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Help Shape the Future of

21 Apr 2011

As we approach our fifth anniversary and celebrate a half decade of publishing daily, the team is preparing for change.

For the past several months, we’ve been quietly laying the foundation for a complete website overhaul and redesign. Our preparation has included analyzing what we do well, understanding what we do poorly, and assessing where and how to implement improvements. Virtually every aspect of our operation is being critiqued—as it well should be to ensure our ability to offer high-quality coverage of the world of cigars for many years to come.

Some things, however, we don’t plan to change. For example, we will continue to publish daily, offering such regularly occurring features as full reviews, tips, Quick Smokes, commentaries, interviews, and Friday Samplers. And we aim to keep our readers well-informed about the most pressing threats to cigar rights, be they tobacco taxes, smoking bans, or onerous regulations.

Beyond that, pretty much everything else is subject to change. This includes, but is not limited to, the overall look of the website, our branding, the way comments are managed, social networking integration, our usage of video, and site navigation. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

While some changes will take longer than others, we’re currently planning to roll out the new before the summer. But we need your help.

Our greatest asset has always been our loyal readers, and now I’d like to solicit your guidance in shaping the future of our website. So please take a few moments today to leave a comment listing (1) what you like about, (2) what you dislike, and/or (3) any suggestions for improvement.

Your constructive comments and criticisms will be used as we make redesign decisions. My colleagues and I thank you in advance for your feedback at this critical juncture in our website’s history.

Patrick A

27 Responses to “Help Shape the Future of”

  1. Randy Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    I like the site.

    When reading a review its great that the flashing ads aren't so bad you can't read.

    Great job to you guys.

    Looking forward to the new site.

  2. JB Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    1) I like the full length reviews. I appreciate that most reviews include a little background information on the company, a picture, and the cigar’s price. I like that you guys give smaller boutique brands a lot of attention. If a Don Kiki Brown Label is ever available again for sale, someone please let me know. I also really like the cigar review directory. If I hear good things from other sources about a cigar, I usually go straight to your directory and am able to find a review.

    3) Organize your tips, product reviews, cigar lounge reviews, etc … similar to how your cigar reviews are organized. At least put them all in one place with quick access. I think this website is unique compared to other cigar websites, and while improvements can be made, should not change too much.

  3. Dave in Ashburn Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 2:13 am #

    Love the review format and the archives – this is the first place I go to when I'm looking for information regarding a specific cigar. I really appreciate the depth of information as well.

    I'm not a fan of video reviews, so I hope those don't become a mainstay of this site. I'm also not too interested in social network integration, but I would certainly take advantage of a more traditional forum. I do understand that they're somewhat time consuming to maintain though, and I wouldn't want something like that to take time away from the daily articles and reviews.

    An "ask the Stogie Guys" feature would be pretty cool. It could provide insight to the specific areas your readers are most interested in.

  4. JIse Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 2:14 am #

    I love this site. I really appreciate the well written reviews and more realistic system of rankings. The lack of videos as a review is actually a positive for me; I much prefer to read a review than stay at my computer long enough to catch enough information in a video review. Plus a written review is easily accessible later to browse for a refresher, even a five minute video is too long for me.

    I agree with some earlier comments that some reorganization of the current material would help with access.

  5. Philip Schumacher Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    Firstly 'Thank You' you are my go to web site and I have been seldom been lead astray. I'd like more tobacco history. It seems that what's in a cigar is a mystery, maybe it's trade secrets but "is a 5 year old corojo always the same"

    Videos undermine the credibility of most blogs so think about that and see if I'm right. Graphics are weak. Mostly I got no gripe. Phil

  6. Dan Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    First of all your content and reviews are the best on the web. Each review is written in a professional and concise manner, which is refreshing when compared to a lot of other websites. My only suggestion would be to update the layout to a more mobile/ipad friendly design. Flipbook layouts are particularly attractive for the increasing number of tablet users. Keep up the good work and thanks for your continued efforts.

  7. Kas Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    I like the site as-is, actually.perhaps an easier archive search function.

    Please do NOT go to a "swipe me" style page. I hate those and I am typing on a iPad, so I am not a technophobe. You just cannot find anything without a lot of browsing.

    I also am not fond of video reviews. Most of them are boring, consisting of watching a guy smoke and repeat the same observations for 5 to 7 minutes. No thank you.

  8. Bil Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 5:30 am #

    Love the site. Please don't ever switch to video reviews.

  9. Howard Thompson Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 5:31 am #

    Your site has become my daily go-to cigar page. I think you do a great job critiquing cigars and reinforcing why we, as aficionados do what we do. Keep up the good work! One thing I would like to see would be the opportunity for those of us who are fans, to have a once a week picture and entry on your website (group photo and short explanation about the event) that would personalize your column just a bit more and promote the concept that the camaraderie gained by sharing a cigar with a fellow smoker, is something that is missing in the hectic lives we all normally live. Just a thought…

  10. Foe Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    As a smoker of fine cigars for twenty-five years now, I'm one who finds the credibility of your website on par with the likes of Doc Stogie Fresh. What I enjoy in particular is that, like Doc, you guys are all, first and foremost, writers.

    What I do not enjoy are the ubiquitous, poorly produced and edited talking-head video reviews that litter the amateur cigar blogosphere. I do, however, love pithy audio podcasts. So if you're thinking of trying out an additional media format, I would vote against video in favor of audio.

    Lastly, I would like to see you guys join Doc in his crusade to pressure the cigar industry as a whole to be much more open and transparent with regard to the tobacco varietals used to create cigars. I agree with Doc that there is no logical justification for the vast majority of cigar manufacturers to continue protecting their so-called proprietary" blends (Pete Johnson of Tatuaje excluded ala La Verite). I agree that it's a shame that cigar geeks like us are not provided with the same level of detailed info that fine wine enthusiasts enjoy.

    Anyway, Ill get off my soapbox now and close by saying thanks for everything you Stogie Guys do.

  11. Nick M Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    I like the site as-is. I think the X of 5 stogie rating system is more useful than the 100 point scale. I can't stand video reviews. Please don't change the rating system or the review format. Good job. Keep it up. This is my go-to site.

  12. Cigar Seeker Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    This is a flat out great site. I very much like the 5-stogie review scale. The worst aspect is the organization of material, espeicially non-review information. Perhaps an alphabetical (as opposed to historical) index would be most helpful. I suggest separating the index into two parts: One part would be for reviews only, alphabetical by brand. The other part would index the information you have provided over the year, alphabeically by subject. Such as cutting, band removal, etc. Of course, retaining the indices of 5-stogie reviews would also be good. AN how about an index of 1-stogie reiews? Even better, and idicies of 1,2,3,4, and 5-stogie reviews, a different index for each level.

  13. Jeffrey Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    1. I like the Number of Stogies rating system. I like your thorough, yet not unnecessarily long, reviews. I like how you include the MSRP.

    2. I actually don't like the Quick Smokes.

    3. Try also including in your reviews archive a search system of reviews based off of rating. For instance, instead of just alphabetical order, from most stogies to fewest, and vice versa.

  14. Steve in Falls Churc Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I usually read your site on my phone, so I concur with the comments above about being more mobile friendly. Graphics seem to be the mist mobile un-friendly aspect of this site.

    I also am not a fan of video reviews, but I have enjoyed your occasional video interviews. I think these two uses of video are very different.

  15. Jimmy Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    I like your review.

    You guys could do better with review search. Or some tab on the side, indicating which cigars you think has great value for money, which cigar is the best, etc.

    One more, your website background, and things like that, seems not interesting. It looks more like a blog that don't have quality for new readers. Well, I thought like that as well when I first found

  16. scratch Friday, April 22, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    I like the written reviews. Video reviews are very time consuming for the blogger and viewer in my opinion, and rather boring. I don't want to watch and hear a description of a cigar if I can read it in two sentences instead. I think you do fine reviews and articulate it quickly and precisely which is appreciated. I can't say that of all sites.

    The only suggestions I have are to get rid of the survey that pops up everytime I go to an archive and avoid making the site overly complicated if you update. Clean simple site layouts are generally much easier to navigate.

  17. TriMarkC Friday, April 22, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    I agree with the above comments & suggestions from #2, 3, 4, 6, 11, & 14 above!

    I might add to your Friday Sampler 1or2 more "deals", being harder economic times and all.

    Great site! Thanks!

  18. Ray - Pure Spontanei Friday, April 22, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    I just started reading your site and although I smoke my first cigar over 20 years ago I am relatively new at smoking regularly so I have been specifically enjoying the smoking tips posts.

  19. Jimmy Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    I like your reviews. I think they are unbiased.

    I have become suspicious to cigar aficionado's cigar review. I've tried some of their top rated, while I don't know how they rate the cigar, I can be sure that some of it certainly doesn't reflect those high rating.

    But, when I try cigars that achieve at least 3 stogie in I never found the stogie taste bad.

    The only thing you guys should include is top bargain cigar you recommend. I only refer to cigar aficionado for that, because I smoke at least two cigar a day.

    Overall, I have to say, you have done very very well.

  20. ROTHNH Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    I've been a fan of you Guys for years. I enjoy your reviews, your rating system, updates, facts and general information about everything cigars. I appreciate the fact that, unlike many bloggers and reviewers, you usually purchase your cigars from a local tobacconist — that says a lot about how you. Things I don't like — video reviews, your pop-up survey (that has little to do with cigars or your site) and I'd like to see a regular feature incorporating selected questions from your subscribers and your answers about cigars and our hobby. Keep uo the great work!

  21. Stan Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    I love the site the way it is. That's the reason I read your articles/ reviews/ quick smokes on a daily basis. You guys provide something besides video reviews. I would like to see a few (not too many) ISOM reviews 🙂 Thanks for the good reads!

  22. Cigar Seeker Monday, April 25, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    I'd also like to add one more suggestion to those I made in my earlier post. How about adding a capability for users to ask questions? The comment section is good, but what if someone wants to ask a question unlrelated to the original article, but still relevant to cigars?

  23. Ethan K Monday, April 25, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    In agreement w/ what I've read: You are good as is; don't add video-reviews; making indexes of reviews etc. for easy access is good idea. If possible, lists of cigars by size, strength, cost, and/or wrappers, such as toro maduros,…mild robustos, etc. would be nice; $ cigars, $$ cigars, $$$ cigars for categories. I don't drink alcohol; so, I could do without that part, but I understand most people like it. Thank you.

  24. Beringer Monday, April 25, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    1) If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Don't get fancy.

    2) Drop the "CCMMXXVI-EIEIO" from the Friday Samplers. It is getting silly. Numbers, please.

    3) Open with suggestions/links. Don't add more ads to the blog content, please!

  25. Marcos Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    This is a great site as is. My only suggestion would be to come and visit the west coast sometime. It would be nice to see how the ambiance and prices of our local cigar shops compare to the ones on the east coast. I live in San Diego so I can suggest to you Liberty Tobacco and Hoffer's in La Mesa. Also, a report on buying cuban cigars in nearby Tijuana would be sweet!!!

  26. simonc Monday, May 16, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Hi guys, i would move all the business side of the site to the left, links etc and leave the ads running around the entire page, ie bigger ads, or just as they are on the right, I say this becuase we read left to right and when you put the links on the right between the ads it just feels awkward also I might tone down the lined paper background to a paler yellow its a bit garish. I would also update your links and add a few new friends as I am interested in who you are interested in.

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