Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

New Design Project Half Time Report + Preview Of New Look

One word sums up the last week nicely – intense. I’m referring to the ongoing project to transfer SNG Planet to a new design and new back end. The last couple of weeks have featured mixed emotions for me too. Now, everyone thinks that their ‘baby’ is the beautiful one… and while I always knew that this site was not the most visually attractive, I still cringed at some of the older graphics I found while clearing things up here. What I cringed about more was that at some point I thought there were ok, paid someone to sit making them… and even deluded myself that those ‘recommendation graphics’ or ‘new play now banners’ would increase my conversions – argh!So, with a more positive slant – here is what has been going on for the last couple of weeks.

Thinning Things Out

The delete button has been my best friend for a while here. I’m estimating 200 pages have gone, and almost half of the graphics too. Some have been obvious (Absolute Poker WSOP qualifiers anyone? How about strategy for UB Steps?), and others have been things like meaningless ‘sub-mains’ or strategy articles which got superseded by more up to date ones. It has felt good to be a little ‘ruthless’ with this – plenty of room for newer and better quality pieces once the change-over is completed.

Brushing Things Up

Going through the articles one-by-one was a great opportunity for small improvements and even partial re-writes. Some odd things came up, the earliest articles started with my opinions and recs. At some point in the middle the recs became ‘we recommend’ and ‘our suggestion is’ – then back to me / I again. Not sure how this crept in… and now happy to have spotted it. There were even a few articles which gave decent strategy information then said ‘here are 3 sites which offer game X’ with lengthy descriptions of each (yeah, there were still a lot of dead sites listed!). This looks daft looking at it now, so I decided which was the best place for a particular game / type of player and stuck with that. With 7 languages (well, 6, as French is not strictly part of this project) this was an interesting challenge!

Blog Change-Over Now Part Of The Project

I have made the decision to delay the go-live date by an extra week to 10 days to get my blog transferred over. This was a reluctant decision, since I have been trying to get going with a new design for this site for almost a year now. At the end of the day tagging a Wordpress blog onto a Drupal CMS and then integrating it separately straight afterwards just made no sense… for 10 days waiting I will have my blog in the same style as the rest of the site (with my cool new mascot too!) and be able to post with the same back-end… there are also some daft htaccess and 404 page issues that the current WP / HTML setup causes which can be avoided.

Next Steps Preview Of The New Look

Alright, I’m sure that regular readers have heard enough about this project over the months… I’ll keep quiet from now until we are ready to go. With a mobile / tablet compatible version part of the project I’m starting to get excited about getting it live! This coming week is tagged as 'insane writing week' for me. I intend up update the BluePrint course, freshen up a ton of articles and create some new pieces ready to 'make a splash' when we finally get this thing up! The preview below is from the mock-up / psd files and not the finished thing. We have some custom slides for the top left and a custom banner for the header itself + the lorem ipsum stuff will be links to real articles... so the real thing will look even better.


GL at the tables, Mark

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