The Penny Hoarder Has a New Look! And the Changes Make a Lot of Cents...

Have you stopped by The Penny Hoarder recently?

If you haven’t, check it out. Things look different around here. (No, we didn’t get a haircut.)

After several months of planning and hard work, I’m excited to announce our newly designed website! It’s more modern and user-friendly.

We had our last web design for two years. While not a long time -- and an improvement from past models -- the site had never been exactly what we wanted...

A Quick Look at The Penny Hoarder Through the Years

2010 to 2012

Here it is: the first version of The Penny Hoarder! Ugh… what was I thinking with that logo? It was just me and Microsoft Paint back in those days. A designer I am not.

2013

I finally paid a professional to design a real website. We went a little cartoonish, but it was meant to match the playful style of writing and our attempt to make personal finance fun.

2014

Attack of the giant Kyle head! Here’s where the site started evolving to its more well-known version. It looks more professional -- and purple!

2015 to April 2017

Finally, up until now, this was the most recent version of The Penny Hoarder.

Ready for a Face-Lift

Here it is: The new look of The Penny Hoarder!

The company continues to grow, and it was time for our website to reflect that growth, too.

So, what’s changed? I’m glad you asked!

1. We Cut Back on Color & Simplified the Design

Brooke Harris, our senior product manager, began interviewing employees in different departments about what they disliked about the website design. Almost every staffer had the same two responses:

  • It looked “heavy” -- too clunky, boxy and blog-y looking
  • There was too much purple -- enough said

Basically, we needed the redesign to be cleaner and more sophisticated-looking. We wanted the content to be the star, rather than a bunch of graphics.

The new layout is more modern. There’s more white space and fewer ad units, making it easier to navigate and a better user experience.

As for the color -- we’re not shy about our love of purple! It’s a big part of our branding, from the website to our swag to our coffee mugs in the office.

We still love the color and didn’t abandon it in the redesign. However, we did incorporate it in a softer way.

2. We Improved Our Content Categories

Our editorial team spent a lot of time here -- they looked through our email survey results and current content to see which posts were doing well and what readers wanted more of.

Using that feedback, we refined our five topic categories: Make MoneyDealsFoodSmart Money and Life.

In the new menu, we’ve incorporated subcategories to help readers further refine what they’re looking for. For example, you can single out WFH (work-from-home) under the Make Money section now.

3. We Labeled Our Content

In the old design, there wasn’t an easy way to get into the subcategories or see which category an article was in without opening the actual post.

Now, we’ve added category and subcategory labels to select areas of the site to give readers a better idea of the post content before they click.

4. We Nixed Our Comment Section

We decided to remove comments off the site for a variety of reasons, the main ones being:

  • Most people talk on social media. Facebook, in particular, is the primary driver of conversation for our content.
  • A lot of comments are low quality and unhelpful. Spammers, haters, trolls… they don’t help our readers who are looking for solid ideas and advice.
  • Managing comments takes a lot of work and effort. We pride ourselves on communicating with readers actively engaged in our community, and that’s where our team’s energy should go.

As a whole, more conversations are happening off websites and on social media. This has been the trend, and it’s true for us, too.

What are the odds you’ll come back to a post you left a comment on? Not great. But if you leave a comment on Facebook, you’ll get a notification when someone likes it or replies, and you’ll be more likely to return. It makes sense to encourage the conversations already happening there.

When planning the redesign, it didn’t make sense to funnel more resources to on-site comment sections. We joined the ranks of other publications dropping them.

5. We Created a Trending Posts Feature

We wanted to get readers excited about newly published posts. Now, we have a trending section that displays newer posts with lots of pageviews, so readers can read and share what’s currently popular with other Penny Hoarders. You’ll find this trending section on the home, category and post pages.

6. We Can Include Video as a Featured Medium

Video is a growing format for us and other publishers. It enables us to storytell in a different way.

Showcasing people who’ve actually paid off debt or started a business… we can bring these stories to life through video, and it’s important for us to put a spotlight on it.

7. Readers Can Share Articles via Email and SMS

You can now email a story link to friends via email and “text” a link via the SMS feature directly within a post. It sounds kind of old school, but this was a request we saw over and over again in our survey results: the ability to share posts more easily through something other than social media. Research from other publishers showed us SMS was the way to go.

We are super-excited about it. Although it seems like a small thing, we love any idea that will make it easier for readers to share our content!

Have any questions about our new redesign? Let me know in the comments!

Kyle Taylor is the founder and CEO of The Penny Hoarder, one of the largest personal finance websites with 15 million-plus monthly readers. In 2016, the Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder the 32nd fastest-growing private company and the No. 1 fastest-growing private media company in the United States. You can read his latest article here: "6 Things That Happened After We Made the Inc. 500.”

Image credits: website screenshots 1-4, Archive.org; website screenshot 5, The Penny Hoarder