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Monthly Mortgage Payoff and Site Changes Update #1

by Jonathan on November 30, 2011 · 4 comments

GoalI have decided to start doing monthly payoff updates for our mortgage payoff goals, so as to keep us accountable. You may remember that we are hoping to have the entire $72,000 balance paid off by the end of 2015, with the hopes of having it gone by the end of 2014. To do this we are making two, $500 dollar payments a month, plus bonuses, plus tax refunds. If you would like to view our original announcement, you can find it on our mortgage payoff announcement page.

Mortgage Payoff Standing

As of our payment today/tomorrow, we will be sitting at right around $69,090 left to pay off, which is down from $72,000 that started back on March 5th, 2011. We have been a little slow this year, but have picked up the payments the past month or two.

I also would like to start updating CentsToShare’s look and feel a bit more and letting my readers know of the changes, until I can begin improving the bounce rate for people coming to the site from search engines. Right now, it’s sitting pretty high at around 80 to 90 percent, which is way to high for my liking. I’d like to draw more people in. On top of that, change is always a little refreshing. So what changes have I completed lately? For anyone reading through email or feeds, you should check out CentsToShare so you can see the new look.

Changes This Month

1. Archives - I completely revamped our Archives page, if anyone hadn’t noticed this. I used to have a drop down on the toolbar, but I felt that was getting a little clunky, plus even if you found the month/year you wanted, you would still have to navigate like normal through the posts for that month. Now, all archived pages are linked on one master page, with a total count that updates by itself located at the top of the list. On top of that, it has some pretty swanky javascript built into it to allow expanding and retracting of the list of posts.

2. Changed to Two Column Layout – I decided to change to a two column layout, instead of three mainly because I thought the site looked cluttered when it first loaded. I want to get only the most important information in front of my readers, and not include too much of it. Did you know that there are actually golden rules to user interface design? I should probably start following them.

3. Added a Search Only Adsense Ad – My regular readers won’t see this ad, unless you search for CentsToShare and click on my site. The ad displays at the top of every post including the homepage article and will stay in the reader’s cookies for exactly one hour. So for an hour, that google searcher will see that ad when on my site.

4. Added a section portraying my debt reduction accomplishments – I haven’t been very forthright when it comes to showing off my accomplishments in the past, but I’m slowly coming around. I should be proud of what I’ve accomplished, so I added a little side bar badge showing people what I’ve done…in the hopes they will stick with me to see what else I am going to do down the road.

5. Added the Shared Cents feature – This is probably the most important thing I have added all month. I’m hoping that this blossoms into something profitable, but it’ll more than likely take a month or two before I see results. If I’m not seeing anything after 3 months, I may decide to change my tactics a bit.

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About the author

Jonathan wrote 103 articles on this blog.

Jonathan is the founder and primary writer at CentsToShare. He enjoys reading above all else, but also gardening, building, eating healthy food and being self-reliant. Living a happy, stress-free life is possible, but it must be sought after, and not taken for granted. If you like the site, please let me know in the comments or through email - Thanks!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoffrey @ It's WordPress November 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Congrats on tackling that mortgage.

Regarding the bounce rate, I’m guilty of that sort of visiting myself. I generally see your updates in Google Reader where I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed and then click through to see the full site. I just now noticed that I’m subscribed to your feed at instead of the one I see at the top of your page now (, but I’ll update that asap.

As far as design and features, I’m glad you’ve gone with a clean, uncluttered design. Too many sites are all about the wow-factor instead of the usability.


Jonathan November 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Thanks Geoffrey, it will be awesome to be mortgage free…and I’ll be only 28 years old. :)

That’s alright that my current readers bounce off, I expect most have read nearly all my articles anyway. I’d like to hook some searchers as well, since I’m dedicating a whole section to search traffic.

I like uncluttered sites as well, I’ll possibly be refining in the future as well…feedback from my readers will be a huge factor on any changes.


Geoffrey @ It's WordPress November 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Oh, almost forgot. A feature where visitors could subscribe to comments they left to get notifications when someone responded to the comments they left would be great. Sometimes I don’t remember to come back and check manually. You’re using WordPress so perhaps the Subscribe to Comments plugin?


Jonathan November 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I didn’t even notice that wasn’t available to commenters, thank you for pointing it out!


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