The New Look of John Chow dot Com – What Do You Think?

If you’re reading this post from a RSS or other clients, then you need to head on over to right and check out the new look of the blog. The paint is not completely dried it and we’re still doing tweaks here and there based on the feedback we got so far.

The new theme, like the old, was created by the team at Unique Blog Designs. They have designed the last two themes used by this blog, and I think the current one is going to be the best yet. Here are some of the highlights of the new theme.

Built On The Thesis Framework

Unlike the last theme, which was ported over the Thesis, John Chow dot Com V4 was built from the ground up to work with the Thesis framework. This allowed much better integration with the various Thesis modules.

More Tablet Friendly

This feature is not completed yet, but the new theme is much more tablet friendly than the old one. Once completed, you’ll be able to scroll the feature articles just by swiping them. We’ll be adding more tablet features later and we’ll be revamping the mobile version of the blog as well.

Featured Articles At The Bottom

The biggest change on the new layout is the relocation of the featured articles from the top to the bottom of the page. The reason for this move is the make the featured articles appear on every page. In the old theme, the featured articles showed up only on the front page.

Having the features on the bottom also gives the reader an “exist point,” articles to go after he/she finish reading the current blog post.

Custom Made Fronts

The new theme features fronts by TypeKit. Nate Whitehill of Unique Blog Design pointed out that all major newspapers and magazine have their own custom fronts, and we should do the same for the blog in order to take the branding to the next level.

TypeKit offers a subscription-based library of hosted, high-quality fonts to use on your website. Pricing is based on page views. If you’re blog gets less than 25,000 views per month, TypeKit offers a free account, but the features are limited.

LiveFyre Comment System

The most controversial change to the blog is the move to the LiveFyre comment system. The main reason for the move was to reduce the amount of spam and increase the quality of comments.

Ever since installing LiveFyre, I’ve noticed the number of comments have gone down (no more “great post!” comments) but that should only be temporary since LiveFyre offers many social features to increase the number and quality of comments.

The one complaint I keep hearing about LiveFyre is you have to register in order to comment even though they have Twitter and Facebook integration. LiveFyre tells me they will be rolling out guest commenting later this week where no registration is required. All you need is a Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, or OpenID account.

Your Comments Are Welcome

Like I said, the paint is still drying on the new theme. We’ll be tweaking the theme based on your comments and feedback so please do tell me what you think of the new look and what changes you would like to see happen.


59 thoughts on “The New Look of John Chow dot Com – What Do You Think?”

  1. Chris McCoy says:

    It’s a smart idea making your site more tablet friendly, every man and his dog seems to have one nowadays!

    1. John Chow says:

      @Chris McCoy Pretty much. I’m finding that I am using my iPad more and more now a days.

      1. Vance Sova says:

        @John [email protected] McCoy Is that why the page now seems too wide for a computer browser like Chrome and one has to scroll to se the full width of it?

  2. Niwika Publishing says:

    Hi John, I just learned about you recently and started to follow your blog. Downloaded your ebook, started my own blog. I really like the changes you’ve made. I find it interesting that there is way more going on a the bottom of the page than I would expect. I like it though. It’s created a nice balance from top to bottom.

    When I was choosing my own theme, I waffled between Thesis and the Genesis Framework by Studiopress. I ended up with the Genesis. I like it’s flexibility too. Having said all that, sharp changes on your site. Interesting, I find I check in here everyday.

    Cheers John,

    Tony Brayley

    1. John Chow says:

      @Niwika Publishing Genesis is a great system. I was looking at that framework before going to Thesis. What pushed me to Thesis was the personal help by Chris, the founder.

  3. LukePeerFly says:

    Looks good John! I noticed the changes over the past few days. Very nice.

    1. John Chow says:

      @LukePeerFly It’s still a work in progress. There are more features coming in the next few days.

  4. PLRNetMarketing says:

    I’m loving the new layout John, the fact that you keep it updated every few years keeps things fresh and interesting! Good luck with the new commenting system! 🙂

    1. John Chow says:

      @PLRNetMarketing Glad you like the new look. Unique Blog Design did a great job on it.

  5. Harshad says:

    I love the first page of your blog. Soon lot of bloggers will do the same.

    1. John Chow says:

      @Harshad I alway have to stay in front of the pack. 🙂

      1. Harshad says:

        @John Chow OfCourse. Also, lot of them will install livefyre.. you should take some royalty from them 😀

  6. shauner says:

    I like the visual but it seems to trivialize the actual content of the blog by pushing popular posts to the bottom and the most recent posts are a small column down the left side.

    1. John Chow says:

      @shauner Ya, we are revamping the recent post. You should see the new look later tonight or tomorrow.

  7. Justin Passmore says:

    I REALLY like the new design John. Very unique and a good breath of fresh air to the blog. Hmm you might have the biggest footer I’ve ever seen ;). Great idea to keep new technologies in mind, too.

    I agree that less comments is probably better. I’d like to see actual discussion rather than the 2 word spammy posts.

    1. John Chow says:

      @Justin Passmore Thanks for the feedback. Ya, the footer is pretty big but I think it goes well with the rest of the layout. I really want to keep the main content above the fold and be able to show the featured articles on all pages. Putting featured articles at the top on all pages would have push down the main content too much.

  8. John Volpendesta says:

    I’ve been reading your website for a few weeks now and the look has been this since then, but I think it is really good.

  9. erwinmiradi says:

    Nice. I like the front page so much. Though it’s a lot heavier to load than the old one. But it’s okay.

    1. simplyrichhome says:

      Super amazing revamped web blog.

      What the amount that you pay Unique Blog Design to revamp your web blog ?

      1. John Chow says:

        @simplyrichhome Unique Blog Design prices start at $7,500.

        1. Abhik says:

          @John [email protected] OMG!!! That’s too much for a WordPress theme, even it is custom coded.

          Anyway, overall it’s a good investment.

        2. John Chow says:

          @[email protected] Everything is relative. Steve Job paid $100,000 just for the NeXT logo, nothing else.

        3. Abhik says:

          Well, yes. Specially when you have funds to cover it.. @John Chow @simplyrichhome

        4. Vance Sova says:

          @John [email protected] That is an insane price I think. Especially since at the bottom corner of the theme there is their link. I doubt very much that you paid them that amount.

  10. When someting have changed something may better. Everything must change for new creation. Time will answer that good or not. I think friends like this design and like livefyre.

  11. fas says:

    Well looks really nice and clean but the social bookmarking buttons could be better.

    1. John Chow says:

      @fas Ya, I agree wit h that. It’s one of the element we’re going to work on this weekend.

      1. Abhik says:

        @John [email protected] Looking forward to that.. 🙂

  12. Samuel Ho says:

    Great new look of your blog, John!! I look forward to seeing more new stuff coming at John Chow dot com.

    1. John Chow says:

      @Samuel Ho Thanks Samuel. Keep checking back. We will be showing off a tweaked front page this weekend.

  13. Abhik says:

    Its really a beautiful theme, and loading very fast.

    John, tell me one thing, what’s the reason behind that 300×250 rectangle ad unit at top right of the post content? Is that really worth to have? I mean, are you getting good CTR on that?

    1. John Chow says:

      @Abhik That ad has the highest click rate out of all the ads on the blog.

  14. Mitch_SCP says:

    Not a wordpress guy but like the look from a computer, not a fan of the mobile version on the ipad, just a matter pf preference. if it were me I would go the route that many of the bigger sites giving the user the option when using the ipad of which version they want to see instead of forcing them to use a mobile version which just doesn’t do your site justice.

    Reading some of the other comments $7,500 for a custom theme is way reasonable, about 50% of what some the other guys charge but like with anything, I am sure that is just a base charge and the more things you need, the more it costs depending on the hours. Good Luck with it…make millions and help others do the same.

  15. jkretch says:

    Hey @John Chow Jordan from livefyre here, just wanted to let you know that Guest commenting is now live, you can turn it on in your site admin or read more about it first here:

    1. John Chow says:

      @jkretchlivefyre I would do that if you can get rid of this message: “Livefyre is ready to use, but your old comments are still being imported and will become visible as they are processed.”

  16. Abhik says:

    John, can the background image be a little lighter? Or, a little shadow (or any type of separator) at the left of the container div.

    Just my thoughts.

    1. John Chow says:

      @Abhik Which background image? The JC logo in the footer? If that gets any lighter, you won’t see it!

      1. Abhik says:

        The body background..
        But, it’ll be better if you just add a separator (some kind of border or shadow) at the left of the content div.
        But, that’s just my opinion. You can UBD guys know better than me. @John Chow

      2. Abhik says:

        The body background..

        But, it’ll be better if you just add a separator (some kind of border or shadow) at the left of the content div. But, that’s just my opinion. You can UBD guys know better than me.

        @John Chow

  17. Blogtips says:

    Awesome redesign john.. 😉

  18. Trent says:

    John, what’s the social media plugin called that you’re using on the left that scrolls down with you?

  19. Web page looks clean and nice, easy read, professional, a good site that I keep coming back to.

  20. your new theme is really good, but always old is gold..

  21. Blog Tips says:

    I looked everywhere on web to find a template like yours for blogger. But I failed. 🙁

    Anyway nice theme. Good luck.

    1. John Chow says:

      @Blog Tips You’ll never find one. That’s the advantage of getting a custom design. 🙂

      1. Blog Tips says:

        @John Chow You are absolutely correct. Finally I decided to satisfy myself by a three column template. If you have time please visit me and give me your suggestions to improve it. I am happy to say I started my blog because of you. I learnt everything on your site. Your ebook (Which popping out while loading your home page) lead me to be a successful blogger. And I am now earning some money through my blog. These all because of you.

        Thank you very much for your help.

        M. Sajith.

  22. Thanks so much my Chow i have been following you blog for a long time now.

  23. PPC Ian says:


    I really like your new blog design. Honestly, it’s one of the sharpest looking blogs on the Internet. I especially like the look and feel of your homepage and the slick footer. At first, I was really disappointed that you got rid of Top Commentators (or, maybe I just didn’t see it)? Now, it’s back however so I’m really happy about that. 🙂

    All the best,Ian

    1. John Chow says:

      @PPC Ian Thanks for the feedback Ian. Ya, the top commentator is gone for now. I got a new plan to reward you for being a loyal reader. Keep an eye out for the post.

  24. PPC Ian says:


    One thing I wanted to point out… Assuming you caught this by now, but go to Google and then do a site: john chow dot com search. Scroll through a few pages of results and look at the meta descriptions. You will see that the meta descriptions for some of the pages just show some code. There may be an issue with the way in which Google is crawling some of the pages. Hope this helps!All the best,


    1. John Chow says:

      @PPC Ian Yes, I discovered this too. it’s from the social sidebar plugin. We’re going to fix it now.

  25. Vance Sova says:

    Why does it say how many people are listening when I’m not listening at all and am included in the number of listeners? Shouldn’t it say how many people are visiting right now?

    1. John Chow says:

      @Vance Sova I think when you reply to a post or make a comment, it adds you.

  26. Vance Sova says:

    Just a few days ago there were still top commentators showing. Now they’re gone. Are they gone forever?

    1. John Chow says:

      @Vance Sova It’s gone for now. I’m coming up with a better way to reward to the top commentators. The old way produced too much spam and gaming of the list.

  27. i have notice this new theme, first taught.. awesome, but the area beneath previous post and next post, is a little bit awkward, too crowded, and the color to blueish.. just my opinion john… overall, , it’s awesome

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