Web gurus- please help my site!

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by XC skier, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. XC skier

    XC skier LawnSite Member
    Messages: 216

    I have read many of the web discussion threads and I have tried to implement many of the great ideas that you guys have posted. In particular Tony and Headz have incredibly helpful. Now I would like to know if my site is worthy and what I can do to improve it.
  2. XC skier

    XC skier LawnSite Member
    Messages: 216

  3. greg8872

    greg8872 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    From a quick technical standpoint, there are some coding issues with your site, at least the home page. I must say, as a coder, it was crazy to see code that mixed current methods with old school methods such as using tables for layout, using non breaking spaces for positioning text, and realy old school of using the <font> tag.

    Some of the big issues besides that (at least from the home page):

    You provide a meta tag for og:site_name, but have it blank...

    <meta property='og:site_name' content='' />
    Your code for your Google Analytics is all over the place, you have things that just do not make sense... Here is a sniplet from your home page:

    <script type="text/javascript">
    google-site-verification: googled45fee7a6c931912.html
      var _gaq = _gaq || [];
      _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-8431756-1']);
      (function() {
        var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
        ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
        var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
    </script>UA-48251221-1<link rel="stylesheet" [continues with good code...]
    You also at the end of your page have another repeat of the GA ID's that don't make sense:

        </div><!-- end footer-wrap -->
    Tracking ID
    You have other "content" (??) in the middle of your <head> which doesn't make sense:

    <meta name="msvalidate.01" content="6159640F6837E9132B9629B059B077FF" />lawn mowing,  lawn maintenance, new york landscape</head>
    <body class='tall-header-page wsite-theme-light wsite-page-index'>
    Your links for LinkedIn, the one in the header just takes me to LinkedIn, not to any type of profile for you. The link in the footer, goes to a 404 page.

    The link in the footer to Facebook is also a Page Not Found

    The overall look of the site is good, nice and sharp, but the heading on the home page really stands out to me and says "this didn't belong in the design". The photos on the About Us page also pool away from the sharp clean design look.

    On the site, there were a few spelling errors:

    http://www.newyorklandscapemgt.com/lawn-mowing.html has dependable misspelled

    http://www.newyorklandscapemgt.com/about-us.html and http://www.newyorklandscapemgt.com/spring-clean-up.html have maintenance misspelled

    http://www.newyorklandscapemgt.com/mulching.html has retain misspelled (in meta description)

    http://www.newyorklandscapemgt.com/leaf-removal.html has vacuuming misspelled (in meta keywords)

    The use of spaces to position text in your footer really stands out. The copyright line, your company name line, and the address line clearly do not line up in any type of visual "order". And, just noticed that navigation in the footer are not actual links. they are plain text.

    On your services page (clicking the main "Services" link, not any of the drop down service links) there is this big green button that says "Get A Quote", however, nothing happens when you click on it unlike the other service pages.

    Wow, just noticed, on just about all the pages I looked at so far, the main headings are actually part of the main image at the top, which explains why most of them look out of place for the theme you chose. Looking at the code, there is no primary <h1> tag, which is important when it comes to SEO. The closest you have is <h2>, which on many pages are "Description".

    The image on the power washing page really stands out as "I'm not part of this design". Let me just say, I get that if you are not a graphical designer, it can be hard to get images that flow nicely (heck, I suck at that myself), so event though many images to me show up as not fitting in (either obvious stock photos, or actual custom photos that are blurry and/or not sized right, again, getting those to blend nice can be tough for someone not used to doing it), when I point out one like the power washing, it really is off (the shading at the bottom doesn't help)
  4. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Messages: 1,181

    Wow, that was some good stuff from Greg. I don't do the technical side, so glad to see that.

    Looked at the home page from a SEO point of view. Here is some stuff that is wrong or missing that effects rankings:

    1- Title Tag. You have one, but its not helping. Should be something like "New York Landscape | Poughkeepsie Lawn Care". The title for each page should have the most important keyword for that page, your location, and probably your company name.

    2- H tags. You don't have any. The H1 especially matters. Your H1 should be something like: "Poughkeepsie Lawn Care from New York Landscape".

    3- Image tags. Yours are just the file name. They should describe the picture in 2-5 words.

    4- Canonical tag. You actually have 2 websites- the "www" and "non-www" version. Add the canonical tag to www so that you don't split your trust signals and links.

    I think if you get this basic stuff taken care of we can dive a little deeper. Good start- keep at it!
  5. greg8872

    greg8872 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    One additional note, the Title and H1 on each page should be different.
  6. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,906

    It seems you're using a site builder, so I have no idea what your constraints are, but I would really put the effort in to a site that is ready for today's users, as well as the future. Your site has some antiquated, tables-based code, and then there is also a mobile version at m.yourdomain.com (refer to Headz comments)

    I think you're off to a decent start however, to me, it looks like an uncompleted home page that could either be 40% done or 100%. I'll stick to the visuals on this one...

    - Top banner has a slogan, a vast amount of free space, and then some very small social icons. you should really get your useful info up there. a not small phone number, maybe some service area info, rearrange your social icons (your email icon is, a bit oddly, in between linkedin and facebook.).

    - Menu bar looks good, but the float:right creates a bit of visual awkwardness. Might look at just centering it.

    - New York Landscape header... why isn't your logo/brand up top? I really don't "get" the giant, blue, not-your-brand image. Plus, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, your site presents a very clean, modern image and then we're hit with a bright blue, beveled and heavily drop-shadowed bit of text that really takes us from that modern and clean look to 1996.

    - And then there's the large photo... You've read previous threads, so do you have a guess as to why it makes me want to bang my head against my brick walls? ;) As a landscaper, and someone who is used to natural settings, what is wrong with that photo? Basically, the photo, coupled with the blue banner of text, have no business being paired together, or even on your site. They just don't fit the rest of it.

    - If you're going to use clip art, I'd try to source transparent clip art. The 100% guarantee badge has a grey background, which draws attention to the notion that it was something you found and just added to the site, given the rest of that area's background is white. It's the, seemingly, little things like this that separate a well-executed site from the other 90%.

    - Love the bold, green, linked text in "Check out our great offers on spring clean up, mulching and lawn mowing.". That makes for an easy, visually-striking callout. The overall font choices are great, as well. (which, again, runs counter to that blue text.)

    - The embedded map is awkward and not intuitive. Hard to tell what I'm looking at.

    - Your bookend list of bullet points about your company are great, but could probably use a better highlighting. Maybe they don't and it's just that the map separating them is out of place.

    - There's your logo and brand! Why is it way down there? You have some space to the left of your menu and the visual impact of it up there would probably be quite complimentary. I would also change the menu green to match the green of your logo. (see attached)

    - The footer is kind of a disaster. The nav menu, contact info, and social icons are extra-small (literally). I see a snippet of your broken Analytics code rendering there.

    - On sub pages, I would really just go with complimentary color, flat fonts. The heavy-offset of your page title banners just has no visual connection to what the rest of your site looks like. Same goes for some of the clip art, but those are, for the most part, less egregious. If you lose those banner title images, you have the added benefit of gaining and SEO-friendly H1 tag.

    (for an example of what I mean, on the Spring Clean-Up page, towards the bottom, you have 2 clip art badges, and the text of "ALL NEW SPRING CLEANUPS". That kind of font is exactly what you need up top. That font works and it's coded, not a picture of text.)

    All in all, I think you're off to a good start. It's, mostly, on the right visual track, however my concern is in how bad/antiquated the site builder's code is. There are plenty of responsive-design templates out there, or site builders (such as squarespace), that allow a site to look great on any device. This site is not that and you may be at a disadvantage to your competition.

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  7. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,906

    2 additions...

    - your service partners page. don't send people away from your site. if you're going to have those links, launch them in a new tab/window.
    - the logo looks great at the bottom of each page, it just needs to be at the top, as well.
  8. greg8872

    greg8872 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    Didn't realize that there was the mobile version. That version really is affected by some of the things mentioned. When I click on "Services" that takes you to the same services page I ended up at that had the non linked "Get a quote" button. Also, on all those service sub-pages (that you see when you click "show more links"), all of those pages leave out your header image, so none of them on mobile show what page you are on, they all start with "Description" (ie. http://m.newyorklandscapemgt.com/site/driveway-sealing.html ) so this is another good example of why you need actual H1 tags instead of just an image with text in them.
  9. XC skier

    XC skier LawnSite Member
    Messages: 216

    Wow you guys are awesome. I've noticed that on most other threads lots of different people reply to posts but, when it comes to web stuff there are 4 or 5 of you that all the rest of us recognize as the masters.

    I have made some of the changes suggested. It has been mentioned here many times about having service area info on the home page and since my area is so confined and doesn't even include the entirety of the surrounding towns I really thought a map would be best. Unfortunately, I just could not get the Google map feature to look like I wanted.

    I am very disappointed to learn that the site builder uses dated coding. I don't know where this leaves an amateur like me. I used Weebly through my hosting service (Start Logic) which according to my research was supposed to be pretty good.

    I have not discovered how to add image tags on it though I have tried. Do I have make the coding improvements in html and if so how does one do that if they are using Weebly or similar products? I am a little confused by the www vs the non- www.

    Tony, I don't get the concern about the blue font on my home page. Should I not use "New York Landscape" but, only my logo?

    It is going to take some real pondering for me to figure out some of the rest of the stuff. I really appreciate the input.
  10. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,906

    Visual design is subjective, however...bad design elements are bad design elements. Rather than just saying it looks like it's from a page in The Official 1996 Web Designer's Style Guide, I'll stick to the less-subjective reasons as to why you don't want pictures of text.

    1. You can easily use actual text (not a picture of text), which gives you something for search engines to index. If you want to give it some style, via a dropshadow, for example, you can do so with CSS. There's really no defense, in this era of web technology, to have a picture of text.

    2. I probably could come up with a 2nd point, but there's no reason. Search Engine-friendliness is enough. :)

    Now, if we do address the design of it, from an aesthetic standpoint, that picture of New York Landscape text in no way works with the design of the site. You have a clean, modern site. Beveled, heavily-offset, bright blue, Times New Roman (or whatever) text simply does not work with it. I don't know how else to say it, other than "trust me".

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