TG Inspired Looks / June 1st, 2015
Why I Redesigned My Website After Just 2 Years
A first impression only happens once.
Think about that for a second.
You meet someone and pretty much instantaneously get judged based on your appearance. The person’s judgment of you either gets confirmed or altered after connecting for a few more moments.
I think it’s safe to say my old site wasn’t leaving a good first impression.
A large part of my job is to provide advice on timeless style and building a great first impression. I was not practicing what I was preaching.
Many readers sent me emails and messages on Facebook all saying the same thing. They love my content and the advice I was dishing out but the design, color scheme and layout was unbearable.
Heck – It was becoming unbearable to me as well!
As my frustration grew, I began to get to work.
Here is my story on why I redesigned my website less than two years after my first one went live.
The Planning Process
When I set out to build my first site, I wanted to create something that highlighted my image consulting business with an integrated blog to offer style advice as an extension to what I was doing on Twitter.
I did some initial research on my competitors in the men’s style industry and looked at what was great about them.
I made a note of all the things I liked from the sites I researched and worked with my team to create a list of features based on that.
Looking back at this now, I see that the overall process was rushed.
This caused a big gap between what customers in the industry were looking for and what was actually created for Timeless Gent.
This time around, I took much more time fleshing out the end goal of my site. Here is the full list of items we extensively researched.
If you are an aspiring style blogger and looking to take the next step and build out a website, I strongly advice you to also consider the following:
- Extensive Competitor Research – I spent much more time on competitor analysis this time around. Don’t just look at the top 3-4 websites in your industry drill down into the top 20. Discover what works and what doesn’t and you are well on your way to more success.
- Customer Feedback – Never think about building a website for yourself as your customers are going to be the ones interacting with it. If you have a site now, I’m sure you received either positive or negative feedback . If not, ask your customers!
- User Experience – VERY IMPORTANT. If users come to your site and have a difficult time navigating through it, they will be unhappy and leave within SECONDS. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and everything flows seamlessly. My bounce rate has dropped over 15% since I launched my new site and I am very proud of this.
- Proper Branding – Another important step. As my business is all about luxury men’s style, my entire branding had to reflect this. I had to make sure the site had a high end feel to it. The site had to meet the expectations of my readers in order for Timeless Gent to be a success.
- Responsive – Pretty much everybody uses their mobile device as their top-browsing vehicle. It only makes sense to build a site that is responsive for users to have a great experience in many formats.
The Design Process
The design of my fist website was pretty good and fit its purpose at the time.
You see, when I first started Timeless Gent I set out to solely be an image consulting company for men. I extended upon that by including a blog so I could share my thoughts as my advice seemed to be quite popular on the Twitter platform.
What happened next was not something I anticipated.
I really began to enjoy blogging and writing about high quality men’s style. I tried to be consistent with my posting schedule (aiming for every Monday!). As I progressed and my writing improved, men of all ages throughout the world were contacting me asking with questions to help improve their style and gain greater success in life.
This was great at the time as I slowly began the shift away from image consulting to a full out men’s luxury style site.
But then the emails started coming in.
I was getting at least two messages a week stating how hard it was to read the site on a mobile device. Another common complaint I received was the black background and white font combination made it way too hard to read on ANY device.
Looking at popular blogs all over the world I knew that changes were needed.
This prompted me into action and I reached out to a good friend and kick-ass graphic designer Noemi Farkas. For many months, Noemi and I met up in local coffee shops for brainstorming sessions to see how we can take the Timeless Gent website to the next level.
A site where men could be inspired by the imagery and content without being burdened by a less than ideal layout.
After many brainstorming sessions and competitor evaluations in coffee shops, Noemi made me really look into the essence of the Timeless Gent brand and how it resonated with its audience.
A few things stood out to me right away:
- Above all else, Timeless Gent is about luxury style advice for the affluent man. The majority of my reader base are successful men looking to get ahead even further in life by improving their image. This had to be the core of our philosophy
- Just a redesign was needed not a rebranding. The Timeless Gent brand, while still new is starting to gain some traction. Besides the logo is pretty awesome.
- To extend on the point above, the color scheme also had to stay. I wanted to create something consistent throughout all my marketing channels.
- The images in the current site had to go. The quality wasn’t great and they had to be pretty narrow to fit the layout of the site. For the new site, pictures and iconography has to be at the forefront. Anything visual had to be great to build a solid first impression.
With that said, Noemi got to work preparing designs suitable for both desktop and mobile.
She pretty much nailed the designs on one go.
There were a few tweaks here and there but what you see live now is not too far off from her original concepts. The Timeless Gent site now fully demonstrates our philosophy – luxury style for the affluent man.
Initial Feedback & Next Steps
After our launch on May 21, 2015 – the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Customers and brands have reached out to me offering all sorts of positive feedback. There’s also some collaborations in the works that I can’t wait to share with you.
All the hard work has paid off. Now, when new customers visit our site, they are left with a much more favorable impression of what Timeless Gent is all about.
I set out to build a bigger and better website on luxury men’s style and feel we have accomplished our goal.
The last 6 months contained many hurdles but we managed to overcome all of them and continue to grow.
The next step is to make Timeless Gent the best in class destination for luxury men’s style. With a solid website in place, we feel we are now on our way to accomplishing this.