The Story Behind New Land-book
Introducing a brand new homeland for fine websites (aka Land-book 2.0).
I remember myself sitting in front of Photoshop trying to design a sweet and simple product page. It was the beginning of 2013 and I was the co-founder of a software house. The business was going really well and we’ve decided to invest some money in a side-project called Positionly. We were all super excited about it and I couldn’t wait to create a top-notch landing page to promote the product.
I was bouncing around different websites and galleries looking for an inspiration. I couldn’t find it. Anywhere. Don’t get me wrong — there were some great and inspiring websites out there, but very few landing page collections. It sounds crazy now, but back in 2013 with all the amazing products on the market, it was hardly no place showcasing well-crafted product pages.
Anyway, I was struggling for quite a while and I figured I can’t be the only one who has the same problem. It wasn’t hard to convince Konrad, my fellow designer, and Marcin, our front-end developer, to help me create a simple gallery of landing pages. I wasn’t thinking about anything extraordinary, just a plain website with the absolutely finest content. It took us two days to launch it. We’ve built it on WordPress and named it Land-book.
Two weeks after the launch someone spread the word about us on Hacker News. Our stats blew up. Frankly, we weren’t expecting this, but found it super flattering, not only to see people visiting Land-book.com, but also sticking with us. We’ve got a really warm welcome by the community.
In between our everyday projects, we were updating Land-book with the finest content that we, and our visitors, could possibly find. Our product pages gallery was meant to help fellow designers catch an inspiration and keep up with the latest trends. We were hunting for the best landing pages together with other creative folks (I can’t even count how many awesome products I’ve learned about thanks to your submissions!). That was hella fun.
As the time went by, I could see more and more things that could be improved. I was adding them to my to-do list and, well, waiting for a better time to make it a reality. Really, it’s been a while since I wanted to reinvent the gallery and start a whole new Land-book chapter.
I often heard that one of the coolest thing about Land-book was that it was so damn simple. Yup, Land-book was featuring only product landing pages that looked exceptionally good. Plus, we were focusing only those sites that were up and running.
Ok, this is the part that was super important for us.
The fact that a landing page was live was crucial. Too often designers make beautiful sites that don’t make it to the public. Throughout the years working as a designer, I’ve learned that at the end of the day it’s about solving problems, not making things look pretty.
There’s a saying that a good design is almost invisible. I believe it is true. Our work is for ordinary people to use, not for us — the designers — to shine. Besides, a good landing page is the one that does well a certain job: encourages new trial signups, collects emails, guides visitors to take a certain action, etc.
So, at Land-book our aim was to showcase not only beautiful designs, but also those that work (i.e. help achieving business goals). Of course, we didn’t have access to any data. However, we’ve made an assumption that if a big brand, a grownup startup or, really, any serious product, puts their site in front of potential customers, it has to do its job well. After all, such website went through A/B testing and different iterations to make it to the wider public.
Basically, all we wanted at Land-book was to learn the best practices from real, working and well-crafted websites.
When I sat down to draft the roadmap for Land-book 2.0, I knew I had to find a way to keep things simple, just as they were before. Obviously, I wanted to make Land-book bigger, but I believed that making the service plain and clear is still doable.
I already had quite a few ideas about what new features would make a difference. But frankly, I wouldn’t dare to just implement them before asking around first. So, we ran the quickest survey ever, asking this one question:
What do you miss the most in the current version of Land-book.com?
We’ve received answers from a few thousand people. It was awesome to hear all those voices spoke up. Not to mention that it were those answers that helped me craft a solid roadmap for the upcoming months. So Guys, thank you so much for helping me figure things out!
Now, let me guide you through all of the changes that have shaped the new Land-book:
#1 Different website inspirations
This is definitely the most significant change that you will see in the new version. Funny, because I was just talking about the simplicity and how good it was that Land-book focused only on one type of website. However, what I’ve learned from the survey was that people didn’t mind having a wider collection of sites at all.
After giving it a thought or two, I had to admit it — one place that has it all: blogs, stores, landing pages, portfolios and all sorts of creative design examples, would be something. (Quite often folks sent me well-crafted websites that couldn’t be featured on Land-book, because they were not product landing pages. It was always a shame.)
Of course, there are already a bunch of nice galleries like this. Actually, I’ve found more than 20 of them. No need to create another one, right? Only, there was one thing that I couldn’t find in any of those places — a clear and easy way to dig up the content that I came for.
Although the vast majority of galleries enable filtering their content by color, tag, style, category or even countries, it’s sometimes still hard to find a specific type of website.
When I’m in the mood to wander and I’m not looking for any specific design inspiration, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, really. But when I want to check out what’s hot or not in a particular niche, that can be pretty frustrating.
I’ve promised myself to add more diverse content to the gallery, but only if I find a way to organise it in a neat and intuitive way. I did something ridiculously simple. I’ve divided websites into five categories: Landings, Portfolios, Blogs, Stores and Other. No need to choose from different filters and search for content on your own. You’ll get it at a glance.
Of course, you can filter websites further by using different tags. The more specific content you’re looking for, the more tags you should choose.
I have to admit that at this stage filtering is pretty basic. We’re definitely planning to add more options in the near future.
#2 Smooth way to add a website
In the previous version, if you wanted to submit your favourite site, you had to send us an email. Nothing too complicated, but you have to agree, not the most convenient way to promote your work or inspiring sites from other designers.
We really appreciated receiving emails from you guys — we were introduced to many awesome products and exciting projects. But we knew that the submission process could be far more effortless and friendly.
So from now on, the only two things you have to do is to click on the green button in the right upper corner and paste the site’s URL (this option is available when you’re logged in).
Boom, that’s it! No need to prepare and upload your own screenshots or to fill out forms. The site will be immediately added to your stuff and available to you at your account.
The website still needs to be verified to make it to the home page. However, the process will be much faster and easier. Also, we’ll make sure that every time your site gets featured in the main gallery, you’ll be notified via email.
#3 Your fav stuff in one place
There are tons of really good sites out there. We try keep our eyes on all of them. Plus, we get massive support from our visitors who send us dope site examples. So yeah, there’s quite a chance that we feature really the finest, the freshest and the most carefully hand-picked sites of all kinds.
With such a dose of inspiring content there should be a way to bookmark your most beloved sites. This was the thing I personally missed the most in the old Land-book — an option to save those inspirations that we were particularly helpful when I was working on different projects.
This may be a small thing but I can’t wait to introduce you to our lovely way to save your favs. Hopefully, it will make the process of gathering your favourite sites a bit easier. It’s super simple and well, kinda sweet:
Each time you show a website the love it deserves, we’ll save this specific inspiration for you. The list of your likes will be private and available for you under the “My stuff” section.
To be honest, I have lots of ideas in what direction the new Land-book could go. Some of them may seem obvious, some of them are, well, pretty crazy. I don’t want to follow either of those paths before I hear your thoughts and I learn how you actually use those new features.
I already had a chance to get an honest and really valuable feedback from some of you during the private beta testing. The way the new Land-book looks like is because you’ve shown your support and shared your concerns and suggestions. Beta testers, I owe you a HUGE thank you! 🤗
Now, when we’re open to the public, I’d love to keep this dialogue and to hear more feedback. So guys, please feel free to drop me an email if there’s something that you think we should improve or do differently. I’m available at: email@example.com.
Without any further introduction (if you haven’t done it yet) I’m really happy to invite you to give the new Land-book a try.
P.S. I’d appreciate it a lot if you could help us spread the word and share the story!
Dawid Liberadzki & the Land-book Team