A quick question – was the old 3-column layout OK?
Thanks for all your thoughts on this latest iteration of the site. As mentioned earlier, I didn’t think this layout overnight would be popular, but it was a twofold experiment.
1) How would the layout go down with visitors? Answer: Predictably poorly.
2) How would the layout perform in terms of ad revenue? Answer: About 50% better.
So in the interest of full disclosure……
This site is about Saab, first and foremost. But it does have to cover its own costs and with the time that goes into preparing it, it also needs to provide some sort of return that I can show to the Mrs as being beneficial.
Whilst people place ads in newspapers on the right, the web is quite different and the left is the hot spot. Since the changeover to the new layout, ad revenue has fallen by more than a third. Last night, just while I was sleeping (with around 12 hours to go in the advertising day) the site made about 90% of the previous full day’s revenue. Same amount of effort going into the writing, much better return.
The site, as I see it, serves a two-fold purpose for people out there in internet land. There are regular visitors like you who come for the content, which I try and make the absolute best I can, day-in and day-out. There are also searchers, those who are looking for something about Saab on the web. They land here and are hopefully happy with the content as well, but as they’re searching for something, the advertising may provide a link to what they’re looking for. The ads aren’t served for regulars, they’re served mostly for the benefit of search traffic that comes along.
I don’t want that to be a hindrance to people’s experience if they’re visiting regularly, either. Hopefully it’s the regular, informative commentary and love for the brand that keeps people visiting. Sidebar info should be a complement to that but never a distraction from it.
This is not a commercial site and the income from it is fairly small-fry. But it does cover the costs of running it and provides a little for doing up the Viggen, which is covered as part of site content as well. In the past it’s covered the cost of the HD video camera I purchased to provide video content here. It covers the monthly lease of the Mac I’m writing this on right now. Next year I hope to cover the costs of purchasing an old 99 and doing it up as a website project.
So….again…..was the old 3-column layout OK? The reader experience and the reflection on the Saab brand is always a priority, but in addition to that I’d like to make the earnings from this site as efficient as possible, which means a left sidebar is a necessity.
As always, your thoughts are welcome. I don’t mean to distract from Saab stuff too much but meeting both your needs and my needs are important.
Sorry for the inconvenience, folks.
Whilst I love the functionality of the new site, I’ve really missed the 3-column layout. I haven’t been happy with the text sitting alone on the left like it was when I first changed it over. As you can tell, it’s been switched around and I’m sure that’s going to be an unpopular move, but I thought I’d experiment with it anyway.
The template that I’m using for this site was originally released as a two-column template only. Fortunately, they’ve just released a 3-column version, which I’ll try and implement in the very near term. Unfortunately, I haven’t really got my head around how to establish subdomains so you’re probably going to have to endure watching me do it live (which might be fun if you don’t have any paint drying somewhere).
It’ll probably mean a change back to a slightly smaller font size, but other than that it should be fairly similar to the old site.
Thanks in advance for your patience. Saab stories continue below.