Starting from scratch (or why I redesigned my site)

I spend a lot of time reading blogs. When I discover a blog that I truly like I start reading lots and lots of posts–sometimes all of them. Lately I’ve discovered a common pattern that led me to start my website from scratch, which it’s worth to pay close attention.
When I find a blog that it’s remarkable, two things happen: either (1) I spend hours and hours reading from the main site, or (2) I save some blog posts on Pocket and read them in a clean format.
In either case I subscribe by email, so I can get home delivery. But what about older posts? If the site is built to be easy to read I probably read all of them, but if it’s not, it has to be too remarkable to go through the hassle of saving them on Pocket.
Let’s consider an example. Take a look at Derek Sivers site. It’s super simple. Useful, to the point, easy to read, organized… I love it.
So what makes this site great and invites you to keep reading it?

  • No pop-ups that bothers you while you go through it.
  • It’s easy to read. Nice font, great spacing and right size. (It’s a default serif font, you don’t need a fancy one.)
  • Posts are well organized, and you can know which ones you visited last time you were reading it.
  • The content is remarkable.

That’s when it hit me. My web wasn’t easy to read.
My last design was too clunky… And being honest, I notice this a while ago. I tried to make some small changes to make it better, but nothing improved. Yeah, it was a little better but not enough.
So a few day ago I decided to start it from scratch, and build it with a goal in mind: make it useful and easy to read. And even though there’s still room for improvement, now it’s way better.
What the lesson here?
Sometimes to make things better you’ve got to start from scratch. You need a clean slate and figure out how to make it useful to others.
So how can you make your site or product better? Start from scratch. Forget about your current design and find out a way to make it as useful as possible.
Build the product you’d love to use, even if that means throwing everything away.