Today across the Tuts+ network we’re rolling out some changes to our brand and how our sites work together. These changes include a rebrand of our logos, a shift from multiple domain names to a single top level domain, a universal Plus membership, a Plus Affiliate Program, updated Plus interface, a Twitter Tuts+ news stream and a new tutsplus.com site complete with a rearrangeable dashboard. In other words, a whole bunch of stuff!
It’s been a big year and a half for Tuts+. From a one-man hobby site, we grew into a regularly updated blog. Then from there into an editor-run, multiple author blog. Then around this time last year, we went from one blog to two, three, four and by the end of the year five. Along the way we’ve redesigned four times, launched a Plus membership that over three thousand people have paid hard-earned money to be a part of, added videos, freebies, hundreds of tutorials, articles, roundups and posts, and watched traffic to the five sites climb past 12 million pageviews.
That’s all pretty cool. But like that BTO anthem says … You ain’t seen nothing yet!
As big as the last 18 months have been, we’ve got bigger planned for the next lot. We’re pretty passionate about teaching around here, and we’re working hard to figure out how to grow Tuts+ into the best education platform we can make it, to teach not just Photoshop, Web Development, After Effects, Illustration and Audio Skills, but a whole, big range of other stuff too. It’s a plan that we’ll be talking about lots and lots during the year, and one I hope many of you readers will get behind and help with.
But first things first. If we’re going to grow a killer education platform, we need a solid brand to build it on. So late last year we looked at our five sites and decided it was time to pull them together … and that’s what today is about.
The first big change we’ve made is to move from five domain names to one – tutsplus.com. So instead of psdtuts.com we’re now using psd.tutsplus.com, instead of nettuts.com we’re using net.tutsplus.com, and so on. In recent months we’ve had offers of sale of various _tuts domains for amounts going up all the way into the thousands of dollars each … which kind of sucks. A single domain means it’ll be easier to pick out new sub-brands without this worry and it helps the sites feel like parts of a cohesive whole.
For sites you’ve grown used to, don’t worry about the name change as you can still use the old domain names and they’ll just redirect you over so all your bookmarks and links will still work.
The change in domain name also introduces our new core brand – Tuts+ – so we’ve updated our branding to reflect this with a central logo and a series of sub-logos that include the main brand in them and still work with the old names. We’ve also got a new typeface, new Plus imagery and a new Tuts+ site.
Finally we’re going to slowly standardize how we write the name to Tuts+, Psd.tuts+, Vector.tuts+, Audio.tuts+ and so on. It looks a bit weird to me at the moment, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it, and it matches the domain names and means we can stop hitting CAPS whenever we write the names :-)
Unifying Plus and Other Plus Changes
In the year since it launched over three thousand people have subscribed to Plus through both Psd.tuts+ and Vector.tuts+. And while this alone shows it’s worth the $19 we charge every month, we’ve decided that it’d be much better value if we merged the two together, and added in Plus content for Net.tuts+ for good measure. There are more Plus changes, but they are worthy of a post all on their own, so we’ll leave that for later on today!
The New Dashboard, News and Hub Site
Finally to tie everything together we’ve built a neat little Tuts+ main site which features a little dashboard that pulls in the latest posts from the network, news via our @Tuts+ Twitter feed, rising Digg stories from the Tuts+ network (via our Tuts+ Digg Account) and also the most recent Plus files available for download.
The whole dashboard is customizable – rearrange or collapse the widgets to suit yourself! If that sounds familiar, it’s because we have a tutorial over at Net.tuts+ (Mimic the iGoogle Interface) that will help you do just that.