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Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by JR's Lawn Service, Jan 28, 2013.
I find the green background to be hard on the eyes.
There are inaccuracies on all pages. I'm not going to rewrite the site for you. Start with your aeration page and move on from there. Find credible sources of information and fix the information. If you don't understand the subject matter, don't attempt to rewrite it until you do.
On web design (partial list)
Page layout: Comments belong below the menu, and other problems
Images: Captions should be done with HTML, and sized appropriately. If you are going to make an image a link, it either needs to take you to another page, or a larger version of the image.
Code: Is a mess. No valid DTD (HTML 5 is not a standard yet) among a host of other things.
Homepage: Needs to be completely redone. What you have there is primarily an "about me" page.
Text: No consistency at all in size or color.
Document outline: Incorrect, needs to be fixed
Header: There is none. Get rid of the images, and construct a proper header.
Comment form: IMO, it should be on it's own page, not at the bottom of the comment list.
I agree with most of the comments from the apparent experts on here (Kiril and Tony). I put this site together without any knowledge at all and learned as I did it. I will continue to work on it and appreciate the time taken by folks to evaluate the site. I know it is lacking, but it will serve the purpose for now. Everyone has their niche, and this is certainly not one of mine. However, I must say something regarding the comments about my home page being a "about me" page and it is not a proper web page/first page of the site. I totally disagree with that. One thing I know is people. I believe that a page, while not your traditional web page, such as I have is better than most I have seen; not with the professional content of pretty pics, etc., but I like announcing who I am up front and that being the first thing my potential clients see. I am not sure I want them to see a page I paid for someone to make and is very formal. I am one of the most professional guys around and I understand wanting to wow the client to some extent, but I want them to know me, the person that will be on their property, perhaps at times when they are not there. Also, in my case, I totally started from scratch with no knowledge and learned enough that I can program the CSS and do other things. This took effort and I did not pay anyone to do it. I will continue to work on the site and improve certain things. I know it is a joke to some of the technical guys on here, but I can respect that. I think it will accomplish what I need it to when it comes to my potential clients. I already have several, and I have been around long enough to know what my selling points are to people. Again, I appreciate the comments and it remaining on a decent constructive criticism level. Good luck to everyone this season. My two cents worth is this: a positive attitude, ambition and drive will overcome anything life has to throw at you...period. Thanks again. Jeff W
Jeff, what you said is fine and good, but it is also grossly underestimating how the web and search actually works. As it is, your site would be considered a "Hello, I'm Jeff" letter or brochure site. I say this because it will likely not be found via organic search and will require people to directly type in your site based on previous knowledge of it's existence. Beyond an area code, I don't even see where you might service.
A better discussion or thought point might revolve around when you said "it will serve it's purpose for now". What does that actually mean to you and what are your expectations for your site?
Here's the thing about your website and pretty much any marketing collateral you use: it sets the tone for what a prospect expects from you. I was laid up with Lyme disease for two months this summer and needed to find a lawn service to do my yard (I was really starting to get the stinkeye from the neighbors). I'm one of those people who doesn't care much about the lawn, and as long as it's cut and tidy I don't care. Plus, from being out of work, I didn't want to pay a lot.
So when I was looking for providers, I chose who to call based on websites. If they had a weak, cobbled together website that looked homemade and didn't have a strong marketing message, CTA, etc - that's who I called. After all, the assumption was that someone who would put THAT out as a representation of their company was someone who would start cheap and negotiate backwards into ridiculous. FYI, it worked.
At the risk of being an a**hole, your site fits the profile of one that would've gotten me to call you. Now, you may be more professional in your pricing and presentation when you show up, but then that sales call would have been a wasted 20-30 minutes for you. When you consider that a lot of folks filter search results the way I do, you have the potential to waste several hours a week chasing dead leads (and miss the good ones who go "yeah, I don't want this rough of a startup, I want a pro company").
I spent years with a homebuilt website. I started by hand coding one, then a free template, then a paid template, then Wordpress. I finally paid a designer when I realized that what I wanted my website to say about me and what it was actually saying about me were not in alignment. I don't get a ton of leads via my website, but I've gone from 0% close on web leads two years ago to 80% close on web leads over the last six month. That has nothing to do with my sales skills and everything to do with the quality of the leads who call me.
Take a good hard look at what you believe you bring to the table (quality of service, attention to detail, integrity - am I right?) and really look at your site, and decide if the two match up.
Jeff, check out this website about the best website designs -- http://www.thebestdesigns.com/
If I were you, I would start on Version 2.0 of your website while leaving your current one live. One thing to keep in mind is that there are hundreds of other landscape companies that have websites, and in many cases the website will be the first impression a prospect has with that company. Every good website will have quality/verifiable content that is easy to read, easy-to-use navigation, a smart use of graphical content, and most importantly: the ability to be easily found. No technologically advanced website is worth anything if it can't be found.
If you have trouble with HTML/XML coding, a good FREE program available for download is this: http://www.serif.com/web-design-software/?mc=FSSWEBPLUS
It is classified as a what-you-see-is-what-you-get software (WYSIWYG for short). No coding knowledge is necessary. Hope this helps in your success.
Guys I appreciate it and I can't disagree with anything you say. I will definitely improve the site and will most likely end up paying someone that knows what they are doing. As a sole propieter I don't want to get huge. I am doing fairly well with obtaining clients. I receive a pension from the military and in my business plan I stated that I will be satisfied with 30 clients; this will more than suffice for me. I don't want to get too big..and yeah, I can already hear you saying.. based on my site I don't have to worry about that . Seriously, I appreciate the comments. I have my service contracts, invoices, estimates, programs for keeping up with clients, a business plan and about 2 thousand flyers left from 3 thousand. I think I will be where I want to be, not withstanding the site for now. I show up on the google search for here (7th on the list) and thought I was tracking on some things, but I understand the comments. I appreciate the info chilehead. Thanks, Jeff W