Updated! Check out Frequent Miler’s New Homepage

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Yesterday we unveiled our new homepage and the response was… not great.  Let me rephrase that.  We received lots of great responses, but most were negative.  The homepage was too confusing.  The mobile ads were too big.  Most of all, people simply wanted an easy way to see all of the latest blog posts in one place.

So the team got together, brainstormed solutions, and updated the site. I was happy with the site before and now I’m even more excited about it with the latest changes in place.

Here’s where we stand on each of the major pain points:

Homepage too confusing

We’ve dramatically simplified the page.  There are now just four elements to the page: the article spotlight (selected articles that we think are worth keeping front and center for anyone who missed them when first published), latest blog posts (all of our posts sorted with the most recent on top), multimedia (links to podcasts and YouTube videos), and the sidebar.  That’s it.

Mobile ads too big

The funny thing about this issue is that it is a coincidence. The big ads you are seeing on mobile would have been on the old site too.  The majority of Boarding Area’s direct ad deals have paused as a result of the current pandemic.  Now ads are being backfilled by Google’s ad exchanges. And most of these ads are using up all of the available space instead of being the normal old ad size.  Bummer.  We couldn’t fix this one.

All of the latest blog posts in one place

Done.  Simply scroll past the article spotlight and you’ll see the “Latest Blog Posts” section.

Page Elements

Article spotlight:

Article Spotlight shows selected articles that we think are worth keeping front and center for anyone who missed them when first published

Latest blog posts:

All posts, sorted with the most recent on top.

Multimedia:

Multimedia. Podcasts and videos.

Original (now out of date) post follows:


Carrie and the Boarding Area Team got it done!  The Frequent Miler blog has been running on a rickety old WordPress Theme since the beginning (Fall 2011).  Carrie’s first assignment as our Creative Director was to select an up-to-date theme and redesign our homepage.  Today she worked with Boarding Area to launch the new design.  Done!

Here’s a quick tour…

Featured Articles (and Quick Deal carousel)

The top of our home page first shows Quick Deals in small text.  Quick Deals are shown much bigger further down the page, but we wanted something at the top to grab your attention in case there’s a juicy deal going on.

Next, we show several “featured articles”.  Regular readers may or may not be aware that we differentiate between our “big” featured articles and the other stuff (Quick Deals, Quick Tips, and more).  At the top, you’ll find the “big” articles.  These are the articles that we publish each morning around 6:30 or 7:00 am ET as well as some others that we post during the week depending upon circumstance.  You can think of these articles as being the “meat” of the blog.

below the latest featured articles you’ll find one “article spotlight”.  This is an article that has rolled off the top of the homepage because newer posts have pushed it away, but we think it’s still relevant and worth keeping front and center.  Carrie is working on making this section more graphically appealing in a future update.

On mobile, this top section is a little different in that it only shows one featured article at the top, but you can swipe to see more:

Multimedia (podcasts & video)

Recently Frequent Miler has become more than just a blog.  We have our podcast + video series (Frequent Miler on the Air) plus a few more video series.  And, of course, if you’ve been following our StayCay to Far Away plans, you know that we’ll be posting many more videos soon.  Now, all of that is easily discoverable on our homepage.

If you think of featured articles as the meat, then maybe the multimedia section is the sauce.

Quick Deals, Tips, and More

The Quick Deals, Tips, and More section is designed to show all the other stuff.  This is where you’ll find all articles which are not “Featured Articles”.  We categorize each of these articles as Quick Deals, Quick Tips, or Quick Reads.

At the top of this section is the most recent of these non-featured-articles.  Next you’ll find a “deal spotlight”. This is a deal (or other type of post) that we felt was worth highlighting.  Maybe its an extra special deal or one that we think is important for people to know about for other reasons.

If we stretch out the already tortured analogy, this Quick Deals, Tips, and More section is the dessert.

Sidebar

On the sidebar you’ll find a new and much improved search box.  Start typing and it will automatically suggest articles to you before even pressing the Search button.

We’ve also added additional ways to follow us.  For example, please follow us on Instagram and Youtube.  On both platforms we’ll apparently unlock additional features if we get more followers so we appreciate your help with this!

The Frequent Miler team is excited to get this new look and new functionality. I hope you like it too!

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[…] worth our while. We focused on SEO (search engine optimization), did a site redesign…then redesigned that redesign, and created more useful resources like the COVID credit card enhancements […]

[…] Updated! Check out Frequent Miler’s New Homepage […]

AlexL

I noticed if I clicked on the comment with the number of replies on the front page for a post, it will lead me to the top of the comments, which is great. But it does not jump to the top, instead it will start from the top of the post and scroll down. It is inconvenient especially for a long post like Greg’s summer vacation Marriott edition. Is it possible to remedy that?

Moon

I hate this new format.
It looks like the points guy knock-off website.

Josh

To be honest, I’m not a fan. The boxes/article features are far too big. The tiles should be smaller in my opinion in order to be readable and easily digestable. I understand the impetus but this feels like a confusing downgrade.

ReconScott

Wow, now I really like the new / improved format. Very simple, very easy to navigate. Only 4 sections. Thanks for fixing so fast!

T G

Digging the enhancements and love the increased focus on the multimedia. Few quick recommendations:

1)Overall I think the boxes/tiles could be a bit smaller (especially within the Latest Blog Posts Section) it takes quite a lot of scrolling to get down the page.

2)The media section(podcast/youtube) placement feels a bit random. Wonder if it could instead permanently placed in the 4th tile (header section of articles on the far right), or built into the side bar (Search this site). May even warrant being added to the top menu bar as Podcasts

3) Inconsistent grey space in between sections on the right search bar area. I think removing a bit of the gray space will be helpful. The area feels like it may be taking up too much real estate in terms of width.

CaveDweller

1) I agree 12 small boxes 2 rows.
#stayincave LOL

Daniel

I’ve been reading FM’s older articles and I just lost all my progress now. It’s impossible to find articles beyond a few weeks unless you keep pressing “Load More”. Could you at least bring the “pages” function back?

Sam

Hey, I just wanted to thank y’all for your humility and willingness to take feedback from those who frequent your site to make this update to your update.

I’m sure it didn’t feel great that months (or years..?) of work and effort wasn’t well received by your audience, yet you put your egos aside and responded to the criticism by incorporating people’s feedback into the new, new design.

Overall I like the revisions to the update. I think it accomplishes what you were trying to do (fresh update, clearly delineated content, more multimedia), while keeping it relatively simple and content focused. One small thing that I would like to point out is that on the desktop version, the white spacing on the left and right edges is uneven (there is more white space on the right side of the screen).

Again, thank you for being willing to listen, adjust, and work for the win-win!

Aloha808

I’m not a fan of the new design. It’s just too confusing. It does look a little better today, though, than yesterday.

Nick Reyes

What do you find confusing?

Aloha808

Yesterday it looked like the posts were listed out of order, and so it was hard to figure out what was new. Thankfully that’s not the case now. I think what’s confusing for me now is the change in font/colors and layout, which takes a little getting used to. On the other hand, I love the additional video content you folks are posting, thank you!

Nick Reyes

Yes, I understand the issue yesterday. But since you commented after the update tonight, I was wondering if something else was confusing. I assume you’ll get used to new colors soon enough.

We made the change to make it more chronological today than we had it yesterday. The idea behind the new layout as it looked yesterday was actually in part to make the content you want easier to find, but we made changes to it today because it obviously didn’t work out that way for everyone.

Interestingly, the posts have never been listed a strict chronological order. The full morning article we write each day was always sort of stuck to the top of the page with quick deal posts (and something we call quick tips) always appearing below that even though they were newer. The next day’s morning post would push the previous day’s morning post down into chronological order among the quick deal posts (or sometimes we’d have a second “article” type post — longer format — come out during the day that would push the morning post down below the quick deals again).

Part of the impetus behind the new theme was to make that daily morning meat-and-potatoes content we write (that quite often takes hours to do) stand out rather than being continually pushed down the page by something like a very short post about how hotel chain X is offering 200 bonus points for filling up your gas tank at gas station Y. We definitely want to cover those types of opportunities, but wanted to have a way to make the more in-depth content stand out rather than let it get buried by quick deal posts. So that’s the motivation behind having some featured articles at the top — to make that type of content more prominent. So we still have that featured articles section at the top where you’ll find the latest of those bigger articles. But among the changes today, we now have all of the posts sorted chronologically right below that.

Glad you like the videos. We obviously also wanted a way to make our video and podcast content accessible as we’re spending a growing amount of time working on those things as we expand content and want an easy way to find them from the home page.

Aloha808

Thanks Nick for your thoughtful reply. To be honest, I actually have dyslexia, so it’s harder for me to get used to new scripts and written layouts than other folks. And that’s actually another reason i love the new video content, because my dyslexia isn’t really a factor there.

Tami

First, I’d like to thank you for responding quickly to reader concerns. The revised designs is a great improvement!

What I still find confusing is the multimedia section. When I scroll the “latest articles” section, there are only three cards and then the multimedia section. What is below that section? Is that the continuation of the “latest”? Why is the multimedia section in the middle of the feed? I’d expect it to be on the side or maybe before/after. As is, it makes it feel like the “latest” has ended (I kept looking for an “older” or “more” button until I noticed there are more articles after the “multimedia”). I’d prefer a way to see just the clean feed of articles (maybe make it possible to click the header for that? That was my intuitive move). On the bright side, the multimedia section is looking much better in mobile now.

Second, and far less important, is the carousel feature on mobile. I think moving elements are distracting, and a bit of an eye sore. I’d much prefer a simple list, where I can see all of the featured articles in one go and decide which to click. Or, perhaps, simply a pinned article or two at the top of new content. I guess the bottom line for me is simplicity and seeing the content immediately and plainly.

Either way, these are just my opinions, and while I think that the design is still less than ideal, you obviously can’t cater to everyone individually. Altogether, it’s altered enough to allow me to find the content I want, and that’s what’s important to me as a reader. The new design for the articles themselves is very pleasant, btw.

Thanks for your hard work and responsive communication with readers!

Nick Reyes

Echoing Greg, thanks for the feedback. He explained why the multimedia is where it is. If you keep scrolling, you’ll see that the article flow continues after the multimedia section. The articles are all dated and the date appears directly under the headline, so hopefully it’s fairly intuitive to see that it’s chronological or at least will be as you get used to seeing things like the date in a slightly different place / font.

CaveDweller

It’s a better site today then before .I have a new W10 LT it’s clearer and u have ur newer podcast (clearer too) area out there which is the future . It’s not that big of a deal to use now or for u to change later .
#stayincave LOL

Skybuck

The revisions look great! Thanks for being responsive. My only suggestion at this point is that the sidebar looks like one block of text rather than individual titles. Single spacing within each title would go a long way toward making that read better.

Mike Arbucci

Much better than yesterday, you guys. Thanks for the quick fixes!

g l

Good changes. Thank you! Very impressed that you all reacted so quickly to your reader feedback. Thank you for the site and content and all that you do!

wise2u

Boarding area has been a ad laden, snail fast site with way too many pop ups….so where did this lady work?, Bonvoy?….you will have your new site in 2-3 years, but it won’t work 1/2 as good as the old one….chuckle….sorry to be a troll, but right now she deserves it.

CaveDweller

How do u think he makes his money a Government Grant ?
#stayincave LOL

CaveDweller

I’m very Sorry that’s not fast enough and u have to many negative posters here . I wonder will the hotels have less bed bugs now since no one is there ?
#stayincave

g l

Overall, liking the redesign as it is clean and modern. I think one important addition though would be for a page or a link to allow one who reads often (like me) to see *all* of your posts sorted by date (newest on top). Thank you for all that you do!

Neil

Your homepage has been a daily habit for years and years … so this morning … well that was jarring! I’ll squelch my immediate urge to complain and give it a week and see if it grows on me. I’ll certainly give you credit for trying – it’s easy to grow complacent. Good luck!

rich

It just seems too big. And that is a strange comment from me since I’m in the 50s age group where I’m getting closer to needing reading glasses (can read most menus but pill bottles can be a change).

I just feel like I need to slide my chair back from the screen to take it all in. I keep looking at my browser to make sure it is only 100% and not enlarged.

And usually anything that is changed is not welcomed, especially since it often moves things around, adds ads, and just is less intuitive.

I’m a fan of simplicity and backwards compatibility when I do computer programs.

Good luck.

Jack

I’m somewhere in the middle on this. My thoughts:

1) On desktop, I like the new look

2) On mobile, it’s very clunky and hard to read. I think this is probably THE biggest problem.

3) Even on desktop, it would be very nice (as others mentioned) to be able to quickly understand what are the NEWEST articles. That was easy before, not so much now. Maybe an unobtrusive sidebar sorted descending by date of new articles would be a solution?

Thanks, and regardless, I won’t stop reading!

mark

I just want to see the most recent articles, in order, like before. I am not sure where this is now.

aptsguy

This website looks just like the messy Points Guy website and is completely unreadable on my iPhone Plus. Keep it simple!

Santiago

Nice work on the new page layout guys!

Guest

It seems I’m in the minority, I like the new website. One click on the home page and I can view alot of info.

Carl Pietrantonio

UGH! UGH! UGH! UGH! Looks awful. Cluttered. I like pages that work LINEARLY as the current one does QUITE WELL> THis may very well drive me away. Please reconsider!

Bruce

Sorry to be negative, I know you guys were excited….but this used to be my favorite blog to pull up in the morning because the important information was front and center and very easy to scroll through….now it is SOOOO BUSY. Maybe I will adjust, but honestly I am not a fan of this particular layout….maybe another type to include the multimedia content you wanted to add? The mobile is absolutely terrible now as well, if stays in this format, I just will not use my phone to access the website at all, but even on the tablet or PC it is incredibly overwhelming in not a good way 🙁

CaveDweller

Put the last 12 posts tiny under the new one in 2 rows EASY to see . Then ” TOOLs We Use ” get it right Out There for Newbies as in New Money $$$ . I’m Old & Ugly but it’s Fine and clearer and it will take a little to learn now to use ..
Are u sure there’s no Trolls on this Site ?
#stayincave

Mike

Similarly to others, disliking the new design, in all honesty, with no disrespect to the efforts and time spent in the redesign; however, it may have been an epic fail.

Mike

I appreciate the efforts, but you need a very very simple way for seasoned readers to see all your posts, chronologically. That was the core joy of this site- which is now hard/impossible. I can’t tell what is new, what is a spot light or featured article, and what is an ad. I just want to come on, scroll down the list of recent articles, and see a quick preview before clicking. iPhone users btw- if it helps. Thanks!

Patrick

I think most readers are commenting about the landing page from Boarding Area to this article. While the individual article page is not as pleasant as the original version, the main site page looks more updated. Thanks for everything you do for your readers!

Dan

I love your content and have been a long time reader, but I have to agree with the others that this new layout makes it much harder for frequent visitors to find the newest content quickly. While the old format wasn’t as visually appealing, I knew what was new content because it was at the top of the page in chronological order. That format also made it easier to find time sensitive deals quickly or to catch up if I hadn’t visited the blog for a few days. I appreciate your efforts to freshen up the look, but I hope you will consider a future update that will push new content to the top of the page as before, whether it’s a featured story or a quick deal or whatever. Thank you for your efforts.

r m h

yikes! of course people are resistant to change. but…this change is clunky.

is there a way to just sort ALL articles by date. that’s key!

also, typo :

“~~~b~~~elow the latest featured articles you’ll find one “article spotlight”.”

Sco

Is there some way that I can see every published post with newest first? That’s all I want.

OhBoy

This right here! You guys write great content and I’m just interested in seeing a list of your posts with the most recent first.

I’m sure this redesign was a huge effort. But keep in mind that people come here for your writing and it seems difficult to get to, they will be frustrated.

Tej in Vancouver

This is also all I want. A chronological feed.

Michael

Sorry, but no bueno. Too much “white” space. Very hard to read.

ReconScott

Greg and Nick, I SOOOO wanted to like the new site. Here are some observations:
1. I already miss the few sentence preview of articles in the featured articles on top. That was incredibly useful in helping me figure out content to know whether I should click on the article.
2. I don’t understand the scrolling quick deals text on top which links to the deals about 1/2 the way down the page. In general, I think scrolling text is distracting.
3. So I originally thought that the top would have all of the “Featured Articles” but now I see something called a “Cars and Trains”??? And when I click on Cars and Trains, it takes me to a list of 2 articles from April, 2 from Feb, and a bunch from Jan??? And I don’t understand how these articles are related or relevant.
4. in the old format, all new content was nicely on top of the page. Now some new content (featured content) is on top, and then there’s old content (a 13 day old spotlight), and then the podcast, and THEN more new content. It will be cumbersome to have to jump around searching for new content.
5. How does a two-week old article warrant being the “spotlight”? I already read this two weeks ago, so does it really warrant this prime real estate on the page?
6. In order to find the primary search box, you need to go past the quick deals scrolling text, the featured articles, and the article spotlight. Folks usually don’t like to have to search for the search box. Fortunately, you still have the universal magnifying glass search icon on top where it is meant to be.
7. So now the content is scrolled deals, articles, article, more deals, and then more articles — with multimedia in the middle. Very confusing arrangement of deals and articles.
I beg you to reconsider.

Matt B

Yikes.

Brendan

The site is completely unreadable now

Fred

Wow, the new format is TERRIBLE! I agree w/ the others, switch back to the old version

Carl WV

We’ll see what looks like when it has real articles, etc. The first impression is not great, but maybe it will grow on me.

Sorry.

Jonathan

I don’t like it.
I like the old one.

Lukas

Not a fan. AT ALL. Very messy. Ad space is too big (also on mobile). Your previous one was MUCH cleaner, I was able to quickly see the latest articles. Now I have to do a lot of scrolling just to see them. Also spacing is too huge (both desktop and mobile) making articles now at LEAST twice as long to scroll which is another negative. I wish I could find one thing positive, but I can’t. And I LOVE you guys. This actually might turn me off from visiting as frequently.

Joe Scmho

Most people don’t like change. Try it out a week or so and see if you warm to it. I’m holding off judgement.

Mike Arbucci

The mobile version is very clunky with huge ads and no easy way to see the most recent blog entries. Too many clicks. Please fix.

king

I rarely comment . But we dont have to rude in conveying our thoughts. Each persons taste is different and when we are shown something new for review, our eyes/brain will try to first identify the bad things.

I work as a business analyst to capture requirements for Dashboards and its never easy. Each one will have difference of opinion. I hope the team takes it easy and accommodates as much as possible

Moon

The problem with these colorful articles is that it looks like any other websites that are filled with advertisements.
What made this website unique was the personalized posts and articles by Nick and Greg. The new format undermines all of that.