Thanks for the comments on the redesign (and a big shout out to Matt @ eCopt for the in-depth review)!
I thought it was important to explain my intentions with the new look and feel.
It was time for a change. Eric Hwang, a colleague from years back (now at Pronto) designed the original site which launched in May 2005 (yes, ComparisonEngines.com is 2.5yrs old!). But 2.5 years is a long time and the site was missing
a three key components:
1) emphasis on comments
2) a smart way to bring ME into the picture
3) a smart way to incorporate the other sites I run
The new emphasis on comments is extremely important because my hope from the start was to create a forum for people to disucuss the industry. There are a number of people who now comment regularly, but it’s only a small fraction of the readership. That will always be the case, but I think I can do a bit better with a more comment friendly interface. In the old design, there was no way to quickly view recent comments. Someone would say something insightful but no one would know about it. My hope with the new site is that more people will be excited about commenting and then even more people will respond to those comments (joining in and furthering the discussion).
I know many reps from the shopping engines read ComparisonEngines.com. I’d love for you to join in the discussion as well. Some engines have gently discouraged their employees from commenting on ComparisonEngines. Some engines are scared that they’ll be flamed for their involvement. Some engines just don’t like me. But we’re in a new age where it’s time for companies to get involved in the conversation as opposed to trying to control it. Yes, we all have competitors. And yes, we all have legal departments and corporate parents to consider, but think about this opportunity. You have a chance to join the discussion and engage influencers who can better your business.
So take note of the Recent Comments. Take note of the link to the comments at the top of each blog post. And expect comments to be highlighted in additional ways in the near future.
Yes, it’s all about me, me, me! Well, not exactly. Why is my mug shot (ok, headshot – taken by Joanne Brooks) up there? First and foremost, I was freaked out by people thinking I was some 40-something recluse! (I’m only kind of kidding!). It really comes down to me wanting to make this site a little more personal. As opposed to most blogs, I don’t regurgitate press releases. I speak my mind. I share my random musings. I want to do more of that. It’s what gets me in trouble, but I think it’s part of what gives this site personality. So expect to see and hear more of ME.
Branding Brian Smith is also just plain smart business. And that’s what I’m building, a business…
Integration of other Comparison Ventures, Inc. sites
I run a venture backed data feed management, data feed submission, and data feed optimization company called SingleFeed. I run a data feed optimization blog called LoveYourFeed. These ‘properties’ are part of the Comparison Ventures, Inc. family. I’ve never hidden this fact, and I never will. I like what Reviewed.com did with their Ethics and Independence Pledge, and might do something similar.
If I hadn’t started ComparisonEngines, I wouldn’t have figured out that there was an opportunity to help merchants submit feeds to the shopping engines. Without SingleFeed, I couldn’t afford to continue to write ComparisonEngines. Without LoveYourFeed, I couldn’t have engaged as many merchants in a discussion about data feed optimization. These sites feed off of each other. In the end, without the data feed knowledge acquired through managing, submitting, and optimizing hundreds of feeds, discussing the industry with shopping engines, merchants, job seekers, analysts, bloggers, and press, and figuring out the quirks of data feed optimization, I wouldn’t be valuable to anyone.
I will use ComparisonEngines.com as a lead generation tool for SingleFeed and LoveYourFeed. However, I will also discuss my competition. I am very open and honest about SingleFeed. Sometimes we’re not the right fit for a merchant. I often make recommendations and introductions to our competition. ChannelAdvisor, Channel Intelligence, Mercent, Performics, MerchantAdvantage, and FeedPerfect are also listed under the Data Feeds section (on the sidebar). If merchants do their research, they will look at all these companies before making a decision.
As for other features…
-Check out the categories. I have about 900 posts to retroactively categorize, so don’t expect every category to be fleshed out, but this should make it much easier to find articles related to a certain topic.
-Search is still front and center (well right and center).
-The emphasis of the blog is still the content.
-I’ve added the ShareThis Widget. Digg a post. Email a post to a friend. There are a couple kinks to work out, but this should make it easier to spread the word.
I’ll be testing other widgets and design elements, but I’m liking the basic elements. Again, thanks for the feedback thus far. Keep the comments coming.
One last look at the old design…