Thoirsday, 9:43pm Reno, NV “Ask not for whom the dog barks. It barks for thee.” (Motto on our doormat.)
And welcome to the new blog.
I’ve pretty much just moved in.
And, as you can see, we hauled every scrap of crap from the OLD blog over here, and dumped it willy-nilly all over the joint. Coming up on five freaking years of archives over there on the lower right.
You could get lost in that Basement Of Wonders.
Be careful… should you muster the courage to go rummaging. (I dare ya.)
Jeez. I must be one of the longest-tenured bloggers in the blog-o-sphere. When I began, our keyboards were made from rocks. Electricity was supplied by hamsters on wheels.
Dinosaurs roamed the yard.
And WordPress didn’t have any numerals trailing behind — it was barely out of beta-diapers.
Now we’re deep into the Turbo edition (2.7.1).
It’s like that flying car I was promised as a kid (in my uncle’s dog-eared March-1956 issue of Mechanics Illustrated) (inventor porn, we call it now) has finally arrived…
… and I’m sitting in it , rotors revved, the dashboard a maze of lights and dangerous-looking switches, wondering how I’m gonna survive the first ride.
Okay, so this is just a new snarling rack of blog software, and I can’t crash it into someone’s roof or anything.
Still, this is my maiden flight, so I’m keeping it short.
We’ve listed a dozen or so of the most popular older posts on the right… and I invite newcomers to check them out for an accurate “taste test” of what’s in store for you here.
On the left, we’ve got a list of categories containing every single post I’ve ever written. Perfect potpourri snacking for longtime readers.
Are ya feelin’ lucky? Go on, make my day — click on any of the intriguing categories and see where it takes you.
Lots of timeless advice, insight, techniques for making money, and rollicking stories of ill-repute lurking in those virtual stacks.
I know several very successful marketers who waltz bravely into the archives here for inspiration every time they need to write something that has to be good.
Be forewarned: It’s addictive.
Like literary crack for the hungry business owner’s mind.
Anyway, I just wanted to invite y’all in. Remind you I haven’t left the scene…
… I just had some stuff to attend to in the last few weeks that interfered with my social media upkeep. (The Twitter world is aghast at my absence, I’m told.)
I expect to be back in the saddle here — blogging my butt off Mondays and Thursdays on marketing, copywriting and living life large — starting next week.
Just in time for the big damn road trip we’re taking through Australia the end of May through mid-June. Three cities, three Web-marketing seminars, in three weeks…
… a traveling road show of Cooper’s-fueled biz wizards and wily writers laying siege to Oz from the stage.
And good luck to us all on that.
Here’s the link, if you’re interested in the details:
Right now, I’m dying to know what the heck this post will look like when I hit the “publish” button.
I could just fly off sideways and crash into the side of the house…
P.S. Hey — let us know if you’re Down Under during those dates… and interested in attending any of the Flash Mob hot seat interventions we’ll be holding between events.
Very rare opportunity to get some face-to-face feedback from Stan and me (and possibly a few other top international marketing brainiacs we’ve shanghai’ed) on your biz and plans and dreams.
If we do hold any one-day Flash Mob events in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, the spots will go quick (cuz we can only handle 6 hot seats a day, tops)… so stay tuned for notices, here and in your inbox.
P.P.S. And for cryin’ out loud… if you’re NOT on my “blog notification” list, sign in now.
Top right. Name and email.
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The evil math filter comment killer is gone I see! Yay!
Now if I can just figure out why my blog notifications inexplicably stopped. Found out about this entry on twitter. The color scheme is *interesting* in here to say the least. Smurf blue, huh? Not exactly easy on the eyes. But for the great content here, I will happily adjust.
I’m LOVING SWS mentoring and am absolutely addicted to the forum.
The Hot Seats are a rare experience… If you can make
one, by all means do it. John and Stan are at the top of their game after the rockin San Francisco Hot Seats.
These really sizzled and a great time was had by all.
I witnessed some true life-changing moments when Hot Seat participants “got it” through John’s guidance and insights.
Highly recommended -down under or here in the states.
Five on Friday, Issue #9…
Since I’ve published four new posts already this week, I figured why not cap it off with a new issue of Five on Friday? Here are a few of the blog posts I found interesting, helpful, enlightening, inspiring, etc.
New Digs. Same Landlord. – by Joh…
In Simon Cowell’s voice and words:
This post was complete, self-indulgent rubbish.
You’re a damn good writer John, just don’t
try too hard or you end up writing posts like
Having a bad day, Rob?
Thanks for taking the time to share.
Hey… check out the new digs!
It’s very… lively. Kinda reminds me of the check-out counter at those Mexican grocers I loved so much in Chicago.
“Can I get a churro up in this mufugee?”
Seriously… big ups on the overhaul. And I’ve got to second your dare for new visitors to go digging around the archives…
“…literary crack for the hungry business owner’s mind.” about says it all.
Trading in my Playstation for more time on this blog was among my wiser life decisions.
Looking forward to reading about your adventures in Oz!
BTW, your Australia link is broken… It works if you key it in…
Thanks Lisa – It’s been fixed.
I have to like the new style cuz it justifies the way I’ve set up my own blog.
Personally I think the new layout is more difficult to read than your previous design. The 3-column layout creates a “tunnel vision” the old site just didn’t have and the font takes some brain process time to actually read. (it doesn’t flow seamlessly into the brain like your old style did)
I understand the need to have more promo links to your own stuff and affiliate opportunities (like the PerryMarshall.com ad I see below this text box) but this stuff can be done with a style that is far more optimized.
New digs, yes… but at what cost? 🙂
Just dropped by to check out the new design… pretty disappointing. Is having an ugly blog a secret marketing ploy I should know about?
I think this new design breaks every standard of good design I know of. Ha!
Anyway, maybe you’re banking everyone reads this in an rss reader?
Would you be kind enough to share maybe one or two or three of these “good” design standards that you know about? What I’ve learned about blog design the past few months is EVERYBODY has an opinion and, thus far, NOBODY is able to back any of their opinions up beyond. “I’m a designer. My designs are good. Other designs are less good.” I think there’s a lot of business out there for the person who can back their ideas up with more than, “I’m right, you’re wrong”.
John, the book you sent is rockin’…thanks.
Stan, here are my personal thoughts.
1. The header is too busy. Too much text. John talks about “greased copy” where your eyes slides down a page. Design isn’t too far behind. This site looks dated around circa-2004. Seriously…I’m being honest here. This looks like the very first 3 column WP blogs that were being pumped out in WP 1.0. Even WP 1.5 Themes were looking a bit better.
2. Your drop shadows are too sharp and dark. Soften them up. It’ll help readability.
3. Your sidebar links don’t “separate” themselves in any way. I can’t tell where the sentence begins and ends.
4. Your newsletter signup on the right is lost. Again, no separation.
5. Color scheme does not fly. Sorry. You have a bright hue “happy” background on top of muted “sad” slate blues. A design no-no in *any* book you read. (Unless you’re trying to be a cutting-edge design blog…which this is not.)
6. Finally, I’ll explain an abstract thought that I believe in. For lack of better words, I’ll call it “credibility”. Many first time visitors to this blog may not know John. I certainly didn’t. When I initially reviewed his products, I wasn’t turned off by the price-points, I was turned off by the failure to “package” the product with nice design (that fit the pricepoint).
I was judging the blog and salesletter thinking “this looks ooold, so [insert product] must be old too”. This turned off my “buy” mentality.
I couldn’t help it…I’m used to seeing really, really professional presentations these days. I see presentation that scream “I give a shit about my product”. Hell, I see presentation that make products look *better* than they actually *are*! lol…sad but true.
And that’s why John’s designs drive me crazy. After reading Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel, I know this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. John’s products should have *killer* design to emphasize the *killer* package he delivers.
I’m honestly not getting that vibe here. I’m getting a “let’s cut corners” vibe.
For example, go hit Michel Fortin’s site. That is one well-designed, optimized monster. I enjoy surfing (and studying the design) on that site. The call-to-action/social proof for the newsletter signup rocks. The footer promotes surfing *after* reading an article. Let’s be honest…if someone is surfing MF’s site, then then jumps to John’s site…what is the first impression going to be? I’ll sum it up in three letters…’huh’.
That said, John, you’re a kick-ass copywriter. Now you need a kick ass image.
Bottom line – (from someone who has been following your work for years) – when you are given the gift of being able to learn from one of the best marketing minds in the business, AND he challenges your thinking and makes you laugh, – then who cares about the wrapping.
Besides, the Rocky Horror Picture Show effect (Rant font) suits you to a tee!
Ah, you’re making me blush, Kiwi…
Dude, I think its just fine. But then I’m colorblind. Not bad colorblind, just a touch of red/green. Reminds me of the graphic arts movement of 30 years back.
One problem, don’t know if it’s mine or yours, I tried signing up for notifications in the upperright corner as you suggested: got a 404 error…twice. So check that out.
p.s. I am enjoying the Simple Writing System. Great content. actually more valuable than some of the stuff I bought from your buddies (Mike & Frank)…well, maybe just different, but damn valuable.
You know I’m red-green colorblind, too. I didn’t design this blog — just had a hand in directing the programmer, causing trouble when I could. I did pick the typeface — Georgia — because I’m freakin’ tired of Verdana and sans serif faces.
Anyway, thanks for the thumbs up.
What I got the 3rd time i tried: (so I am going to count on you to manually add me. ok?)
404 Not Found
Server cannot locate the page you are looking for !
The Server could not find the page that you requested.
You are looking for something that is no longer here.
You can always try doing a search or browsing through the Archives.
Posted as Not Found
Danahue – Thanks for letting us know about this. Error was just in the “Thanks Page”. You were added to the list when you signed up.
John, I actually stumbled on the new design two evenings ago and at first thought I’d taken a wrong turn–it wasn’t the one I was used to hitting. I dig it. Your previous permutation needed a facelift. Obviously you can write the pants off anyone online, so now your blog talks the talk.
First, I have to remind Rob that there’s a reason for there being ONLY one Simon Cowell in this world.
I happen to like the look of the new blog. There’s only one small item, which is about “readability” not design, that I will mention. The opt-in, or “Click here now” box on the upper left, I find the white lettering is more difficult to read than the other areas of the blog.
But the bottom line is this, you could write your blog on a bar napkin that someone spilled cranberry juice on, then wiped their hands after eating hot wings, and I’d still read every single last word of it!
You know why? Because it’s what you write that matters, not the package it comes in!
So while it’s nice for you to ask our collective opinion, nobody should gives a rat’s patutity (is that spelled right?) about what color the blog is, or how the new design looks.
The ONLY thing anyone should care about is the quality content you deliver. Period. And, you always deliver!
Rob, hurry back to watching American Idol while the rest of us learn something!
Staying frosty in South Florida!
I think it’s “patootie”. Never tried to spell it before.
Funny that you chose “rat”… because that’s the Icon we’re developing. In my coaching club (now called the Insider’s Club, but formerly the ‘Radio Rant’) my icon is a cartoon rat, ala RatFink of Big Daddy Roth fame. I’m pushing a designer to put a big honkin’ rat up in the logo here.
It’s my blog. I can screw it up however I like. So there.
Thanks for the comment, Jay.
I have seen a lot of bazaars in my travels all over Africa, and your new design is too refined to fit into that category. No dead goats, eviscerated fish, swarms of flies etc.
Yes the banners are glaringly obvious, but I thought banners were supposed to be noticed so I don’t see a problem.
My vote, for what it’s worth, I like it so maybe you should not get kicked off the show and stay for the next round.
I wondered why things seemed a bit subdued on twitter lately.
Man, I KNEW we forgot something!
The dead goat!
I LOVE the new look! Your honest, and brash qualities are always a welcome guest in “the painted cave” of my ‘mind.’
Keep ’em coming!
Warm Regards Always!
I think you’ve had one too many Sierra Nevada’s!
You were one of the first people that clued me into eye tracking and the various studies.
My poor eyes got so tired just trying to work out where to look. (The short sentence structure in the blog posts just compound the problem.)
One of the first things you taught me was that if they can’t or don’t read your stuff – they can’t buy. So I’m wondering what your response rate or opt-in rate is like.
I’m not having a bad day, but I think poor Mr. Ogilvy is spinning in his grave. I couldn’t finish reading the post due to the distractions…and you I always study your stuff.
Hope you take the feedback as it was intended
It’s all welcome feedback, Anthony.
There seem to be a couple of schools of thought on blog design — the barebones vs. the cluttered.
Look at Brian Clark’s http://www.copyblogger.com. I think my programmer was heavily influenced by that one — which is clearly one of the most-read, most-studied, and most-respected out there.
Of course, in usual Marketing Rebel fashion, we added more clutter and weird colors and banners that leap out and squat on your brain. So maybe we overdid it. We can change it. We might. Or we might leave this up and see what happens.
Thanks for your 2 cents, as always, Anthony, anyway.
Courageous use of blue.
Looking forward to saying g’day in Sydney.
To me personally it is way too cluttered. Too many distractions. No obvious path to follow. I only lasted about 2 screens worth than had to stop – as my eyes were pulled too many direction.
But what say matters nothing – let the testing tell the truth.
The colors aren’t working for me, but it’s your blog… and you can make my eyes bleed if you want to! 😉 Re: your “Subscribe” button, check out the info here…
It makes sense, eh?
Okay I went to copyblogger for a look see and comparing the two. My take is rough because I haven’t let it sit, digest and regurgitate it’s reaction. While their color scheme, design elements and boxes on the side are subtle, easy on the eyes and small but attention getting, it’s like someone saw a sunset and decided the acid he took wouldn’t affect his painting one bit when trying to make that work for you.
Yes you’re different and I understand he’s trying to go for it here as well. Fine. Then make it yours by understanding what makes theirs stand out as simple yet killer before trying to emulate it and botch it so badly. Yes content is king but if you have to take breaks to read it, your eyes feel like they were run over by a runaway SOS pad, and your brain is hurting from too much punishment that day already, I hardly think making folks their own personal whip in a bondage of love and desire quite fills the bill.
And copyblogger may be well known and respected, but I had never heard of it. Now that I’ve seen it, I will be visiting frequently. It’s like sewing a new patch on an old pair of jeans. Wash thoroughly and see what happens…
Well played, David.
What, exactly, hits you like an SOS pad on the eyes? (Do they still make SOS pads?)
Color? Graphics? What?
Help me out here. I can’t promise to change what bugs you, but specifics will help me understand better.
There is a chasm forming — some people are just fine with the design, but we haven’t had anyone fall in love with it yet. And others just loathe it, as if I’d just broken into their house and pissed on their couch.
So, for a color-blind guy like me, give us some love: What specific things here are gooing you up?
Yes they do still make SOS pads and a few of us actually remember they work magic on pots and pans after trying to cook on less sleep and even less mental capacity for various reasons…
Look at the design elements on the side for one. The boxes are short and to the point and don’t traverse a screen or two down the side on copyblogger. The white lettering on light blue background grates on those still blessed after half a century who aren’t color blind. Maybe that’s the main problem here. The color elements remind me of bad trips with worse chemicals of my younger days.
While you may be trying to keep the relevant points in your info boxes, running them so long looks bad. If you print out the pages in black and white and lay them side by side, you can readily see the contrast. Using white lettering on a light background makes your eyes march double time where walking is expected. I’ve looked at this on both LCD and normal screens and it seems to make no difference in annoyance levels.
I like the Georgia font myself and I use it when I can. I also realize many, many studies done on PC screen useability stresses sans serif fonts are easier on the eyes, especially older ones. While reading anything on paper does much better with serifs, the opposite is true on screen. No matter how high the resolution of the screen, it makes your eyes work harder. Hence the strain, the SOS treatment when you’re trying to let the ideas percolate in peace. Rebelling is one thing, making others pay the price for it something else again.
Do we come to be punished for not being you or to revel in the insight, stabs and jokes that make us use our brains in new ways? And savor the flavor of choice meat as it sizzles on our grills…
Bravo, David! Although you lost me on that last metaphor, I think your analysis is right on.
I was hoping the current design would settle in on me after a few visits, but this is about my 5th and it still doesn’t feel good.
John’s writing deserves a slicker stage design. This is like watching Leonard Cohen perform in noisy beach bar.
I know I’m dating myself here but in my youth, your head or brain was often referred to as your grill. As in “This little guy will sizzle your grill REALLY good man!” So what I’m saying, and using the wrong metaphor because it is not a common one, is savoring the flavor of a choice bit of insight while it sizzles in my head. It also fires new connections and jerks loose forgotten ones while it cooks… I used it because it’s funny how smells can rekindle old memories and anchor new ones. Then you savor the flavor as a combination of old and new swirl together in the mix for a whole new way of enjoying BBQ’s with friends.
Love the new digs here at the blog, groovy! I also very much appreciate the time & effort you put into the “Simple Writing System”. Purchased this system about 8 months ago, and have written more copy, faster, better and made more money than I did in the previous year! It’s like writing copy on steroids, without all the side effects! The extra money, now that’s a nice side effect 😉
John – the color scheme is a little odd, but it works.
The BIG problem is the navigation buttons in the upper right hand corner. Maybe it’s just showing up weird in Firefox, but they are really, really, really poorly laid out.
Anybody besides Kyle having problems with the layout of the links at the top right of the page? (Home, About, Upcoming Events,…).
A very few people are telling us the links are messed up. We’ve tested every browser, computer, and operating system we can get out hands on and we can’t duplicated this.
If the links look strange, can you let us know what browser you’re using?
Carlton’s Biz Partner
I’m on the latest Firefox browser on Leopard. I took a screen shot of what the buttons look like to me and uploaded it here so you can check it out.
Woops…wait… I’m an idiot. I had “Zoom Text Only” selected in Firefox preferences. My bad. Looks fine now.
That’s probably why just a very few folks are having this issue.
Much appreciate the feedback.
Big fan, love your work. Just a couple of comments on the new digs… the different gradients of “blue” are not conducive to focusing the reader; each alone could work, but together they look a little sloppy. And if anyone on the planet understands the psychology of first impressions, it would be you for sure! 🙂 The gray at the top is fine, but either the powder dull blue in the body OR the neon blue background should be adjusted. Yet further extraneous blues in the banners and the hyperlinks are also quite distracting as the reader evaluates the site overall on first glance. The spacing is great, gives the eyes a rest as it moves down the page, ads are well proportioned on each side (not blinking, thank God, haha). The only other change I would make is the font in the sub-sub title in the header. I would take out the outline/shadowing and maybe offset the color from the real headline and subhead. I love the words, but they are a teeny bit crunched together and hard to read, giving you a dizzy, blurry-eyed vision feel. But, adjusting the color a bit (maybe to yet another blue…hahahahaha… so kidding!), no really, to a light yellow like the banner just above the fold on the left to connect the eye as it moves down the page…?? Just a thought…
Otherwise, the layout for me has the perfect “marketing” architecture , I love it! Simple, intuitive, a call-to-action orgasm!! WooHoo! LOL
Stay frosty!!!! 🙂
“Call to action orgasm”.
You win for best metaphor, Pam.
Love it… and thanks for the feedback. Stan and I are coming to most of the same conclusions about color that you did…
Thanks for the feedback…
If I had the “before” picture I probably could say a couple of smart things about your new blog design.
Anyway the “design” is rather “Schnurz” for me as I’d say it in German. Reason being is that you literally virtually reside in Google reader (Gr). So unless you enable AdSense for Gr or do other really nasty things I won’t even notice. I came her to share my thoughts because you nicely asked for in the email.
Other RSS readers might feel the same.
*BUT* what I really miss here is the “personal touch” from showing your “face” like you did in the previous header as far as I remember.
P.S.: One thingy is missing form the “call-to-action orgasm”. Actionpopup.com of course. You can see it in action on Alex Mandossian’s blog for example. You don’t wanna risk to miss the climax, do you.
I am glad that you’ve created a new blog and I think it is much better than the previous! There are a lot of useful information!
I echo Pam’s points. I disagree on the action boxes or whatever crazy name they officially have on the side as in every basic newsletter, printed information and document I ever did disagrees. I went in search of my old books which I can’t find but the challenge always remains. Designing for the page your reader sees. In the same way you wouldn’t split a picture over 2 pages in print, you are best served by following this in web design. A simpler place to start is here:
If you notice they use several colors – in balance, several elements – in balance. When I took over using Pagemaker for designing and printing the colleges letters, info sheets, various lab folders and sat on the committee to establish design and publishing standards for all 7 campuses, it was these common themes that set the stage. If you could print it in black and white and read it fine, each page clear and readable, you got read. If you didn’t, nobody noticed.
Call to action orgasm not withstanding, if it’s annoying or distracting and not inviting, does it matter? I WANT your new digs to work. I WANT to see new ideas that challenge common assumptions. Just like you, Dan Kennedy and Gary always have, I expect to rethink my perspective when reading or listening to you. I fear though that the changes in this version, distract more than enhance that challenge. Start with the colors and work from there.
You’re a superior word smith, marketer and thinker. Don’t you deserve a place to kick off your shoes, share some spirits and lively conversation that feels like a favorite place shared with friends as we all unwind our heads, our stress with a healthy dose of “I never thought of it quite like that before?”
Overall, I like the look and feel of the new site. It’s a tad cluttered, kinda like my office and my old mind. I don’t care what the prissy web-designer says, it’s your blog and your site so you get to have it like you want it. I will agree that the Times New Roman type font is harder to read online than a sans-serif tye font like Verdana. This is mostly offset by making the font size large enough to be easily readable.
Enjoy the cold beer down under,