My New Nutrition Site

January 16th, 2008 by Chris

I finally have something to blog about, after awhile of not getting any inspiration. I’ve finally launched a new site (more or less). a nutrition quiz site.

I am really into nutrition, both as I like to cook and I like to look good naked. So I’ve been “into” nutrition for awhile and was hit with a little inspiration last Spring. People are dumb, especially when it comes to food. Most people have no idea what food is healthy or not. Oh, they have ideas, but in general they haven’t a clue, or they don’t think about the issue enough. People think muffins are healthier than doughnuts because they contain fruit, or they think that chicken parmesean is healthier than a grilled sirloin steak because it has been so ingrained in their head that chicken is good and beef is bad. Food that is often marketed as healthy, often has as much added sugar as a candy bar, and food that is traditionally seen as unhealthy, isn’t always that bad.

I also had the idea that people learned the best through questions. If you tell someone something, okay, they hear you, but maybe they don’t fully comprehend, maybe it goes in one ear and out the other. If you ask them a question you force them to engage their brain and think about a topic. So, in that regard, I think a quiz format such as on my site is the best way to teach people, hence the goal of the site is to change the way people think about food, by making them use the same critical thinking skills they use when picking a quiz answer to make healthy choices when eating at restaurants or doing grocery shopping.

Of course, the site also has the goal of making me money. I feel though that by having a non-monetary goal helps all aspects of managing the site. If my goal is not just to make money, but to teach people and make the site easy and usable, hopefully that shows through and in the end results in greater success.

I hired Brainyminds, (you may know them as Stymiee and Ses5909) to do this site for me, and I gave them the goal of making it very Web 2.0-ish in design, and I’m quite pleased with the look and feel. This is my first truly Web 2.0 site and so everything about it was made from a standpoint of viral marketing and community involvement.

The site also includes a full nutritional database, but unlike typical such sites out there that use Brute Force SEO combined with a public domain nutrition database to gain traffic, I made the conscious decision to not do that, to not put the database in a browsable format. The goal here is to promote the quizzes, and I did not want to do anything that could perhaps end up hurting the site (duplicate content and all that). We’ll see if it pays off.

So, what makes this site good from a money making standpoint? Well, obviously the subject matter is good as it gets high paying advertisements and CPM rates. The weight loss field in general gives some of the best eCPM rates on the Internet.

Then there is the content of the site. The content is just simple quizzes, which I make up. It isn’t super easy to think of new quizzes, but neither is it super hard, and all the rest of the content is provided by users. Once I reach a critical mass of quizzes, I will have to do almost no work on the site other than simple moderation. Also, as far as my workload goes, I have a really fancy and easy to use backend with the site that makes managing/adding quizzes a breeze.

Finally, there is the interactive nature of quizzes themselves. By engaging the user in a test like a quiz you increase the page-views-per-visitor metric, which can result in an increase in ad revenue. Additionally you appeal to their competitive side which should, hopefully encourage them to share quizzes with their friends.

I’m hoping all of those factors come together into a perfect storm for this site, and ideally eventually some large company will wish to buy it from me for a large sum of money, but even if that doesn’t happen I could see this site becoming one of my top earners.

For other publishers, I think this site offers a great example of a way to be a website publisher when you’re not actually publishing any actual content. Not every site has to be article driven (and yes, I have a few articles on this site), or made with public domain or bought content, or any of the other typical strategies. You can build a site around a service, or some sort of interactive activity, and do just as well or better.

I also think it is a good example of how to swing for the fences. I paid programmers/designers better than myself to do this, because I wanted something better than what I could produce. I’m using bought stock photos for the quizzes, I added many additional little usability features, and I made sure everything was done to a high standard. Even though I’m a little guy, my goal here was to make the site look like it was run by a bigger company.

There are still some changes and tweaks to make of course, some minor additions, and I need to add dozens and dozens more quizzes, but the work is mostly done, and the site is ready as this point for public use. If you have any comments or suggestions (or quiz ideas) I’d appreciate the feedback.

11 Responses to “My New Nutrition Site”

  1. Kyle  Says:

    Ok, I think you already know I absolutely love the idea and logo. I just feel your execution is off.

    I definitely don’t like the tabbed feature for the quizzes. In my opinion, it is annoying…I think a bit more brainstorming would yield some better alternatives. I realize this does generate more impressions though.

    You mention how this is your first all out web 2.0 site. I am very surprised a user-registration/community aspect isn’t shown at launch. Are you planning on implementing this? I don’t mean just your usual vbulletin forum, but an entire system where users comment/submit content/have a profile/earn points/get acknowledged publicly/ for their work and dedication to your site.

    I think the current adsense displays are saturating the pages, especially the front page.

    Overall, I think you need to take this site a step further. When comparing NutriQuiz to your other sites, YES it is an upgrade as far as user interaction goes. However, when compared to what I feel the standard is (feature examples stated above), it is extremely far behind.

  2. Chris  Says:

    Well, I think we’re running under slightly different definitions of Web 2.0, user submitted content, outside of the forums (which could be expanded into blogs/wikis with vbulletin add-ons, and vb7 is looking a lot like myspace/social media sites, so I wouldn’t say “Just vbulletin”), has never been intended for this site. Users can certainly submit quiz ideas, but having them actually submit quizzes would be asking for a bit much considering there is image work and fact checking involved with making them. I consider it web 2.0 through the interactivity of the quizzes, the integration with social networking sites. The prominent user membership commenting, and of course the design.

    The homepage will have textual content added to it that should lessen the feeling of too much adsense.

  3. Kyle  Says:

    Ok that is fair, but realize I am commenting on the site you launched, not what was intended.

    If user submitted content outside of the forums was never intended, then its a critique that doesn’t apply even though I still feel it is crucial. I never meant actually SUBMITTING quizzes… but articles and comments count as content.

    By just vbulletin, I’m referring to vbulletin in its current launch state on your site, not what it is becoming or the add-ons and mods you may or may not install.

    In a nutshell, I think you’re launching too early. More attention to presenting your brand and purpose need to be displayed. Probably a re-design too…

    All of this is centered towards your desire to make it look like a bigger company. I don’t think that is being demonstrated as well as it could be.

    Not only is the name awesome, but the domain was available. I just think it is time you took a step up in design and branding, as this project deserves it and needs it. You’ve talked about this area before, how certain web products get tons of hype because they are properly represented. NutriQuiz deserves that.

  4. Chris  Says:

    Ahh well, there is a little more confusion…

    This isn’t my “big launch” this is my “soft launch.”

    This is my launch to my fellow website publishers, not the public at large. I won’t be doing any heavy promotion on it yet, I want at least 100 quizzes for then, and I have 13 or 14 now. Once I reach that stage I plan a promotion blitz with social media, bloggers, and press releases. Consider it a beta if you will. It is to the point where I want the public to play with it, but not quite for wide release.

    Though, having it seem like a bigger company isn’t my main goal. I said that in my blog as an example of what you can do by putting more effort into it. I do think it looks like the product of a larger company, but large is subjective afterall and I’m not talking about say looking like the product of a billion dollar publishing conglomerate.

    I also will not be doing any design changes, I am very pleased with the design and everyone else I’ve asked mirrors my thoughts. I may tweak ad placements, but the overall design is firm.

  5. Chris  Says:

    Also in regards to the other community features, you need to be careful with doing too much at launch. Just like how it is recommended you do not open a new forum with dozens of subforums, the vast complexity and depth of your forum will make it seem emptier, which is not conducive to growth. You need to add features and capacity gradually as your community grows.

  6. sl  Says:

    hey, nice site. One suggestion I have is to make the next quiz show up on the same page as the answer to the previous quiz. It was a bit of a bugger to click the next quiz link when I was done. Just a thought.

    Also, I just happened upon your blog and was wondering if you could share some of the other sites you have developed and manage. Email me or whatever. Take care :)

  7. Deron Sizemore  Says:

    Very nice looking site Chris. Congrats on the soft launch. :)

  8. ToddW  Says:

    Remove the google ad at the top. Even on my 30″ display I have to scroll down to read and that’s going to be TERRIBLE on a smaller monitor.

    Looking good so far.

  9. Nico  Says:

    The design looks good…simple and fresh. I don’t like the Apple logo much though.

    Is an interesting site and concept. Im definitely interested in knowing how the site will perform.

    Just curious, but how do you arrived to the conclusion that it could be one your top earners?

    BTW: the “like to cook” link doesn’t work.

  10. Sean Spurr  Says:

    Cool idea. If you can get a buzz should get some good quality traffic.

    Designs wise I think some improvements are needed.
    - Text in top nav seems too high, needs to be brought down a few pixels. (I use Firefox 2.0)
    - Text bit of the logo is awesome, the apple has a weird facial expression though and it somehow seems tacky. Good idea to use an apple face though.
    - One of the top adsense ads on the homepage has gotta go. I know my sites are full of ads, but this is a brand new site, read your own advice.
    - Automatic choosing upon clicking the option would be best way, rather than clicking choose. (I love the sad apple that comes up when you get it wrong though, as well as answer description and comments bit)
    - I’m not keen on the background, especially how it merges with the curved corners at the top.
    - Not keen on how the articles section is displayed
    - Or the quizzes page
    - Find nutrition info search doesn’t work on the forums

    I’ll leave it for you and others to make suggestions for content and community matters.

  11. Yale  Says:

    Hey Chris,

    Great site in business plan and concept. I think once you work on the execution a bit more it could be profitable.

    I was curious, how much did Stymee charge in creating a web 2.0 enabled site like that?

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