View Full Version : Site Updated -- http://www.southplattewebdesign.com
09-21-2003, 02:28 AM
I had previously requested a review of the site I created to promote my web development business, and recieved several excellent reviews.
I had originally went with a black/white/blue theme, that was very hard on the eyes, and did not work at all.
I have stepped up usage of css and php/mysql on the new version, and still have a few quarks to figure out, (such as Netscape 7.1 displaying css somewhat properly)and the visited link color (it is currently green, suggestions for colors?)
The site is located at http://www.southplattewebdesign.com
Comments on the colors, layout, and technical errors/ommissions, and anything else are welcome, and I will try my best to respond/review sites of those who review mine.
Thanks in advance
Edited to comply with Review Rule #1 (http://www.webproworld.com/viewtopic.php?t=47) - carju1 Moderator
02-01-2004, 03:12 AM
Thought I would update my request for reviews....
Site is stable running now (I hope..) But I am interested in design/content/seo issues --
I have submitted to a handful of search engines, enough to get some traffic from them. For January, I had 1.5% of my traffic come from search engines...not bad considering I have not done much since submitting the site one time in July (google is my best so far).
Currently the Alexa data shows the site at 186,426, which I guess is doing ok??
I have about 25% of the visitors staying for at least 5 minutes to over 1hr on the site. (2.4% 30 mins-1 hr)
What I don't have is any inquiries, calls, or as far as I can tell, even any interest what so ever in anything....maybe a content change? or a design change?
02-01-2004, 05:47 AM
Tested in IE6 56k modem 800x600. Loads nice and fast. The portfolio of your sites looks good. Can't really find any fault with the designof the site. You have a google page rank of 5/10 which seems quite good. The site does not appear in the top 1000 pages of Google for the search pattern 'web design' so you maybe need to concentrate on SEO for that term alone. You also need more links to the site. Hope this helps. Good luck with it.
02-01-2004, 10:37 AM
You have built a nice looking site. It avoids all of the flashing lights and Flash intros that bog down so many other designer sites. It is also visually appealing.
I would like to offer some suggestions for business end of your site.
Change your prices page. When I clicked on the Price link, I felt I had been cheated. You led me to the page with a promise of pricing information, but you did not deliver. If I had been shopping for a designer, I would left your site.
Look through your FAQs page. Many of the questions you list will never be asked by the people who need your services. People who can ask about ASP, PHP, CGI, and JAVA applets understand website design and can design their own sites. They are not part of your target market. Give more emphasis to the questions your target market really ask and don't waste their time highlighting your technical skills. When you give clients too much technical information, you can overwhelm them and drive them away.
Also, the answer to the second and third questions (cost and time) appears to be "I don't know." If you are not going to answer the question, don't ask it. Question four refers to three website packages, but that info is not on the page you link to.
If you do custom design and don't offer packages, use "Contact us for a FREE estimate" instead of what you a doing now. It will get a much better response. Include "Get a Free Estimate" as a link button in your main menu.
You might want to reconsider how you address the hosting issue. It sounds like you are saying that you will designing the site, but your clients are on their own for hosting. Many of them won't know what hosting is, but it is obviously important (becasue you list it in your FAQ) and you won't help them with it.
Change your hosting approach to "we will arrange hosting for you" and sign up your client with a host. You can open an account and bill your clients annually (with a reasonable mark up) or you can open their account with their charge card as long as you have permission in writing.
All things considered, I have think have done a fine job with your site. I recommend that you review your write ups line by line. During the review keep these three thoughts in mind...
Who is my target market?
What does my target market want?
What does my target market need?
Notice that "What can I do?" is not one of the questions. Good luck with your design business.
02-01-2004, 02:15 PM
Here is a differing opinion: when I arrived at your site, my first impression was that you had used a "canned template" to create your site. I was expecting something dramatic or catchy that would tell me you were a creative web designer. The list of software, etc. that you had did not impress me, as it made me wonder why you hadn't used it to display your creativity on your site. I suppose if I were looking for a plain vanilla, conservative e-commerce or informational website, I might be interested in your services, as everything worked on your site. But I think you need to have a site design that will appeal to a broader range of potential clients.
Your use of a lot of text does create "rich content" and probably helps you a great deal in search engine ranking, but I would think that a significant number of visitors don't really want to spend that much time reading. I find it way too "wordy." If you could brighten it up with creative graphics, it might be a perfect combination --- graphics for visual people, and text for search engine spiders.
About the FAQs...I think you should eliminate any questions that end up with vague and indecisive answers, such as how much will it cost, and how long will it take. I was very disappointed when I clicked on it to only get a lengthy rationalization as to why you couldn't give me some facts and figures. I consider it as a waste of my time when I seek an answer and get a run-around. Don't get me wrong, I understand where you are coming from, and you cannot give a satisfactory answer in that situation. I would just eliminate any question for which you cannot provide a definite answer.
The sites that you provided in your portfolio aren't too helpful either. The first one ended up in a bad link...either there is a link problem or the server is down. The second one..with the band..was very slow loading. That could be the server's problem, but I am on a DSL and it took quite a while for the graphics to finish loading.
I completely concur that it is good that you avoided the use of flash, shockwave, and other animations when you created your site. Such gimmicks are really a turn-off for busy people who are looking for information. My patience really grows thin when I have to wait for things to load, in that situation. They are great for entertainment sites, but unless they are extremely clever, they are out of place in a professional or e-commerce environment. It is a rare informational or e-commerce site that benefits from the use of moving objects, especially those that require an involuntary wait time for a presentation to load.
Please remember that many different types of people will be visiting your site. The plus is that you are really doing something right as far as search engine optimization is concerned, but are you getting a lot of clients as a result? I hope my perspective has been also been helpful.
02-02-2004, 01:34 AM
nickc, Website Biz and Najoba,
First off, thank-you for the reviews! The FAQs was my downfall from the start---I really didn't have any clients so tried to think like a client and come up with them....your points are very well taken, and I may actually include more on the development process as many businesses in my local target market are very unsure of how long it takes, how much work they have to do in coordination with getting a site etc.
Najoba - Portfolio -- This is going to be updated in the next few days - one site just switched domain names and I need to update that, another site is in the works of a face lift.
Najoba - "canned template" I never thought of it that way, but your are absolutely right - mostly this was me playing with css to style the borders and background images -- going with the software listed not impressive, again I agree that I should create the site more geared towards a showcase of my actual use of the software.... Oh, and on the band site..I found my mistake (big duh on my part), I sized the images by specifying the size, not by actually resizing them -- fixing it up on the next update--explains the slow load times..I find myself looking at some designs from 6 months - 1 yr ago, that I have updated here and there and I am disgusted with my work on them...part because of newly gained knowledge. Also, not using Flash, shockwave etc...should I include some of this in the portfolio page to give examples?
Website Biz - I do need to include information on the idea that since we don't offer hosting ourselves, we will set it up for you with a third party and help all along the way. Also for a free estimate...one of my local competitors offers that...so I stepped it up a bit and am thinking of how to implelement the copy into the site - free consultations/estimates all the time -- I have done this so far and have started some very exciting biz relationships that seem to be leading to more work on the horizon.
nickc - any tips on concetrating on the seo? what I am really going to try to push is a regional method at first -- northeast colorado web design, or just colorado web design -- or would I be best just to go full blown? I see my target market as very local right now, but I still want to reach out a little bit further. However, on my home page I note that we are Northeast Colrado's Premier Web Developer...do you think that maybe someone out of that area would think I would not work with them?
Thanks again for the awesome feedback!
*heading to the drawing/design/think/contemplate/headache board*