First look

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by GreenUtah, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    Ok gentlemen and ladies with mustaches, a first look at brand spanky new site as I've decided to wade back into services on a small scale and reestablish some of my contacts.

    No linking done at this time (so no real reason to be talking about SEO), additional text driven pages, like a FAQ, watering schedules, etc. still to come and the payment pages are still being built (site live for the merchant account folks to eyeball) and the main purpose will be to support other ad materials and customer contact pieces.

    So for now, weigh in on design, readability, ease of navigation, load times or whatever other random comments you
  2. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    no opinion? Here?! ok, go ahead and feel free to slap around the one in my signature. It's very dated, busy and has chunks that have been disabled because of unrelenting spam. It needs a massive makeover as I believe that design was done in 04. Just don't know what I want to do with it. It was a neutral branded site made to support and educate the clients of contractors that we did work for without branding ourselves (that way nobody got their panties in a bunch and we were still able to reference material without larger printed pieces/printing costs)
  3. greg8872

    greg8872 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    Just heading out the door here (already spent too much time in the forums lol), but the big thing I notice when your page comes up... Where are you? What is your number? After looking around, I realized that part of the title I could see in my browser, "Green Kings - Bountiful, C..." did have your location, but sadly many browsers anymore limit the page title to a tab (I really hate that), and without being from around the area, didn't know Bountiful was a city name here instead of an adjective. Of course, it does say Utah in the URL, but there isn't even a phone number for me to think "Ok, that isn't an area code here" EVERY PAGE should have your phone number in a clear easy spot AS TEXT.

    All the content is below that huge image, that gets my attention. In fact, the first thing I clicked on was the "Click Here For Details", and other than that link going away, couldn't tell I went to a different page easily without scrolling to compare.

    The home page at least doesn't validate, and not just the small things (like not using self closing tags), but mismatched tags and repeating ID names.

    Lastly, the contact page, finally, I find your location and phone number... The form has no validation (did you get a couple blank submissions from me?, your site said they sent), and keeping with the theme of your site of roomier containers, I'd give more spacing around the inputs, as well add padding inside them. The text looks small and tightly contained compared to the rest of the site. When I did submit it, it was a little overkill... "Thank You." "Success!", and "You've successfully sent us an email..." I'd at least get rid of the "success" by itself. Also, repeat the rest of your contact information on this page... Woah! just scrolled down to see the text on the right on this page... that really is uneven.. it just looks bad, I'd suggest changing it to mixed case like your "Contact" and "Payment" one, well i see it is mixed case, the u is lower case, but as high as everything else...

    Oh crap, there I go again, a quick note ended up being almost a half hour of looking around.... Gotta go for sure now..
  4. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    thanks for having a run through Greg. Yes, I was watching you hit that form, which is just a temporary one, which is why it's not styled to the rest. It will be replaced when the payment system comes in.

    I have not placed a phone number and address on all pages for a reason. Two actually. Because I will use a mailbox instead of walk in location, Google Places isn't going to do much for me based on the address, so working some very specific keywords for suburbs in the metro area as part of the titles and map pages. Secondly, when the payment system is up, I want them to use automation. A cart, buttons, the payment structure if they are already on the site. Reduce labor and take the payment on the spot instead of relying on a second step of communication to finish the transaction. With payment, I will request the information I need for production, but the test is whether they will buy first and be committed BEFORE I add sales or cs labor (beyond automation) to the equation. That's the goal and what I'm steering toward with the site. (and I know it's hard to see the rhyme or reason without the full site showing)

    the "Success" tab was just about the font in all caps. It wasn't a mix of sizes..that's the font. But it should be cap then lowercase like the rest, so we'll replace that, so thanks for pointing that out. Some of the errors on validation are items that appear to be closed properly and not repeated (I had checked it once before too..but with more to still come, thought would wait for it to be included with the rest of the work). some of the repeating of items on the page, like the Success page, are because you are looking at a mix of images and text so although we are going big with the image some browsers (and bots) may only catch the text, so a little redundancy is happening to serve the various masters, so to speak.

    The front page above the fold looking so similar to where it landed (and that's exactly the action I wanted you to take) has been something that we're talking about and I noticed it too..mainly, like you said, because of the above the fold issue not making it clear you jumped pages (especially with the quick load time between the two). Perhaps will shrink/alter that graphic when we embed the payment buttons.

    Thanks again for taking a few minutes to roll through the site and put your thoughts here.
  5. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,915

    I'll take a peek tonight and get back to you. It looks great on my Kindle Fire HD.
  6. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,915

    Per your request, I'll stick to the usability and won't even look past the visual...

    So, it looks great on mobile. On my Fire HD, it is crisp, clear, and nice to look at and read. Thank you... :)

    From my laptop, it looks very good. The font choices and colors make for an easy read.

    I'm not entirely sold on the over-sized discount offer. Looks good on mobile, a bit overwhelming on a larger screen, but it's not altogether unpleasant. It might be that specific bright red that's a bit much. Extra points for not having a slideshow.

    Tips & Tricks seems the wrong title for the content box? Q&A might be more appropriate, but maybe I'm missing the concept you're shooting for with the redirect to your other site.

    The content boxes with the white font on green background are a good example of execution. It works great in small areas, such as yours. Full pages, not so much.

    Lawn Page: I like the inclusion of the block quote/whatever in the the green box "We know that is just about opposite to every other offering in the market, but there is a catch." Great way to break up content.

    And then I hit the big, red stop sign. lol There's that FF0000 red again. To my eyes, jarring. It could be toned down a bit so as not to be so harsh, but we're playing in the subjective area. Could also be that it's one of the original, web safe colors, and those tend to have a dated, harsh look to me.

    From a marketing standpoint, I'm not big on telling people your route is full or you're no longer accepting clients. Is this for all services? If it's not, what if I take away that it is and don't bother contacting you? To me, any time you can get a high-touch experience with a potential customer, you do so, even if only to tell them no. If I don't fill out your waiting list form you don't have my contact info to market to me in the future.

    Love the logo. I just did a site that was the same crisp green on white and it's one of my favorites. Clean, modern, easy.

    Footer design/navigation looks good. One thing that does bother me with LCO sites is the over reliance on green and the usual headers/footers that tend to be used, including the grass/roots image. BUT... you used a crisp, clean, high-quality image, and it makes me like it. lol For those that are wondering about the difference between a mediocre site and a very good or great site, the footer image is a great example. Image quality is everything. Anything less and I would think it cliche. It's not, and it lends itself nicely to the visual pop that the rest of the site has. I could probably write 2,000 words on this one, but you get the gist.

    The offer call-outs on the Bug page look really nice.

    I'd change up the visual cues of the Bug page and the Home page so that the visitor knows they did change pages.

    Tree page art is nice. It's inconsistent with the rest of the art you used, but I like it a lot.

    Weed page... as I go through the site, I look forward to seeing the images you've used so far. The Weed pic underwhelmed me as it doesn't meet the visual bar you set on the other pages.

    Contact page form could use a visual punch up. The side "contact" photo is a bit of a deviation again, so I'm not sure if it's something I should be taking issue with or not. Really, it comes down to picking nits as the overall, visual execution is well done.

    I have a crazy busy schedule so I didn't actually read the content, but the visual appeal is what made this the first LCO site I've added to my Pocket reader to revisit on any of the dozen flights I'll be on in the next week.

    OOOhhh! Found something I really don't like. The grass border around the service area map.

    Only real recommendations would be to work in some photos, or other block quotes or call-outs, to break up some of the content monotony/fatigue that can come with the bright white canvas territory. You might also want to add some internal content links to your relevant pages. Sweeping for grammar/sentence structure/punctuation with a second set of eyes would be something you might want to do. When I did a couple of random, quick text scans, I noticed a few issues.

    All in all, that's on the Mount Rushmore of Lawnsite DIY efforts. Looking forward to seeing it as you progress.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  7. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    Thanks for taking time to evaluate the site. The weed image is the weakest, no doubt. What I actually want there is a photo on a floated white background, but I couldn't find a suitable stock image, even to do a cutout on and it will be awhile in my mountain market before there is anything big enough to be suitable to yank and shoot. The tree is a step out, but I liked it so much, I had to use it and that's just how it goes

    I also am not in love with the grass border on the map, so it will likely get stripped of that shortly. I'm also missing my fav.ico file, which may be a reason for throwing an error..will see if I can knock that out today.

    I know the deal on the red and I try to use it sparingly. The issue is "why" you include it in the first place and since I need it to be an eyestopper, I go with that big, bad, bright red that's proven to work for basically forever. It's harsh in a minimalistic design, but it needs to be.

    On the "contact" photo, it's actually a repeating theme for the non sales pages, things like the pesticide philosophy, the "success" page, about us, the FAQS, etc. to come will carry that "fob" to unify the non sales pages. I am bouncing to my old site for a couple of reasons. A) there is reference material already there that is evergreen, so I can "content up" during build without duplicating content form another site and still having it be sort of sensible b)some natural outbound linking for reference material and c) because the old site was pushed out with many, many pieces to contractor clients previously, it still takes a couple hundred unique (and local) visitors per week so it will give me the opportunity to tie the two brands back together for those that have used the older page, as ugly as it is, and keep it from looking foreign. Time and experience in the market is the selling point, so even though the site is new, we want it to look semi integrated with something that they've known for awhile.

    The lawn program page...well..that's a unique situation. I won't take any residential customers into it this year. I want visitors to know it's an offered service (and the page to be indexed, of course) without taking any calls on it. An elusive, exclusive offering instead of the typical we'll take anyone approach. Why? Because even when I open it, I'll only take full season, prepaid customers. My days of 7000 residentials and all the "stuff" that goes along with collecting and customer servicing partial or single app clients is over for me. The full season programs work nicely with the other offerings, but they will need to start being sold far earlier than now, so I'll just put it in their minds but leave it as a teaser. I won't be focused on lawn with the materials that will drive to the site, so think of it as a placeholder for the time being. Strange as it might seem, there is a method to the madness that has more to do with my available time and what I want to focus on along with what's available in my service market (This isn't a small town..this is a two million person metro area with MANY competitors including 2 Trugreen Chemlawn branches that will overlap my services and will likely be very displeased at seeing me back into the mix, even on a limited

    As I said, there will be some additional text heavy pages, but for now, the site lives for evaluation by the merchant account folks, so I figured I get some extra eyes on it before I make a push to the public with it.

    Thanks again for your time and opinion.
  8. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    and just for amusement, anyone with IE 7 or earlier should hit the page and see what I think about old IE browsers (or even new ones for that only 7 and back get the "special" treatment)

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