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  #1  
Old 02-13-2012, 01:52 AM
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Wiedmann Wiedmann is offline
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Plan-it Graphics Websites

I posted late the summer about getting a website designed and was having troubles with what domain to use but I think after a few months I've made my choice and am now looking at web designs. I think in order to grow my business and gain the clients I need to this year a professional developed website is a MUST.

I been searching and have seen a lot of websites I like coming from Plan-it Graphics. Would anyone be willing to share a link to their site if they have a Plan-it Graphics designed site. It would really help me see what I like and don't like. Thanks guys!
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2012, 04:34 AM
greg8872 greg8872 is online now
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One thing you can do is google the following (including the quotes):

"Website Design by: Plan-It Graphics"

which is in the footer of some of their sites. Between that and their portfolio, came up with about 14 sites.

One thing I would do if considering the cost involved would be to reach out to Holganix (listed on the portfolio) to see if they still use them, and if not see if they are willing to share why they felt the need to change. (The site is on a different type server than all the rest, and the archived copy of their older site did have the link in the footer http://web.archive.org/web/201009130....holganix.com/ , both of these would make me wonder if they switched). Don't get me wrong, there are many valid reasons to move on (bought out, more advanced needs, so it isn't necessarily that it was a bad indication of Plan-It).

In looking at the 14 sites, just about all of them are done with Dreamweaver, which when used right will make good sites as far as the back end code.

All that being said, if you get a site from them, insist that all the pages validate. You can check them here: http://validator.w3.org/

Several of their sites not only fail validation, they do it for major issues such as these two:
http://alderferlawnandlandscape.net/
http://www.maddenlawn.com/

I'm sorry if they see this, but for that price something basic as validation should NOT be wrong with it, especially those errors. To try to explain it, think of building a large block wall on a hill, there are many ways you can do it and it will look "nice", but isn't structurally sound to give you best performance over time and for use other than intended. (dunno a good example to give, other than say a wall that just holds back dirt, then later you put a driveway along the top of the wall. That example probably really sucks, but I hope you see where I am going with this).

Another thing to consider, along the lines of how the site is built vs. how it looks, try visiting sites in a tool that will show you how search engines see the site. The two I usually use are http://www.domaintools.com/seo-browser/ and http://www.seo-browser.com/ On top of what it can see, consider what it CANT see. Many of the ones I looked at have no <h1> tag which google takes in consideration to help define what the page is about for ranking your site. Also on most of the sites I went to, the < TITLE > for all pages on the site had the same exact title, which should also be specific to the particular page for improving SEO, and no Keywords/Description. Now, if you are getting the final code for the site to upload to your own hosting account, these are really easy to add/edit, however the H1 should be part of the design since it is visual.

Lastly another thing to consider, how hard will it be to update your site later? If you are getting the full site to upload yourself, you could add other pages, but most had images for the menu, so you will need to see how to create more (I see their site say $100 to add another page). If you are letting them handling the hosting, you will probably be stuck paying for any changes, where a CMS built site (Joomla,Druplal,WordPress) will let you add/change pages on your own at will.

Now, I swear, I did not start this reply intending to sound so negative towards them, or to try to talk you out of using them, but these are things I see that someone not as familiar to sites wouldn't notice, and well you are talking paying out some good money for it. (kinda like if I were to go out and buy a pro level mower, I'm sure there is a lot you could point out that I should look for that I wouldn't think of).

So, after all that, don't get me wrong, if they get you a good site that is coded properly and you guys work out the Seo friendliness of the site (good titles, having H1, etc) they may be just right for you with what you want from a site, just wanted you going into the decision with some more of the technical knowledge of it. For the most part, I really like the "look" of the sites (and boy do I suck at coming up with original designs and color schemes).

Good luck on your search!

-Greg
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2012, 06:45 AM
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Lefet Lefet is offline
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Greg8872, I don't know what all that information means or what to do with it when you find it out, but I for one appreciate you posting it.
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  #4  
Old 02-13-2012, 07:30 AM
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tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Lancaster, PA
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In a quick pass of a few of their sites, I see some pretty amazing, and amateur, mistakes made.
-Graphics repeatedly saved in the wrong format, giving a grainy effect to them. This includes buttons, design details, and most important, your company's logo.
-Information that should be saved as html content being displayed in a graphic (your services should never be displayed as a graphic. You get zero SEO use out of those and, as a loose example, a search engine will not tie in your city to your service.).
- The same, unbelievable, stock photography used across their sites. Since they tack their link to the bottom of your site, anyone clicking it will end up on their site and possibly noticing that LCOs across the country all seem to maintain the same mansion, hurting your credibility from the start.
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  #5  
Old 02-13-2012, 09:41 AM
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Wiedmann Wiedmann is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Prole, IA
Posts: 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by greg8872 View Post
One thing you can do is google the following (including the quotes):

"Website Design by: Plan-It Graphics"

which is in the footer of some of their sites. Between that and their portfolio, came up with about 14 sites.

One thing I would do if considering the cost involved would be to reach out to Holganix (listed on the portfolio) to see if they still use them, and if not see if they are willing to share why they felt the need to change. (The site is on a different type server than all the rest, and the archived copy of their older site did have the link in the footer http://web.archive.org/web/201009130....holganix.com/ , both of these would make me wonder if they switched). Don't get me wrong, there are many valid reasons to move on (bought out, more advanced needs, so it isn't necessarily that it was a bad indication of Plan-It).

In looking at the 14 sites, just about all of them are done with Dreamweaver, which when used right will make good sites as far as the back end code.

All that being said, if you get a site from them, insist that all the pages validate. You can check them here: http://validator.w3.org/

Several of their sites not only fail validation, they do it for major issues such as these two:
http://alderferlawnandlandscape.net/
http://www.maddenlawn.com/

I'm sorry if they see this, but for that price something basic as validation should NOT be wrong with it, especially those errors. To try to explain it, think of building a large block wall on a hill, there are many ways you can do it and it will look "nice", but isn't structurally sound to give you best performance over time and for use other than intended. (dunno a good example to give, other than say a wall that just holds back dirt, then later you put a driveway along the top of the wall. That example probably really sucks, but I hope you see where I am going with this).

Another thing to consider, along the lines of how the site is built vs. how it looks, try visiting sites in a tool that will show you how search engines see the site. The two I usually use are http://www.domaintools.com/seo-browser/ and http://www.seo-browser.com/ On top of what it can see, consider what it CANT see. Many of the ones I looked at have no <h1> tag which google takes in consideration to help define what the page is about for ranking your site. Also on most of the sites I went to, the < TITLE > for all pages on the site had the same exact title, which should also be specific to the particular page for improving SEO, and no Keywords/Description. Now, if you are getting the final code for the site to upload to your own hosting account, these are really easy to add/edit, however the H1 should be part of the design since it is visual.

Lastly another thing to consider, how hard will it be to update your site later? If you are getting the full site to upload yourself, you could add other pages, but most had images for the menu, so you will need to see how to create more (I see their site say $100 to add another page). If you are letting them handling the hosting, you will probably be stuck paying for any changes, where a CMS built site (Joomla,Druplal,WordPress) will let you add/change pages on your own at will.

Now, I swear, I did not start this reply intending to sound so negative towards them, or to try to talk you out of using them, but these are things I see that someone not as familiar to sites wouldn't notice, and well you are talking paying out some good money for it. (kinda like if I were to go out and buy a pro level mower, I'm sure there is a lot you could point out that I should look for that I wouldn't think of).

So, after all that, don't get me wrong, if they get you a good site that is coded properly and you guys work out the Seo friendliness of the site (good titles, having H1, etc) they may be just right for you with what you want from a site, just wanted you going into the decision with some more of the technical knowledge of it. For the most part, I really like the "look" of the sites (and boy do I suck at coming up with original designs and color schemes).

Good luck on your search!

-Greg

Thank you for all that information. I had no clue any of those problems that consist on a website. I went to one of your links to check the validation of them and seen what you were talking about. Does most major sites have some validation or issues that show up as warnings when you search on that link you provided?

Chances are I'll support a local company to design my website. I was looking at Plan-it Graphics sites because I'm trying to get an idea of what kind of custom site I want built. I see a lot of people posting sites on here but I think many of them look cheap.

The local company I have been looking at are roughly the same price for 8 pages as Plan-it Graphics is for 5 pages. The thing that I'm struggling with doing is whether or not to pay $155 a quarter to have them: host the website on their server, make unlimited updates and changes to the existing website and linking the my site from their high traffic directories to help with my SEO. I know I've read on here that SEO can be done by about anyone but I don't think I have the time or drive to try and push my site onto google.
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2012, 09:43 AM
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Wiedmann Wiedmann is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Prole, IA
Posts: 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygreek View Post
In a quick pass of a few of their sites, I see some pretty amazing, and amateur, mistakes made.
-Graphics repeatedly saved in the wrong format, giving a grainy effect to them. This includes buttons, design details, and most important, your company's logo.
-Information that should be saved as html content being displayed in a graphic (your services should never be displayed as a graphic. You get zero SEO use out of those and, as a loose example, a search engine will not tie in your city to your service.).
- The same, unbelievable, stock photography used across their sites. Since they tack their link to the bottom of your site, anyone clicking it will end up on their site and possibly noticing that LCOs across the country all seem to maintain the same mansion, hurting your credibility from the start.
I have seen a lot of their work on here and have heard of guys having the same picture as others for flyers and such. I like the way the work looks and looks professional but I wonder if they could change up their image a little more to help from using the same images. I'd hate to order something from them and find out while I'm passing my door hangers that theres the exact same one hanging on the door i just walked up on.
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  #7  
Old 02-13-2012, 04:26 PM
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wildstarblazer wildstarblazer is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: South Georgia
Posts: 753
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiedmann View Post
I have seen a lot of their work on here and have heard of guys having the same picture as others for flyers and such. I like the way the work looks and looks professional but I wonder if they could change up their image a little more to help from using the same images. I'd hate to order something from them and find out while I'm passing my door hangers that theres the exact same one hanging on the door i just walked up on.
Foe real! That happened to me with vista prints. How embarrassing!
These companies need to add some uniqueness to their designs for each client.
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2012, 04:38 PM
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turf hokie turf hokie is offline
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Location: Metro NY
Posts: 2,675
not so different as my logo and wiedman logo...

good think we are far apart
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2012, 05:11 PM
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wildstarblazer wildstarblazer is offline
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That was funny. But don't you think a unique logo is called for if your paying $50 bucks? Damn, I'm in the wrong business..

Other than that I think their sites and logos look sharp. Way good enough for a lawn biz in my opinion anyway..
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  #10  
Old 02-13-2012, 05:50 PM
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tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Lancaster, PA
Posts: 2,674
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiedmann View Post
The thing that I'm struggling with doing is whether or not to pay $155 a quarter to have them: host the website on their server, make unlimited updates and changes to the existing website and linking the my site from their high traffic directories to help with my SEO.
I'd recommend you make sure it's very clear what "unlimited updates and changes" actually means.

As for the linking from their "high traffic directories to help with SEO", I'd ask for examples. I'd be very leery of such a claim. This is an instance where quality definitely beats quantity.
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