DesignProduct portals

Product Portal Preview: Putting You in the Driver’s Seat

By March 18, 2011 November 5th, 2018 8 Comments

As some of you know, we are in the midst of a redesign of the Product Portal platform, everything from the storefront itself to the admin system, from the reporting tools to the processes in our Ops center. Even though it will not be launching until next month, I though it appropriate to give everyone a sneak peek at the designs and the thinking behind them.

The main thrust of the redesign, as always, is to increase both revenue and page rank. Our approach is to put the domain owner in the driver’s seat, or at least, give them the ability to do so. While some owners of Product Portal sites are content to remain relatively passive owners of the sites, an increasing percentage — and most of you readers would fall into this category — have become more active owners, trying to drive increased revenue, traffic, and page rank by taking an active hand in the care and feeding of their site. To be sure, many of the platform enhancements will benefit the more passive owner as well, but this release is centered around giving the active domainer more control over his or her sites.

One of the primary emphases is to give useful, SEO-friendly content a much more central place in the design of the site, particularly the home page. This is particular important since many of you have been writing and/or commissioning the writing of SEO-friendly content in order to help generate higher page rank. It seems a terrible waste to hide all this nice, new content.

This new section can be used in addition to, or more likely as a replacement for, the “main box” the currently anchors the top of the page. You as a site owner have control over which of these elements, or combination of elements, are included in the site; this includes the new content box, the standard main box, and the featured products box.

Each of these elements can be configured individually. For both the content and featured products boxes, you can decide whether to enter your own articles or featured products, or have those articles and/or products automatically populated by the platform itself.

We have also striven for a general look, especially of the product grid, that is significantly cleaner, all while enhancing functionality such as a more powerful filtering capability. You will also note that we will be able to flag products that are new to the site or that have had a price reduction, which should help drives both clicks and sales.

 

You will also notice that you as the site owner have the option of including ads on your site: in the header, the right side of the page, and above the footer. These ad blocks can be independently controlled, i.e. you can have any combination of header, footer, and right side ad blocks, from none to all three.

With respect to the storefront, another goal is to increase the visibility and use of social networking, be it for reviews, recommendations, or notifications. Consequently, we have made social networking more prominent in the product detail pages, and will also be rolling out a more unified Comments/com/Questions/com element that we think we make them far more useful.

 

Of course, it is critical that the admin tools give you control over all these new capabilities. But having a ton of features isn’t terribly useful if you cannot understand how to use them. We have, therefore, completely redesigned the admin capabilities and placed what we believe is a clear and easy to use interface that should help expose all the features while still making it highly approachable by even the least technical domain owner.

And all of this is being tied into the admin portfolio manager, which will be the reporting nexus for all financial and traffic/usage data. You will be able to select a domain in your portfolio and run the usual reports, but now you’ll also be able to edit your site from there as well. You will also see a general improvement in the admin portfolio manager overall.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who provided their valuable feedback during the design phase. The fruits of these labors will be rolling out during the latter half of April. I believe that this update is going to materially improve your experience as owners of Product Portals, and hope you are as excited about this as everyone at Epik is.

John Lawler
SVP, Products

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Louise says:

    Hi, Congratulations – Epik moving in exciting directions!

    Question: would you make the design update optional? My artist and I worked hard on logos and background images, and converting all of these all at once is not going to fly. How big is the logo? Will that at least be the same size, so no update is required?

    Kudos on moving content – text – to the homepage.

    Content uploaded by the owner is still exclusive to the owners’ sites, right?

    • John Lawler says:

      Louise,

      Great question, and one I apologize for not addressing in the post itself.

      We made sure that nothing in the new design would break existing sites–the new features are largely additive in nature. So, to be specific, logo sizes and mainbox graphics remain untouched. As to the upgrade itself, we are not planning a big bang migration, but instead will do it over a few weeks. To be sure, the upgrade will be mandatory, but the timing of the migration of a particular site will be under the domain owner’s control, at least for a while. This should allow them to migrate some sites and get a certain level of comfort before migrating the remainder of their portfolios.

      As to the exclusivity of content, yes, that is correct, although we are playing with concepts for selective syndication. But that is off in the future a bit.

      John

      • Louise says:

        The new design looks great. Is the logo going to stay 273 X 91 pixels?

        • John Lawler says:

          Yes. As I stated, “logo sizes and mainbox graphics remain untouched”. We have tried to find a reasonable balance between a new look and retaining old elements and sizes so that existing sites don’t break.

          • Louise says:

            Okay, then my concern as a developer is assuaged. And I presume future syndication will be optional for the developer, as well! It’s a big deal to me – I went after content scraped off my Epik stores, emailing the Registrant first, then filling out a DMCA. Hostgator took the content down. The next two sites I just had to email, cc-ing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and those people emailed back with apology, and took down the copied content.

  • Louise says:

    People, this is huge, huge news. This is the answer. Get ready with original articles, authored by yourself or try TextBroker or one with a reputation that it doesn’t violate copyright, and post a couple articles per site. Google will leave your site alone from then on!

    • Louise says:

      Hi, Would you tell me when it’s ready? Whereas I am not inclined to move my old sites, I have ideas for new sites I would love to test on the new system – thanx!

      Seems like the process will be simpler to create a site with the new template . . .

  • Louise says:

    How’s the rollout coming?

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