Tadah! Welcome to the New BrentOzar.com

If you swing by BrentOzar.com today, you’ll notice that ZOMG EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT!

About six months ago, we embarked on an ambitious project to redesign the entire BrentOzar.com.  We quickly picked PixelSpoke, a web design firm based in Portland, and they knocked it out of the park.

PixelSpoke started by surveying our clients to find out why people called us for SQL Server help and what clients thought of us after the engagements.  Armed with that knowledge, they built marketing stuff like customer profiles and key differentiators.

First Up: Our New Brand and Logo

The first PixelSpoke home run – our new brand and logo:

brent-ozar-unlimited

Way back in 2011 when Jeremiah Peschka, Kendra Little, Tim Ford, and I founded the company, we wanted to use BrentOzar.com as the company’s online home base.  The domain already had a lot of visibility in search engines, and we wanted to keep moving forward with what was working.  However, we wanted clients to know our company was more than just one guy, and that the other founding partners were really equal partners.  We came up with Brent Ozar PLF by using the first letter of each founding partner’s last name (Peschka, Little, Ford).

Nobody ever understood it.  Even a year later, people still asked us in webcasts, “What does the PLF stand for? Is it like Page Life Expectancy?” It raised the wrong kinds of questions, especially since Tim had parted ways and focused on SQLCruise instead.

We changed to Brent Ozar Unlimited® because it’s an amusing play on Limited, which is used in place of LLC in some places.  Brent Ozar Limited was our first pick, and then PixelSpoke suggested Unlimited instead.

The pocket is meant to evoke images of a doctor’s lab coat, only instead of scalpels and tongue depressors, we’ve got a pencil and a pair of glasses in ours.  PixelSpoke blew us away with this – during our online meetings together, they noticed that Jeremiah, Kendra, and I all had glasses, and they wanted to bring that into the logo.  We loved it.  (Someday, we’ll blog about the entire logo selection process because this was one heck of a tough decision. PixelSpoke gave us several amazing choices.)

Next Up: Renovating the Home Page

Our old site’s top bar looked like this:

old-brent-ozar-plf

Who We Are and What We Do made sense to us database people, but as we worked with PixelSpoke more, we came to understand why these headers didn’t work for the general public.  Community was also a tough one – it led to our posters, video archives, and upcoming events, but those aren’t really communities.

The home page of BrentOzar.com was the blog.  This is the way WordPress has always been by default – the home page is the latest blog posts – but it doesn’t make sense now that we’re a consulting company.  (Frankly, I’m amazed anybody ever contacted us for consulting because we just looked like a blog.)

brent-ozar-unlimited-home-page

The first thing you’ll notice on the new home page is the “hero shot” of the four of us (Jes included) done by the wonderfully talented Eric Larsen.  We’d loved our old illustrations by Kendra, who is much more talented than she will admit, but she got tired of us saying, “Can you make me look a little more intelligent?”  We loved Eric’s analog style and sense of humor, and we added his funny illustrations on each person’s bio page too.

Above the hero shot, we’ve now got prominent links for problems we solve, services we provide, and first aid.  First aid is where our free public stuff goes, and of course we’re going to continue to amp up what we give away.

Below the hero shot, we’ve got links for upcoming events and recent posts.  We heard feedback that readers were most interested in these two things, so we wanted to make ’em really easy to access from the home page.

Everything Else is Better, Too

Of course we’re biased, but here’s some of our favorite stuff about the new site:

  • Better Blog Post Headlines – before, people kept leaving comments saying, “Hey, Brent, great post” on things I didn’t write.  That sucked.  Now, right at the top of each post, we’ve got very clear pictures showing who authored the post.
  • Better Free Video Archive – we now include all of our past videos broken up into easier-to-understand categories.
  • Better Descriptions of Our Work – PixelSpoke’s copy-writing gurus blew us away with the way they translated our personalities into the written page.  We’re so happy with the writing on the problems & services pages.
  • Better Newsletter Signup – it’s at the bottom of every page, and the newsletter is now skinned with our web site template, too.
  • Better Poster and Whitepaper Downloads – you’ve loved our posters, and now we bet managers will like our short solutions briefs too.

We could go on and on about how thrilled we are with the new site, and we hope you’ll like it too.  When (not if) you run into bugs, drop us a comment here and we’ll check it out.

Previous Post
TL;DR Use A Picture
Next Post
Trade Offs: Code Quality

41 Comments. Leave new

  • Nice, looks good.

    Reply
  • Nice….! Brent looks trendy in RED…:)

    Reply
  • I just want to be one of the first to express how amazing this place looks now! Well done!

    I spend a bit of time here, so I appreciate that the proprietors have gussied the place up a bit.

    Reply
  • Awesome!!! I like the new look. Keep growing.

    Reply
  • Ana Santellana
    October 29, 2012 10:38 pm

    The website looks outstanding! Great flow and love the new graphics…very eye appealing!!! Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  • Love the new look and the medical theme throughout – works well for your brand – look forward to the post on logo selection, always interesting to see a little behind the scenes of beautiful results.

    Onward and forward – growing as you go!

    Reply
  • I like it!

    Reply
  • Ameena Lalani
    October 30, 2012 4:38 am

    This new site is clean and neat. I like the first aid and emergency theme. It reflects your teams work perfectly. Kind of remind me of red cross who works for the benefit of people and save them from disasters. Help first profit later kind of theme.
    Only one thing, to me, Jes’s picture does not look very much like her. Maybe artist could not catch her dynamic personality. 🙂

    Reply
  • I always thought PLF was Postgres Liberation Front…

    Great site, I think an excellent change. Y’all look very…well, serious…in your new illustrations…

    Reply
  • Shawn Johnson
    October 30, 2012 5:38 am

    I like the new site and went to the bio pages to see the illustrations there…good stuff! The icons for Social Media are missing. The links work, but the icons are just missing. I checked them in both Chrome and IE8.

    Reply
  • Digging the new look! Clean and easier to explore content. Now glasses are cool, awesome!

    Reply
  • First thought was… finally a place where Jes is the same height as everyone else. Looks good.

    Reply
  • Love the new site design and the Doctor/Health theme. Really well done! I do hope that you will have stickers available at the summit! I have an open laptop and ipad case that need a new sticker. 🙂

    Reply
  • Nicole Harrington
    October 30, 2012 8:05 am

    Looks good guys!!!

    Reply
  • I am using Chrome. When I hit CtrlPlus, font size does not increase at all. This is not convenient for people with less than perfect vision.

    Reply
    • AK – ooo, that is a great point. I’ll pass that feedback on to our web design team and see if we can fix that. Obviously that’s something we care about given the fact that we’ve even got our glasses in our logo, heh! I find myself taking my glasses off more and more to read these days, and I’m sure I’m on the short train to Bifocal Town.

      Reply
  • Love the new look!

    Reply
  • Personally, I think the previous illustrations looked more like each of you than the new ones.

    Reply
  • Looks Nice ***

    Reply
  • Congrats on the site redesign. Overall, I like it. I dig the medical/first aid theme. Very cool!

    However there are a few tweaks I would look at…

    1) The archives only seem to go back to Nov 2011. Is there a way to view/search archives older than that?

    2) When you view the commens, they appear squished over to the right, with only about about a 2 inch width.

    3) The new drawings. I have to say, Kendra’s drawings of everyone looked way better. And more importantly, they looked like you, whereas the new ones don’t. Fair enough, I can live with that. But please ask PixelSpoke to redo the drawings for Jeremiah and Kendra, they just don’t look right.

    Reply
    • Steven – thanks, glad you liked it!

      The archives do go back the whole way – just make sure you click on the “Older Posts” link at the top or bottom of each search result page. If there’s a particular post you’re looking for and you’re unable to find it, let me know and I can see what’s up.

      About the comments – that does seem odd because it’s not happening here. What OS & browser are you using, and what version number of each?

      I’m glad you liked Kendra’s drawings so much – I liked ’em too. We wanted something different this time around, and we hired Eric Larsen for his fun, creative interpretations of us. It’s not an exact copy of us – he took artistic liberties – but we like it. Take heart, though – we won’t get plastic surgery to look exactly like his drawings. 😀

      Reply
  • This new design is a huge step forward. Black, red and white combines greatly.

    One point (of taste), I am not a big fan of the font that is being used. Looks a bit grainy/grungy (for want of a better word). And the small i screams too much for attention.

    Reply
    • Cool, thanks! Sorry that you don’t like the font, but we’re particularly big fans of the font. It’s tough to please everyone on the font front – hey, even Comic Sans has its fans.

      Reply
  • The site looks great. One suggestion: If you can make the size of the picture with four of you slightly smaller, then it may be possible to see the entire page without scrolling down. At least when I view the page, I do not see the “View All Events” link unless I scroll down and all the other links below that. However, overall, it’s a good new look.

    Reply
  • Congrats on the new site! Clean, attractive look and design. Here goes, however, with some critical feedback. 🙂 My primary quibble is with the new drawings and problem centric language. The previous drawings provided an intimacy and personal touch, but didn’t overwhelm and were pleasantly abstract. The new drawings are in-your-face and intensely detailed. They’re either much larger than the previous, or appear so, and dominating, do not look like you and now it matters, and the attitude they convey is much different. These people are older, less approachable, seem to be evaluating whomever they’re looking at, and give the site a very different feel. Like a medical team scrutinizing a patient, which can be disconcerting. I think perhaps the starkness of the red contributes considerably to the intensity. I wonder if people who have no idea who you are at all, shown your homepage, could provide some adjectives for what they would expect from the site and/or the company. Might be worth doing if you haven’t.

    People who have seen the wonderful picture of Brent screaming/laughing while shaking the giant green fist will understand the new icon of him which only shows his head. To everyone else this may appear to be a man with his head stuck out a window shouting down to the street below, or other possibilities, none of which are as fun or flattering as the original pic. Again, something that will look quite different to people who don’t already know.

    I wonder too about so much medical terminology throughout. People hate going to the doctor, expect pain and expense, and do what they can to avoid it. It’s clear you realize this because site wording now attempts to counter those feelings at every turn “call… it won’t hurt, we promise” (doctors always say that, then stab you with needles), “we look like surgeons… but we are all about practical advice”, “don’t understand what most doctors say? neither do we…” etc… It’s like you want to convey “Yes, we’re just like ER surgeons!” right up there with “No, no, no… we’re really NOT like that at all, honest.” You’re fighting your own new image because you recognize precisely what it conveys and want the good part of that image without the bad. But images don’t allow for that – those huge red drawings, the logo, and the navigation screams medical staff with scalpels at the ready. You don’t need us unless you are in serious pain.

    I wonder if potential clients who may be seeking education, planning advice for DR or new builds etc, and consulting services will feel that this company fits that bill since they don’t already have a dire problem to be treated and are hoping in fact to avoid one. When I first discovered your site as a DBA looking for pros, resources, and “go to” consultants/experts, I found the site wonderfully inviting, helpful, and loaded with professional knowledge. I started recommending it right away and mentioning your firm to some clients. If I was just discovering the site today and landed on the home page, I never would have clicked on “First Aid”, and therefore would have moved on.

    Just noticed a little glitch in Kendra’s write-up: “I’m also a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server 2008, which is a fancy certification that I’m geeky and obsessive.”

    Almost everyone else was saying such lovely things… just had to be the contrarian. 🙂

    Reply
    • Anne – thanks for taking the time to give us so much feedback.

      The question about medical terminology is pretty interesting. You mentioned that people don’t want to go to the doctor – it turns out they don’t really want to hire consultants, either. Very few people call a consultant and say, “Things are great here – I just wanted to talk.” I’m not being flip – sales and marketing folks really do investigate what pains the customer feel, and figure out the best way to address that pain. (For more about this, check out Rick Page’s book Hope is Not a Strategy – and no, that has nothing to do with politics.)

      You said, “If I was just discovering the site today and landed on the home page” – actually, as it turns out, that’s not how people discover us. The vast majority of our readers discover us through Google results by searching for a particular term. When they click on the search result link, it’ll go to the technical page addressing their question. Then, if they click on Home, they’ll discover that we also provide consulting services.

      We racked our brains a lot for what to call First Aid, and we’re still not sure it’s the right answer. Previously, we called it Community, and it had a stunningly low number of clicks, so that was definitely the wrong answer. We’ll see as time moves forward if this evolves.

      About my pic with just my face out of the Hulk Hands shot – that’s a great point, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about too. I chose that small portion of the image to be my online avatar shortly before go-live. That means it appears in my Twitter feed, blog post comments, Facebook posts, etc. I like the fun of it, but I don’t particularly like the angle. I had an idea overnight last night and slept on it, and today I did it – I flipped the image and turned the head up. Now I think it does a better job of conveying the emotion in the image.

      Thanks again, and hope you like the site as it evolves forward!

      Reply
      • LOVE the new flipped icon. Terrific!

        Yup… I was thinking last night about how I came to your site and how others like me might, and of course, the home page wouldn’t be it. Your First Aid section is filled with such SQL goodness, the label doesn’t do it justice. What? “Abundance of SQL Brilliance and Thought” didn’t make the cut? Best of luck getting the ideal label on it, and maybe this one will be perfect…. It’s such a clean site now, I think I would click on it out of curiosity – to know what else exists beyond problems you solve and services you offer.

        I think the medical terminology turn-off might exist only for people who hit sites, take a quick skimming look and based on feel, read further or move immediately on. The more I read on your site, the more I liked it. I spent some more time on the site and really do love the consistency and clarity of it. A really nice look.

        Reply
      • Kendra Little
        October 31, 2012 1:20 pm

        Ha– I didn’t notice that your icon had flipped. My mind just automatically saw it and thought it was the same thing. I do like it this way better now that I consider the two. Nifty!

        Reply
  • Rafal Dobrzynski
    October 31, 2012 5:04 am

    I love the new look, I feel now as I was reading a comic book about sql with 4 superheros 🙂

    Reply
  • I came across to your website thanks to FB sharing. I like your concept and your philosophy around your sql skills and services

    Reply
  • The logo is brilliant, the artwork reminds me of 1960’s children’s books which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like the page organization and navigation much better then the old site. Not too crazy about the portraits. I think you should flout your eccentricities more, it’s a good differentiator IMO. You guys are awesome.

    Reply
    • Thanks! Flouting the eccentricities was a big part of our game plan. It still doesn’t seem that funky – until you compare our site to typical consulting sites. During the design process, we were more inspired by hand-crafted products like independent organic farmers than consulting companies. We wanted to have a lot of our personality come through in every page of the site – whether it’s the products, services, or our bios. They’re waaaay wild compared to most consulting companies. 😀

      Reply
  • Love the new site…amazing!

    Reply
  • Slick!

    Reply
  • Great new look guys, esp love the ‘unlimited’ and the logo with doc coat and glass/pencil. Must take the liberty to say that I didn’t like what the illustrator did to all of you – Brent you don’t look one bit like the personality you are and he has padded a good number of years to Kendra. Jeremiah and Jes don’t look like they do at all. But all the links are placed right, fonts and color are awesome. Look forward to the ‘sublime’ newsletter too as always :))

    Reply
  • I really like the new look! I have been reading and watching you since the Quest days. The Tuesday triage broadcasts are excellent as well! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • Like the new site design overall. However I would reconsider the gray hair in the “hero” shot. it makes all of you look like 25 years older.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

Menu
{"cart_token":"","hash":"","cart_data":""}