Welcome to the New Frugal Rules!
Notice anything different?! Yes, this is still Frugal Rules, just a much better version of the original. A couple of months ago I had mentioned that there were some big changes coming to Frugal Rules and this is it.
A few know this already, but the wheels completely fell off the bus of the original redesign quite some time ago. It was about a year or so to be exact. That’s all water under the bridge now as we’ve moved on with a local designer we do quite a bit of work with business wise. To say I’m happy with the end result would be putting it lightly. The previous, and original design, was utilitarian at best.
When I first started Frugal Rules, I remember vexing over spending $50 on a theme and then was hesitant to spend a few dollars per month on a hosting plan. I had no idea where this blogging thing would go or if I’d even enjoy it. Fast forward nearly two years and it’s crazy to see what’s happened over that span of time.
Why the Redesign?
While l liked my original site, because my wife and I actually made it, it was terribly limited in regards to functionality. It served my purpose, but lacked color and ease of use. When you have hundreds of posts on a site that can make it difficult to know where to go to find the information you want. That was something I wanted to change in order to make the site more inviting and easier to navigate for my readers.
I believe this new design helps accomplish that goal while also giving me room to add other cool features in the future. It also allows me to highlight more of the content my team of staff writers and I have managed to grow over this time. Again, this was done with the desire to provide greater ease of use to visitors so they can locate the information they’re looking for.
I’ve also been asked if it was going to be a Genesis or Thesis backed site. While both of those are fine platforms I ultimately chose to go with having a custom theme built so that I would have less restrictions and more control over what I could do.
There were quite a number of things I wanted to add with this redesign. The main issue was to instill more of a personal look to help foster the community here. Beyond that, there are some more practical changes:
A New Logo: This was something I was hesitant to change as I know many knew the site by the logo. However, it needed to be done. We have added some color to the logo, freshened it up and added a piggy bank. That last touch is really meant to communicate the ultimate goal of growing your money through a variety of efforts. I toyed with changing the tagline but just couldn’t come up with something I liked that was short and sweet. That’s not to say it won’t be changed in the future, just that it’s in flux right now.
Icon Landing Pages: Looking at the bulk of the content on the site, I noticed four main topics I tend to center around: Attacking Debt, Learning to Invest, Frugal Living and Financial Product Reviews. I wanted to create a special landing page devoted to each of those categories. They give readers easy access to several of the more helpful posts from each of those four categories. You should notice icons for each of those right under the newsletter sign up on the home page as well as on sidebars throughout the site.
Highlighting Other Important Content: With the amount of content that’s on the site, we obviously talk about other topics a good bit and I wanted to have a way to highlight that. Those are topics like self-employment, budgeting and financial literacy. You should notice a content module right below the most recent posts that allows you to tab through those topics and select a post to read. Again, that’s meant to help make information easier to find.
A New “Blog” Page: The home page is really more of a landing page now and while I do have a few of the most recent posts in the slider on top or in the aforementioned area I wanted something else. With that in mind, we added a “Blog” tab in the second menu bar for readers that simply want to go find a listing of the most recent posts by date.
My First E-book: It isn’t ready yet, but I am going to be adding a free e-book feature to those who sign up for my monthly newsletter. By signing up for the newsletter, readers will receive the e-book for free. The e-book tackles how to start investing when you don’t know where to start. As many know I spent five years in the online brokerage industry and saw firsthand how many don’t know where to start. This e-book is meant to help those who’re seeking help in getting started and should hopefully be ready in the next month or so.
How to Start a Blog Page: If you’ve been a blogger more than a few months then you’ve likely been asked about how to start a blog and all that’s involved with that. I’ve created a page for those questions and share some of my favorite resources that help me save time with blogging.
Fewer Sidebar ads: Let’s face it, in order to support the site I do so through affiliate sales. However, I wanted to avoid throwing up a bunch of sidebar ads in the redesign. For that reason, you’ll notice fewer ads in the sidebars throughout the site.
Media Page: I’ve had the privilege of being featured in a number of national publications over my time running the blog. Many in the media are on a tight schedule, so I wanted to create a Media page that would make it easier for them get in touch with me.
There are a number of other changes, but these make up the major ones I wanted to push with the redesign. The large majority of the changes were done, as I noted above, in order to provide greater ease of use to readers. I wanted to provide multiple ways to get to the same information and I believe that has been accomplished for the most part.
With that being said, I’d like to thank my designer (you can see a link to his business site in the footer) as he is the one who made all of this possible. In addition, I’m planning to run a post in a few weeks that covers things to look for when hiring a web designer. I would also like to extend a thankful hat tip to my good friend Grayson, who stepped in at the 11th hour to ensure things with the transition from the old site to the new site went smoothly.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank my lovely wife who not only put up with my neurosis of attention to detail, did a good bit of work on the site and didn’t make me sleep on the couch one night during the past few months. Without her much of what you see wouldn’t be here.
There will obviously be some tweaks and changes made over the next few days and weeks as I see how readers interact with the new site. If you have any questions, comments or anything else please leave them in the comment section.