On New Years Day, I ran this post where I asked for your thoughts on ways to improve the layout and look of the site.
A lot of you took the time to comment, both in that post and by email. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed.
I have made a few easy changes based on your feedback:
“Your Comments” has been expanded to six comments from four. I have looked into possible ways of having a standalone page of comments, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be something that can be done easily.
I have extended the ‘open’ period for comments from 14 to 21 days. If it leads to a big increase in spam, I may have to revisit it.
I have changed the date format on posts to the standard UK ‘day month year’ format!
I have rewritten parts of ‘Read This First’, in particular the opening paragraphs. In the medium term, I will retire the ‘Avios Habit’ page and replace it with some further information pages – not exactly sure what yet, but probably some comparatives on the different hotel schemes.
People had firm views on whether I should add a forum to the site, both for and against. At present, it won’t be happening. I feel that the current comments arrangement allows the best of both worlds – readers can share ideas and information on the topic at hand, whilst the debate remains focussed on that particular issue.
An open-ended forum would require moderation and a serious time commitment, whilst adding very little in terms of revenue. (Ad rates for forums are very low.) It would also take discussion away from under posts, which would weaken their value.
Timings / emails
Readers seemed generally happy with the ‘3 posts a day, all in the early morning’ approach, which is good. Some were keen on the ability to customise the emails they receive (or even combine them into one daily email) but this is not possible using the current forum software unfortunately.
There are bits of software that would allow me to send one daily email instead of three. However, this a) carries a monthly fee, b) requires additional daily work from myself and c) may not actually help people. The current emails have the title in the headline, and you can delete them without opening them if they don’t seem relevant. A combined ‘all in one’ email would need to be opened for you to know what was in it.
Some people expressed interest in a page where odd snippets of news could be posted, eg the sudden appearance of points from a long-forgotten promo.
At the moment, I can’t see an easy way to integrate this – I don’t want an open-ended ‘Ask Raffles’ page, to be honest. However, I am using Twitter more these days to send out odd little snippets of information which don’t justify a full post (albeit only a couple of things a month – you’re not missing much if you don’t read it!).
Thanks again to those who submitted feedback. I will continue to tweak the site here and there to keep it relevant and informative.