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Hi Devin,

The homepage layout doesn't do it for me, it's too all over. Yes, it's responsive but on my 27" monitor there is so much unused prime real estate. I am scrolling and scanning to find entry points. They should be more obvious.

Your bio is a great example of what other contractors should consider doing. So many just resort to a standard boring "about us" page that doesn't really convey their passion for what they do. Your bio is enough for someone to hire you just from reading it.

Devine Escapes is not a business designed to make money. Money is merely the fuel for Devine Escapes to be a creative venture, creating beauty and creating harmony, and keeping me fed, clothed, and sheltered.
lol, I wanted to hire you just because of that...

Consider breaking down your services into pages... Same for your service areas.

- paving stone paths
- paving stone patios
- patio design
- outdoor cooking areas
- rock staircases

etc... You're essentially doing this with your blog posts but the organization right now is all over.

With that said, I can tell you that if your website gets found and presented to people you'll get hired based on your written copy and photos alone.

It's hard to judge anyone's website when they portray themselves as an artist as you have... And your potential customers will likely feel the same. They like your art and you or they don't.
 
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Looking pretty good, I would do what Carl mentioned. I would also move the stuff below your header to below your Slider. Improve the logo.
 

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Hi Devin!

I really appreciate the clean modern look and feel of your website. However, as Carl mentioned, it appears too scattered and as a consumer coming to your site, I really don't know where to look first.

My opinion would be to first make a creative and compelling logo. This logo can then serve as the brand identity of your company and you should utilize it in all of your advertising. If you already have a logo, please put it somewhere on the front page of your website.

I would also encourage taking the form that you have on the front of the page, and either move it to a pop out, or leaving it on the contact page. The form is semi distracting and you don't get to see your real beautiful work until the user scrolls all the way down your first page.

Again, I would break up your services and announce to visitors on the site what you really do. This could also play into your keyword strategy to focus on getting found online through search engines such as google.

Finally, I would make a compelling offer-more then likely something that a customer can find useful such as a free guide, etc... so that they can have something to download from your website and you can begin collecting individual company information.

Hope this helps!
Let me know if you have any further questions!

Thanks!
 

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Stone Guy
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you fellas. Last year we hired someone else to do our website....they really did not get my company, wrote a lot of "unique content" that described a totally different company, not mine.

So we studied what the other guys did for us and now we're re-doing the website ourselves--hoping to become well optimized, not spammy, accurately representing what I'm about, and seeking out local jobs to keep my busy, as well as national exposure to promote some of my more artistic aspirations. 7 years of having a website....and i still aint mastered it--yet.

We have pages for individual towns, hidden pages, only accessable through the site map, and these come up in local searches--each page with original content of course.

Currently working on new optimized articles, more town pages, and soon, soon--I'll get to the individual service pages, pages for walkways, walls, ect.

Thanks guys
 

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This is a tough one because it's not as simple as selling a service. You're selling a service but you're also an artist.

My advice would be to focus the homepage on the art itself and use your bio page to sell you, the artist. Assuming you think that's sound advice, here's what I would do...

1. Make the featured image an incredibly beautiful pic of one of your projects.
2. Reduce the text that accompanies the image to "Engaging, inspiring, and ecologically responsible landscapes".
3. Remove the contact form from the featured area. You're wasting incredibly valuable real estate there.
4. Dump the slider. Your theme, Divi, has some amazing portfolio options on board so set up a portfolio page and link to it in the nav. (sliders don't work)
5. Get rid of the testimonial dropdown and just list them on the page without the animation.
6. Change the logo to "Devine Escapes" and your location so the visitor knows immediately if you're in their area.

Hope that helps. Sorry if it was a little brisk. I should be working!
 

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No one has mentioned this yet but the image file sizes are way overboard. The one at the top which at the size you have it should be somewhere around 20k is over 5 MB (5100k). The images need to be web optimized.

Carl Donovan made a good point about sliders but I disagree with a categorical statement that they don't work. They're bad in the usual implementation but in a business model like yours that relies on strong visuals they can convey your message effectively. The first rule I would recommend is no autoplay. Choose one slide for your primary image and message and allow the user to decide if they want to interact with it. Keep the vertical height down (which you have already done) and limit the number of slides; usually 3-5 is plenty and no more than 7. Use it only to highlight the features of your service you want to draw attention to.

Not using sliders at all is a good decision, but using them with some basic rules that users don't find annoying can work well. Keep page load times in mind which is a valid point in the argument to stay away from them. Disabling them on mobile devices is also advised.
 

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I disagree with a categorical statement that they don't work.
I suppose you're right, Steve. I was parroting the bold statement made by the fine folks at Yoast. Everything has its place.

That said, sliders are proven to be ineffective for most sites.

Here's a fun and informative demonstration of that: shouldiuseacarousel.com
 

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I would get a hair cut and shave and redo those pictures......you don't look professional

I used to grow a beard in the winter....as soon as I went into business I stopped....customers feel safest with a clean cut guy....not someone who looks homeless

I think your probably losing 1/2 of your customers because of this.....

your also missing a header
 

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huggytree said:
I would get a hair cut and shave and redo those pictures......you don't look professional I used to grow a beard in the winter....as soon as I went into business I stopped....customers feel safest with a clean cut guy....not someone who looks homeless I think your probably losing 1/2 of your customers because of this..... your also missing a header
Half of his customers because of a beard?
 

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Stone Guy
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Half of his customers because of a beard?
Those that matter won't mind, those that mind do not matter.

Huggy is clearly just jealous of my pretty face and smokin' body.

I'll just leave it alone and say that in 7 years in business, I've had time to consider my personal appearance and I have made my decisions on the matter.

Fashion show over, back to website talk.

I'll be editing the site all week--thank you all for the constructive advice, a good bit of it shall be implemented.
 

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huggytree said:
I would get a hair cut and shave and redo those pictures......you don't look professional I used to grow a beard in the winter....as soon as I went into business I stopped....customers feel safest with a clean cut guy....not someone who looks homeless I think your probably losing 1/2 of your customers because of this..... your also missing a header
Now I've heard it all. I've had a beard basically since the day I started my business.

What is with guys around here bashing beards? Seems odd.
 

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Half of his customers because of a beard?
its more than the beard...look again

im being harsh to help open your eyes to your appearance....your not a rock star from 1968....your a business owner...people need to trust you...your appearance is the first step towards trust.....0 chance id hire someone who looks like you......id wonder if you slept in a dumpster...I have a guy who picks up my scrap who looks horrible...my wife locks the doors when he comes by....you look the same or worse than he does

you have the right to look any way you want....but realize your being judged daily for that choice

I know your work MUST be GREAT....I have 0 doubts...people look beyond your rough appearance because of awesome referrals

when I worked for someone else I looked horrible...they had no uniforms..id wear jacks all tore...my pants were heavily stained/ripped...during the summer id only shave for church...I had stubble all week....I did new homes and no one ever saw me..i cant imagine looking the way I did when I show up for bids now that im the owner.......I know tons of contractors....never saw an owner w/ a pony tail

people judge you every day.....they judge you when they first see you..some times you have to change your appearance to fit the mold....I think its time to consider conforming young man!
 

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Huggy is clearly just jealous of my pretty face and smokin' body.

.
I actually did notice you on the photo of you in a skirt...I thought wow that woman needs to shave....get a haircut!

i do think Any business owner that meets with clients directly every day has an advantage by being clean shaven....every poll ive seen says women feel more comfortable with a clean shaven man.....even if it only increases sales by 5% its enough for me to stay lookin clean shaven

I take any advantage I can....and its more about the long hair w/ this guy.....the beard only adds to the homeless man look
 

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I actually did notice you on the photo of you in a skirt...I thought wow that woman needs to shave....get a haircut!

i do think Any business owner that meets with clients directly every day has an advantage by being clean shaven....every poll ive seen says women feel more comfortable with a clean shaven man.....even if it only increases sales by 5% its enough for me to stay lookin clean shaven

I take any advantage I can....and its more about the long hair w/ this guy.....the beard only adds to the homeless man look
I'm just curious. If a woman owns a business... lets say painting or tile.

How exactly should that woman look to meet a customer?
 

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Tech Dawg said:
I'm just curious. If a woman owns a business... lets say painting or tile. How exactly should that woman look to meet a customer?
Then that woman should have a beard. Men buy from women with beards.

A groomed beard is no different than being clean shaven.

The recent home show I was at I did with a beard. No one said anything about the beard. All I heard was "well I can tell you're just not one of these guys who sits here trying to get leads and doesn't know anything".

This anti beard talk is way out there.
 

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huggytree said:
its more than the beard...look again im being harsh to help open your eyes to your appearance....your not a rock star from 1968....your a business owner...people need to trust you...your appearance is the first step towards trust.....0 chance id hire someone who looks like you......id wonder if you slept in a dumpster...I have a guy who picks up my scrap who looks horrible...my wife locks the doors when he comes by....you look the same or worse than he does you have the right to look any way you want....but realize your being judged daily for that choice I know your work MUST be GREAT....I have 0 doubts...people look beyond your rough appearance because of awesome referrals when I worked for someone else I looked horrible...they had no uniforms..id wear jacks all tore...my pants were heavily stained/ripped...during the summer id only shave for church...I had stubble all week....I did new homes and no one ever saw me..i cant imagine looking the way I did when I show up for bids now that im the owner.......I know tons of contractors....never saw an owner w/ a pony tail people judge you every day.....they judge you when they first see you..some times you have to change your appearance to fit the mold....I think its time to consider conforming young man!
Hahahaha... Wow. Hmmm I'm speechless.
 

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huggytree said:
I would get a hair cut and shave and redo those pictures......you don't look professional I used to grow a beard in the winter....as soon as I went into business I stopped....customers feel safest with a clean cut guy....not someone who looks homeless I think your probably losing 1/2 of your customers because of this..... your also missing a header
Totally disagree.

This guy does some really cool work. Very artistic. People are going to hire him because of his awesome and unique work, not because of his look.

And I'd say he's actually more marketable and sought after with his current look than he would be if he was all clean cut and spit shined. That doesn't apply to all business owners, but it does to someone like this who does something artistic and unique. If he's marketing as an artist more than a contractor, then he's throwing down the correct look.
 
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