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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I would like to have my site evaluated. It has just been built. There are still more pictures going up. I know there are some misspellings and some of the pictures that are there are displaying improperly. Those issues are being worked on currently.

I am looking for opinions on what I could do better. Additions, deletions, things I could do to make it more user friendly, and etc.

My thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to help in the evaluation. The site is in my signature below.
 

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There's no easy way to say this, so here goes...the site looks homemade. The bright blues do not speak of a nice redo of a bathroom. Instead, the colors are more what I would expect for kids toys. Colors have a psychological effect, and these colors just won't work for your business model. I would expect something much more elegant to sell bathroom makeovers.

I know that's probably not what you wanted to hear after working so hard to create this, but if I said this site design would help your business, I would be lying and you would be left to wonder why people are leaving and not calling you. This site will do more harm than good because if I were one of your satisfied customers and saw this site, it would undermine my confidence in your services. That's never a good thing to do to your company when you work so hard to establish a reputation.

To solve this problem, you have two choices: hire a pro to design your site (if this site was done by a pro demand your money back), or, if you must do your own site design, check out www.templatemonster.com and find a design more appropriate to your business to work with.

Also, ditch the never ending Flash. If you want to show a few examples (which is a good thing to do), do a slideshow that plays a few frames shortly after page load and then stop. Keep animations subtle. DO NOT keep looping or visitors will leave.

Your success with a web site will rely heavily on first impressions. Unfortunately, this does not leave a good first impression and I'm doing you a favor to be honest in telling you that. Most people will not be that honest, but they will still leave even if they don't tell you why. I hope you will take my comments as helpful for improving and not as being too harsh or discouraging. Properly done, your site can be a valuable asset to your business. Once you get there, you'll be very glad you did not settle for this design.
 

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Not really that bad. Remove the FC plugin and try the 'article template' plugin to layout the pages. Put 90% of you effort on writing the content. Design just has to be acceptable, it's the content that will sell your services.
 

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I agree that your colors looks like a kids toy, more specifically the logo. How did you design your logo? You should hire a commercial graphic artist to design you one. If you can't find someone for cheap, then put an add on craigslist looking for a graphic artist who is freelancing. You can also put in a bid and have a few of them send you designs, then hire the best one to do all your artwork.
 

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Not really that bad. Remove the FC plugin and try the 'article template' plugin to layout the pages. Put 90% of you effort on writing the content. Design just has to be acceptable, it's the content that will sell your services.
Can't say I agree with that. The artwork is important, especially on the front page, the more professional looking it is the more people will think you are a serious company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I agree that your colors looks like a kids toy, more specifically the logo. How did you design your logo? You should hire a commercial graphic artist to design you one. If you can't find someone for cheap, then put an add on craigslist looking for a graphic artist who is freelancing. You can also put in a bid and have a few of them send you designs, then hire the best one to do all your artwork.
I designed the logo myself. I like to keep them simple. I might have have someone do a professional rework on it. Are you saying that it is absolutely terrible or does it just need to be "jazzed" up in your opinion? Maybe a color change?

Some of the most succesful companies out there have the simplest of logos as there name immediately lets you know what they do.
 

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I designed the logo myself. I like to keep them simple. I might have have someone do a professional rework on it. Are you saying that it is absolutely terrible or does it just need to be "jazzed" up in your opinion? Maybe a color change?

Some of the most succesful companies out there have the simplest of logos as there name immediately lets you know what they do.
I don't know if simple is necessarily bad, but it just needs to fit, you should have someone totally redo it. I am in the process of building my website myself, but I hired someone to do the artwork and logo. The guy I hired had been a graphic artist for 20 years, he knows better than I do what sort of thing will attract customers. I started out with a simple logo that I designed myself too, then I realized it just looked too homemade and that people wouldn't think I was a serious builder, so I decided to have a professional do it.
 

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Darren, I'm impressed with the way you handle the critiquing. Being able to do that will help you be more successful.

I thought I would throw in a few things about logos since I have been designing them for about 30 years. You're right that simple is best. Logos with too much detail are not really logos, they are artwork. The ideal logo is simple, yet unique so it is easily recognized. The role of a logo is only to provide an identity that people will quickly know you by. It does not actually sell, it does not increase your profits directly, but it does make you look more professional so your other marketing efforts are well supported.

Let me also add this since logos are largely underrated by many business owners and sometimes overrated by designers. When you hire a designer, there are the cheap ones who just whip up a few concepts, have you pick the one you like best, finish it off, and otherwise rush you through the process so they can move on to the next client. This method is fueled by the fact that you won't enjoy paying a lot for a logo design. However, a good logo should be a vital part of your visual identity for many years, probably even the life of your business. Rushing through that process is not good IMO, which is why I make no attempt to compete against the onslaught of $300 logos all over the Internet.

There are still a few of us left who take the time needed to design logos with the thought and planning they deserve. It is much more involved than you would ever expect until you see how the process is supposed to work. One important factor is uniqueness. That means looking at the market so the design does not look anything like an existing logo. Only after you know what not to do can you begin designing a real logo. The finished logo needs to look good in postage stamp size and billboard size, color and B&W, printed and embroidered, web site or fax transmission, or put on a sign, vehicle, and trailer (inexperienced logo designers usually slip up on at least one of these requirements). You would think that would be expensive, and with agencies it often is (however some businesses need that level of due diligence), but independent logo designers like myself can provide a great logo for about $800 or so. It's not the $300 special, but one major provider for those was (not surprisingly) busted for plagiarism a few years ago.

It's never comfortable to invest $800+ when you can get seemingly the same thing for $300, but you'll never regret doing it right. When you figure the mileage you will get out of that logo, it's one of the cheapest bargains you can ever get for your business.

Basically, logo design shares at least one thing in common with your business. There are a lot of people who wonder, "How hard can it be? Why do you need to charge that much?"
 

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It's never comfortable to invest $800+ when you can get seemingly the same thing for $300, but you'll never regret doing it right. When you figure the mileage you will get out of that logo, it's one of the cheapest bargains you can ever get for your business.
When I called around different marketing agencies, they wanted about $10,000 to design a logo. Then one of them told me they'd let their art supervisor do side work for me and give me some designs for $50/HR, he gave me a nice one I think for $250.00.
 

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When I called around different marketing agencies, they wanted about $10,000 to design a logo. Then one of them told me they'd let their art supervisor do side work for me and give me some designs for $50/HR, he gave me a nice one I think for $250.00.
I'm not the least bit surprised by the $10k price tag, it's what I meant when I mentioned "expensive" in my post above. That is not very practical for an average contractor business, so guys like me service the small business market.

I am surprised that an agency would agree to let someone do it "on the side" though, especially for such a low price. I won't venture to guess what their motivation was, I have no idea.

Isn't that kind of like quoting a remodeling job for $10k and then telling the customer your apprentice will do it for $250? That would not instill much confidence in the people I was dealing with if I ran across someone conducting business that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Ok, I want to thank everyone who has contributed input here. It really is appreciated. I am using some of this advice to make some changes to the website. That will be done in a week or so. I have consulted with a "designer". I simply can't afford to invest the 30K to create a brand right now in this economy. I have to work with what I have.

I really can't see spending $300 for a logo redesign because I don't think that will get me anymore than I already have. If I was to spend money on that, I would want to go all the way and I just can't afford $10000 at this time. That money would work better for me in other marketing efforts (i.e. I can justify $800 - $2500 for home shows, $700 buys 10,000 door hangers, $2500 buys 100,000 ValPaks, that kind of thing).

That being said, I know there's room for improvement. Quite honestly, the logo was something that I was proud of however simple it is. I like simple. I am posting a picture that includes my logo and that of my competitors side by side. The two at the top are the market share leaders in my area. What makes theirs better than mine, or are they not?

4 of the 6 I posted are companies with multi-million dollar brands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Maybe, I should change the colors ?
I currently use silver colored vehicles, light gray t shirts, tan and/or white polos, with khaki shorts and pants.

Maybe I should add a tagline ? Currently I have come up with.

The Difference is Our Experience
One Day Makeovers to Full Bath Remodels
Bathroom Problems Solved
What a Difference A Day Makes
From the 70's to Today in Just One day
 

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Darren, you asked about changing the colors on your logo. I vote yes. Something more like NuBath is close to the color I was thinking (I would have guessed they are a market leader). Also, I would remove the yellow and fill the circle in with blue and reverse the letters out in white (or a 10% shade of the blue). It won't be perfect, but you will get to keep your design and it will be improved. I would even try changing the circle to more of a "drop" shape. Almost round, but identifyable as a droplet.

Also, you're welcome. Glad to help.
 
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