Earlier this week Robbie and I made the first major changes to help improve and grow his poker news blog. After analyzing his Google Analytics data and identifying numerous weak points in visitor behavior I advised Robbie that we need a new and improved design for his blog. Early Monday morning the new theme was in place and 80% of the necessary changes had been made.
The screenshot below shows the old design:
And the new design:
[Edit: All the stats over the last few days are inaccurate because of a technical issue we had with the Google Analytics code on the site, basically the code appeared twice and screwed up some of the stats, including bounce rate and page per view.]
Both Robbie and I are very happy with the new design and the feedback has been positive. Even though its only been a few days the change that can be seen in Google Analytics is quite astonishing.
Since the change the bounce rate has dropped an incredible 87%.
Visitors are now viewing 3 pages per visit on average compared to 1.4, an increase of 110%.
Number of page views are up 119% while visits are spending 40% more time on the site.
I believe that the main reasons for these changes are the “cleaner” layout, much improved navigation for visitors and more focus on the actual content of the blog.
Things are definitely moving in the right direction but there is still a lot of work to be done. On the analytics side I am still not too happy with “time on site” and over time would like to increase the % of return visitors to the blog.
The next steps for Robbie and I are to finish the changes to the theme which include adding a few more widgets (a subscribe widget is coming very soon!), updating the footer, adding new “hot topics” and a few other touch ups. Once all this is in place we will work hard on improving the SEO of the site, generating new traffic, building up the sites subscriber list and experimenting with different content styles and layouts.