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JimLewis
12-30-2011, 12:08 AM
We added a little flare to our home page. The main thing is the flash feature at the top of the page. But also recently added the photo slide show thing in the center of the page as well. The focus of the home page features is more on landscape design/build than on lawn maintenance (even though almost half of our business is maintenance).

Anyway, let me know what you think of the new flash features. (You may have to re-load the page to see the new features if you've been to our site before.)


www.lewislandscape.com



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calvinslawnservices
12-30-2011, 02:14 AM
Looks great!!

Richard Martin
12-30-2011, 05:38 AM
Your website looks very professional. Very nicely done and everything appears to work. AA++

Ijustwantausername
12-30-2011, 06:53 AM
Yeah umm that makes my website look like a cartoon. I'm actually in the process of changing it though.

If you don't mind me asking, what does/did your designer charge you? Mine is charging me $50/hr which I think is a tad steep.

muddywater
12-30-2011, 08:47 AM
Wow Jim. You are always raising the bar. How did you do that? Was that your idea?

JimLewis
12-30-2011, 12:55 PM
Thanks all. I've been working hard on putting all of this together lately. Still doing a ton of work updating a lot of the pages on my website myself every day. It's been exciting. But the home page animation I've been really looking forward to. I was so excited once it was done and loaded that I had to share....

...If you don't mind me asking, what does/did your designer charge you? Mine is charging me $50/hr which I think is a tad
steep.

I have been using 3 different website designers. The firm that did the flash animation at the top of the home page charges $120 an hour. Pretty steep. But I've never seen a firm that is as creative as they are and can do what they do. It's a very competitive market in my area and little things like this always help us stand out from the crowd and land us more jobs. So to me, the rate they charge is worth it.

Wow Jim. You are always raising the bar. How did you do that? Was that your idea?

It was about 25% my idea and 75% the web designer's idea. I sort of directed them toward what I wanted in general, provided them with some photos, etc. and told them what kind of flash feature I wanted in general and they took my ideas and made them way better.

How they did it? I don't know. Flash animation. You can do all sorts of cool stuff with flash these days. The trick is to make it load quickly so the customer isn't waiting for like 60 seconds while the page loads.

matt spinniken
12-30-2011, 01:02 PM
Looks very very good Jim! Really nice idea and their design is spot on, I like how they made your logo a kind of tag. Maybe add a couple pictures of your guys maintaining the landscapes with a couple words on your maintenance services to cap of the flash.

Either way one of the nicest sites I have ever seen in this industry....inspiring!

TriCityLawnCareLLC
12-30-2011, 06:21 PM
Yep, looks great!

muddywater
12-30-2011, 09:22 PM
Looks very very good Jim! Really nice idea and their design is spot on, I like how they made your logo a kind of tag. Maybe add a couple pictures of your guys maintaining the landscapes with a couple words on your maintenance services to cap of the flash.

Either way one of the nicest sites I have ever seen in this industry....inspiring!

That is a good idea. It would be neat to have maintenance guys appear in the flash after the finish product is flashed. Also might be neat to get a flash of irrigation running. But might be too much to digest? But that would cover EVERYTHING. Design. Install. Irrigation. Maintain.

sweetland
12-30-2011, 09:59 PM
I like it, only thing I would change is how the pictures zoom in cause it spends more time focusing on a very small area vs if you zoom out you have more time to look at the full picture. Just my .02 but I really like it

MarkintheGarden
01-02-2012, 01:18 PM
We added a little flare to our home page. The main thing is the flash feature at the top of the page. But also recently added the photo slide show thing in the center of the page as well. The focus of the home page features is more on landscape design/build than on lawn maintenance (even though almost half of our business is maintenance).

Anyway, let me know what you think of the new flash features. (You may have to re-load the page to see the new features if you've been to our site before.)


www.lewislandscape.com



.

Great website! In fact I have never seen better. The complete, concise text and photos describe your services very well. I bet that it helps a lot to have a site like this so that your customers can see what you offer.

I love the flash feature so much, I kind of thought maybe it should be in a bigger window and maybe centered.

I also liked the slide shows with the zoom in and out. I thought that the zooms could have been better aimed at focusing in on more interesting focal points.

Your stone work and hardscape is as good as it gets.

Jim, you must have a top notch team of pros and an efficient operating system to produce the quality and variety of product and service that you do.

Your operation is so well produced you could franchise it, write books about it, or expand into vocational training.

One suggestion for the website is that it could use more plants and flowers in the photos.

JimLewis
01-02-2012, 01:59 PM
Thanks for the wonderful compliments, Mark!

Yah, I agree with you on the flash photo feature in the middle of the page. As it zooms in, it just chose a place at random in the photo to zoom into. I am not happy with the way that works either. But I haven't found a suitable replacement for it yet. Part of what makes that flash feature so cool is that I can add it to any page, drop a few photos into a folder for that page, and then it starts working! So for instance, if you go to our Pavers page, you see that same feature but it's just scrolling through photos of paver jobs. If you go to our retaining walls page, then it just scrolls through photos of retaining walls. It's sort of a generic flash feature you can just add to any page but customize which photos you want it to show. But the fact that it's generic, also means you don't have as much control over where it zooms...

I agree. I would like to have the flash feature at top more centered in the page. And I looked into that. But there were challenges with that scenario. I'd have to redesign the entire page - in fact the entire site - if I did that. Because the whole site fits a certain format. It was around $8,000-$10,000 to redo my entire site in a whole new format that would accommodate changing the home page to a more comprehensive, centered, look and then all the other pages on the site around that look. I seriously thought about it. But that was more than I wanted to spend right now. So we decided to just take what used to be just a still photo section there at the top and just change that only. That way, the rest of the site could still stay looking the same. Minimal change. Minimal investment. One day I'll redo it all though.....

Thanks for the suggestion for more plants, flowers. I agree. I need to get better photos. I think it would help to go back to some of our landscape installs 2-3 years after they were installed and get photos at that time, when the plants, flowers, and trees have reached more maturity. Then I'd have some more impressive photos with planting to use.

MarkintheGarden
01-02-2012, 03:41 PM
I noticed that the flash photo feature was working on all your specific pages. And as you said, it did work in real time so that I did not have to wait for it. And it does work better for some photos than it does for others. I imagine you can get better results by shifting and croping the photos themselves. If you cannot aim the zoom, move the target. The retaining walls in particular lined up well with the zoom. The trees and plants page, the zoom out worked so much better than the zoom in.

When I see beautiful stone work like that, what I want to see with it is weeping evergreens, mountain ash trees, japanese maples, Perennials with texture and stunning bright flowers, and ornamental grasses. It was like looking at a menu with photos of juicy thick steaks, but no potatoes, vegetables, onions, or sizzle. Looks real good, but missing perfection.

But like I said, It is the best Landscape company website I have ever seen.

JimLewis
01-02-2012, 07:16 PM
When I see beautiful stone work like that, what I want to see with it is weeping evergreens, mountain ash trees, japanese maples, Perennials with texture and stunning bright flowers, and ornamental grasses.

I know what you mean. The problem is that a lot of people get bids from us for the whole nine yards (hardscapes, planting, sod, etc.) but then only hire us for the hardscape part. Sometimes they do the rest themselves. Other times they just leave it a blank slate and have us back later to do a 2nd phase of installation. Either way, the majority of the hardscape jobs we get are just hardscape. The customer either isn't interested in doing anything with the rest of the landscape or they are, but just can't afford it right now. It sucks. That's why I try to focus a lot of my photos on just the hardscape itself in those situations. But I agree with you.

Every year we get a little better clientele. Every year, customers with a little more expendable money than we had previously. Like just the other day we landed a $48K job and the customer didn't even blink when we gave them the presentation and the final price. He just wanted to know where to sign and get on our schedule! So hopefully, we'll get more clients like that, going forward, who have the money to do all the nice planting as well.