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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems like the number of requests to take a look at new websites has grown in the last two weeks since I started doing my homework on the subject (for the third time in so many years). You'd think it was spring or something.
This is the third incarnation of a site for my husband's company- we're still in an area where word of mouth and truck visibility seem to be the best advertising, but internet presence is on the rise for sure, and almost everyone has "something" to send potential customers to online...
I can't get a candid review from friends and relatives, so I'm hoping you guys aren't burnt out yet, and can give me some constructive criticism/feedback.
Our site is www.follansbeeslandscape.com - we're located in Central NH, and I've been following these forums for a number of years, as time allows. I don't usually have anything to add that someone didn't already say better though... always learning.

Thanks for your time. :waving:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice site however (IMO) ....The Services Provided section is way to cluttered. The about us section font could be larger.
Thanks for the feedback: I had a feeling about that services offered section... time to go back to school days and remember "edit, edit, edit"!
Thanks for the tip on the about us section too: that is the only part of the last version that pretty much got copy/pasted in: we had a high school student working on the site in Dreamweaver (part of her classes) but she has different classes now, and no one wanted to take over: sound familiar? I'm trying Website Tonight, until I can refresh and expand my stale and outdated web design skills. A lot has happened in the last 10 years (and not just on the internet).
We've considered hiring a designer, but we've got to get our heads together on what my hubby really wants - this should hold us for now.

Did anyone have trouble uploading the slideshow? We still have quite a bit of dialup around here - I'm on cable. I know the photos are individually average, but the total is huge.

Thanks again: I'll be making the changes hopefully tonight - life just got busy around here.
 

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Looks good.

I don't like the foggy header image though.

Thought to ponder, because you wrote "lawn" singular, maybe change "elements" to "element" singular.

You probably already realize that you need to work on your title and description tags.

Thanks for the invitation to chime in. Its so grand for us owners of the broad range of rank and file sites to get to say what's on our minds.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks good.

I don't like the foggy header image though.

Thought to ponder, because you wrote "lawn" singular, maybe change "elements" to "element" singular.

You probably already realize that you need to work on your title and description tags.

Thanks for the invitation to chime in. Its so grand for us owners of the broad range of rank and file sites to get to say what's on our minds.

:)
Husband's comment about the header image was "what is THAT supposed to be?" :confused: (one of our customers perennial beds BTW)
Out of 450+ photos I have it was the only one in blue -green hues I could crop to complement the logo colors in the banner space I have to work with... as soon as it gets green around here again I need to go on a photo shoot. That image, and the fact that I don't have a single good shot of the gorgeous lines our mowing guy runs all week long, both need to be addressed ASAP.
I'm glad you reminded me on the tags - out of sight out of mind: I've got to sit and figure that out again :eek:
 

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Husband's comment about the header image was "what is THAT supposed to be?" :confused: (one of our customers perennial beds BTW)
Out of 450+ photos I have it was the only one in blue -green hues I could crop to complement the logo colors in the banner space I have to work with... as soon as it gets green around here again I need to go on a photo shoot. That image, and the fact that I don't have a single good shot of the gorgeous lines our mowing guy runs all week long, both need to be addressed ASAP.
I'm glad you reminded me on the tags - out of sight out of mind: I've got to sit and figure that out again :eek:
Want to learn a bit about title and description tags?

Type in big city keywords like "Seattle landscape service" or "Atlanta Landscape Contractor".

Look at which sites look good, and take a guess at which ones have webmasters, rather than do-it-yourself sites. Odds are that most really big companies hire a pro web designer.

Anyway, right click on the page, and choose "view page source" or to up in your browser to VIEW and choose view page source.

Look at the choice of words they are using, especially the title and description. Look at how they order them, and use of commas.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Want to learn a bit about title and description tags?

Type in big city keywords like "Seattle landscape service" or "Atlanta Landscape Contractor".

Look at which sites look good, and take a guess at which ones have webmasters, rather than do-it-yourself sites. Odds are that most really big companies hire a pro web designer.

Anyway, right click on the page, and choose "view page source" or to up in your browser to VIEW and choose view page source.

Look at the choice of words they are using, especially the title and description. Look at how they order them, and use of commas.

:)
Great tip! It kinda feels like cheating: takes out the headache and reading a dozen more or less useful articles... works for me. I like to challenge myself to learn a new skill (or update and old one) if only so I understand what I'm asking of the pro I hire later on. However, I'm out of time and ambition at the moment.
I'll make the changes this weekend - we just started our first (big) cleanup a couple of days ago, and I suddenly feel old and out of shape. Achy and tired... I love it!

Thank you to all of you for your input and suggestions, they have been most helpful (and nicely put - I admit I was a little apprehensive).
 

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Great tip! It kinda feels like cheating: takes out the headache and reading a dozen more or less useful articles... works for me. I like to challenge myself to learn a new skill (or update and old one) if only so I understand what I'm asking of the pro I hire later on. However, I'm out of time and ambition at the moment.
I'll make the changes this weekend - we just started our first (big) cleanup a couple of days ago, and I suddenly feel old and out of shape. Achy and tired... I love it!

Thank you to all of you for your input and suggestions, they have been most helpful (and nicely put - I admit I was a little apprehensive).
Cheating?

Where do you think they learned?

Seriously.

:weightlifter:
 

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Here's my suggestions:

First, I would just put your company name and number in a normal font and not use the gradient in the letters or the wavy or arched letters. Just a nice font in one color that makes your company name and number visible. The gradients don't really match the rest of the site. Or hire someone to do a professional logo for you and use it on the site.

I know that you agree that the header photo is not a good one, however, I really like the photo of the landscape by the lake. I would take it and use it as the header photo instead. Nice photo.

As for the services offered, a way to unclutter that part would be to have no underlines and create more space between each word, not too much, but more than is there now. Keep it a different color though so that people will be ablee to easily see it. Maybe even make the words slightly bigger so as to stand out from the paragraph to the right of it.

It's easier on the eyes when there is more space and everything isn't bunched together and it allows people to not be overwhelmed when deciding what to look at first. It's all about leading the viewer from one part of the site to the next.

I think you have a really good start though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks lawnman306

Hmm... I'll look at the font size for the "services" words and try to tweak the spacing. You just reminded me indirectly that I need to check the page viewed in different browsers (I'm use Firefox 99.9% of the time). Very helpful tips for the services page - I did edit about half the text out of it and move things around since the first recommendations, but it still needs work.

The logo is what we've had on the trucks for several years (non-negotiable with my husband :p) and despite it's obvious shortcomings, it does look sharp on the truck doors (white or dark green) and has gotten many favorable comments from customers. It kind of stands out among the numerous, sleek professional stylings, and disturbing "homemade" letterings around here. I'm ambivalent about it at times, but I gotta work with it.

That lake photo has been a staple on all versions of our website, but I passed on it for the top, because there was no good way to crop it to fit the template (obvious drawback of using templates... no flexibility). I have the neighbors property in mind, very similar shot, but a view of the lake through big trees in the lush lawn: as soon as the lawn is lush, and not dormant... Going for overcast or early morning so the lighting is not too harsh, and the greens stay rich.
Got my work cut out for the next rainy day... Now I'm almost late to go to work cleaning up plow damage and loads of sticks! And payroll! Arrghh!
:waving:
 

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Since all the services offered go to the same page when you click on one, you should just have one "services" link to get there.
Also, each time you click a new service, it opens in a new page or window.. Your site builder control panel should have a setting that lets you change that. Otherwise your viewers will have 10 windows open if they click each one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Since all the services offered go to the same page when you click on one, you should just have one "services" link to get there.
Also, each time you click a new service, it opens in a new page or window.. Your site builder control panel should have a setting that lets you change that. Otherwise your viewers will have 10 windows open if they click each one.
Very sharp observation - thanks!
I just got rid of the fact that it opens a new page each time (now it replaces current page with the new one) and I'm banking on the fact that the average web user doesn't have the attention span to go back and look at another link in the lineup more than once or twice; at least, personally I get distracted by page I just got sent to, and bored with the back button unless I'm methodically troubleshooting...
It does remind me that in another life, we had a page that would produce dozens of pop-up warnings in Mozilla: turned out that the photos that enlarged on mouse-over were considered pop-ups by the browser, and triggered anytime the cursor was remotely near the image... Special effects gone wrong.
Thank goodness for rainy days in the office :rolleyes: or I'd never get to the tweaking...
 

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For the more part, my main 7 or 8 service related pages are set up so that a new window is not opened with each click.

But outside of those, for the advice topics, the goal is a new window. Because if my content triggers a quick thought and they do a fast internet search, once they have left my site on that short quest, the other open browser window anchors them to my site just in case.
 
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