∞ Welcome to The Loop 2.0

The Loop turned two years old in June and this is by far the biggest change the site has seen since its launch. I wanted to take a couple of minutes to explain the changes and why they were made.

In April, I started looking at the site the way a reader would see it, not the way the owner would see it. To be blunt, I didn’t like what I saw and knew that something needed to change.

The site looked cluttered, and it was hard for a reader to enjoy a story. This is the last thing I wanted for The Loop.

So, we spent the last few months coming up with a solution that would be better for the reader, better for our sponsors, and still allow us to make a living.

Memberships

I’ve had many people come to me over the past two years and offer to send me money to help support the site. I want to thank you all for doing that. While I never took anyone up on the offer, it made me feel like I was on the right track with what I was delivering.

Now, I am offering a membership to The Loop. It costs $3 per month and can be billed to your PayPal account or your credit card (You don’t have to be a PayPal member).

So, what do you get if you become a member? Well, the most important thing is that you support the great writing you’ve come to expect from Peter and me, but in a cleaner, easier to read format.

I will also give each subscriber a full text RSS so you can read the site in your favorite news reader, at your leisure.

All of the content will remain free on The Loop. There will not be any walled-off areas and there will still be a truncated RSS feed available to everyone for free.

Sponsorships

RSS Sponsorships are the only way for companies to directly reach The Loop’s readership. More information on the sponsorships is available elsewhere on the site, so I won’t get into a lot of detail here.

Navigating the site

From the homepage, you can click on any of the icons next to a story to view its page. There you can leave a comment or use one of the social media buttons to share the story with your friends.

The only story type that is different from the rest is the “Linked” story. With these stories you click on the headline and you go to the external Web site. The icon next to these stories is a link, so it’s easy to recognize.

Advertising

First, I have to give a big thanks to all of my advertisers over the past couple of years. Companies like Pixelmator and Marketcircle have been with me since day one and others like SecureMac and Mac Game Store have been around for a long time.

Sincerely, thank you all.

Instead of packing The Loop with ads, I am partnering with Fusion Ads to have one small ad on the site. This tile is in the sidebar and will show on every page. This leaves the content of the story free from any type of advertising at all.

That is the only image-based advertisement that will be on The Loop.

Chris Bowler, the owner of Fusion, and I completely agree on what advertising should be and how it should be implemented. I’m looking forward to a long relationship between Fusion and The Loop.

The Design and thank you

I owe a huge thanks to Phil Letourneau who built the new site from the ground up. He put up with my nitpicking and said “no” on many occasions to my silly design ideas.

Much respect for the design and code, Phil.

You may notice that some of the posts on the site resemble John Gruber’s Daring Fireball linked list posts. I actually spoke with John on several occasions about having these types of posts and lots of other things to do with the site. Thanks John.

Shawn Blanc answered quite a few questions on his membership model, which I adopted for The Loop. Thanks Shawn.

Rick Fillion from Oomph has written so much code for the site over the last couple of years, I’m sure he cringes when he sees my number calling. Much respect Rick.

Last, but not least, I’d like to thank you, the reader. I truly appreciate every single comment, share, and retweet for The Loop. Never underestimate how much spreading the word about your favorite Web site means to the people who run it. It means a lot.



  • looks great!

  • Love it. And I can comment again! I look forward to you putting to good use.

  • Much better…

    A few more ads than just the one would work as well, just not the full mess (and popovers) of before.

  • That was the fastest three hours I’ve ever experienced…

    Love it, Jim.

  • Scrumplebum

    Its a little “too” bare, white space is great, but this is just a little too much.

    • Scrumplebum

      Better, a neutral gray is easier on the eyes than a bright white.

    • Scrumplebum

      Better, a neutral gray is easier on the eyes than a bright white.

  • I like it. It’s nice, clean readable, focusing on the content.

  • Lame. There’s no… erm, hang on I’ll find something wrong around here. But whatever, ★☆☆☆☆!

    Ok seriously: beautiful relaunch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a large site go this simple. I’m surprised there isn’t even much in the way of menu navigation, categories, etc.

    • I don’t think most regular people even click through archive/category pages … so why clutter it up ?

  • Steven Fisher

    I want to like the new site, and there’s a lot of great things happening. But on my Mac the blue bar is blocking part of the first story on the main page, even after flushing the cache and a rain dance.

    It’s just me, right? Safari 5.1 on a Mac.

    Also, I’m seeing full width stories. On a 21″ screen, this is just too wide. I can only imagine what it’ll look like on a 24 or 28″ screen.

    • The beard is probably doing some unauthorized tweaking .. its the same for me.

      • Steven Fisher

        Try refreshing now. After refreshing like mad for twenty minutes, it appears to be fixed just now. (You’re welcome for the extra hits!)

  • “great writing from Peter and I?”

    C’mon now. You cannot talk about great writing with such an offending wrong grammar.

    • azulum

      it’s called hypercorrection and it’s caused by grammarians like yourself. cases in english are dying. be offended.

    • Peter Cohen

      Your write, of course. It should bee “me and Peter.”

  • Anonymous

    Love the new look, and love that you queried John Gruber about it: I’ve always loved the design of Daring Fireball, and I’m very happy to see the new Loop.

  • Looks good. Thanks for grooming the site. 

    Now, about that beard…

  • Awesome, much nicer design! Congrats. 

  • Jake

    Not “Peter and I”, it’s “Peter and me”. When in doubt drop the first name (Peter) and say the sentence aloud both ways. It becomes obvious which is correct.

    • Fixed, thanks.

      • Mark Dalrymple

        I vote for a free day of Loop Prime Gold™ for every typo found 🙂

  • Great looking site, very readable, very enjoyable. Though, it kept me looking for that damn Tumblr “follow” button everywhere 😛

    Seriously, I like it, especially the integration of Fusion Ads, they just gained a great new member and I actually enjoy their ads, or as kids cats today would say: “They are relevant to my interests.”

    Oh and BTW: Here, take my money.

  • Congratulations on the redesign!

  • Anonymous

    Love it! Much cleaner than the previous.

  • Oliver

    I wish other blogs and newspapers would do a subscription model with full RSS.  I would be a paid subscriber to many more sights just based on this.  I’ve never read The Loop before, but based on this post, I will start doing so now. – Oliver

  • The Klondike Kids

    Congratulations Jim, it looks amazing!!!

  • The Klondike Kids

    Congratulations Jim, it looks amazing!!!

  • Lawrence Velázquez

    Looks great, guys 🙂

  • azulum

    thank you for getting rid of those damned popover ads. now i’ll actually be able to tolerate reading this site.

  • azulum

    thank you for getting rid of those damned popover ads. now i’ll actually be able to tolerate reading this site.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant. I love the new look so much. Great work!

  • Mel

    Nice one!  The weeding & deadheading worked out well

  • Mel

    Nice one!  The weeding & deadheading worked out well

  • Totally surprised. I thought I was at the wrong site or something. I ad actually gotten used to the ads — didn’t mind many except the pop-up ones. 🙂

    I’m sure I’ll get used to the minimalism. So far, so good! 🙂

  • As someone who has criticised the amount of space devoted to ads in the past, I have to say this looks much nicer and is far more readable. Good job.

  • I love that the page-spanning gradient darkens the page as you scroll down. Very subtle… especially on the homepage.

    Love the minimalist design! (The only real nit is that the disqus comment system often takes 20-30 seconds to pop in.)

    • Yeah, disqus is having some difficulty. I’m looking at that. 

  • Disabled my ad blocker for the site. 

  • desertrat

    The website’s new appearance is fantastic! It allows effortless viewing without any distractions. The old design was indeed too distracting and made it difficult to enjoy the content.

    Excellent job! I wish all Mac news sites had this clean of a design.

  • Anonymous

    Very nice design!  Very calming.  I like it.  Thanks too for changing the behavior of whatever was happening on my iPad previously.

  • Michael

    Congrats, the new design is great. I really hope the model works too.

  • Frank P.

    Christ I wish my desk could be 1/10th as clean as the new layout (probably some error in sentence structure there but it’s the end of the..too tired 😉 Congrats guys. Long life to the Loop team.

  • It looks a little bit too plain to me, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

    What I miss most is seeing the “# comments” indication on the main page, under each post.

    It would also be nice to be able to see the normal site when visiting from an iPad – the iPad has enough screen space that I don’t need a pared-down ‘lite’ version.

    Cheers!

    • Thanks for the feedback Stephanie. The iPad issue should be fixed now. That was an oversight on my part when the site launched.

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful re-design.

    I don’t mind ads—after all, they pay for the content. But I always hated those pop-over ads—and let’s face it, people are unlikely to buy a product or service from an advertiser they find annoying.

    With just one ad per page, that advertiser is far more likely to reader’s attention. I hope the new model works out financially for you.

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful re-design.

    I don’t mind ads—after all, they pay for the content. But I always hated those pop-over ads—and let’s face it, people are unlikely to buy a product or service from an advertiser they find annoying.

    With just one ad per page, that advertiser is far more likely to reader’s attention. I hope the new model works out financially for you.

  • Thanks for the make-over.  It is much preferred.

    As a Gruber fan, I have to say I like your redesign.  It loads fast, scrolls fast and I don’t have to have any ad-blockers or should I say Flash-blockers?   Anyway, signed up for the full year subscription.

    Keep up the great work Jim & Peter!

    Cheers!

    —RASTER (aka Jeff Koffel)

  • Thanks for the make-over.  It is much preferred.

    As a Gruber fan, I have to say I like your redesign.  It loads fast, scrolls fast and I don’t have to have any ad-blockers or should I say Flash-blockers?   Anyway, signed up for the full year subscription.

    Keep up the great work Jim & Peter!

    Cheers!

    —RASTER (aka Jeff Koffel)

  • Vamsmack

    I really like the new design of the site. It just looks brilliant. Thanks for giving me a way to support you guys too, the problem I have now is the site is so damn pretty I don’t really think I need the full text RSS feed.

    I really hope this new model works well for you guys and by the sounds of things with the feed sponsorships all being sold already I think you’re onto a winner. 

    • It’s a dilemma, isn’t it? The site looks so damn great right now, I can’t help but read everything there. Then again, I love the discussions here on The Loop, which is why I visit the site most of the time anyway.I really didn’t mind the ads on The Loop, as I knew their purpose and most of the products advertised were great.

  • Amazing, folks. Great work!

  • If only we saw the raw site directly and didn’t have to scroll all the way to the bottom to turn off the horrible WPTouch theme.

  • Lovely redesign. It would be nice if it was more obvious that you clicked on the headline to read the original quoted piece and some visual indicator that you can or that there are comments on the article. 

    • Making those links is something I wrestled with and couldn’t come up with a good way to do it besides the icons.

      As for the comments — that was a choice I made to make the page load faster. The script to show the number of comments takes up a lot of resources, unfortunately.

  • Thank you all for the comments, suggestions and feedback!