You may have noticed that there was no post last Friday. That was due to a requirement in the site redesign process where I couldn't update material on the site for a couple of days. So I went to Moab to go canyoneering for a couple of days with my daughter. Then I logged on Sunday morning to find the new website up and ready to be worked on.
For many of you, this morning (Monday) is your first interaction with the newest version of The White Coat Investor website. Truthfully, this site has had dozens or perhaps even hundreds of significant changes over the years, but most of them were made early on, when few of you were reading. In fact, in the hours between me writing this post and you reading it, there will be a number of other changes made.
As discussed back in April when we started this process, it was time for a major upgrade. In many ways, the site has been limping along the last year or so, with numerous outages. Growth is wonderful, but it is never painless. This redesign was necessary in order to take WCI to where it needs to go to accomplish its mission. However, the redesign is a process, and certainly isn't yet anywhere near final. In fact, no website is ever really in a “final” condition. We still have significant changes coming with the mobile version and the implementation of a well-functioning forum. Hopefully after that we'll also get the Facebook page to quit being the worst Facebook page on the web.
I wanted to give you a brief orientation to the site and as always am interested in your constructive feedback. When you arrive at https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com, you now arrive at a “fancy homepage.” This has six main sections which I'll go through one by one.
The top header/menu section is now interactive. Gradually narrow and then expand your browser window and you'll see what I mean. This will help the site to still look professional across different browsers and devices. On the upper right, you'll see links to my twitter feed, to the worst Facebook page on the planet, and to the sign-up for the RSS feed (if you're not yet getting posts like this in your email box or on your RSS reader, you need to click that.) The site search bar is immediately below this, and is still powered by Google. I use this search bar all the time to get around the site and it works well. In fact, half the questions I get by email, I simply search in the box and send the link to the questioner. It's pretty rare that you're the first doc to ask me any given financial question, and if I get it a lot, I've probably written a post about it at some point in the last 5 years.
The menus have significantly changed as well, and you might not find pages you're used to finding there. I'm still working on where links to those will be (probably in the beginner info), but they can obviously be found through the search function. The menus themselves include a very prominent link for first-timers (Start Here,) which I'll be revamping in the coming weeks to make it more useful to newbies. Under the Blog tab you'll find links to the latest posts, classic posts, and featured posts as well one of best parts of the redesign- the archives section, where the other 800 posts on the blog reside. When you click on the archives section, you'll find three ways to search through posts. You can search using the Google search bar (same as the one on every page of the site) as well as searching by date (hint- it works best to click on month) or by category. I'm in the process of recategorizing many of the posts, but as you can imagine, it's going to take a while with 800 posts. So that search feature will work better and better as time goes on.
The third tab is all about the book. The book is currently a major revenue source for the website, so it is prominently displayed. If you've read it, then you can just skip this tab. If you haven't yet read the book, you can get it on Amazon, usually for less than $20, and on Kindle for $9.99. It is also available in Nook format and as of last week, finally, in iBooks format. By the way, I'd love it if you would leave a nice review on the Barnes and Noble site and in the iBooks store.
While there are almost 400 reviews on Amazon, there are only a couple on the other sites. The fourth tab is the Recommendations tab. I am asked for a recommended financial professional of some type or other nearly every day. The various subcategories under this tab include a recommended booklist, links to other websites, insurance agents, mortgage lenders, student loan refinancing companies, financial advisors and some other unique types of financial pros (contract review, student loan advice etc.) This section of the site serves two purposes- one to help you figure out who the good guys are and so I can field fewer emails from readers looking for financial professionals. These recommended books, sites, and professionals have been used and vetted by numerous WCI readers. While there is no perfect financial advisor, at least you'll have the knowledge that I've done some vetting of these companies and that WCI readers have been using them for years without significant complaints. It is rare to remove one of these companies, but I've had to do it in the past. The second purpose is to raise revenue for the site. The listed financial professionals are paid advertisers on the site. Remember WCI is a profitable business. The final tab, About, talks about me, about the scholarship, some nice things people say about me (I've been thinking about putting up another page with hatemail excerpts,) the guest post policy and a contact page.
The right column is similar to what the left column was previously. It shows a number of long-time supporters and sponsors. I appreciate it when you use these companies when you have a need for a financial professional. It also includes an ad for the book, a sign-up for the RSS feed, and a sign-up for the newsletter. (You have signed up for both, right?) I've continued the popular poll option, as well as the “words of wisdom” which contains all kinds of fun quotes from various founts of financial wisdom.
New Reader Section
The topmost section, and really the whole point of this page, is so that people arriving at WCI for the first time have a uniform experience. They're welcomed, advised to sign-up for the RSS feed, sign-up for the free newsletter, to buy the book and directed to the “start here” page.
The Featured Posts
The next section gives me a chance to show off lots of fun adventure pictures, but its main purpose is to showcase a few posts I want to highlight. These will change from time to time, but this section really isn't aimed at the regular reader. These are both posts with some great information for beginners, but they are also posts that highlight some of the affiliate relationships I have with some of my advertisers- student loan refinancing companies, P2P Lending companies, Roboadvisors etc. i.e these are profitable posts.
The Classics Posts
These are posts that really give a reader a flavor for WCI, my general philosophy toward money, financial products, financial professionals, personal finance, and investing. One of the hardest parts of the redesign was choosing which six posts to put in this section. Let me know if you think I got it wrong and what posts you'd put there instead.
The Latest Posts
The next section is what you may be used to seeing when you log on. These are the latest posts I've published on the blog. I want new readers to see that I do publish stuff regularly, but frankly, I don't expect long-term readers to use this page all that much. I expect them to just bookmark the “Classic Blog” version, which if you forget you can easily get to by clicking on the “View As Classic Blog” link above the right column.
At any rate, lest you feel shafted lately by not getting many financial posts between the scholarship contest, no post last Friday, and now this lousy post today, we'll get back to our regular programming with a Tuesday post this week.
What do you think of the redesign? What do you like? What do you hate? What would you like to see changed? Comment below!