Back in April we stated InfoBarrel 4.0 would be out within 90 days. Unfortunately we will be missing that deadline, but hopefully by not too long.
IB 4.0 is going to be all the things you love about InfoBarrel in it’s current state, but modernized, and geared more towards building personal brands.
Personal Brand Development
While InfoBarrel will still have the same revenue share as in the past, we want to move some of the focus to personal brand development. As a writer, one of your most important assets is your ability to distribute your story after publishing. The new version of InfoBarrel will be less cluttered and will put more focus on helping you build your social media presence so when you publish a story, you have the appropriate channels to distribute it.
We will also be offering up front paid opportunities to proven authors here on InfoBarrel as well as on the number of other magazines and online platforms we operate.
New Site Structure
InfoBarrel has been publishing user based content since 2008, we’ve published well over 100,000 pieces of content in that time. As time has progressed our quality standards have improved, to make sure the best content gets the most exposure we are going to be moving to a new format.
All existing content will be moved to Open.InfoBarrel.com and the www will be our showcase platform where hand selected pieces that provide in depth value to readers will be published. Outstanding content from the past will definitely be migrated over.
Instead of doing preapproved accounts like in the past, authors will be able to apply to be a subject matter expert on a category - these pieces, while they will still be reviewed will go to the respective category on the www side.
For the most part Open.InfoBarrel.com will remain more or less the same in terms of rules as InfoBarrel is now. Content on the open will publish immediately, with a few caveats. While these articles will go live immediately, they will not contain ads or be indexed by search engines until they can be reviewed by an editor.
Each major category will have opportunities for section ambassadors. These ambassadors will get access to social media strategies and be responsible for the social media presence for their respective section. They will also help select features for their respective section. If this is something you might be interested, take a look at our main categories and touch base with us via Private Message.
Current events are a great source for content. Previously we had a no news policy. With IB 4.0, Category Ambassadors will be able to appoint writers to write news for their respected category.
We’ve found that the old rules limited a lot of great opportunities to share more information with our readers. In IB 4.0 the linking rules will be out the window, to help build better experiences for our readers as well as making it easier to build curated lists. Spammers and link builders will have their content removed.
Revised Content Editor
Our editor has had a few bugs for quite some time. We've fixed all these bugs in the new version and while it will mostly look similar, it will work slightly differently and should provide less headaches.
Less Cluttered Article Pages
The last thing I’m going to talk about is the current article page. The new version will have all of the clutter removed with the focus being on the content. Ads will be inserted within the body of your article automatically in a way that should prevent us from falling into any problems with search engines for being too ad focused.
We are super excited about rolling out this new version and growing along side you.
We have been quiet on updates for a little while but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been hard at work on bringing new things to InfoBarrel. Over the last few months, we have been working on rebuilding the entire site. Below are some of the highlights.
The design of InfoBarrel has clearly become a bit dated. Everything is looking a little cluttered in it’s current form. The new design will take advantage of responsive design and will expand and contract depending on your screen resolution. We will no longer have a subdomain for mobile and everything will be accessed the same via the standard www URL. Article pages will be less cluttered with only the most important information being listed.
We know our previous editor had a few hiccups in certain browsers. We have reconsidered how we want things to work and have decided that our core focus moving forward will be on user experience. As a result we’ve simplified some of our technology so that it is easier to use and is less susceptible to glitches.
New Article Layout
Your content should be the start of the page, not a million other widgets and distractions. We have cleaned up the overall look of the page making you and your content the star. This will lead to more page views and a lower bounce rate.
Below is a screen shot of an unfitted article column.
The ads will run horizontally across the article no longer interfering with your article layout. Also note the author being highlighted above the article complete with their social links.
New Focus on Building Writer’s Influence
As a writer, the utmost important thing is to build an audience who care what you have to say. You could write the most amazing piece of content in the world, but if there is nobody there to read it, what was the point. To assist writers, we are making your social platforms a larger focus. As your content portfolio grows, your influence should grow with it.
New Writing Policies
While we don’t have all the writing policies ironed out yet, a few of our policies sometimes limited writers from creating really amazing content that may link to quality resources. We are going to be cleaning up our rules to try and make the art of creating amazing content that much easier.
What do you think?
Prior to today, the image our system would select to show in the category pages was chosen at random. Since this isn't always ideal, we've added a feature so you can choose which image is used in situations where IB randomly selects an image to represent your article.
The home page features will still be manually chosen, so this won't represent what shows up if you are home page featured.
To select which image gets featured, go inside the IB editor and scroll down until you see the elements/image tabs on the right hand side.
Beside the element tab is the image tab. Inside the image tab you will see a button called feature. Click that and you will select that image to be featured.
Last week we revealed the new system for evaluating links within content. Originally we had set the bar a little bit high and after listening to feedback we've made putting links in your content a little less restrictive.
Links in Signatures
Previously, if the links in your signature had a trust flow less than 40 and a trust ratio less than .40, the links were removed.
After reviewing domains in these neighbourhoods, we have decided to reduce these numbers to a trust flow of 30 and a trust ratio of .30.
Links in the Article Body
Previously links that had a ratio under .40 were removed entirely from an article. To make this less restrictive we've reduced the trust ratio down to .30. Domains with trust flow under 40 will remain no follow, while domains with a trust flow over 40 will remain do follow.
We have also updated our editorial guidelines to reflect these changes
Thanks for the feedback everybody!
As Bob Dylan said, “Times they are a-changing”. When we first created InfoBarrel we set out to create a web platform where writers of all walks of life could come create amazing content that helped people from around the world solve a problem.
We launched in 2008 with a vision in mind, but had no idea how quickly things would take off. The site grew so fast that at one point we were publishing 150 unique articles each and every day. We were also turning away 150 articles that didn’t meet our quality standards.
As we grew, we went through highs and lows. While we offered an extremely generous revenue share, many users also came to use us as a means to build links for their web properties. While we wanted to focus on quality content, with the Internet, marketers are always going to try and find a way to abuse the system.
Because of the sheer volume of content it made it difficult to determine which content was good and which content was less than stellar. Content continued to amass and we tried to roll with the punches, implementing new tools to help us keep the content the best we could.
In 2011 Google started implementing more advanced algorithms that devalued content that was thin, or didn’t deliver on what was promised in the title. As a result, many large sites like InfoBarrel saw a huge drop in search engine traffic.
We tightened down our guidelines and tried to continue adding features, but the link spam just kept on coming. InfoBarrel became more and more about the writers and less about the readers of the site.
We want InfoBarrel to cater to both writers as well as the readers. We want IB to be a place that people trust. The first step to changing how people view IB is to remove the heavy marketers and link builders.
This took a lot of thought, but we are realigning the way we look at links now. Using data from Majestic SEO we are going to evaluate every article on IB. The metrics from Majestic SEO that we will be using are Trust Flow and Trust Ratio. You can see some documents at the following URLS:
When we crawl IB and evaluate links, we will be removing any links that point to a site that no longer exists.
If a link points to a URL that has over 40 trust flow, the link will remain.
If a link is under 0.5 Trust Ratio and under 40 trust flow. The link will be removed from the article.
If a link has less that 40 trust flow, but more than 0.5 trust ratio, the link will remain, but it will be no followed.
The goal is to avoid linking to shady neighbourhoods. This not only will have a positive affect on our search presence, it also makes us a much safer place for readers.
For signatures, all links moving forward will be no-followed. If you link to a domain with less than 40 trust flow or under 0.5 trust ratio, the links will be removed entirely.
I know this is a big change, but we think it will make a huge difference in making InfoBarrel a better place for real writers, as well as their readers.
For discussion on this, please visit this forum topic.