When Psdtuts+ started a bit more than a year ago it was a plain jane HTML site with three tutorials on it, a brown background and a bizarre bowl of soup and spoon image. We've come along way since then and the site now has three sister sites, two plus programs, a manager, fifty thousand daily visitors and a heck of a reputation for tutorials! It's also grown a lot in content, we've bolted a lot of improvements and features, and there are more to come as the site evolves from a humble blog into a Photoshop hub.
The Timemachine: How TUTS used to look ...
For those readers who don't remember the old days of a browner Psdtuts+ - here's a look back at where we've been!
A Design Refinement
As you have probably noticed the new design is more of a refinement than a redesign. That's because there is a lot our old theme did right - big clear tutorials, large preview images, jam packed sidebar, bold logo. The new theme takes those elements and tidies them up a bit more so we have room to expand. It also adds quite a few subtle new features:
We've got tabs now so that we can grow the site and add new sections - freebies, videos, ...
We've got a breadcrumb trail so you can keep track of where you are as well as where you've been.
Authors are what make TUTS great, so in our new design we've given them more prominence. When you read a tutorial the first thing you'll see is a linkup and bio of the author. This means that writing for TUTS is also now an even better way to get exposure and traffic!
A Better User Link Feed
Our community links feature has become both widely used and widely reproduced. So a few week ago we hired ace plugin Just the Web to develop a plugin to improve the submission/approval process. Next week we'll be making that plugin freely available via ThemeForest / NETTUTS
Visual Related Posts
I actually grabbed this idea from one of my favourite tutorial sites - Tutorial9 - as it's a great way to keep readers going when they finish reading a tutorial.
Plus Login on the Page
We've also now added an actual plus login at the bottom of every page. You'll still need to cross into the plus system to download the files, but it's a step to better integrating the two systems.
Freebies, Videos and Expansion!
Probably the biggest change in the new theme is that we're adding a directory of free downloads to every site. Taking a leaf out of the fabulous Brusheezy and Qbrushes we've created a small directory where the site editor for each site will be adding free downloads. For Psdtuts+ we'll be starting with brushes and looking at adding actions, shapes and other Photoshop add-ons. For each successive site we'll aggregate a different type of freebie.
We've also now added a Videos category. Our video plan is still fairly limited, but over time we plan to grow it so that there is a lot more viewable content on all our sites. For the moment we'll be mixing awesome web content with some of our own Psdtuts+ specials.
So what are we working on currently? Well there's a lot of things we want to bring to TUTS including versions in other languages, forums (I know I've been promising that since forever), an affiliate program for TUTS+ and a batch of new TUTS sites.
Meet the TUTS Team
During these last months we've also been improving the team who run these awesome sites. So let me introduce:
Skellie - The TUTS Manager!
We are VERY proud to have former FreelanceSwitch editor and super talented blogger Skellie managing the TUTS sites. She took over about a month and a half ago and it's been smooth sailing all the way. As TUTS Manager Skellie is working on our expansion plans, coordinating site editors and making the whole operation more and more efficient.
Derek Herman - HTML / CSS / WordPress Commander
Everything you see before you has been coded up by the fabulous Derek Herman of Valen Designs. These days Derek and I work together a lot to build most of the Envato sites you see / will be seeing. He's the best front-end coder I've ever met and I'm very proud to have my design work chopped up by his formidable skills.
Chris Moyer - PHP Pathfinder
From setting up our Plus programs to keeping the sites up under the ridiculously heavy traffic loads to building new writer / editor infrastructure, Chris Moyer's keyboard controls all and without him we'd be lost! You can find Chris at InaRow!
Sean Hodge, Joel Falconer and Jeffrey Way - Editors Extraordinairre!
And of course the guys you are most familiar with, our Site Editors - who bravely face the trials of WordPress day in and day out to bring us our daily TUTS fix. Thanks guys!!!
I don't get to write tutorials anymore (though I keep hoping that's going to change soon) but I did design this new theme - that is if you like it. If you don't like it ... then ... erm ... it was someone else pretending to be me ...
So enjoy the new theme! May it house a thousand amazing tutorials and a hundred cool articles! If you notice any hiccups - comment them here and we'll be working on fixing any little issues :-)