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Old 05-21-2014, 06:50 PM
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headz77 headz77 is online now
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Interesting option for a website?

Curious what Tony, Greg, Papercutter and the rest of you think of the free websites powered by Houzz. A legit option?

Here is info on them: http://www.houzz.com/sitedesignerSignup
Here is an actual site: http://www.drapesndecor.com/
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:55 AM
greg8872 greg8872 is offline
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Just waking up, so will hit some basics... First the templates they use (that I looked at) look pretty clean (not clutters, flow nicely), however there are issues like no <h1> header tags? Also, I dislike any site immediately that disables right clicking on you, for me that is something you see on site of people who think it is effective, and not true web professionals.

The 2488x900 header image on the sample site you gave, I will admit, impressed me with how small in terms of filesize it was, but this may be the effort of who uploaded to the CMS. But, still in the end they are displaying it at a max size of 328x119.. Even if you wanted crisp details for a retina display, that would still only be 1296x476, almost half the size of what they are giving. i see similar logos on other sites they list that are done through them.

Two big issues I see with this site, but they are most likely not caused by the system being used, lack of textual content and that feaking thin light grey text on white backgrounds. I especially hate that as on cheaper laptops (like mine LOL) You have to have the tilt of the screen at just the right angle to read it well. The social media buttons at the bottom, I almost didn't notice them at first until I adjusted my screen to be able to read the text.

The IMO overkill on links back to houzz.com is not needed. The home page style, just my personal taste, I don't care for. On the plus side it doesn't scroll down too far. I am not a fan at all of the long vertical pages with multiple "sections" (and one of my clients uses that, i avoid loading the home page I hate it so much LOL)

As I'm looking at some other examples, again, while it may be limited to the content put in by the users, some of them just are just not designed to immediately give the visitor things they need, but more of a "ok, you already searched on Houzz directory service to narrow to your contractor type and area" Example: http://thewairegroup.houzz.com/ First impression if I came across that site: "What do they do? Where are they at?" Both of these you need to scroll down read centered text to learn. On the plus side, they do spell it out immediately, and for this site, it is what google picked to use, however, using text right from their site, I googled "design build firm fishers indiana" first five pages or results.... not there (though houzz's directory came up) and their facebook page did come up.

I was finding similar issues with other sites they listed, just not finding them easily in search results giving key phases given on the site, and even phases that are in what google shows when you search for "site:theirdomain.com"

Well that was my quick run though. I need to head to McD's and get some breakfast.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:34 AM
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southerntide southerntide is offline
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Go with a real website. Dreamhost is a good place for secure DNS domains, small hosting from hostgator

About $75 yearly investment max starting out.

But if you do not know how to operate/setup/design one someone will most likely charge you up the ying yang for basic wordpress install and setup then design. Just get more than one price if needed.

I've said it before and someone else said not possible but install on wordpress and set up plugins, keywords (targeting location, job services, etc in your area) is max 30 minutes after purchasing domain and host. DNS are usually working in 30 for them to set in fully Worldwide 24-48 hours. Depends on if you use a crap domain hosting company.

Design is different with branding, graphics, logo etc.

I have a server in Dallas its about full now though but also been doing that on the side for years use to make good money designing and coding themes for PHP Nuke platforms.
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:58 AM
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headz77 headz77 is online now
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Thanks Greg- I was curious about the "under the hood" stuff.

Obviously I am not considering this for myself- but for the people who are going to insist on choosing between GoDaddy, VistaPrint, etc? It might be a viable option. One thing is obvious- this product should keep Houzz at the top of all our local search results...
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:42 AM
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tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by headz77 View Post
Obviously I am not considering this for myself- but for the people who are going to insist on choosing between GoDaddy, VistaPrint, etc? It might be a viable option. One thing is obvious- this product should keep Houzz at the top of all our local search results...
I'll monitor how their sites perform (in terms of rank), however my kneejerk reaction would be that it's instantly a better alternative than GoDaddy or Vista, if only for the clean, responsive design and potential rank muscle that's behind them. I'll be interested to see how a BobsLandscaping.Houzz.com sub domain performs vs bobslandscaping.com (as the domain pointing to Houzz). When I have a bit of free time, I'll build a site on there and build a test site.

To me, from a straight branding and business move, you're right on what you're alluding to. The big winner is Houzz. From my 2 minute run through, I could only smile and think, "Well played, Houzz.". On their end, I think it's a genius play.
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:55 AM
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tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Originally Posted by southerntide View Post
Go with a real website. Dreamhost is a good place for secure DNS domains, small hosting from hostgator
So, you ran through the Houzz site and came to the conclusion it's not a "real website" and therefore someone should DIY it? I'm curious as to what Houzz's sites offer, or don't, that pushed you to make this recommendation. Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:30 PM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is online now
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houzz is also trying to get people to build their free houzz site in parallel with their actual site, which to me is the height of bad ideas. Yes, let me build a site to compete with my own site, and if houzz ever starts charging for the site or otherwise jerks the rug out from under me, someone searches on my company by name and the top result is a site that says "find designers like [____]" and points them to a directory of my competitors. Thanks, I'm good.

I don't know, it's a nice looking site, but it's still digital sharecropping and you'll have a hard time ever convincing me that's a good idea.
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:42 PM
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tonygreek tonygreek is offline
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Originally Posted by PaperCutter View Post
houzz is also trying to get people to build their free houzz site in parallel with their actual site
This is what I'm most interested in seeing how it will play out.
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