Welcome to the new John Chow dot Com Version 7! Yes, this blog has gone through seven WordPress themes since its founding. If you are viewing this post on an RSS feed, click here to see the new design.
The old John Chow dot Com v6 theme served my blog longer than any previous themes, and was long overdue for a redesign. The design firm I hired to create John Chow dot Com v7 did an amazing job. They completely exceeded my expectation. They also wish to remain anonymous. Apparently, they have so much business, they can’t take on any new clients! I guess there are worst problems to have.
John Chow dot Com v7 brings many new features and technologies to the table. I’ve highlighted a few of them below. If you want to take your blog to the next level, this is what you’ll need to bring to the table.
Fully Mobile Responsive
The new John Chow dot Com is fully mobile responsive. This means that when you open the site on any device (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.), all of the elements on the screen will appear scaled for that particular device width. Right now, 30% of my readers read my blog from a mobile device, and I expect that to increase in the future.
Responsive design is the way Google recommends building all websites nowadays. There are talks that Google will start penalizing sites that are not mobile responsive, so this is a feature you should add if your blog doesn’t have it.
The new design is also built to display all images at the 2x size (a.k.a. “retina”, which is what you see when viewing the site on an iPhone, iPad, or any modern tablet or mobile device.
Believe it or not, quite a few modern websites are still NOT retina-friendly, meaning that when you look at their images on a retina device, the images will appear blurry. If you want to be taken seriously online, you must stay on the cutting edge of design. Here is an example between retina and a non-retina image:
It is now even more important than ever for your site to be retina-ready as many laptops and desktops are now becoming retina, such as the newly announced Apple MacBook, the Chromebook Pixel, as well as the new 5K iMac.
To make every image on your site retina-ready requires expert knowledge of HTML and CSS, however the beginning blogger can get started making their post-thumbnails and in-post images retina-ready using the WP Retina 2x plugin.
Fixed headers have become increasingly popular on websites, as seen on sites such as Mashable and CNN. Since you’ve read this far down down on the page, you’ll notice the header has stayed fixed at the top of the page, like this:
Fixed headers are popular because they always provide useful navigation (and branding) as someone scrolls down and engages with your site. You’ll also notice my fixed header is also semi-transparent, a cool effect that is used by the likes of Apple and Google.
Big Homepage Call-to-Action
Every website should have a purpose, a.k.a, call-to-action. You will also notice the new huge call-to-action on my homepage. My purpose is to get people to download my ebook, The Ultimate Blog Profit Model, and sign up for my newsletter. Currently I have three different call-to-action sections that display randomly every time you load the homepage.
Each one is unique, with a different headline, background, video and call-to-action text on the button. I have these displaying one-at-a-time (instead of as slides) in order to cut down on page-load time.
Currently I am testing the following headlines and call to-action:
- Do You Dare To Dream? (with video)
- The Secret to Making Six-Figure Monthly Income on the Internet (with bullet points and cover of ebook)
- Over $30,000 Before 9AM â€“ A Day In The Life of John Chow (with video)
Because all of these sections are quite different, it also gives a nice refreshing feel to the reader on each reload, instead of seeing the same homepage design each time. Even if I may have not updated my site recently, readers may see the different slides and think that I have added something new and fresh.
I will be split testing these to see which perform the best, as well as sharing the results with you guys!
Refresh the homepage a few times to see the dramatically different designs.
New About Page and Timeline
Next to your homepage, your “About” page may be the most important page on the site. This is the page that people will frequently go to in order to learn about who is behind your site. Every good “About” page should include the following things:
- Succinct biography – no one wants to read your entire life story. In a few paragraphs, you should be able to sum up what makes you unique and why people should follow you.
- Personal or professional history – on my page, I have a timeline that shows my major life events and special moments of my money-making career. In the future, I will be adding additional information to this timeline.
- Social proof – videos, testimonials or links to news sources from third parties. You’ll notice I have videos and links to news articles from sites like The Vancouver Sun, Entrepreneur Magazine, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, and Ming Pao Canada.
- Call to action – at the bottom of my about page is the call-to-action to download my eBook. If people have engaged with and read through your about page, they will be more likely to complete the intended action.
New Photos Page
Old John Chow dot Com visitors will remember I had a section on my website where you could view all of my Flickr photos in an easy way. I am happy to announce that you can now view all of my Flickr photos again, without leaving my website. I did this using the Flickr Justified plugin.
More Cool Changes Coming Soon
This is only the beginning of the new John Chow dot Com. In the near future, I will be adding more unique features and pages to the site. For example, on my new Live Events page, I am currently showing all of the upcoming dates for my upcoming events, as well as videos of my previous speaking engagements.
In the future, this page will be as unique as my about page — it be a unique layout, possibly with a calendar or world map, and an easy way to browse all of my past speaking event videos. I haven’t decided on the exact details just yet, but this page will definitely be getting as much attention as my about page.
So, what do you think of the new John Chow dot Com v7? Don’t forget to try browsing on your smartphones and tablets now for an optimized experience!