Meet Yoast!

After a couple of years on joostdevalk.nl, I’ve decided it was time to do a couple of things at the same time:

  • redesign to a more professional look
  • move to a .com domain and US based WordPress hosting
  • 301 redirect the entire old domain to that new domain

Yoast RedesignNow those of you who are unlucky enough to have me in your IM list have been spammed a lot by me the last few weeks, while I was doing all the redesign work, and deciding which domain I was going to use. In the end, I decided to go with yoast.com. This name was created when at SMX Stockholm last year, I tried to explain to Rand Fishkin and some other people how to pronounce my first name, Joost, properly. Rand spoke the great words “ow that’s easy, just toast with a y”, and then: yoast was born.

It took some time (and money) to acquire yoast.com, but I succeeded in that too, and then went on to pick a designer. I chose to work with Alen Grakalic of CSS Globe, who not only creates great designs, but can code them to my, very very high, XHTML and CSS standards too. We worked together for a couple of weeks, with me getting feedback from some of my very good friends like Ben Jesson of Conversion Rate Experts, Jennifer Slegg and Roy Huiskes.

In the new design, I wanted to do a couple of new things:

  • Create a better homepage, which had to be more than a blog index page.
  • Create a separate blog index page, while keeping the URL’s for posts the same.
  • Make a better distinction between utility pages, like contact, advertising etc., and the “really” important pages: SEO tools, WordPress plugins and Articles.
  • Clean up the template for single post pages and pages.

And preserve a couple of others:

  • Make the RSS button still stand out as much as it did in the old design.
  • Keep the tag cloud.
  • Make sure the comments stayed as important as they were in the previous design.

Alen did a great job, as you can see in the new design. Now the last thing I had to do was get a new logo and tagline. I’d always called this blog an SEO blog, and in some sense, it is. But a lot of what I write about has hardly anything to do with SEO. So I started discussing a new tagline with the above mentioned friends, and Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips.

In the end, I decided to go with “Tweaking Websites”, as that’s what I do. For the logo, my buddy Brent Csutoras pointed me to a site called 99designs. This site allows you to launch a contest for a design. I set a $400 price, and got a massive load of designs submitted, check them out.

In the end, a German guy called Christian Hockenberger won. He came up with this design. I’d like to thank all of my friends for all of their help in this move! Now on to what is basically a very big experiment: a 301 redirect of an entire site to a new, US hosted domain.

Some stuff won’t be finished today, some moving still needs to be done. But do look around and share your feelings about the redesign in the comments!

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68 Responses

  1. Martin JoosseBy Martin Joosse on 9 June, 2008

    Congratz! Beautiful logo and design! Keep up the good work :)

  2. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    Thanks Martin :)

  3. brewginBy brewgin on 9 June, 2008

    Ah the wise Fishkin… he still owes me an autographed picture…

    I like the new design. A lot better than Dave’s recent switch.

    Still very yoasty! Couple of sponsor images on the right are broken at the moment.

  4. brewginBy brewgin on 9 June, 2008

    Sorry for the double post:

    Any particular reason you went with the non-www?

  5. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    @Bregwin: thx, fixed the banners! as for the www: yes, it’s shorter :)

  6. Jaswinder VirdeeBy Jaswinder Virdee on 9 June, 2008

    nice! Looking swish

  7. Bas van den BeldBy Bas van den Beld on 9 June, 2008

    Looking good Joost, or should I say “Yoast” from now on? ;)

  8. SimonBy Simon on 9 June, 2008

    Hey Joost,

    I’ve seen the site yesterday already and I think you’ve done a great job. Very professional, very nice. Also I wasn’t familiar with 99designs, which seems to be a pretty cool tool. Keep it up!

  9. TravisBy Travis on 9 June, 2008

    Looks good Joost.

    One suggestion; increase the size of the text in comments so it matches your posts. It’s a little too small right now to comfortably read. :)

  10. ArjanBy Arjan on 9 June, 2008

    I very much like the new homepage. As a visitor you perfectly know that is is you personal site, and that they can find some interesting stuff here (plugins, SEO tools, articles). Congrats to you and the people who helped designing and developing this new site.

    My few cents on the design and code:
    - The footer looks a bit too black. If you use the same blue as in the breadcrumbs-bar of the header, it looks much nice, I think.
    - Make you author comment even more clear, by using a blue background, too.
    - Why do you put Analytics code in the header of a page? The browser now waits until the JavaScript files are completely loaded and parsed. That costs some time, especially if Google’s servers are slow. That’s why Google recommends to put it before the closing body tag.
    - There are some validation errors, that can easily be fixed.

    Don’t interpret me wrong with the few points I just made. The site is great at the moment, it just that I look at those things :)

  11. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    @Travis: thx, that is on the list of todo’s already indeed!

  12. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    @Arjan: Thanks! The GA code is on top because outbound clicking measurement is broken when it isn’t… unfortunately, I dare say. I’ll fix those validation issues indeed, and am trying to think of a better look for author comments.

  13. Elja TrumBy Elja Trum on 9 June, 2008

    Looks great, Joost. Nice design and logo.
    That 99design website sounds useful. I’ll certainly try it..

  14. JojoBy Jojo on 9 June, 2008

    I like the new design.

    The bread crumb “blog” is linking to the old “http://www.jdevalk.com/blog/”.

  15. DazzlinDonnaBy DazzlinDonna on 9 June, 2008

    Looks fabulous, Joost. Let me be the first to toast Yoast! :D

  16. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    @Jojo: thx, fixed! I’ll buy you a beer in Hamburg ;)

    @Dazzlindonna hehe, thx :)

  17. Patrick DalyBy Patrick Daly on 9 June, 2008

    Couple of questions/observations:
    I noticed you’re using Mint for your site analytics. Why do you prefer it over Google?
    I also noticed that you have the Mint tracking code inserted twice. Maybe that’s how they have it setup for some reason, but if not, you may want to fix that.

    Overall, I love the new site!

  18. Arjan SnaterseBy Arjan Snaterse on 9 June, 2008

    Joost, congratulations with the redesign/move/name-change!

  19. Eduard BlacquièreBy Eduard Blacquière on 9 June, 2008

    Hi Joost,
    Congrats on the great new sitedesign! I think it’s an improvement of the previous site and fits better with your international acquired status.

  20. Markus WalterBy Markus Walter on 9 June, 2008

    Hey Joost,
    great site, congratulation. I hope to read the same interesting posts as on your old page!
    Markus

  21. SimonBy Simon on 9 June, 2008

    Unfortunately the last comment didn’t make it through. However I think you did a great job on the redesign. Although the old site was pretty good already you’ve reached a more professional level i.m.o.
    99 designs is pretty cool too, I didn’t know that one before (notify of followup comments is not yet working).

  22. SintBy Sint on 9 June, 2008

    I really like your new domain name and design. Almost thought the online tv-platform did decide to sue you over trademark abuse in the end :-)

    At first I thought the silhouette in your logo was some kind of animal/devil, but now I know it is a wrench I like it very much! The 99design contest concept is pretty cool too. I strongly believe the end result is also pretty much dependent on the way you try to stimulate the designers to improve the things they come up with. I’ve read through some of your comments and I think you managed to do this very well.

    Maybe the favicon needs some alphablending for its transparency to look even better on other background colors than white (for instance in Firefox browser tabs).

    Keep up those great articles!

  23. Ruud KokBy Ruud Kok on 9 June, 2008

    looks good Joost!

  24. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    Thanks all for the warm words!

    @Patrick Daly: I use GA too ;) and thx for noticing the double mint, removed that :)

  25. GerbenBy Gerben on 9 June, 2008

    Good work, Joost.
    I expected you to switch from joostdevalk.nl to joostdevalk.com, but this is much better!

  26. MubinBy Mubin on 9 June, 2008

    Welcome to your new home, you should hopefully be getting alot of new backlinks from your friends as a “blog-warming” gift.

  27. G. VinkBy G. Vink on 9 June, 2008

    I like the new design and domain name. But when a had a look at the logo I had more or less the same thought as Sint, is it a spanner or a bull’s head with big horns. But after reading the payoff I guess it must be a spanner ;)

    I also found a small bug in Firefox (Mac) using the new site. I will send you an email with the screenshot and details.

  28. richardbaxterseoBy richardbaxterseo on 9 June, 2008

    Woops! Looks like something’s gone awry with your sitemap. What’s all that PHP error code in the header?

  29. JenstarBy Jenstar on 9 June, 2008

    Looks great! The end result is definitely the best one :)

  30. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    Thanks again all!

    @Richardbaxterseo I don’t see it?

    @jenstar: and certainly for a large part due to your feedback! Thx :)

  31. PJ BrunetBy PJ Brunet on 9 June, 2008

    The gravatars look great, I hope they get to be more mainstream eventually.

  32. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    @Simon: fixed the comment notify thing

    @Arjan: fixed all validation issues too!

  33. Devon YoungBy Devon Young on 9 June, 2008

    Seems redesigns are contagious lately. Nice job here. I always thought your name was pronounced like “Who” with an “st” at the end. I learn something new everyday.

  34. Richard HearneBy Richard Hearne on 9 June, 2008

    Very cool new site. Will be interesting to see how it is recached.

    Did you redirect granularly, or anything else funky/experimental in the redirects?

    Funny thing is I’ve had to explain to a few people how Joost is pronounced, now that wont be an issue anymore :)

  35. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 June, 2008

    @Richard: it’s one big fat redirect :)

  36. Congratulations on the new site. Looks great!

  37. Rajab BaderBy Rajab Bader on 9 June, 2008

    I must say that the new design is awesome! However, as Travis said, the comments font need to be a bit larger ;)
    Congrats

  38. RoyBy Roy on 9 June, 2008

    It looks amazing. I like the new logo and the news style I really think this is a good version to work on your next stuff, which will be next level.

  39. sam i amBy sam i am on 9 June, 2008

    Looking very good Joost.

    With a name like yours and another big site out there with that domain i’m not sure i’d have gone with this choice of domain though. Or maybe with Rand’s text as the tagline so whenever spoken people know where to go (podcasts etc). At least be sure to cover searches for misspellings through adwords :)

    Site looks great though! Also on iphone :)

  40. Ramon EijkemansBy Ramon Eijkemans on 9 June, 2008

    Looks very good Joost. I particularly like the way you made a blogging platform into a full blown thematical cms, for instance the way you organized the indexpage. An example for sure!

  41. Gustavo LeigBy Gustavo Leig on 10 June, 2008

    Congrats for the new superb website.

    Which plan did you get in MT? Im trying to measure how much power I need in a web server. I have +-5K pageviews/day.

    thanks!

  42. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 10 June, 2008

    Thanks all!

    @Gustavo: I have a grid server, with a lite MySQL container added to it. I wanted to make sure the site could survive Digg frontpage-like situations without any trouble, and I’ve heard from a few link-baiter friends of mine that this is the package they’d choose for that!

  43. Gustavo LeigBy Gustavo Leig on 10 June, 2008

    Wish you better luck than I had with MT.

    Maybe you can write a post later about your moving domain name experience. That would be very interesting (at least for me.)

    thx again.

  44. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 10 June, 2008

    @Gustavo I’ll certainly be doing that! I’m tracking spidering etc. like mad now, to see how the SE’s deal with this :)

  45. oeroekBy oeroek on 10 June, 2008

    Great name and great site. I think you are really going the right direction and starting to make a nice footprint.

  46. Christian HockenbergerBy Christian Hockenberger on 10 June, 2008

    Hey Joost, thanks for the pretty words and the link. I am glad you like my work and proud that you got so much positive critique for your redesign.
    I like your page, very helpful and just looking great :)

    So long..

  47. martijnBy martijn on 10 June, 2008

    love the new site design! keep up the good work.

  48. Anup ShahBy Anup Shah on 10 June, 2008

    Fantastic redesign. I love the logo — as well as looking like a wrench it also looks a bit like that batman signal for help! Works on a lot of levels!

    Will be interested to see your experience with the entire domain being 301′d. I have a similar large scale effort coming up for something else I work on and even though I technically know that 301s are the way to go, I am still nervous about some key pages that rank 1 on google for reasonably popular search terms!

    (Also, I found out that StumbleUpon has no mechanism to update your URLs for you, so all the stumbles you may have built in the past may not be seen by future stumblers. Do you find that an issue?)

  49. DaveBy Dave on 10 June, 2008

    Great Layout Joost :o much better than the previous one..

    Dave

  50. JermaynBy Jermayn on 11 June, 2008

    I like alot, very nice. Comment type a bit small but apart from that very nice indeed..

  51. Jaan KanellisBy Jaan Kanellis on 11 June, 2008

    Joost one thing that stinks is the size of text on the new website/blog. The font size could use an increase to be easier on the eyes.

    Otherwise congrats on the new website and welcome to the .com world, LOL

  52. OzhBy Ozh on 12 June, 2008

    Nice redesign Joost. So, how does it feel when you commit Technorati Rank suicide ? :) (I did it too 18 months ago)

  53. Chris EstesBy Chris Estes on 13 June, 2008

    Nice cool design. I like it because the font isn’t too small. In fact it might border on too large for normal visitors. The drastic font size change on the comment might be too much for my eyes.

  54. Edmund PelgenBy Edmund Pelgen on 13 June, 2008

    Joost, I love the site…the great article on WP seo as well. i have one question though. How do you do the grid layout of intro articles on your WordPress Plugins page? I’ve always wondered how something like this is done in WP?

    Thanks

    Edmund

  55. LaurensBy Laurens on 13 June, 2008

    Hey Joost,

    The only thing that bothers me is the dotted borders around the hyperlinked images in your header menu, To disable this you can add this to your CSS:

    a {
    outline: none;
    }

    The site looks very cool and professional. Nice domainname to! Keep on going!

  56. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 13 June, 2008

    @Laurens: removing the outline causes some accessibility issues, read Arjan Eising’s post about that :)

  57. LaurensBy Laurens on 13 June, 2008

    @Joost: never thought about it like Arjan. Seems logical, now I know where it is for ;) Thx!

  58. SE7ENBy SE7EN on 13 June, 2008

    Beutiful new design, new site name, and great article

  59. youfoundjakeBy youfoundjake on 14 June, 2008

    Joost, looks good, I definately like the layout. I really dig the RSS button.
    Hopefully all the engines are able to gracefully handle the 301 redirect to the new domain… :)

  60. WilcoBy Wilco on 18 June, 2008

    Better late then never, but I like it.. A lot!

    It’s fresh, it’s cool, it’s yoast!

    However, don’t forget to update your “advertise here” page ;-)

  61. René GreveBy René Greve on 18 June, 2008

    Looks great Joost, specially the great RSS-button. You’re om mij feed now!!

  62. Denis L.By Denis L. on 21 June, 2008

    Very nice!

  63. Marcel (seotaal)By Marcel (seotaal) on 25 June, 2008

    Was a long time ago that I visited Joostdevalk.nl, been to busy lately. But this new site looks great! I love the design and think both the name and the site structure are improved!

    Hope you keep posting the same great blogs as you used to. I understand the importance of a .com domain, but does the US hosting still really count on SEO grounds? Or is this only a change for better loading times for US visitors?

    Keep on the good work!

  64. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 25 June, 2008

    @Marcel: so far the US hosting has helped in ranking too, yes, though only in US rankings. But since 70-80% of my traffic is from the US….

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