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Kerdi & Ditra Specialist
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75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been doing my own site by trial and error for eight years now and feel I have a reasonable grasp on it (for what I need, anyway). I have never really had a professional web guy (or web dude) take a look and give feedback.

I get fairly good results from it and the bulk of my leads come directly from my site but there is always something that can be improved, no?

If you guys would be so kind as to take a look and toss some honest opinions at me - no thin skin here - I would appreciate it.

Thanks for any input!

Fort Collins Tile Contractor



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Carpe Diem
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20,742 Posts
Doesn't look bad. I'm no web pro but as a Joe Regular, I'd say the font (New Roman) is too basic and your phone number needs to stand out more. :thumbsup:
 

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Non-conformist
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1,581 Posts
It's actually quite clean, so those few years spent show in that it well exceeds most DIY sites. A couple observations I made, and one was already brought up. The Times font should not be used on a web site. Times is a "print" font (notice books, newspapers, and magazines use it, and there's a reason for that) and it looks most readable in printed form. Verdana and Arial are the best choices for body text on a web site. These are much more reading friendly on the screen. I favor Verdana, and I think most people do.

The other issue is your right sidebar. It is set to flex with screen res. At higher res settings, it grows wider and looks bad. I would rather see a fixed width even if it stays over to the left like it will if you just make that adjsutment alone.

On the subject of left aligned sites (entire cantent areas, not referring to text), many designers used to argue that was not good so they usually favored centering the content area. Most sites still do. I must have been on the leading edge because I never considered that to be bad. I've noticed a lot more sites using this now, so don't worry if someone tells you you shouldn't do that. Check out www.adobe.com because they are a big enough company to care if there was something really wrong with it.
 

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Kerdi & Ditra Specialist
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75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the comments Steve.

The font I had on there was actually Georgia but I did switch it to the Verdana to see how it looks and it does spread it out just a bit and makes it easier to read - always a good thing.

The sidebar issue is one I've dealt with for a while. I settled on the way it is currently simply because IE absolutely destroys anything it touches. Every time I fix it or tweak it I look at the page in IE and it looks like someone took a grenade to it.

Internet Explorer SUCKS! :furious:

Thanks for your help.
 

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Web Dude
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153 Posts
Steve did a bang up job on his review, I just have a couple of things I'd like to season the stew with:

Design

First off all, it looks like it's built on Wordpress. Well done sir, well done. That's 3/4 of the battle right there. It's a good, user friendly CMS to use for sure. My second favorite :)

The "Art" part of your logo, while definitely visually attractive and memorable, is missused when it is placed in those line of images in the header. It kinda looks like your logo is just "Tile", then you have a red picture, a blank white box, and the rest of the pictures. You know what I mean? The images could also benefit from being place in a slideshow, or a mini gallery somewhere else on the page. Like where the pic of the vanity is. That would be a pretty good spot.

The main copy could use some trimming and more sub headings. While it certainly is good copy, it's not easily scanable. I want to know what exactly every paragraph is about right away so I don't have to read it if it's not important to me. I would completely eliminate the credit card part since it is on the sidebar as well. No need to waste valuable screen space with duplicate info.

Also, you shouldn't have to tell your user how to use the site. (the rectangle at the top... line). If you think people might miss the navigation without being prompted to where it is, you should change it so they could notice it if the power went out.

I don't love how the Monthly Special text and the stuff that follows really breaks up the flow of the copy. I'd move that stuff to the top right of the sidebar, and make it higher on the food chain visual wise.

Absolutely love the first paragraph, very strong. Change the heading to something more.....catchy? I hesitate to say catchy because it can come off salesy and cheesy, but something that will really grab the visitor.

The Sidebar

I like the image at the top, and I personally think it would be a good place for a mini gallery or slideshow. Bring the images down from the header and stick them in a slideshow here.

Not a giant fan of the Contact Us section, because it doesn't really jump out. It's got kind of a Christmas tree shape going on. Make the Contact Us more prominent, dump the we are located line (but keep the Fort Collins under neath the number) Make the "call for free estimate" area really pop if that's the main goal of your site.

The Search box is most often (almost always) found in the top right hand corner of a page, so it's not very noticeable. Also, the titles of the Blog sections are about the same size, color and font as the blog post titles themselves, which makes it all kind of blend together (again not very user friendly)

SEO


Good Title Tag, and good Description Tag. The only thing I would work on (bear in mind I haven't researched these keywords at all) is that you may be targeting too many keywords, and they seem to be very broad head ones. Do some research and possibly modify the list or dump some.

Also the keyword density isn't very high for the page.


Hope that helps you out some, any questions and I'm quite certain Steve or myself will come swinging in to the answer :)
 

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Non-conformist
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Internet Explorer SUCKS! :furious:
I hear ya there! I use it primarily because it's still dominating the market and I need to see things the same way most others do. Although Firefox is gobbling up market share, which is a feat no one has ever been able to pull off before.

I'm sure you know this, but IE is most frustrating between IE6 and IE7 (IE8 doesn't seem to be too much different from 7 so far in my experience). You get IE6 issues resolved and it blows up in IE7, and vice versa. Unfortunately, there is just about an even split between the usage amount for all three, so if you don't accommodate those users, you suffer for it.

You probably missed the bane we all suffered back in the days of Netscape 4. That was far worse. What was really bad is that there was no Netscape 5, so the agony was extended until version 6 (with version 4 having what must have been dozens of flavors). Oh, the memories! I think NS4 probably takes the prize for the most hated browser ever (for web people that is). I haven't thought about NS4 for quite a while now, so thanks for the trip down memory lane.
 

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Web Dude
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153 Posts
I have abandoned all IE6 workarounds entirely, no longer will I develop for it. I kicked that bastard child of a web browser right to the curb, as way way less than 1% (.03) of my visitors were using it. Pile of junk.

Thank god for web standards, and Firefox FTW!!!!
 

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Non-conformist
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1,581 Posts
I have abandoned all IE6 workarounds entirely, no longer will I develop for it. I kicked that bastard child of a web browser right to the curb, as way way less than 1% (.03) of my visitors were using it. Pile of junk.

Thank god for web standards, and Firefox FTW!!!!
Lucky you. Whenever I check it on various sites, the numbers range between 10 to 20+ percent. And such cruel analogy you cold hearted web developer you. :laughing:
 

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Registered
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I just checked into one of my busier website stats to check on what my latest browser trends were.

IE still accounts for 56%
-IE6 = 18.6%
-IE7 = 18.7%
-IE8 = 18.5%

Firefox 34.6% and then safari, opera etc... down around 3% and down.

This was based on 208,060 unique visitors through the month of October 2009.

The same site from October 2005, and FireFox was only at 7.1%.

BTW - My Trusty Internet Explorer abruptly quit working about 3 weeks ago...:rolleyes: so I am now one of the 34.6% using FireFox :laughing:

Carl
 

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Non-conformist
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1,581 Posts
Thanks, Carl. That even split between the 3 versions is pretty consistent with what I usually see, and your numbers are really close to even. Considering IE used to get about 80% and even sometimes 90%, that 56% shows a significant drop which has been interesting to observe. No one has ever given MS such grief, though many have tried in the past. It's been impressive seeing FF take such a big bite in just a few years.
 

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I've been doing my own site by trial and error for eight years now

My uncle old me something that stuck with me. He said 'it is not the money you save but the time you waste looking for the right solution'. And time is money. So unless you are totally broke I would get a pro to design your site.

When was the last time you read a web page top to bottom? I have never done it.

So take one page that you like and remove everything but the headings and subheadings. This is what people scan (not read) for words that interest them. If they see something that sound interesting they read the text near that heading.

So here is what one of your pages looks like to me (an average human who knows nothing about remodeling)
Techniques


Kerdi shower system

Redgard, hydroban, 9235, and other liquid membranes

Durock, Fiberboard, Hardibacker, and other cementious backer boards.

Ditra

Dry-Pack mortar shower pans


Do you see my point? I am not studying to be a renovator, I am trying to find a solution to my problem.

And I can tell you are not making any attempt to reach out to my problems, concerns, worries etc. If I call you will you talk to me in a language I don't understand?

So look at some professionally done sites and you will see how this is done and copy their style.
 

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Non-conformist
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@karunnt

Excellent observation. Not to scare you or anything, but you are sounding much more like a web/marketing person than a fellow contractor. I try to emphasize the principle of addressing the needs of the customer from the customer's perspective, but it's probably more powerful hearing it from a fellow tradesman.
 

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Hi cbscreative,

I am not in the trades. I develop websites but I'm not that knowledgeable about marketing. What I know about marketing is what I learn from the sites I develop and the sites I compete with.

I find that many people who run bsinesses think of themselves as artists, craftsman, highly skilled experts etc.

This is fine but they are also running a business and they have to take themselves out of the role of an employee of the business and think for a little time as the owner of that business that wants to grow.

An owner lets the employee do the work and spends their time thinking of ways to get new business.

Some of the more successful web development companies near me are started and run by people who got a business degree from a local community college. They probably could not create a site if their life depended on it.
 

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Non-conformist
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I was kind of wondering about the "hosting" part in your trade description, karunnt, but I know many trades people venture into other areas. Still a great point about making sure the web copy is customer focused. That's especially easy to miss on a DIY site because when you are "too familiar" with your subject/business, it's a lot more difficult to see it the same way the customer would.
 
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