER FORGET SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

  45. MyBlogCotest says:

    That’s great! I think I have to get a new design soon.

  46. Ebay_Tips says:

    All you big dog bloggers did it at the same time. Start the first new trend JC!

  47. Aibek says:

    Hi John
    As soon as I saw a first glimpse of your new theme, I hired Nate to do design for MakeUseOf.com as well. He is pretty good and quite preofessional.

  48. Uzair says:

    I would love to, but I can’t.

  49. Googlelady says:

    I also changed the design of my blog and the traffic went up. Design really matter.

  50. Isnt it because everyone was posting about new design anyway?

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