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:
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.
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.
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.
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 😛
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 🙂
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.