About a month ago I gave the blog a major makeover.
I’ve always felt that the content of the blog was more important than the design, so hadn’t been too concerned about making updates over the years. Ultimately, there wasn’t anything wrong with the old design, rather it was just outdated.
The main opportunities, however, were on the “back end” and were starting to become a major limitation. There wasn’t really a way to keep my old design and have new technology, so I really appreciate you guys taking a leap of faith with me. Just to give you an idea of some of the things that are now possible that weren’t before:
- I can now upload and insert multiple images at a time, which is saving hours every week
- Images are larger (700 pixels wide), and I can set some pictures to be larger when you click on them, which should be helpful for menus and such
- More menu items can be added across the top of the page, including sub-menus, which I wasn’t able to have before
- The Ask Lucky page actually loads in less time than it takes Dominos to deliver
- There is more I can do with the sidebar, and actually making this real estate useful
With a new site comes a lot of new “bells and whistles”, and I know that it has taken me some time to get used to, so I am sure it has taken you guys some time as well. There have been tons of tweaks and adjustments made as we all get used to the new formatting, and I really appreciate all the feedback. Keep it coming!
In terms of the “front end” there are several functionality improvements that have been added, so I thought it might be helpful to go through some of the new features, as I think they will be quite helpful.
At the top of the site there is a new link in the menu to “Start Here.” This seems like an obvious place to start the tour. 😉
One of the main challenges I have with the blog is there is so much content, and it’s hard to find. I have written over 7,000 posts over the years, so half the time I can’t even find stuff that I’ve written.
The other challenge is that much of what I write about is more “advanced” in terms of miles and points, and I honestly don’t want that to change, but I understand that can be intimidating for people who are new to the site or the hobby.
So this whole new section was created to help beginners to the points and miles game, but also to have a go-to place for those looking for specific resources.
I have attempted a 10-page series to serve as a “Beginners Guide”.
This section tackles everything from credit card strategy to an overview of loyalty programs. Creating a guide like this is something that I have been wanting to to for a while, because I think it is important to have a place for those that are new to points and miles, but it was surprisingly difficult to set up.
Breaking things down to the beginner level in this game is tricky, because there is so much we take for granted. Everytime I speak at a FTU, for example, I always get the question of “Wait, so how exactly do I transfer miles from [whatever Star Alliance program] to ANA?” Everytime.
So obviously there’s a need for more entry-level content, but I don’t want to inundate the main page of the blog with more general posts.
This is a section that I would love some feedback on, and if you have extra thoughts or ideas the comments are open on each of those pages. Ultimately I’m not trying to create a comprehensive guide to the miles game here – just something I can point my dentist to that’s easily digestible.
Loyalty Programs And Links
It can be very frustrating to try to find the links to loyalty programs (since there are so many) and something that is even more challenging is finding phone numbers or award charts for those programs. I was googling the hours for the Korean Air call center about once a week, so making it easy to find a comprehensive list of of these for both airlines and hotels was important for me to have in this new site.
Shopping & Dining Portals
This isn’t earth-shattering, but I feel like anything that makes it easier to earn miles and points is a win for everyone. I now have a page with shopping and dining portal sites listed, so everything is in one place.
Value Of Miles & Points
I get questions everyday about the relative value of x or y currency, so I’m excited to finally have this as a “sticky.” I will keep this updated as I change my valuations, so hopefully that’s helpful.
Tips & Tutorials
I tend to get a lot of questions about similar topics and I wanted to compile an assortment of some of the posts I think are resourceful. Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely NOT a comprehensive list, but I wanted to provide some posts that I think could potentially be helpful. If you have ideas of other posts that should be included, or a better way to organize this I’d love to hear it!
Anyways, I hope that these new resource sections will be helpful to y’all, because I know that they have already come in handy for me!
Best Credit Cards
There aren’t any major changes here, but wanted to mention it since I couldn’t have drop down menus on the old site.
I now have my top picks for the best miles and points offers, which I’ll update at least monthly, and then separate tabs with more comprehensive listings for airline, hotel, or flexible points currencies. I know I’m sometimes searching for a particular card or currency, so hopefully not having to search everything on a single page will be a bit easier.
This has been an ongoing area of the site that I have been struggling to improve. I’ve flown over four million miles, and have stayed in who knows how many hotels, so there is just a lot of content to content with.
I have grand aspirations of more visual/sortable ways to handle the trip reports, but it was just getting to complicated to try and change everything at once. I am still trying to figure out the best way to organize each section, but in the meantime have adjusted the functionality to make it a little more useful than just a long list of links.
So instead of breaking out the trip reports by year (like they were previously), I’ve tried to group everything in ways that might be more helpful. Each trip report section is broken out in a different way, but the functionality is the same.
For the airline trip reports there is a list of all of the airlines at the top. If you click on one of the airlines it will then pull you down to that group of trip reports on the page. I also added a few more “identifiers” to the post titles to help, too, as I often get questions about the differences between two different aircraft types, etc..
Again, any feedback you have on this section is welcome. This is all still a work in progress
One of the other things I’m really excited about is having more interesting tools in the sidebar.
Some things are staying the same, of course, like the ability to subscribe to the newsletter, or see the comments people have left recently. Also, even though the home page will now show the most recent dozen posts (a huge improvement over the old site that could only show five), there’s also a sidebar widget that will show the last ten posts.
This really isn’t a big change to the site, but I have received a lot of questions.. The old design had a long list of categories on the right side column. This was great for my “time on page” metrics, but not particularly nice looking, and took up a lot of space.
I also wanted to be able to feature more resources and new elements in the sidebar, so I decided instead of a list of categories that I would have a dropdown. With over 50 categories (and counting), I think that this was a good switch.
So, you can still find all of the same categories as before, but it just looks a little different 😉
Is there anything else that would be useful in the sidebar?
Hopefully this is working a bit better now, though I know the banner ad is still blowing off the side of the page. Apparently we don’t have the ability to have responsive ads yet, so I don’t have a great solution to that yet.
But I wanted to let you know that I’m aware, and am working on a solution.
This is definitely still a work in progress, but I am happy to finally have a site that is aesthetically improved, and is also capable of handling some of the more technological aspects.
Thank you for being patient through this whole process and for the feedback along the way. It means a lot that you guys stick around and read everyday!