We recently launched Version 3 of smithhousedesign.com, and we want to tell you about what we changed and why.
Update 1: Video is Front and Center
Last year we had some great victories 🏆 and some great failures 👎 with filming videos. Some videos were so bad that we never posted them, including a tedious 10 minute video about why and how Facebook changes every day. (After two months of re-editing, we pressed DELETE and moved on with life.) But overall, we received good feedback so we kept the videos coming.
How does this impact the website? Well, I noticed a lot of the old blogs, some of the earliest blogs that I wrote in 2015, were very long. These were topics I was very passionate about and I had a lot to say. So just kept writing. And writing.
Conventional wisdom tells you that long blogs are a waste of time. But I can look at the analytics and see that the topics that I wrote about were helpful enough to draw some respectable numbers.
|Long Form Blogs||Word Count||Popularity|
|Reinventing an Icon: 3 Lessons Learned from the New Converse Chuck Taylor II||1,542||11,319|
|Hello Apple Watch||2,290||6,560|
|The New Logo from Instagram Marks the Beginning of the End of “Flat Design”||1,690||3,113|
|18 Years Later: 10 Ironic Things About “You’ve Got Mail”||1,432||2,800|
|4 Reasons Why Barack Obama Had the Perfect Visual Campaign||1,449||2,093|
|Designing a New Logo? Lessons Learned from 3 NBA Teams’ New Branding||1,037||729|
⬆Maybe these blogs could’ve been better had I cut the length in half? Brevity. Yes, short, sweet blogs are awesome. But is it always possible?
How do you communicate complicated stuff, nuanced things where you consider points and then counterpoints? How do you do that except in a long-form blog?
The solution to that is of course a video!
Look for all new videos in their own cute section called Video / Resources. We’ve given ourselves a mandate that anytime we create a new video, it should be paired with a really good, useful resource for anyone who needs it! Everyone gets a styling PDF to hang on their walls to impress co-workers. 📌
Update 2: Shorter Blogs
Moving forward, the blogs will be shorter in length and published more frequently. We want to address some topics that aren’t as serious and complicated, but maybe a little bit more whimsical and fun!
Update 3: Faster, Faster and Faster
The next thing I hope that you notice is that this page ⚡️loaded quickly. ⚡️ We’ve done some work with our server. We’ve set up our theme framework, we’ve set up WordPress, we’ve changed our workflows and I think we’ve seen an increase in page load time by at least twice as fast!
Update 4: SEO
Finally, let’s talk about search engine optimization or SEO. I published a very exhaustive long blog series about SEO.
What I pled with people to do in my final blog was to stop thinking of this as a big technical nerd-game with Google. If you want to earn your way to the top of search results, just be helpful, and speak like a real person. Be helpful in your blog, on social media, and in your videos.
Well, some interesting things have happened since I published that blog series. Google’s search results are no longer just links to relevant websites. Search results are links to trending discussions on social media and relevant videos on YouTube.
Here’s where things get more interesting. Google knows what you’re talking about in your helpful awesome videos. (YouTube transcribes every video, and it’s pretty darn accurate.) If you believe the buzz, Google will boost your actual website higher up in search results when you add a video. Videos = SEO Gold! (Rumors are crazy here. But I’ve heard that a website with your own embedded YouTube videos will have a 40x increase in the search listings.) 💪
None of this is a surprise. Google is trying to reward people for being awesome. Don’t neglect the SEO work under the hood of your website–it is important. Just don’t assume that it’s your only way onto Page 1 of Google’s search results.
So in short, lots of new videos here on the website. Skip on over to YouTube and find our channel! If you have questions, you think it’s an incomplete thought or maybe we missed something we would love your feedback in the comments section.