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Resources for language learning, travelling, blogging and new site design!

| 34 comments | Category: off topic

Next week Fluent in 3 months will turn 2 years old!! :) To celebrate, major changes are afoot!

Resources: Language learning, travelling and blogging

Before I discuss the new look of the site, I’ll mention some new permanent links I’ve just added to the top: Resources.

There are three links here, so check them out to see me explain what some of my most highly recommended resources are:

Language Learning

This links to the Language Hacking Guide and Why German is Easy products that I have created, since I removed the major links and banners to them that were on the main pages, as part of the new design, as described below.

I also finally mention my favourite books that I have been consistently using in learning different languages. It’s only got a few examples now, so I plan to expand on it with time.

Travel and business

Here I talk about some excellent guides that explain the logistics behind travelling and running an online business. I also share the travel insurance company that I use.

Blogging and earning from it

In less than two years, this site and its readership have grown immensely, and for the last year (exactly) I’ve been able to earn a full-time living from it. Writing interesting and helpful posts is only one reason I can do this.

This page outlines in detail the major steps you should go through, and the resources I highly recommend you invest in, if you are interested in earning money from a blog, or helping a blog to grow quicker.

Completely new design of fluentin3months.com

To better prepare the site for my upcoming speaking gig at TBEX and visit to WDS, I’ve finally implemented a long overdue complete and professional redesign of the entire website. [If you are reading this by RSS or email, check it out!]

And this is only stage one! Even more cool improvements and additions are on the way :)

I asked the email list what they think should be changed (and what should stay) in my redesign, and because of this, not only have a lot of the visual features changed dramatically, but I’ve added some permanent new pages to the top navigation, as explained above.

Free blog; no advertising on arrival

One part of the change was that the prominence of the Language Hacking Guide has been reduced dramatically; there are no longer banners anywhere on the site’s main page or on typical blog posts, and I even took the links to my products from the top line of links away. This will allow people to see the site on arrival as truly a blog to present free information, judging it based on the quality of the posts presented and not be bombarded with any form of aggressive advertising.

Nearly all of my means of earning money from the website will be restricted to the Resources menu, mentioned above, and occasional links in blog posts when relevant.

Based on the immense traffic this site gets, I could have redesigned it in another way and added pop-up sign-up forms that grey out the entire site on every page, irrelevant Google ads, pressuring count-down timers, fake highlighter pens, and thousands of other things that make the Internet an incredibly annoying place. If I did that, I could make a lot of money with my site’s traffic. For many people, the bottom line is what matters; how much money are you making!

However, at the moment I’m selling one or two copies a day of the Language Hacking Guide, and you know what? That’s all I need to live off. Internet marketers cringe when I tell them how much I’m earning from my blog, but I don’t need a yacht or a rolex. I’d rather sleep with peace of mind, than on a pile of hundred dollar bills.

To give me a small boost I’ll run a special offer soon when I update the guide to 24 languages (Korean, Turkish and Thai added) and if I get a few extra sales that week then it will help me cover my brief trip to North America as well as get me started in my next destination. Apart from that special offer, which will get its own blog post, and future other projects I’ll eventually be working on, I have no interest in pressuring people to pay me money when they arrive on the site.

The majority of the readers of this site use it as a free resource, so I would like for it to be a pleasant reading experience for them. If someone is really enjoying the site, then they will take the time to look through my recommended resources and any clicks on mine or on other products that they end up purchasing (which I earn commission from) will be helping support the site so that I can continue to write free for everyone else.

Site map!

One other request I got a lot was an easy to navigate site map, so I have added that to the top navigation too and you can check it out here. Hopefully it will help you discover some of my coolest posts from the archives!

I’ve also added a reverse-chronological list of missions on the site to date here, and gone even further to list out the majority of my important stops over the entire last decade!

Other changes made

Apart from what I’ve mentioned already, you can see that the new design that Charlie created for me is simply stunning! It’s way nicer to look at, and reflects the personality of the blog much better. The flags stitched to the top, the social media features that float in the left and right as you scroll, the colours, the new logo (people consistently called my old logo the “alien eye”!) – it all gives the site more personality!

I especially like how I myself now have the magic ability to stand across several different frames of the website’s design! I even lean my elbow on the e-mail sign-up form :-P

While other changes are on the way soon, I hope you like the new site design, and I hope you check out the language, travel and blogging resources!

Let me know in the comments below if you have any thoughts on the new design, or if something isn’t working for you (please be specific). Thanks so much :)

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Comments: If you liked this post or have anything to say, please leave a comment! I love reading them :)
Just keep in mind that I’ll delete any rude, trolling, spammy, irrelevant or way off-topic comments. Also, use your REAL name, not a brand or business one, and don’t link to your site in the comments unless it’s relevant to this post.
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  • http://twitter.com/joonahere Joona Here.

    Hey Benny. I really like the new design! It really shows that you have put some thought (and used some very capable hands) improving the usability of the website.  Just one small suggestion for improvement: the floating sharing buttons on the left are almost completely invisible for me (using Safari on a Mac) and I noticed them only after reading from the post that there are such things – and still I needed to look for them :)

    Other than that, I really like what you (and Charlie) have done to the website. Keep up the good work!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

       Ah ok, I’ll see about making them bolder ;)

      Thanks for the feedback :D

    • http://twitter.com/CharfishCharlie CharfishCharlie

      Thanks, Joona! So glad you like it and I appreciate your feedback. I’ve brighted up the social media links a bit, so they’re a bit more visible now.

      Thanks again! Cheers,

      Charlie

  • Josh

    Looks great Benny and Charlie!   One small suggestion: update the favicon to reflect the new logo.  The little bubble+map might work nicely.  Again, great job on the design.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Yes, replacing the favicon is on my to-do list for sure! Thanks Josh ;)

  • http://travelordie.net Algis Tamosaitis

    Great job on the site redesign. Have been following the site for some time. Currently using your book to help me learn Spanish. 

    Also, interesting to see your resources section.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks Algis! :) Glad to see a long-time reader enjoy the new look! Hope the Language Hacking Guide is giving you the tips you need to get ahead with Spanish ;)

  • Anonymous

    El sitio  luce tan chévere. Tambien, es más fácil a navegar. ¡Felicidades! ¡Bien hecho! Me gusta mucho. Lo que me gusta más del “look” es la limpieza del sitio.  ¿Has pensado en añadir un icon o un enlace para comprarte un jugo de china (naranja)  en la sección de recursos? Creo que no sería demasiado agresivo. Otra vez, gracias por el nuevo diseño del sitio.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      El enlace para comprarme un zumo de naranja está allí desde casi dos años y sólo 3 personas lo han utilizado :-P Mejor que lo quite jaja
      Gracias!!

  • Anonymous

    “Internet marketers cringe when I tell them how much I’m earning from my
    blog, but I don’t need a yacht or a rolex. I’d rather sleep with peace
    of mind, than on a pile of hundred dollar bills.”

    Benny, you are the BOSS.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks!! :) I’m glad some people are appreciating my genuine effort to make this a platform to encourage positive language learning. As long as the high traffic has sufficient earnings for me, I have no need to double or triple it.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yay! Thanks :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Hi Eri! If it hurts your eyes, you may want to reduce your screen brightness.

    Alternatively, in FireFox there is a setting under “preferences” –> “Content” tab to adjust fonts and colors. On that screen you can pick a black background and white text (or any color combo you want). Then choose “Always use my: Colors”.

    There are quite a lot of websites online that have this colour combination, but this way you can make sure that they always suit the way YOU want to read them ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Could you tell me what browser and operating system you are using and what your screen resolution is please? I’d hate for many people to be seeing this!

  • http://niel.delarouviere.com NielDLR

    Excellent redesign! Love it.

  • http://LifeByExperimentation.com Zane the Experimenter

    Excellent design!  I’m sure this will help not only us readers navigate the site, but your continued growth in the blogosphere.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks! It will certainly give people a much better first impression when they land here!

  • Anonymous

    Here comes the dynamite. Great move man, wish you more future success!

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks :)

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes but on which browser? I just looked at my site on XP and it’s looking fine…

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes but on which browser? I just looked at my site on XP and it’s looking fine…

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks so much for the kind words Steffen! Really appreciate it! Glad to hear it looks like one of the big ones :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks so much for the kind words Steffen! Really appreciate it! Glad to hear it looks like one of the big ones :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Cheers!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    I’d have to confirm others are seeing this; as far as I know use of Pale Moon is very scarce.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    That is one of the post-design tweaks I’m asking Charlie to come back over to tidy up; I also don’t like the *entire* post displaying, since it makes the home page scroll bar tiny! Although I do like a couple of paragraphs and a full image.

    Glad you’re enjoy the site! :D

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks!

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Very cool, love the new design.  The only thing I don’t like is the sidebars on either side: having them there is fine, but they need to be filled up, especially that left sidebar: you’ve got that whole thing there occupied solely by the twitter and stumbleupon buttons which are stuck together in essentially one thing, and the rest of it’s blank.  Needs more stuff (or, if you don’t have anything else to put there, I’d consider removing those sidebars for the sake of aesthetics).

    Cheers,
    Andrew

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      I had one of the sidebars stretched out in one draft with more things and they overflowed into the footer on certain screen resolutions. You’ll notice that a lot of sites like Mashable have a similar system to my left share buttons, and it isn’t packed for them either. I could pack it full of social networking options, but those three are the ones I like most so that’s all I need.

  • Rebecca Norman

    Love the blog anyway. The redesign doesn’t seem that important since I loved the blog before too. But I have a slow connection worse than dial-up — if I use too much upload/download Mb, my connection will STOP for the rest of the month. Today I didn’t have this problem, but once recently when I opened the blog page, a video started loading and I couldn’t click stop to keep reading the blog and comments. I receive the email, which is great, but to read the comments which are sometimes useful, I have to click through the page.

    • Casey

      If you’re using Firefox there’s an add-on called Web Developer that will let you disable images. There are probably other add-ons that could disable videos/flash, which should help reduce how much data you download.

      To Benny:
      I really like the new design. It looks more polished. :)