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  1. #1
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Hi,

    So it's probably almost a month since I got back into webdesign (from a 12 year hiatus). I decided that there are many old-looking websites in Hawaii and with the high rates most webdesigners charge, it'd be worth it to try and break into the market as a sidejob.

    I can see a lot more changes to this website, but for now, I feel it's complete (has everything I need) and can call it version 1.0. Also, the code might be more than it needs to be, because I worked on the site bit by bit, and not with a plan in mind.

    Let me know what you think, fellow webdesigners.

    And answer this question: if you were an average joe with a small plumbing business and visited my site, would you hire me?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Alanna Baxter's Avatar
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    Hello RDesignista,

    I'm also a part-time web designer/developer hoping to turn it into a more permanent gig. I've looked over your site and to be honest, there's a lot of white space with text in it. Nothing flashy to draw someone in except the stick man. You could say all that in way less space. While the cartoon is a clever idea, I'm not sure that anyone looking to hire someone to do a website would take the time to read the cartoon info.

    Think about your target audience. In my opinion, your site is designed for a very young audience. Have you done any sites that you could reference on your site? Maybe give your audience an idea of what kind of sites you have built in the past?

    Also, referencing the prices that web designers may charge is a bad idea. First off, there are a lot of very talented web designers out there who have a right to charge more simply because they have more experience and expertise. So in saying that your prices are cheaper doesn't necessarily mean that your work is comparable.

    Secondly, by making that reference, you are calling attention to the fact that you are only doing websites part-time for "beer money" which highlights your lack of commitment and perhaps experience. Would you hire someone who was only looking to make a bit of money for beer? Would you take this person seriously to build a website for you?

    So how to make it better? Well, if you know html and css, perhaps add more color to the background or perhaps a pattern. Something that shows people that you have the skills. Also, add links to other sites you have built.

    I would suggest asking a range of different types of people you know to check it out and see what they think. I hope this doesn't come across as too harsh. It's not meant to be. It's meant to be constructive and yet it's just an opinion.

  4. #3
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Alanna,

    Thanks for the input. That's exacty the type of feedback I wanted. I will change the info. I just wanted to sound a little more geniune and transparent than some of the website designer sites I've seen.

    As for filling the white space, well, I've never thought much about it. I figured that spacing is good... yet I felt something was missing... I'll browse around the web and look for pattern ideas and other fillers for teh white space.

    And don't worry about being harsh. Harsh would be "dude, your website sux. go wait tables instead" :-).

  5. #4
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    I like your attitude... Like the website... Issues as above... As your site evolves ( if this ever becomes big for you ), don't lose the comics... You should incorporate them in a strip... Maybe even a slider.

    As for some of your comments ( subjective )... Is they key... Most people looking to do a web site know little or nothing about it, so when you jump into recommendations about JavaScript... You lose them, besides that argument is from like 12 years ago... If JavaScript was a security issue and people turned it off... They couldn't visit 80% of all shopping sites, they definitely couldn't book flights to the islands, which means the tourist trade would dry up, which means you won't need to make web sites....

    I agree with the whitespace and spacing comments above...

    You mention navigation and give a really good example... But you have no navigation on the bottoms of the pages... Making the user scroll all the way back up top to go somewhere else ???

    Give the visitors a "call to action"... Put a link where the prices are to your contact page... Let them ask for your prices... The "contact us" link at the top of the pages should not be the only way for people to find that page...

    A blurb at the bottom of each page summarizing what the page just said... And a "contact us" link for more information... Would be a great way to encourage...

    And yes... If I were a plumber living in Hawaii needing a web site... I'd call you... Maybe to just hang out and drink beer... Maybe for some web design stuff....

  6. #5
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    Webzarus,

    Thanks for the comments.

    You're right: I am a little TMI. And worse, like you pointed out about Javascript, it shows I'm ignorant to the industry of web design ( I am).

    I am definitely keeping the comic strip and cheesy title though. It's a little on the unformal side, but I need it to stick out. I've been visiting sites of webdesigners in Hawaii this past week and I'll tell you what... I don't remember any of their names! Just another face.

    Anyway, I've got lots of time this weekend. Gonna FILL FILL FILL up this white space.

  7. #6
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    One more thing, I'm glad you brought up target markets.

    I'm not looking to make e-commerce sites (yet) or do websites for big financial institutions.

    What I am primarily hunting for are small businesses in Hawaii who have shoddy websites or have designs that were considered acceptable 10 years ago. For example: Indigo Restaurant is someone I seeked out and just got a meeting with.

    Here are some others:
    Cyclesports
    Battery Bills
    Cycle City

    In all these cases, I'm simply looking to extract their information and put it into a layout that's up to standards because basic css, html, and div widths will work wonders.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Yup, just walked out of a meeting with a guy that had a business site built 7 years ago, he called the people that originally did the site... They never returned his call... One of my clients knows him...

    We talked... Pretty much BLANK CHECK on this one... Still gotta use contracts... Business is business...

  9. #8
    Senior Member RDesignista's Avatar
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    whoa! client falls right into your lap? don't think it gets any better than that.

    me, i'm gonna have to swim through more yelp listings of local businesses to find potential clients :-/.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Actually prefer my clients not falling into my lap,

    Actually a referral to him by a current client ( I think they were playing golf )... anyway, when they come in referred like that, It's not a SELL , it's a reassurance to them that we can get their site straightened out , in his case, he's been wanting to do something for a while, and luckily for me the people that originally built his site have packed up and moved on...

    finalizing and contracts on monday, so gotta work up my wireframe and contract sometime this weekend.

    But I do love the sites that have been out there for a while ( 7 years ), search engines have them indexed "OK"... nothing great, but they are there... ( without trying )... no keyword work previously... so when the site jumps in rankings once I start working on it... just makes me look that much better..

    Since you're willing to do design work as barter, have you thought about putting a listing on CL ? not sure how busy the site is over there, but I know a guy that gets a couple a jobs a month from it...

    just use their email re-director service or you'l get so much spam...

  11. #10
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    I personally like the cartoony look of it but I don't like calling the home page "front" for some reason. lol...I don't know why though!


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