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Criticism on Handcoded Website

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by Dane789, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Dane789

    Dane789 LawnSite Member
    from MA
    Messages: 4

    I finally learned some html and tried my hand at coding a website after using a Wordpress template for awhile. It's 95% complete, still tweaking the copy and the portfolio and blog pages.

    I'd love any critique on the content, design, and coding. Also currently learning about SEO, so any criticism on how my website can be optimized is greatly appreciated. I'm still using stock images, so eventually pictures of the crew and our work will be included.

    Thanks for looking!

  2. coursevector

    coursevector LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    (Disclaimer: I know nothing about the lawn business)

    With a quick glance a few things stick out:

    1. Remove the portfolio link until there is content there, empty pages scream unprofessional.

    2. If possible put some sort of starting price, price range, 10% off, anything with a dollar sign ($) or percent (%).

    3. Make your phone number large on the homepage.

    4. Consider something other than brown for a background color, you are promoting healthy green grass, not dying brown grass.

    When most people visit a site they are looking for:
    Services (you have)
    Price (not listed)
    Contact number (very small right now)

    A portion of people won't even bother calling unless they have an idea of what you might charge, and if they don't quickly see your number they may not call at all.

    A great way to design a homepage is to think of a mom holding a screaming 2 year old. She can't think, she can't scroll, and if she doesn't see a price or phone number in the first few seconds she is going back to Google to find the next listing.

    Next Steps:
    1. SEO - if they don't find your site it doesn't matter what it looks like
    2. MOBILE - This year mobile/tablet browsing will pass 50% of all internet browsing. I would be willing to bet only a few of your competitors have mobile friendly sites, be one of the first and get the money.

    From a phone it should be easy to click on your phone number, but I can't even see yours:

  3. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,866

    Your disclaimer is an interesting one. Looking at your other posts, you seem to be a homeowner. You mention the lack of pricing multiple times, but there's a reason you don't see this on the vast majority of LCO sites.

    Dane, you have a good start. Not sure if you've been lurking, and just now signed up, or are actually brand new to the site, but I would spend some time going through the previous site reviews we have here. They'll all be helpful to you, as they'll apply to your site. There are some areas to work on, from basic, on-site SEO (TITLEs, H tag consistency, image alts, etc) to a better featuring of your location/contact info as the info is difficult to find and, at the footer font size, difficult to read. Also, don't waste time on the meta keywords tag. It's long dead.

    From a usability standpoint, the menu hover of a dark font on a dark background could use a change.

    This one gets a bit subjective, which I usually try to avoid, but the scrolling content window (using the overflow:auto) does create a bit of an awkward usability issue due to the ability to scroll both the parent and child content. Continuing down the same usability path, on both mobile devices I tried it on (phone and kindle fire hd), it's not readily apparent that it's a scrollable window.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Here are the reasons I know of that people won't put pricing on their sites, along with why I disagree with each reason.

    1- Every job is different. True. But if you explain pricing structure, minimums, ranges, etc you can start weeding out the ones who aren't YOUR ideal customers. It can also create confidence in your pricing, that there is a process behind it, not just you picking a number you can live with out of thin air.

    2- OMG the competition might read it! Yep. Or they might have read your pricing on that last proposal you dropped off with the little old lady who handed your proposal to the appointment after you and said "beat his price and the job is yours." We keep talking about "what the market will bear." I know and you know that most LCOs are clustered around a certain range. We ain't building nukes here.

    3- It might scare off prospects. I struggled with this one before I put pricing on my website. I do design and consulting, and I'll occasionally do a design job under $500 but that's the very bottom of my range and I try to avoid those. There's a chick in my market doing master plans all day every day for $250. She sucks, so I'm not competing with her. Why let people assume I'm priced the same as her and waste my time with emails and phone calls? Oh, did my frank discussion of my pricing scare you off? That's cool. We weren't a fit anyhow.

    I love having pricing on my site. Web contact form leads can be really weak, so if I get a basic "I'm looking to redo my landscape" I send them a quick email reply thanking them, and I say "please be sure to review my portfolio and the design process page, which discusses my fee structure. If you think we're a great fit, please let me know the best time to call." If they thought I'd design their backyard for $100, they're off to email someone else. If they buy into my process and want me, they email back and we're off.

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