On December 15th, we released a new version of profile pages on ActiveRain. The primary focus of this redesign effort was to make your profile pages more mobile friendly, to enhance some of the SEO elements on the pages and to elevate your blog posts to a more prominent position on the profiles.
Given that about 13% of the traffic in a given month on ActiveRain ends up on your profile, and thousands of our members are being found each month based on searches for their name, and almost 45% of the traffic on the profiles is from mobile devices, we felt that giving creating a better profile experience was important for our members and the people visiting your profiles.
Here are some of the things we would like to share about this new design:
Building the Site Based on Components:
One of the large undertakings, as it relates to our development efforts, is to use the concept of components when we design new pages on the site. The idea with components, is they can easily be moved around and upgraded as additional features are added to the site. What you see today on the profiles is not the end of the road. Over time, as we come up with new ideas, it will become much (MUCH) easier for us to use the new design and add additional components to the page. This gives us a ton more flexibility as we move forward, since we have set a solid foundation upon which to build. Previous designs on ActiveRain were more stand-alone, meaning the design you saw was the design you were always going to see, unless a major remodel was done.
The new component based design will allow us to make incremental changes moving forward based on behavior on the site, and also based on new ideas that we want to try. This might not seem like a huge deal, but it is and it will dramatically decrease the time it takes us to build in new aspects to the site. This has currently been completed on the home page and the profiles. We will continue to use this same design concept as we move to other pages on the site.
Now, your profile pages will be mobile responsive. When they are displayed on a phone or tablet, they will automatically resize to fit the screen. Previously, there was a simple design that displayed on mobile and didn't give a visitor the full experience of the profile. This old design is still in place on mobile devices for a short while, but the new desktop design will shortly roll out across mobile platforms as well and bring with it a better experience interacting with your profile on mobile.
(note, to see the new mobile responsive design, you would navigate to your profile on a mobile device, then you would need to go the bottom of the page and hit the 'show desktop version' link. In about a week, it will all be one display and there will no longer be a different desktop and mobile experience on profiles)
(a couple of example views of profiles from an iPhone)
Note: You are not currently able to edit your profiles from a mobile device. This is best acheieved (or really only achieved) from a desktop browser.
Some enhancements have been made to the profile pages to make them more SEO friendly. They include:
Page Description: One key element of your new profile, that was present on the old profile, but not fully utilized, is the quote block. Now, that quote block will serve as the page description for your profile. A good example of the use of that area would be "Specializing in helping first time homebuyers find the perfect home in Seattle WA". What do you do? What do you specialize in? Where do you do it? Think about these things when adding your quote. If you decide to use something more light, just know that it will become the page description for your profile.
Rework of Meta Data: Our SEO team spent some solid time reworking some bad meta data on the profile pages. Meta Data allows the search engines to more easily index a page. The new profile pages have been updated to include the most recent meta data code to serve to search engines that are crawling your profiles.
Adding back bread crumbs: Bread crumbs are those little blue links you will now see at the top of your profile (image below). They give easy links back to the home page, and the state, county and city pages where your profile is set up. These give search engines easy navigation to be able to send their spiders deeper and deeper into the ActiveRain site. These had been removed in a previous profile design yet were determined to be an intregal part of the overall site SEO.
Your Recent And Popular Posts Now Showcased on Profiles:
Just below the 'get to know' section of your profile, you will now see your most recent and most popular posts displayed. This gives someone who may have seeked out your profile (maybe they googled your name after coming across your marketing offline) an ability to easily access your most recent and most popular blog posts. Since many times consumers are entering the site and landing directly on your profile, we wanted to make sure that your expertise was front and center on your profiles in a way that we have never showcased before.
Making Video More Relevant:
For some time you've been able to add a video to your profile page. However, in the past it was totally tucked at the bottom of the page. Today, your video moves up the page into a more prominent position. It still sits under your blogs (we are a blogging community), but it no longer lags all the way at the bottom of the page.
Contact Call To Action:
If someone wants to contact you, we believe it will be pretty obvious how they do it. The dominant color element at the top of the profile is the orange contact button. Clicking that will give someone the chance to call you, email you, or be directed to your website using the 'learn more' button. In fact, you can direct that button to link whereever you would like it to point. (Upon landing on the page, the contact component will not be exposed until someone actually clicks the contact button)
What Should You Do Now?
Head over to your profile. Take a look and see what areas you might need to update slightly. We did our best to make sure everyone's profiles will move over the data from before, but there could be some minor tweaks that need to be made. The most obvious one is going to be the cover photo. The size changed. It's not longer 600W x 200H. Instead, the new cover photo dimensions are 800W x 150H, a little wider, a little shorter.
And as always, let us know your feedback. 2000 bonus points for the best feature request. Now that we have the profiles built on this component concept, it's so much easier for us to add elements to the page as we get great ideas! tell us what you would like to see on your profile? And let us know what you think.