Work in progress

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by Ric3077, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

    My site is getting updated every few days...but I could really use some input on what is good and what just isn't working etc...thanks! See link below
  2. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    You forgot the link :confused:
  3. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

  4. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    It looks a lot like who asked here the other day. I keep wondering why so many of the sites you see here have the big borders around a itty-bitty site or off to one side?
    You even say (which is a waste of "headline" space that should be removed, people won't change their settings for your site) "Site best viewed with screen resolution at 1024 by 768 pixels" but it would best be viewed at 800 X 600 or on a 15" monitor because then it wouldn't be a 1/3 screen site.
    The pages are WAY too ling, people HATE scrolling and yours take a lot. Made the site "full screen" and the pages would only require 1/3 as much down scrolling right off the bat.
    Also I checked the site code on a validation checker and got this response on your home page
    and that was at 28+ errors. There is no sense in me describing the errors, you have a site designer, at $15 a month (HIGH) they should know better (like you cannot use quote marks " in meta tags...LOTS of those in there, and many don't even make sense. Those will stop a search robot dead in it's tracks because it looks like a command it can't follow.)

    Can the photo of the guy on the phone. That's not you...and it's obviously a "stock" image...those do no good. Want a photo? Use one of you.
    PayPal logos etc. are way too big using up valuable real estate.
    The home page is WAY too long, I'd suggest also canning the "mission" page (nobody cares about those at all) and moving your long services list to that or another page. The text on the "mission" page is fine. Just incorporate it into other places on the site so somebody will see it.

    Wherever you put the testimonials they don't need to be huge and they need either a full name or address to be real (most people will let you use their full name, rather not have their street address on the web) but Joe M. in New York is not a believable reference. (Or if they won't let you use their name do a "thumbnail) photo of their propery...anything that gives it something to make it "real" .

    What's up with the "poll" that is both a waste of space and serves no purpose. Remember, people are their to find out why they should use you instead of XYZ Lawncare not answer a poll that has nothing to do with your services.

    IMHO you way over-use bold and that little "frilly" text in some places, usually with the "scrolled" curvy image just doesn't go with landscaping... more like for a site for a candle store. In general you want the "look & feel" of your site to stay consistent throughout. Yours uses a variety of fonts & sizes, and when everything is bold it isn't bold anymore.

    Uh-Oh...I can't go on because the host you are on just crashed ;) or else your site just went down for some reason (10:30 am CST) not good...the week-end should be a time when people are searching for your type business. I was about to figure out some suggestions for your FAQ, I know it's too long, too bold, and too big as far as text but I can't go back to look anymore, was down almost exactly 15 minutes (14 and some seconds)...just tried again :( again, you are paying a premium price, that shouldn't be happening.

    Oh, another thing...I noticed this but don't know why. EVERY page change caused a brief flash to a black screen then the page opens, it's only a flash, like half a second. But it shouldn't be there and may cause you problems if it is some bug in a script or something that is causing that. (It happened in every browser I tried)

    Maybe more another time... I've got Sat. honey-do's" and the 15 minutes down took too long..
  5. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

    Web Man thanks for the input...I have made a few changes...please let me know what you think thanks!
  6. WebMan

    WebMan LawnSite Member
    from D/FW TX
    Messages: 11

    Please understand I walk a fine line here. I do this type thing as work, but I can’t post anything resembling advertising so I have to stay between “giving away” an amount of time & information that would be hurting myself while still trying to offer genuine help to the most people.
    Also please note: People say I sometimes come across in posts as hyper-critical and I am not trying to seem perfect. No human being is perfect, there is no perfect web site, and no perfect programmer. If there was surely they wouldn't have "patches" for Microsoft all the time. There are flaws in every web site and every program somewhere. Even the ones big corporations pay many thousands of dollars for and have programmers "on staff".

    First, there are 120 HTML coding errors in your home page alone, some severe, some not so severe (ones that would cause damage to rankings or strange displays for some people). Some of these definitely need to be fixed, some you could "get by with".
    One example of a major problem is in your description tag. That tag must end with "> however yours has the simple mistake of an extra " ending in family!""> That’s because that line had a quote mark before "Let... To a search engine that is an unknown command. The quotation mark is telling it that is the end of the description the > tells it that’s the end of that tag. These are machines, they don’t understand typos. So an extra " can totally confuse a computer program (which is what a search engine robot is). Earlier in that same description you surround the words curb appeal with quotes i.e. "Curb Appeal". Again that has confused the computer program which sees that first " as a signal that the text has ended and expects it to be followed by a > symbol. Those extra quotation marks MUST go.
    There is also no "classification" tag which is important to some search engines who group sites by type (like yahoo)
    Now lets look at your description. As is (if the mistakes are fixed) Google will display your listing like this:

    Tomasi's Cutting Edge Complete Yard Care – Home
    Lawn Care, Maintenance, St. Welcome to your guide to a beautiful yard. Tomasi's Cutting Edge L.L.C is the St. Peters,St. Charles, O'fallon, Lake St. Louis & Wentzville MO solution for creating Curb Appeal. Please take a moment to...

    Now your tag goes on with: browse through the services we offer for your home and Let us spend time with your yard, so you can spend time with your family!
    But search engines like Google cut it off at about 155 characters/spaces or less. (and never beg, don't say please take..., just say take...)
    So did you get your most important message across and make me want to click that link? Think of what a customer really desires, (desire is a human's strongest motivator) Would I be more motivated to action because what I really desire is to have time with my family so "Let us spend time with your yard, so you can spend time with your family!" Would that catch my interest more and make you stand out from other results I'm scanning? Maybe it should be first...that's a choice for you to make.

    First your title makes me wonder; why the –Home? Do you only work on homes? Why not just Tomasi's Cutting Edge Complete Yard Care ? Or better yet Welcome to Your Beautiful Yard. Which one makes me (Joe customer) interested enough to click? Am I looking for a guy named Tomasi or even a company called Tomasi's Cutting Edge? I’d have probably just typed in that phrase or looked in the phone book. Or as Joe “my lawn needs help” customer am I looking for a beautiful yard? And how about lawn? You know your area and how your customers think and talk. If your customer’s call them yards that’s fine, but to many people a lawn is one thing and a yard is another. Usually a lawn is a more “classy” and beautiful & cared for thing (maybe not consciously but subconsciously, remember this is advertising at it’s most critical, you only have a second or two to get me to click that mouse as I scan the page)

    Now the description: Do I care you are an LLC? NO!
    What is Lawn Care Maintenance Street? That’s the first sentence describing your company! :confused: at least it "reads" that way.
    Then you name all these towns...BORING! I’m probably gone by now.
    Is there a nickname for that entire area like maybe the Lake St Louis Area? (I know nothing about your area, just a guess)
    Do you see what I’m doing? You only get a second as I (Joe Customer) scan the search engine page, you MUST catch my attention, make sense, and by getting rid of those towns and the LLC you save spaces so you can say something that interests me and makes me want to click! AFTER I click you can name all that stuff on your site, but first you have to get me to your site.

    That’s about as much detail as I can give you (and hopefully others reading this) but if you see what I was saying at first I’m only a few lines into your CODE and I have found all this. We haven’t even talked about what needs to be done to your site yet.

    So I’m out of time for that. But for the site in another post yesterday I mentioned:

    Any service business site needs to convey 3 main things very clearly and with as little effort or confusion as possible for the visitor:
    1. Who you are.
    2. What you do.
    3. Why you are better at it and why I should hire you instead of someone else.

    So I’ll be very blunt.
    GET RID of : ask a question, ESPECIALLY THE POLL, and combine the mission and about us pages, and work the schedule into another page at the least.

    ALL you folks remember this (it’s not me, it’s statistical fact):
    Once you get me (net shopper) to your site you have a maximum of 7 seconds before I decide if I found what I am looking for or “click away”...SEVEN SECONDS. Remember the Internet is all about FAST!
    Don’t waste that valuable time and your most valuable real estate (home page top) making me look at a bunch of useless links to useless 1 paragraph pages. (People get mad if pages are too long OR too short) and if I am looking for someone to do my lawn I did not come there to take some poll about do I like to watch TV or whatever! That poll is the single most irritating thing on your site.
    If I was “Joe Customer” and IF I clicked on that I’d expect to see “my lawn needs:” or such (and even that would be a waste of time and space unless it was interactive and responded to my answers with suggestions for solutions you offer, something only a VERY expensive site could do) As it is as soon as I saw that “poll” I’d be hitting the mouse looking for another site.

    You are getting better and I’m not picking on you personally.

    I am taking your site apart for the benefit of all the other people who might see this, see your site, and think “that’s a good site”. Remember the 3 points above and the 7 second rule, your home page doesn’t grab me in 7 seconds and make you look like THE most interesting company I have ever seen. That’s what you want.

    Sorry that’s all I have time for now remember this isn’t personal but I have seen SO many bad web sites in this forum. Most people mistakenly think like contractors and pat themselves on the back thinking “that looks cool” and then wonder why they don’t get business from their web site. You must think & see like a “shopper”.
    In the “old days” where having a web site cost $24 a month... my contracting web site, through business I could identify as from the web site alone (no other advertising influence) in 1997, made enough to pay for itself through 2012 (at what would now be an outrageous $25 a month and $29 a year for the domain name!) selling traffic cones! Which was only a sideline but I carefully marketed them on the web site. That’s what you are shooting for. It didn’t matter if I made a nickel after that and I still paid those unbelievable prices, It would still be “paid for” until 2012.

    PS: You may wonder why no “ask a question” page, you may think “I want them to ask questions” and sure you do. Just not as a nobody on a forum or web page...
    You want them to ask questions on a form so you get their name, by calling you on the phone so you get their number or even if they just ask by e-mail, you get an e-mail address. Anything that gets you even a tidbit of information gets you a potential “lead” you can follow up on.
    You already have a FAQ page for the regular questions.
    Also your photo page is good but some of the best photos are way down at the bottom, if I had been a regular visitor I would have never seen your best work. Get those to the top. Also make them all the same size (width & height) the way it is now its all jumbled up looking.

    Have fun...and remember to think like a shopper!
  7. Tipar

    Tipar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Nice web layout man.
  8. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

    Thanks! I am making minor changes dailing...just trying to get it looking great...please let me know if you have any advice even if it's somethng minor...thanks!
  9. G.M.Landscaping

    G.M.Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 939

    I like it. Wish I had one.
  10. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

    Webman I made some more far as the text paragraph that comes up in search engines...I changed it a few weeks ago but not sure how long it will take to update. Google still has the old text coming up. And if you have any advise on the actual website content/layout that would be great, thanks!

Share This Page