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Thread: My new website needs feedback - share your link and I'll return the favor!

  1. #1
    Member hometownwebservices's Avatar
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    Post My new website needs feedback

    Hi,

    Although I've been designing on the side for a long time, I just decided to launch a "business" entity.

    My website is:

    www.hometownwebservices.com
    I really appreciate your time and expert opinions!

    EDIT: You need to read the rules, and soon, if you want to stay a member of these forums.

    Yourpromotional links have been removed - we do not allow advertising, requests for social media followers, or any kind of self-promotional links on these forums.

    You may have a link in your signature after you have made at least 25 posts that contribute to the forums.
    Empty posts (e.g. "I agree" or "good info") will not count towards that total.
    AlphaMare.

    Heading over to read the rules now as soon as I finish typing this
    Last edited by hometownwebservices; Oct 04th, 2014 at 08:00 PM. Reason: my own stupidity
    WebsiteEngineer likes this.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    For one, it looks horrible on mobile on the home page! The 2 arrows smash that text into a small width that is centered all the way down the middle. The arrows are poorly designed. They have no contrast between the color of the font and the color of the arrow. Easy and affordable isn't even centered properly inside the arrow..

    The font choice is boring.. It honestly looks like you are only using the browser defaults.. Be a little creative..

    The banner looks like it was done in the 90s and is poorly composed.. At least center the text..the 2 figures need to be reconsidered..

    The about us page is a little better.. Except i would change the font of the About Us heading. Did you create the work you are displaying in the about us page?

    Ok so all the other headers are in that font.. Id reconsider it.. It looks tacky and outdated..

    Is there a reason why you just have one large section in the middle and everything center aligned in it? Not a fan of that..

    Id also add some styling to your links..

    Get rid of the table in the services and find a nicer way to lay out the information..

    The free web resources page looks VERY 1990!! The choice of the stars with the flashing free look horrible! The table is ugly and outdated.. Again find a better way to layout the info

    The contact us.. Again.. Why center aligned? The form looks nice but that was created by someone else so i wont critique that..

    I skipped the portfolio page because im confused..

    Did YOU design the websites you are linking to?

    Bad idea giving them a prive range to choose from.. That will limit your profit in my opinion.. What you should do is have examples of YOUR work displayed there with no pricing.. If they are interested in a quote have them ask you for one..

    In my opinion.. Your website is dull.. And it lacks alot of creativity.. And for that reason alone id remove your business from being a choice of companies id use to do a site for me..


    Regretfully sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk during lunch and other breaks

  4. #3
    Member hometownwebservices's Avatar
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    Question Thank you VERY much for your thorough evaluation

    Thank you very much for your thorough evaluation and comments. I am fairly new to this, and my knowledge base is limited.

    This was a very hurried project to get online in about 2 hours. But still, that's no excuse. I knew the website needed a lot of work, I just wasn't sure what to focus on. Now I know where to begin, at least!

    I don't have a mobile phone with web access, so I had no way to check how it would render on a mobile device. I'll have to look online for a way to check this and perhaps add a script for redirecting to a different page that is more mobile friendly when someone accesses from a mobile device?

    You're absolutely right - the arrows are awful. I'll work on something else. One problem I have with centering text inside graphics is that I have no "snap to center" function to work with. Consequently, I just have to eye it up until it LOOKS centered, and, as you saw, I don't always get it right.

    I will look for a better font to use - any suggestions? I haven't done CSS styling with font options for all the pages just yet. Was trying to save time & was focusing on getting the nav menu finished, but honestly, you're right -- the main font definitely needs attention.

    No, I did not create the websites that are featured in that graphic on the "about us" page. They are simply screenshots of random sites.

    I will change the tops of the pages so they are unique to the page content.

    As to why the center alignment -- I suppose I just like things center aligned . . . I have no idea why. You're right though, I do need to vary the layout to more than just one center column.

    I'm not sure what you mean by adding styling to my links . . .

    Maybe I could use some shaped boxes with drop shadows randomly placed on the services page? This will take me a little time, but that would add to the visual appeal, I think.

    I agree, the free web resources page looks outdated. I threw it up in about 15 minutes. Any suggestions on how to make it look more modern within my ability level?

    I will work on not using center alignment so much, I guess.

    No, I did not design the webpages I linked to. I just wanted people to get an idea of about what size & content they would get for their money. I am working on my first paid project right now and don't have any completed projects yet to showcase. Should I just delete the portfolio page until I have my own work to showcase?

    I will remove the price ranges. I just wanted them to realize that they don't have to pay thousands of dollars to get a functional website. Granted, what I can offer doesn't compete with the fancy work that more experienced designers can provide, but I can get a workable site up and running that will give them a web presence for a minimal investment. I guess that's what I was trying to convey.

    I really appreciate that you took the time to give me such thorough feedback. I will be spending the next week working on it and perhaps resubmit for review consideration once it's redesigned.
    WebsiteEngineer likes this.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    My new website needs feedback - share your link and I'll return the favor!

    Why did you need the site up so fast?

    2hour websites LOOK like 2 hour websites.. You rushed it and it looks like you dont have any interest in making a NICE website.. How will they have faith that you will give their site time and attention when you couldnt even do this for yourself?

    Ive done about 3 sites this year.. I actually started in January building MY site and am not finished.. You dont really NEED. A website to do the work is what im trying to
    say.. It helps to be able to show clients what you can do but if its rushed and poorly put together people will see that and in return it will end up hurting you more than being of any benefit.. Just consider that..

    To be honest.. Id remove those arrows from your homepage..

    If you open your website up in a browser and make the window smaller you will see what happens on the homepage..

    What did you use to make the graphics and where did you find the ones you didnt make?

    You offer graphic design? I can see you are not a designer.. To offer branding (logos) that is really bold, logo work isnt as easy as you think.. And considering the lack of detail you took on the "design" of your site i really have to question your design abilities. Answers like "i suppose i just like things center aligned" wont work in design.. Design is about reasoning and strategies over fancy pictures.. Elements serve a purpose not just a preference of the creator..

    Did you just take ideas of what you THINK you can do in hopes of being able to get by learning as you work? What do you know about SEO considering you offer it as a service?

    I see your Super Deluxe Package includes a shopping cart.. Do you know how to create one or implement one? Have you ever done it? Alot more work than you think..

    Adding style to your links are mean do something other than leave them that standard blue underlined and even worst is how the standard visited links look..

    I dont know why you are offering free online resources that in essence take away from business you COULD have..

    As for the portfolio.. Delete it.. You are trying to pass off other peoples work as your own.. Even if you dont mean to.. Just think about it when you hear the word "portfolio" you automatically assume that the work inside it is created by the person presenting it.. Saying things like "Featured websites may have not been created by..." Doesnt help.. Atleast say you didnt make any of them straight up.. But like i said your best bet is deleting the page in my opinion..

    You can explain to them you are economic without having any pricing info..

    Im sure this isnt what you wanted to hear but.. I think you beed to slow down.. Take a little more time learning what you are doing and also dont rush things like personal websites.. Treat this as a business and put the time and money into it like a legitimate business deserves..


    Regretfully sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk during lunch and other breaks

  6. #5
    Member hometownwebservices's Avatar
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    I completely redid the website. It is simple but hopefully much improved. I did test for mobile users and although it doesn't come up perfectly, it's MUCH better than it was before. Thanks so much for your invaluable advice. I will keep working on the other website for my first customer (which I will take my time with) and perhaps once I have several projects completed, THEN I can add a portfolio page. I also deleted the "Webmaster Tools" page altogether. I experimented with some different fonts and got rid of a lot of the center alignment. It's down to only 4 pages now. If you have time, check it out and let me know if I am at least getting CLOSER to a decent web presence. Thanks much!

    www.hometownwebservices.com
    Last edited by hometownwebservices; Oct 04th, 2014 at 06:09 PM.
    WebsiteEngineer likes this.

  7. #6
    WDF Staff AlphaMare's Avatar
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    If you want to put yourself forward as a web designer, you'll have to code up a site yourself, and not use GoDaddy's website builder.
    Good design should never say "Look at me!"
    It should say "Look at this." ~ David Craib


    http://digitalinsite.ca ~ my current site . . info@digitalinsite.ca ~ my email

    If you feel that someone's post helped you fix your problem, answered your question, or just made you feel better, feel free to "Like" their post. The "Like" link is at the bottom right of each post, along side the "reply" link. And if you are being helped here, try to help someone else - pass it on!

  8. #7
    Member hometownwebservices's Avatar
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    If you want to put yourself forward as a web designer, you'll have to code up a site yourself, and not use GoDaddy's website builder.
    You're absolutely right, but my coding skills are intermediate at best. This will have to do for now -- I did at least customize it and not just use a template.

  9. #8
    WDF Staff AlphaMare's Avatar
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    So if you can't code well, offer design services as a graphic designer - not a web designer.
    Good design should never say "Look at me!"
    It should say "Look at this." ~ David Craib


    http://digitalinsite.ca ~ my current site . . info@digitalinsite.ca ~ my email

    If you feel that someone's post helped you fix your problem, answered your question, or just made you feel better, feel free to "Like" their post. The "Like" link is at the bottom right of each post, along side the "reply" link. And if you are being helped here, try to help someone else - pass it on!

  10. #9
    Member hometownwebservices's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaMare View Post
    So if you can't code well, offer design services as a graphic designer - not a web designer.
    Point well made. The thing is, my "target customer" is the average VERY small business that doesn't understand the difference between the two. They don't know how to even copy and paste code, much less write it from scratch. I realize that I can't compete with large design firms that have professionals with tons of server side coding experience. I am simply looking to help the little "mom & pop" businesses in my local area be able to get a decent website up and running at a minimal cost to them.

    Thanks for your input!

  11. #10
    WDF Staff AlphaMare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hometownwebservices View Post
    ...my "target customer" is the average VERY small business that doesn't understand the difference between the two. They don't know how to even copy and paste code, much less write it from scratch. I realize that I can't compete with large design firms that have professionals with tons of server side coding experience. I am simply looking to help the little "mom & pop" businesses in my local area be able to get a decent website up and running at a minimal cost to them.
    That's my target market as well - just because they are small doesn't mean they deserve less than a professional job.

    I am a one person shop - and I am constantly being told by prospective clients that they "already paid someone to do it, and they were cheaper than you." So I ask them why they are even coming to me and they tel me that their site is not bringing them the business they wanted/needed/expected from it. Invariably when I go to look at the site I see something very much like yours - a site that looks outdated, "homemade", and has very little, if any, interactivity. Or something they made themselves with an online web builder like wix or weebly or something.

    People nowadays are increasingly web-savvy - and increasingly use the web to search for info before purchasing. They tend to look skeptically at any business that does not have a professional-looking website.

    You would not offer to do dental work for someone just because they can't (or don't) want to afford an actual dentist - why then would you offer to create a website for them if you are not a professional designer?

    Good design does not just happen - most of the designers I know have years of training and experience. And the same for developers - it takes time to master any code language well, and to be a decent developer you need at least the four basics - HTML, CSS, javascript, and some sort of server-side language (PHP is good, and it's free). And it is also necessary to stay abreast of developing technologies and design trends.

    People like you, (however well-meaning), who put themselves forward as designers and then charge money (however little) for substandard work, have a definite impact on the profession. Underpricing, or even charging at all for amateur work, devalues the work of those in the industry who have invested time, effort and money to become trained and experienced, and it also furthers the belief that this line of work is easy, and that anyone can do it. In fact I think that may have been the idea that you bought into.

    I am not saying you should not go into this business. I am just saying you should not go into it until you know how to do it right.
    Vapr_Arts and Fireproofgfx like this.
    Good design should never say "Look at me!"
    It should say "Look at this." ~ David Craib


    http://digitalinsite.ca ~ my current site . . info@digitalinsite.ca ~ my email

    If you feel that someone's post helped you fix your problem, answered your question, or just made you feel better, feel free to "Like" their post. The "Like" link is at the bottom right of each post, along side the "reply" link. And if you are being helped here, try to help someone else - pass it on!


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