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What Do You Think of Mirasee’s New Design?

Note from Danny: Yes, we have a new design, and yes, we’re very proud of it. But in the spirit of continuous improvement, instead of just showing off what’s new, I’ve asked Peter Sandeen to take a look at what’s improved, and especially what could be made even better…

Some weeks ago, Danny asked me to give him some feedback on the new design.

Danny is a friend, so I was happy to help. But there’s always something to improve… πŸ˜‰

In this post you’ll see how the new design improves from the old one.

You’ll also see what would make it convert even better (in other words: how Danny would get even more subscribers and customers with the same amount traffic).

You can use the same principles to increase your own conversion.

And you can tell what you think about the new design, and if you agree with me or not. πŸ˜‰

Anyway the new design can teach some very valuable things:

  1. Why “focus points”Β are the foundation for good websites
  2. What options you should offer to your visitors in order to get more subscribers and customers

Ready? Okay, let’s dive in…

What Changed

Overall there are no huge changes.

But why would you make big changes when what you begin with is already good?

The three most obvious (and best) changes are:

  1. The header: The free video training offer has changed to social media links, which makes the header clearer.
  2. The area below the header: The logos of places where Mirasee has been featured and the slider with free offers tells the reader why they should stick around.
  3. The sidebar: The new one-column layout makes it simpler and easier to understand.

Check out the online conversion video course now…

Building Your Site’s Design

Always start by thinking the experience a first-time visitor wants.

They don’t know what your site is about, they don’t know you, they don’t know if they should trust you or your site.

So, your first goals are:

  1. Let them know what you and your site are about
  2. Why they should trust you and your site

You do the first with the help of focus points…

Focus Points

“Focus points” isn’t a proper marketing term.

I use it because it describes the idea well: web visitors focus on specific points on your site.

And you should control what those points are.

The first focus point should tell the visitor what you and your site are about.

Usually the header does that.

Your logo, site name, tagline, or something else should make (the right) visitors see the value you provide. In other words, your ideal customers/clients should immediately notice that your site is meant for them.

The next focus point should tell what the specific page is about. It’s usually the headline of an article or title of the page.

Great headlines direct the focus to the content.

The page’s content should also have focus points like pictures and sub-headlines. Their purpose is to keep the content “light” to read.

After the content you need more focus points that tell the visitor where to go next…

That’s a prime place for an opt in box.

Compared to the old design Mirasee now has clearer focus points;

  1. There used to be a sign up box in the header. Now that’s the place for social media links.
  2. The content area starts with “As Seen On” section, which adds a lot of credibility.
  3. Next comes a slider, which gives clues of what’s to come. (I’d make this area a bit more clearly about the value you’ll get from the site, but the slider is good too.)
  4. Only after the slider comes the navigation links, which is a somewhat unusual, but very good, decision; you know what the site is about before you’re asked to start navigating it.

But focus points don’t directly create trust in you or your site.

A home page, which Mirasee is currently missing, can do a much better job with that…

Home Pages

Many blogs don’t have a home page. (No, a blog page doesn’t count, nor does a “Start Here” page…)

You should always have a home page; it’s the best way to tell first-time visitors why they should stay on your site.

I wrote about home pages in general some weeks ago, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

But these are the basics of what a home page should do:

  1. Say Hello: Make sure your visitors understand what your site is about and why they should care about what you have to say.
  2. Be Specific: Be very clear about what makes you different from your competitors.
  3. Self-Selection: Offer visitors a simple way to get closer to the content, which they’ll find most valuable.
  4. Call to Action: A home page that doesn’t have any calls to action, won’t get visitors to take any action…

Check out this crazy example, which does a decent job with those…

What Options Should You Offer

You are (or at least you should be) in charge of how people interact with your site.

You should design it so that people always have a natural next step…

  • What to do after reading to the end of an article
  • Where to go from the home page
  • What to click in the middle of an article if it’s not entertaining anymore
  • What’s the last thing in the sidebar (a good place for an offer as is done here)
  • And so on…

This DOESN’T mean you should offer as many options as possible!Β People are less likely to take any action the more options you give them.

The question then is, “What are the right options to offer at each situation?”

The basic answer is, “Ask them to do something they want to do at that point, which takes them closer to your business goals.”

How exactly you do that is unfortunately way beyond the scope of a single blog post.

But I’m currently building a new site (blog) and I’ll let my subscribers see behind the conversion logic when it’s finished.

I don’t know how I’ll do that (it might be a video, webinar, emails, etc.), but if you want it, start the free online conversion video course now and you’ll be the first to see what options to give at each place in your site…

Do You Like The New Mirasee Design?

Is it better/worse than the old one?

What would you change?

Share your thoughts in the comments below…

And if you want some feedback on your site’s design, just mention it in your comment and I’ll reply… πŸ˜‰

About Peter Sandeen

Peter Sandeen dreams of sailing with his wife and dogs on the Finnish coast-unless he's helping someone build a clear marketing message and strategy that creates sales consistently. Download the quick 5-step exercise that shows what ideas are most likely to make people want to buy your products and services.

82 thoughts on “What Do You Think of Mirasee’s New Design?

  1. Personally I find the red way too jarring and also the top of the page seems too cluttered with all the logos etc. It looks like I’m in the minority though!

    • Hello, Damien.

      No, you’re not alone. I don’t mind the red, but I’m not keen on all the bumph at the top either. Not sure about the moving thing – as a rule I prefer things to stay still when I’m reading.

      Really appreciate the bigger font and spacing – much better for those of us who are visually challenged… or too vain to wear specs!

      Kind regards,

      • I totally agree with all you’re saying Linda.

        The top header with the training course is very cluttered. Could that be placed on the sidebar, maybe?

        The font size is great. Too many websites are difficult to read because of small font, dark background, or both.

        I also prefer static pieces rather than all the floating info that gets in the way. It’s not appealing, it’s more annoying.

      • Hey Linda, I’m glad you like the bigger font!

        Yeah, we’ve been getting very mixed feedback about the top sliders – some very positive, and some negative – we’ll have to measure and see. πŸ™‚

    • Hey Damien, the red is part of our brand, but it isn’t really present other than the background – shouldn’t be toooooo jarring. πŸ˜‰

      And yeah, I’m surprised – the feedback on the top logos has been very positive, but I appreciate the perspective. And all of it needs to be tested… time will tell… πŸ˜‰

  2. I like the new design, but in general, I’m not a big fan of auto-sliders as they’re distracting especially for opt-in purposes…

    I’d prefer a different static slider image depending on the landing page…

    That’s just me though.

    • Hey David, yeah, we’re going to have to carefully measure the impact of the moving slider – the jury’s still out on that one. πŸ™‚

  3. Love the bigger font too – been reading that size does matter (online font wise)!!

    The scrolling header bar is really eye-catching too, especially as the site is quite busy and there’s so much fantastic content. It pulls you right into the opt-in bar.

    Well done Danny and team!

    • Thanks, Cassie – yeah, bigger font was definitely the way to go.

      We’re still deciding about the slider – getting very mixed reviews, so we’ll have to carefully watch those numbers and see. πŸ™‚

  4. Love it and could see it converting nicer for a first time visitor. Funny how once I hit a site so much I don’t always look at the header I’ll go immediately to the content.

    Love that it also works on Safari better now. Cheers!

  5. Absolutely love it! I always had the sense that your website could look more minimal, but this design is far better that I could think. It will enhance the credibility of your content I think, so it was a smart move. You will have long-term results for sure, for me investing in design is the only simple thing you can do to support your epic content.

  6. Larger font in the narrow but more spacious front column works a treat. A massive, massive improvement!

    But I’m with Damien on finding the red background jarring, it steals my gaze from the valuable content and also has the effect of ‘drowning’ the call-to-action buttons somewhat. But I understand that it’s part of the Firepole brand and definitely sets the site apart from the rest so if it works…

    Agree with David about sliders in general but this one does contain valuable info so I’d go with inclusion although slow it down, perhaps make it less of a distraction as I engage with the content…

    The biggest issue for me is a lack of responsiveness. The site looks tiny on my iPhone. This is the current hot potato in design circles and one that many ‘non-design’ sites are yet to employ. It’s a good bandwagon to jump early as mobile / tablet access increases.

    Overall a definite improvement but TBH it’s the content I roll in here for which is well worth the price of entry whatever the site’s appearance1! Good job! πŸ™‚

    • Hey Tony, I’m glad you like the new design, and appreciate the feedback!

      Yeah, we didn’t give any consideration to mobile or responsive design this time around, but that’s next on our list of things to fix and figure out – stay tuned over the coming months for that… it’s coming! πŸ˜‰

  7. Ok guys, here it is… for me, and my eyes, red has always been a too aggressive color, ok it might suit the message you are giving, but well, I “suffer” (well it’s not really suffering but say as) of lasting persistence of vision. We must be a real minority in that case, and this won’t make me go away of FPM that I love πŸ™‚ so no worries

    furthermore, this is very funny because I just saw this very morning a video from Derek Halpern at Socialtriggers who said links (clickable) must have a color that is not used on non-clickable, and here I see clicks and h2 are with the same red.. so confusing for readers if the text is actionable or not. see the video here : (and for you especially at 3:30 πŸ˜‰
    it’s pretty logical.

    anyway your content is far more important than your design for me πŸ™‚ I might even sign for another course πŸ™‚

    Cheers from Switzerland

    • Hey Patricia, first of all, thank you for the kind words – I’m touched, and honored!

      I saw that video of Derek’s, but in our case, I *do* want to call attention to the headers; our posts are longer than most, and having a different color to break up the content and help people follow will make it easier for people to stay engaged.

      That’s the theory, at least… let’s wait and see what the numbers show… πŸ˜‰

  8. Have always loved your website and still like it. I particularly like the bigger font. I do feel the whole header area is rather busy. Too many things going on, so my inclination is to draw away from it, but then again I come here for the awesome content and that I get in spades.

    Many thanks

    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Sandy, I really appreciate it – and I’ll see what I can do about the busy-ness of the top slider. πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Danny,

    A great improvement. The previous website didn’t really do the quality of your content justice at all and was in need of a redesign. The new site looks more slick, professional and up to date.

    Your social proofs, your calls to action, your vast amount of free value including you blog list and free download book, are all impressive and should have the desired effect on new visitors. Any stats just yet on any increase in signups?

    I’d agree with Patricia above, in that you might further differentiate the Headline colour from the link colour for clarity. I’m often a fan of using matching but opposite colours rather than different tones of the same colour, but that’s just me. You have that yellow, orange colour also in your branding, maybe try and incorporate it a little more, though it has to be absolutely legible.

    Also, there’s a hell of a lot going on above the fold and for some it may be slightly overwhelming. Simplification of that area of the page may be something to look into when doing ongoing testing. If you were open to it, I’d suggest looking at getting some heat maps of visitors’ usage from CrazyEgg or Clicktale.

    For example moving to a one column side-bar, as you said, made that much easier to understand, I’d suggest gradually testing further alterations to make things clearer to new visitors’ eyes.

    Great stuff! Keep up the good work Danny!


    • Hey Al, that’s all great feedback – thank you!

      Yes, we’re going to continue to test and tweak – it’s too soon to have updated stats, and truth be told, a lot of the reason for the redesign was brand, rather than conversions – it had to look better and more professional, so I didn’t care that much about conversion differences; that will be the next step.

      I like your idea about using opposing colors, but given that it’s an orange, I think it might be tricky.

      And yeah, we’re going to be looking to simplify – not quite ready for CrazyEgg or ClickTale yet, though – we’ll start testing with Visual Website Optimizer.

      Thanks again for all the feedback and great ideas – I really appreciate it!

  10. Overall, I like it. Everything seems to work well on iPad, too.
    I am not keen on the sideways flip book in the header. I find that a bit jumpy. I also am rather constantly annoyed by the box that comes up in the lower right corner.

    I am sure these are converters for you, but if you are trying to read the site regularly, they get pretty old quick.

    I also like the background color gradations, and the new treatment of “as seen in” They fit your theme and look snazzy.

    • Hey Catherine, thanks for all the kind words!

      Yeah, the scroll-triggered box isn’t going anywhere, it does too well for us, but I’ll see what I can do about all the busy-ness at the top.

      And I’m glad to hear that it looks good on an iPad – that’s great news!

  11. I think there are several great elements – especially the larger font and the credibility logos at the top. Also the pop up box on the right looks more professional.

    Also not a huge fan of sliders. I haven’t tested but assume they stop the minute you start entering your details. On Chrome and on my 13 inch MAC the quality of the images like the logo and your photo Danny look less than crisp. Not sure why.

    Plus not a big fan of the grey sidebar – not very `fire’ esque to me. But I do like the bottom section with more content to look at

    • I also am not a huge fan of sliders, and for the last X months, I’ve had one popping up every single visit.

      I’m not sure why, I’m already subscribed, I haven’t cleared my cookies… lol.

      I’ve kept meaning to mention it, so I’m glad you shared here Natalie πŸ™‚

      I also experience a slight image-quality loss, but I figured it was just my extreme-standards, artist-eye being picky.

      Using a higher resolution image allows images to be resized easier, or re-creating/re-rendering the images would probably solve this.

      Re: The grey sidebar — White, grey, black, and neutral colors only serve to highlight the Fire Red used everywhere else.

      • Hey Jason, I think Natalie meant the sliders at the top, but your point about the scroll-triggered box is well-taken. That’s just a technology limitation, unfortunately; if I can find a way to do it more intelligently, I will. πŸ™‚

          • Srsly?? I’ve a pretty decent coding background, and adding a cookie or something to gate whether to display for already subscribed visitors is generally easy, lol. But it is what it is, new tech it is, I’ll keep my eyes peeled πŸ˜›

          • Hey Jason, I think that if we’re going to do something, we should really do it right; sure, we could hack our way to just having it remember if you’ve shut it off in the past, but the really smart way would be with behavioral targeting – if you’ve landed on one of the video lesson pages, it should know not to show you the scroll-triggered box. I think for that (and especially if we’d want to tie it back to our analytics) we’d need something like PadiAct – I just have to get in touch with the people there and see if we can get it to look the way we want it to. πŸ˜‰

    • Hey Natalie, thanks for the feedback. We still have to update some of the graphics on the site, but the logo should be fine – I’ll investigate. πŸ™‚

  12. Hi Danny and Peter,
    The new design is great! Alot less cluttered than the old design which makes it easier to read. Sites that are cluttered with too many ads and links on one page can be annoying, people don’t know where to go first and therefore leave. I like Peter’s idea of a different offer for an e-book or training course on each page in the header versus the slider. I like the slider, I found that it moves at the right pace to be able to read each offer, but once you read the first offer, it slides on to the next before your mind has time to take in the first offer and decide if it is something you want to opt-in for.
    Thank you for sharing this review on Firepole Marketing’s new design as it gives us all valuable information on what we should be doing with our own sites.

    • Thanks, D – yep, I’m very happy with the new design, it’s a lot cleaner. πŸ™‚

      The top slider should be fixed now, so that it won’t move if the mouse is over it, or you’re typing stuff into the boxes. Are you still having that problem?

      • Hi Danny,
        The slider works good. I like it now that the viewer is the one to move it on. It gives a person the time to contemplate the first offer and its benefits before moving on to the next offer. I feel Peter’s suggestion of trying it a few different ways, i.e. auto slider, manual slider, a different offer in the header area on each page, etc. is something you would need to test to see what converts best. As stated before though, the site looks awesome and is easy to navigate.

  13. There are some things I like about the new design. I know I am always trying to figure out how I can make my design better, and I know its a big step to change things around so much.

    I personally don’t like things that move on a page that I am reading, but that is my opinion, which I suspect is in the minority. Now you have 3 things that move, and honestly that makes me crazy when I see them jump around when I am trying to read.

    The site itself is now too wide for my monitor, and that seems to have pushed the slider off to the left hand side, so now I can just see a little skinny strip of the buttons that moves when I scroll, but I can no longer use them because I can’t see them enough to tell what they are.

    The area just below the header seems kind of busy with all the logos. I think your work is great, I know we have differences of opinion on things sometimes, but I am a faithful reader.

    I do think its easier to read than the old design, and I know it still has the same great content. πŸ™‚

    • Hey Michael, what do you mean when you say that there are three things that move – do you mean the sliders at the top and bottom of the page? Because they’re not on the screen most of the time that you’re reading…

      The site width hasn’t changed, so you might want to adjust your resolution, or the zoom settings in your browser (try CTRL + SHIFT + PLUS or MINUS).

      Either way, I appreciate the feedback – thank you!

      • I think I might have to revise my original comment. I guess it isn’t three things that move. The new slider move, and the qoate scroll box moves but I guess the Digg Digg floating buttons don’t really move in a jumping around way.

        I go to a lot of sites that have Digg Digg enabled in the float option and I can see them just fine. There are only a couple of them where in order to see them I have to use the ctrl – option. So I am thinking that there is something about various websites that causes this. I am not a tech person, so I could very well be wrong on that.

        And the truth is, it’s your website, I do like the new design and I have always really liked the color scheme a lot. I just get very focused on what I am doing and when things move on the screen or float around following me, it really startles me. And when that happens I get irritated, so the odds that I would do whatever action is being presented in the moving parts are really low. But I suspect I am in the vast minority of people when it comes to those ideas.

        I also want to say that I really appreciate the daily emails, you are one of the few people I pay attention to when it comes to marketing, and these things we are discussing here are little, I was just honestly offering my opinion. πŸ™‚

        • Hey Michael, don’t worry, it’s all good, and I really do appreciate your feedback!

          It’s quite possible that we’ll replace Digg Digg – since it was taken over by the BufferApp people, I’ve found it to be pretty buggy.

          So anyway, thank you for the kind words, and the feedback – I appreciate all of it. πŸ™‚

          • I have my Digg Digg install set to under the post, and I use it mostly because I just don’t like Share-a-holic, but I don’t have any real reason for that, I just like Digg Digg better.

            I do appreciate your view and your ideas on marketing and I really like that you have so many guest posters with differing opinions on things. The world is a very big place. πŸ™‚

  14. Hello, Peter/Danny.

    I forgot to say above, that I really appreciate the information or things to think about when designing a site. I’m in the process of reorganising my site and you’ve set me thinking about what’s missing…. like what the site’s about!

    Though I think the header might still give a bit of a clue πŸ™‚

    Kind regards,

    • Hey Jane, I’ll see what I can do – maybe I can get it to stay longer on each one. If you run the mouse over it, though, it stops moving. πŸ™‚

  15. First, up above, several folks are saying they are probably in the minority not being a big fan of the slider. I don’t know, looks like that idea is fairly popular and I’d have to add support to that vote. I find it weird/awkward to have to click a moving box to sign up for something. I agree it moves to quickly if you want people to do more than view a slideshow of pictures. I recently coordinated a web design for a company and I slowed down the slider they had from the default speed as well. Definite improvement overall though!

    • Thanks, Cheryl! I appreciate the feedback, and you’re probably right – if it’s come up so many times in the comments, then it’s probably something that we have to address. πŸ™‚

  16. Hi Danny, I wanted to tell you: the new design is very cool and effective.

    The previous design was a little confusing (I didn’t like the 2 columns for example).

    Now it looks great!
    The background give a very professional look.
    The upper section that shows social proof works good.
    The slider to collect emails is a very interesting idea. But the slide about Engagement from Scratch has the email field half covered, you should bring it up a little (I use Firefox, if you think it may be a issue from the browser).

    • Thanks, Mauro, I’m really glad you like it, and I appreciate the detailed feedback!

      I also appreciate the heads-up about the EFS slider on Firefox – I’ll try to get it fixed over the next couple of weeks. πŸ™‚

  17. Hi guys,

    Here’s my take on the design: First off, it’s definitely an improvement. The other site just had too much going on so limiting this one to two columns is a great idea. After that, I love the “As seen on” section. Definitely lends a lot of credibility to the site and gets some awesome logos in front of people as soon as they land. Great job here. I also like the menu underneath the callout. Not something you see often (or at all), but it works very well here because, as has already mentioned, it provides navigation after people have figured out where they are.

    Now on to the critique. My least favorite part of the site is the slider. Why? Because I really, really don’t like them. They move too quickly and are always changing. My preference is to choose one thing that’s the most important and to stick with that. Using a slider with three or more images provides too many choices for customers and is akin to doing less with more, in my opinion and experience. I think the site could be improved by picking the single most important thing to have in this section and making it static. The slider just doesn’t add anything for me.

    But again, other that my strong feelings on the slider, everything is definitely an improvement. Congrats to Danny and all the folks at Firepole Marketing.

  18. I have to admit I got mixed feelings about the slider too. But all in all, I love the new design.

    I do have a question about what Peter said on the homepage. Much of the information that he suggested to put in the homepage sounds pretty much the same that one would expect to see in the About section. I’m curious, won’t it become redundant if similar information will be placed in the Homepage and About page?

    • Hi Adeline,

      You’re right; the home page and the about page often have similar content.

      But they serve a different purpose.

      The home page is the starting place for visitors. The focus should be on giving them an easy way to find content they want (or to subscribe right away).

      The about page is for people who are interested to learn more about the site overall. Its goal should be to convince visitors of the value they can find on the site. (And again it can ask for the sign up…)

      Does that make sense?

  19. Ha, ha, I was reading the comments above about the slider and I think what I have to say will really be the final nail in the coffin. I was going to say I LIKED it … and from well-tested experience, I can safely say that normally what I like is absolutely at odds with what other people like and therefore what ‘works’ in marketing terms! So if I like it, maybe you had best get rid of it πŸ˜‰
    Glad that Peter talked about your social links in the header – I thought that was a bit odd, not so much ‘odd’ but I wondered why (also, if you click on the twitter icon, it doesn’t open in a separate window, it takes you completely away from your site to twitter – is that what you intended?)
    Quick question – what size is the font you are using now – I also think it is loads better, the last one made me squint πŸ˜‰

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