This is blog post shows a proposal for testing out in the tech section: http://blog.hubpages.com/2012/04/techno … sign-test/
It could hardly be more different from the proposed fashion hubs redesign.
One is stripped to the bare essentials, the other is loaded to the gunnels with eye candy.
I think Hubpages needs to think carefully about what direction it wants to go in.
I have been assuming that Hubpages is looking for a response to Panda and the bad press surrounding content farms. Am I right or wrong here?
Anyway, assuming this is about Panda, a magazine style approach could help in a variety of ways.
It will encourage more magazine style articles (and less content farming).
It will differentiate the site from other content farms like eHow.
Anything that improves engagement is good news SEO-wize.
It could very look appealing to advertisers (if you get it right).
It might persuade Google that Hubpages does not deserve tweaking out of existence.
The minimalist, absolutely non-magazine style approach in the tech proposals would probably benefit me as it will encourage clicks and buying. Fewer distractions from all those lovely ads.
A problem in both cases is that the aesthetics are not really great. Present Hubpages design is surprisingly good when you compare it to the proposed alternatives.
Overall, the question in my mind is- has anyone really thought this stuff through?
And a personal plea. Test these proposals to destruction before introducing them!
Agreed to all three of these.
What's more, having different layouts for different subject categories strikes me as extremely short-sighted. Surely you want a site that has a consistent design across all categories, otherwise people are less likely to remember/recognise HP as a "brand".
It all smacks of desperation to me.
I'm not trying to give the staff a hard time.
I am remembering all the fuss about creating a new logo for the BBC a few years ago, though. Millions of pounds were spent and the new logo was hard to tell from the old.
You need a powerful reason for changing things that work.
Also your branding point is entirely valid. Small changes between different sections (tech fashion etc) with small amounts of color can work wonders without altering the overall feel of the site.
p.s. here are some top tech sites: they all look like wordpress efforts and none of them look as distinctive as hubpages looks right now.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-574161 … =cnetRiver
http://arstechnica.com/science/news/201 … cities.ars
http://www.itproportal.com/2012/04/18/g … odler-job/
I hate to post just to say "I agree" but that's what I'm doing.
Will said almost exactly what I thought when I saw the changes.
I thought the blog was fairly clear on the fact that once all the testing is done the best performing layout will be the new sitewide design.
I can see how things are getting a bit crazy in the short term, though. People who write on various topics will be less affected, but niche authors who write primarily in one of the "test" topics get to be full blown guinea pigs for a while. Which will suck if the prototype they end up testing tanks in traffic and earnings.
Went back and read the blog post and sure enough, it does mention a goal of a single site-wide design. Still, the testing is quite unsettling. I don't know if this is coincidental or a result of the new fashion/beauty layout, but all my jewellery hubs are getting less traffic now. (Then again, a lot of my other stuff has experienced a traffic drop so it's impossible to tell how much, if any, effect the new design has had.)
I think a redesign can work in certain cases. I guess they won't really know until they test them out.
I was wondering if it would be better instead to give people the choice of designs. That way they could tailor the right layout to each hub or group of hubs. People would tinker with each of the possible designs and figure out which one works best for their articles.
It would be in their own interests to do this, as it could have a serious impact on their readers and their potential earnings.
Writers would have more control over how their total page looked. In turn, this would also mean that Hubpages wouldn't get bashed for the new designs, as long as there were a few choices. If you don't like one of the designs choose another.
Hubpages will still have overall control because they will only make a certain number of designs.
It appears to me that HP is doing exactly the right thing here. Testing small portions of the total site to see what works best.
How many ads are best? What about placement over many types of hub subjects, topics and styles? How much does load time affect standings? How much "flash" works best for income purposes on a hub? Anything but the hub itself is a distraction - what and where is the point that the distractions detract more than they add to total income for the site? If site wide income goes up at the expense of a particular style, where is the break even point?
A hundred questions, and they will never know the answer by guessing at answers. Only by real life testing of possibilities. Sure, the same layout could be kept forever, saving lots of money in brainstorming and programming, but that isn't likely to be the best answer. A particular layout may be best for one style or topic - what's best for the entire site?
I like what HP is doing and don't see it as desperation at all - a slow, careful testing to find answers is what I see.
I just consulted an octogenarian, distinctly paranoid (otherwise sane), former ad exec who told me that the Bauhaus maxim of 'form should follow function' is as important in branding as it is in other creative matters.
I was a little drunk. But I think he was saying, work out where you want to go, then design accordingly.
Okay, that is as rational as I can be right now. I have an anime movie (the kind that does not care if you are drunk or not) to watch.
Here's hoping the data is more encouraging than the feedback.
As long as the different styles of page are well tested, I will go along with whatever is decided. Subjective opinions should be taken into account, but statistical info like visitor figures and clicks are the main thing that people like myself are concerned with. The internet is always constantly changing. As far as I can tell, HP seems to be taking a sensible approach.
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