Cool Site of the Day Redesign Update

3 Months Since We Won the Contest

Well, it’s been almost 3 months since it was announced that Cool Site of the Day won the $30,000 PaperThin CMS Giveaway Contest and all is going quite well. For those of you who don’t know, CMS stands for ‘content management system’. The CMS that PaperThin developed (and the one that will drive Cool Site of the Day in the future) is known as CommonSpot. Currently, Cool Site of the Day runs on WordPress. CommonSpot is a much bigger deal than WordPress; takeaway: I’m totally stoked.

What’s Been Done

I just spent the past 2 days in training at the PaperThin offices in Quincy, MA. PaperThin is packed with GREAT, super bright people with whom I’m thankful and fortunate to be associated. Dave Tobey (@dtobey) was masterful in showing us that he knows more than anyone else should know about a CMS. Kristi, Heidi, Todd and team were more than excellent hosts and sounding boards.

Fig Leaf Software (a PaperThin partner who has committed $10,000 in design services as part of the contest’s 1st prize) has submitted their first comps of the ‘new look’ Cool Site of the Day. I don’t want to skew your view of this first pass but I was blown away with Fig Leaf‘s ability to accurately reflect my design preferences (of course, my sense of layout and design is somewhat limited so to see them whip up this kind of magic makes me EXTREMELY happy). OK, take a good look at this…


We discussed some changes the other day so I’ll post the latest as they arrive in my inbox. Based on the above, let me know what you think in the comments section below…but first, some answers to your questions:

How Will Cool Site of the Day Change?

In a word–radically. Here are the major items:

Visitors will have the option to view the coolest sites by categoy (yeah!!)

Everyone will have the opportunity to submit websites/URLs/apps/videos/images/just-about-anything, however, there will be a select group of 20 or so pre-selected moderators–big time fans of Cool Site of the Day–you know who you are. (If you want to be a moderator and you don’t think that I know you, make yourself known in the comments box below.)

The Cool Site of the Day rating system is being slimmed down to a 5-star system. Moderators will have the responsibility of rating and categorizing all submitted sites. The highest rated sites (>= 3 stars) will be featured when visitors select a category and are shown sites in that category. Registered visitors will also have the option to click on a ‘random cool site generator’ to view (and rate) sites at, uh…random.

Moderators, along with me, will have the joy of rating/categorizing all recently submitted sites AS WELL AS ALL 6,000 sites that have been submitted over the past 18 years!! Time to cleanup the archive crowdsource style 😉

OK, enough from me–I want to hear from you. Please answer these 4 questions in the comment box below:

  1. How do you like the overall look and feel of the design shown above?
  2. What would you change to make it better?
  3. Do you like the new direction of Cool Site of the Day? If not, how would you change it?
  4. Are you interested in becoming a moderator?

Thanks for your time and, as always, thanks for visiting Cool Site of the Day–now, please share this page with your friends!

Cheers,

Mike Corso
mike AT coolsite DOT com

 

Meet the Author

Mike Corso

Greetings! I'm an SEO Specialist at Gartner in Stamford CT and an original Web Viking. I've been running Cool Site of the Day since 1998 and continue to be amazed at what people publish. Have a cool site or app? Click on the 'submit your site' link at top.

39 comments… add one
  • Nabil Feb 17, 2012, 9:46 am

    Excellent..why you stopped sending
    usual daily messages ?

    • Mike_Corso Feb 17, 2012, 11:15 am

      Good question: I’ve been focusing on the launch of my other pet project, KidMoguls (teaching kids how to blog), so finding that 15-20 minutes a day to actually ‘write up’ the daily cool site has been difficult. As a reminder, you can view all the daily cool sites on our archive page.

  • Jake B Feb 17, 2012, 9:47 am

    1. Pretty awesome, very professional.
    2. I would add a slide near the top or center that shows the most recent site.
    3. Perfect.

    • Mike_Corso Feb 17, 2012, 11:12 am

      Interesting idea. FigLeaf folks, how’s that sound?

      Mike

  • PedagoNet Feb 17, 2012, 9:53 am

    Looks concise, rapid loading and eye catching.

    • Mike_Corso Feb 17, 2012, 11:11 am

      PN,

      Same comment as above: I was only asking for your opinion on the design comp (the big image in the post). The new site will not be live for weeks.

      thanks for your input,

      Mike

  • David Feb 17, 2012, 10:02 am

    How do you like the overall look and feel of the design shown above?
    Good

    What would you change to make it better?
    Nothing

    Do you like the new direction of Cool Site of the Day?
    Yes

    If not, how would you change it?
    Using NoScript, noticed a lot of scripts running in background. Is this really necessary to run a website, or is it because I’m coming by Yahoo ?

    Are you interested in becoming a moderator?
    I don’t know what a moderator is.

    • Mike_Corso Feb 17, 2012, 11:10 am

      David,

      Just to clarify–I was only asking for your opinion on the design comp (the big image in the post). The new site will not be live for weeks.

      Thanks,

      Mike

  • Date Ideas Feb 17, 2012, 10:15 am

    The new design looks fantastic! It was long overdue and well worth the wait. My advice is this: make sure to stay unique. The last thing the Internet needs is another DMOZ that people only care about for SEO and which end-users don’t use.

    • Mike_Corso Feb 17, 2012, 11:08 am

      Great point, DI. Now, as far as unique–please elaborate. What can we do (learn from) as we mashup all the great things we see from sites like ‘StumbleUpon’ , MakeUseOf, ReadWriteWeb, BOTW.org, Mashable, Digg, Webbys, Techmeme, etc.

      Mike

  • Alex Mercer Feb 17, 2012, 10:18 am

    The new look is great! Love it.

  • Owais Siddiqui Feb 17, 2012, 10:29 am

    Q1. How do you like the overall look and feel of the design shown above?
    A. pretty neat and the site loads faster which makes me happy.
    Q2. What would you change to make it better?
    A. Add a video as most kids prefer to watch than read.
    Q3. Do you like the new direction of Cool Site of the Day? If not, how would you change it?
    A I liked it then and I like it now as well. If you want to add something then adding a forum would be something that I would do.
    Q4. Are you interested in becoming a moderator?
    A. A definite YES 🙂

  • Lakestalker Feb 17, 2012, 10:35 am

    1. How do you like the overall look and feel of the design shown above?
    It is a new look that I think will enhance the site.

    2. What would you change to make it better?
    I think it’s too early to say. I’ll answer that in a month or two after I see how it feels after I get used to it.

    3. Do you like the new direction of Cool Site of the Day? If not, how would you change it?
    I do like this new direction. Again, I’d prefer to wait until I get used to the current changes.

    4. Are you interested in becoming a moderator?
    If I can be of service… of course!

  • Sylvia Feb 17, 2012, 10:54 am

    How do you like the overall look and feel of the design shown above?
    Great! Very clean appearance.

    What would you change to make it better?
    Add links to your Facebook & Twitter accounts

    Do you like the new direction of Cool Site of the Day?
    Yes:)

    Are you interested in becoming a moderator?
    Sure, I can’t say no to Mike

  • DWaters Feb 17, 2012, 12:12 pm

    I like the new look of col site of the day. The blue colora are relaxing and easy to read. I do not have any change suggestions although I may have some later. I think the idea of treaching kids about bloggin is excellent.
    Thanks -David

  • Charlotte Feb 17, 2012, 1:07 pm

    1. Love it! Clean and lively.
    2. Not sure.
    3. Yes.
    4. No…great idea but already stretched too thin.

    Great work. Absolutely love the Kid Moguls idea – fantastic!

  • Norton Feb 17, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Looks too busy. I think your trying to cover too much. How about a section for all the new and best of APPS.
    Keep it simple and easy to read fast. Maybe instead of one site, have multiple sites that are short and to the point of one subject

  • Christopher Feb 17, 2012, 1:55 pm

    Looks great I love it!

  • Miriam Preissel Feb 17, 2012, 3:13 pm

    I really like the new design a lot. I can’t see anything I’d do differently, it really pulls you in and leads to the next action nicely. I would be interested in moderating, but would need to know more. Good job! Miriam

  • jdmajor Feb 17, 2012, 5:07 pm

    I really like the upper part, but the bottom part below the “But Wait, there’s more cool stuff” has got to go! It doesn’t look right compared to the top part and the colors are all wrong.
    from:
    http://www.jdvisions.com
    http://www.seadiver.net
    http://www.aquarium-guru.com
    http://www.thedogmuse.com

  • Diane Feb 17, 2012, 5:25 pm

    I wish I was more competitive. I know I’m cool. Congratulations on the win. You’ve earned it. Site looks great.

  • Murray Geddes Feb 17, 2012, 6:03 pm

    Cool.Add some flash,video,audio for effect.

  • Richard Anthony Feb 17, 2012, 9:16 pm

    1. Overall look and feel of the design — neat, clean, modern. But with so many choices sort of confusing. I don’t want to be told, “Get Ready to See Something Cool” — I want to see: “Here’s the Cool Site of the Day!” immediately and straightaway, with everything else subordinate to that.

    2. Give the Cool Site of the Day visual dominance.

    3. Yes, I like the new direction of Cool Site of the Day, that you’re out to improve it and that you’re inviting input from your audience.

    4. Don’t know the duties of a moderator but with limited time, probably more than I can handle.

    • Mike_Corso Feb 18, 2012, 12:40 pm

      Great input, Richard. Thank you!

      Mike

  • Michael Freeman Feb 17, 2012, 9:59 pm

    Hire me.

    • Mike_Corso Feb 18, 2012, 12:40 pm

      For what?

  • Buffet Feb 18, 2012, 1:04 am

    DO NOT change anything. Leave it exactly as it’s always been. That’s how things get screwed up!
    Remember, “The worst enemy of ‘good’ – is ‘better’.

  • Frank Stowers Feb 18, 2012, 9:26 am

    Been missing you. I like the new design

  • Graham C Feb 18, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Mike – really like the new look & feel. You’ve done a fantastic job right from the the humble beginnings way back when.

    Like Frank, I’ve been missing the daily links and still check things out and vote as part of my routine.

    I’m not sure if I would change anything – this layout gives people options about what they want to see. The new UI is effective and easy to read which says something. Most sites push as much in your face as they possibly can without using too much real-estate on the top part of the screen.

    Moderator? Yes, I’d love to!

  • Tamie Feb 19, 2012, 12:47 am

    1.TOO professional
    2.It should look more FUN
    3.Real Great
    4.TOTES!

  • kurtulus Feb 19, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Cool.Add some flash,video,audio for effect Thank you

  • Doc Feb 20, 2012, 10:48 pm

    * The look and feel of the design is very good. It has the PoP and Grab look.
    * I like direction Mike, but you have always keep things fresh and you just keep on growing. streamlining, going to a 5 star ratings, using different categories, and using moderators will help a ton, and there are a lot of great sites that may get featured now, that might not have.
    * I wish I had time to be a moderator, or I would.
    * Thanks Mike, Keep up the great work!

  • Tablice interaktywne Feb 21, 2012, 7:53 am

    Really clean and slick. I love webpages like that. I think it is improving cro as well.

  • Don Gallagher Feb 21, 2012, 6:27 pm

    No personal comment, other than to
    say I like things as they are, and look
    forward to your resumption of the
    ” Daily Cool Sites ” whenever.
    Good to seeing you moving forward
    though with new projects.
    Don

  • Cathy Mathews Feb 24, 2012, 12:17 pm

    I used to enjoy visiting the “cool” site of the day, but lately it seems the “cool” sites are promoting products. I liked visiting sites that were educational/fun/unusual. Now it just seems like someone is trying to sell you something you don’t need. boo

    • Mike_Corso Feb 27, 2012, 12:17 pm

      I hate to hear that–have you looked in the archive to see all the fun, educational sites we’ve been featuring lately?

      Mike

  • Caleb Mar 18, 2012, 1:16 am

    That new design is definitely more befitting of what this site is about!

    Though i am curious to know what drove you away from WordPress as this new theme looks like it could have been WP…also what are the details on becoming a moderator ❓

    • Mike_Corso Mar 19, 2012, 10:49 am

      The new design is not live yet. We’re moving Cool Site of the Day over to the commonspot CMS by PaperThin because we won their contest for a site makeover. As for moderators, I’m looking for a group of 10 or 20 volunteers to tag and rate sites before they are seen by random visitors. I’ll be sending out an email about this soon. Thanks for your interest.

      Mike

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