I’ve been doing website reviews for awhile now and each time they teach me something new.
Even the greatest websites always have things they can fix. Nothing is perfect. That’s why I like to highlight blogs that already do a great job and how they could do a little bit better.
It helps you see that no one is perfect and how you might be able to improve your website.
I’ll be focusing on the blog Art of Manliness.
They are the 2,150 most popular American site and the 6,450 most popular site in the world according to Alexa rankings. A company owned by Amazon.
I also ran a reading test on the content on Art of Manliness main page:
The Gunning Fog Index is the one I look at first. Most great novels have the score between 8 and 12. The Art of Manliness is right in that sweet spot with a score of 9.41.
I would love to A/B test out these ideas in this post. I wouldn’t know how The Art of Manliness audience would respond until we had data and feedback from them. It’s this data that would help guide our next round of changes.
Top of opening page
Breaking the page down down
- I would remove this sidebar because this is a valuable spot to put something that they might not be interested in.
- Love the branded images!
- Remove to keep them focused on more important areas of the site.
- Make the “shop” button pop more.
- The branding is done well on the email sign-up box, but it doesn’t have the benefit of why they should sign up. How will my life improve?
Middle of page
Breaking the page down
- My attention tried to stay in the center, but I kept getting distracted. There are too many sidebars that don’t help me get to the best posts quickly.
Every website functions different and sometimes content overwhelm can make people feel comfortable, but I don’t think this is the case here.
I think it would be better to simplify this page and only give them the most popular stuff that will build trust and get them to come back again.
End of main page
Breaking the page down:
- If the viewer gets this far this is awesome. Most people don’t last this long on a page. Now if they do get this far it’s time to make it a cool experience. Offer them a chance to do something cool. They could get a coupon for signing up for your email list or a chance to read the cool guide for like the free ebook “30 Days to a Better man”. The idea is not to let the menu bar stop the the person from engaging further with the site.
Now let’s piece it all together.
The branded elements for the Art of Manliness is very well done. The stay close to their core values and it shows.
If they don’t believe in the site as soon as they arrive the best content in the world won’t matter. The feeling backs up the content and everything begins to work well when we first arrive.
I would rather not see an add at the top of the page. I know that most of their revenue comes from advertising, so I don’t blame them. I would like to test how much their revenue would go down without that add because the experience would be much more focused on the content, creating a more inviting experience.
If you go to the New York Times website they only show ads for other companies below their navigation. The New York Times ads also open up in a new tab. The tab is a subdomain on the New York Times site, which allows the New York Times to control the ad experience. The Art of Manliness ad takes you away from their site, which means they don’t even have a chance to get to know the site before they click away.
The User Experience (UX) can very much be improved. Without testing out these ideas I can’t tell you for certain they will work, but I do know a lot of these ideas would be a great place to start.
How do you think the Art of Manliness website could improve the user experience?