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Thread: New web site being made for us, looking for reviews and ideas

  1. #1
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    New web site being made for us, looking for reviews and ideas

    Hi Everyone,
    I have been working with a web designer for around a year now. I seem to have trouble getting a good, professional web site done.

    Quality Machine Tools | Just another WordPress site This is where they are at with it after a year.

    I am looking for opinions on this site, any ideas on how to make it a lot better, etc.

    This is one of the product pages that we are working on too, I sort of like this page, not all of it, but it is better than the rest.

    Quality Machine Tools | Precision Matthews PM-1236 Lathe

    Can anyone give me any insight on these? Do they look OK? Or not? I personally do not like the way it looks, I think that there are a lot of things that are all mixed up and all over the place on the site, but I wanted to get some opinions on it.

    I am also looking to hire someone to build a spectacular web site for us, since this one does not seem to be turning out very well right now, I am kind of giving them one last chance and moving on.

    I don't know what it is, I am having a heck of a time finding anyone to build a site that I would call great looking. And I am willing to pay whatever it takes, we are not trying to get a site done on the cheap end, I can't say that cost is not an issue, but I will pay what it takes to get a great site done.

    Any suggestions or opinions are appreciated!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    Well lets start with my main concern. Its a template, that has taken a year to make worst than the original. The original template looks more modern than your site. Your site honestly looks like something that was made 10years ago.

    Typically thats where I stop. We do not like to review sites using a template, because most are just the template with some new texts and images. Considering your site is/was created by someone else I will give you a little more help.

    Did you see any work done by the designer previous to hiring them? You should have, and this may be why you are struggling to find someone.

    Next, where did you find the person? I hope not from places like freelance.com or odesk. The people there are typically underexperienced or hobbyist looking for a side project. Most professionals avoid joining these sites because of the issues it creates for our industry.

    Personally I would look for a new designer. For this to have taken a year and for it to be a template, that looks worst than the original, makes me very unconfident in your designers ability.

    Theres way too much things that need to be worked on for me to tell you what things need work.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    TheGAME1264 likes this.

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by qualitymachinetools View Post
    I am also looking to hire someone to build a spectacular web site for us, since this one does not seem to be turning out very well right now, I am kind of giving them one last chance and moving on.
    Don't waste your time with your current designer. Whoever it is doesn't know what they are doing, especially after having worked on it for a year. Cut them loose and get it over with. I am just a beginner at this time and could do a lot better than that within a year, but don't hire me because I lack the experience.

    We do have a few very good developers here that could do a good job in a fraction of the time. You will want to see some of their previous work so you can make an educated decision.
    TheGAME1264 likes this.

  5. #4
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    I do agree with you about the product page. That actually isn't too bad. As far as the rest of the site I agree with the others and after a year you should look for a new person to create your site. One unintended plus from your post is that my busienss does buy equipment like you sell and are only about 20 miles from you so when we do need something new I will have to check with you.

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    In case anyone is wondering what Vapr_Arts is referring to, this is the template:

    Kriesi.at Theme Demos | Theme: Enfold Demos (All)

    Now...with that said, Vapr_Arts is right about the symptom, but wrong about the problem. Sorry Vapr_Arts...you're usually right, but in this case, it's a bit more complex. The symptom is the template. The problem is deeper than that. I'm going to attempt to illustrate this problem with a tool analogy...as bad as I am with tools, this one might work. I will preface this analogy by admitting that I'm fully aware of how insane it's going to sound, and there's method to the madness.

    You decide to start a business cutting up wood for people for various purposes (shelves, floorboards, veneer, whatever). You have a bandsaw in the back room to cut the wood with that you got for free from "a guy" as is, where is, but it was free so what the heck, right? The bandsaw is okay for a limited range of general purpose wood cutting jobs, but you think you can generate enough business cutting wood for people that you don't really care to expand your focus.

    Except that you don't...because apparently the bandsaw manufacturer saw fit to give several other people the exact same bandsaw for free, to professionals, professional wannabes, and hobbyists alike in an effort to upsell everyone on premium bandsaw products and services. The bandsaw manufacturer even went as far as to provide the entire assembly schematic with every free bandsaw to allow people to add components and pieces to the bandsaw however they see fit. A few of the more skilled professionals do so, but most leave the bandsaw pretty much the way it is from a functionality standpoint and throw stickers or brand logos or whatever else onto it for aesthetic purposes.

    So you've got your bandsaw, you're starting to get desperate, and a customer walks in with some wood. The customer wants you to turn the wood into a doghouse. Now, obviously you're not going to be able to do this with your bandsaw...you can cut the wood, but you're going to need some tools and parts to put it together. But wait...you can do it with your bandsaw, because one of the enterprising professionals got the bright idea to create a bandsaw component that will allow you or your customer to load nails into a special compartment into your bandsaw, eject them into the wood with the push of a button, and then push another button repeatedly to activate Bandsaw Hammerlike Mode, in which a small sledgehammer comes out and swings once in the general direction of one of the nails that you put into the wood. The nails won't all go in completely straight and the doghouse will probably fall apart within 6 months, but most customers aren't wood-savvy, so they probably won't notice...and if they do, they brought in the wrong wood so it's all their fault.

    But now your customer has an additional demand...the customer wants the doghouse painted white with a red roof. Now, you still only have your bandsaw, you're being asked to paint something, and as a bandsaw "specialist" you don't really know that much about painting...at least not enough to do this. Fortunately, an excessively large group of starving artists with the same bandsaw have created a convoluted system which will paint entire projects using any of an ever-expanding list of free and paid color schemes designed for various purposes, including a doghouse paint scheme. The doghouse scheme is blue and yellow, so you're going to have to make some changes in the convoluted system to get it red and white, but it'll be totally custom by the time you're done.

    Again, this scenario sounds completely insane. It is completely insane. Unfortunately, it happens far more than it should in the wonderful world of web design and development, which is one of the major reasons why sites such as yours take years to develop when they really shouldn't. WordPress is a bandsaw. It has a few uses, but isn't for the majority of sites...including, and especially, e-commerce sites. It just isn't. Yes, there's the WooCommerce plugin (Bandsaw Hammerlike Mode) and every so-called theme under the sun (the convoluted paint system). And yes, people use these tools to do these sorts of things...a lot of people use them. However, that doesn't make them logical or correct choices; they're merely choices made based on the argumentum ad populum fallacy.

    Hopefully this sheds some light for you.
    Vapr_Arts likes this.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Vapr_Arts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264 View Post
    In case anyone is wondering what Vapr_Arts is referring to, this is the template:

    Kriesi.at Theme Demos | Theme: Enfold Demos (All)

    Now...with that said, Vapr_Arts is right about the symptom, but wrong about the problem. Sorry Vapr_Arts...you're usually right, but in this case, it's a bit more complex. The symptom is the template. The problem is deeper than that. I'm going to attempt to illustrate this problem with a tool analogy...as bad as I am with tools, this one might work. I will preface this analogy by admitting that I'm fully aware of how insane it's going to sound, and there's method to the madness.

    You decide to start a business cutting up wood for people for various purposes (shelves, floorboards, veneer, whatever). You have a bandsaw in the back room to cut the wood with that you got for free from "a guy" as is, where is, but it was free so what the heck, right? The bandsaw is okay for a limited range of general purpose wood cutting jobs, but you think you can generate enough business cutting wood for people that you don't really care to expand your focus.

    Except that you don't...because apparently the bandsaw manufacturer saw fit to give several other people the exact same bandsaw for free, to professionals, professional wannabes, and hobbyists alike in an effort to upsell everyone on premium bandsaw products and services. The bandsaw manufacturer even went as far as to provide the entire assembly schematic with every free bandsaw to allow people to add components and pieces to the bandsaw however they see fit. A few of the more skilled professionals do so, but most leave the bandsaw pretty much the way it is from a functionality standpoint and throw stickers or brand logos or whatever else onto it for aesthetic purposes.

    So you've got your bandsaw, you're starting to get desperate, and a customer walks in with some wood. The customer wants you to turn the wood into a doghouse. Now, obviously you're not going to be able to do this with your bandsaw...you can cut the wood, but you're going to need some tools and parts to put it together. But wait...you can do it with your bandsaw, because one of the enterprising professionals got the bright idea to create a bandsaw component that will allow you or your customer to load nails into a special compartment into your bandsaw, eject them into the wood with the push of a button, and then push another button repeatedly to activate Bandsaw Hammerlike Mode, in which a small sledgehammer comes out and swings once in the general direction of one of the nails that you put into the wood. The nails won't all go in completely straight and the doghouse will probably fall apart within 6 months, but most customers aren't wood-savvy, so they probably won't notice...and if they do, they brought in the wrong wood so it's all their fault.

    But now your customer has an additional demand...the customer wants the doghouse painted white with a red roof. Now, you still only have your bandsaw, you're being asked to paint something, and as a bandsaw "specialist" you don't really know that much about painting...at least not enough to do this. Fortunately, an excessively large group of starving artists with the same bandsaw have created a convoluted system which will paint entire projects using any of an ever-expanding list of free and paid color schemes designed for various purposes, including a doghouse paint scheme. The doghouse scheme is blue and yellow, so you're going to have to make some changes in the convoluted system to get it red and white, but it'll be totally custom by the time you're done.

    Again, this scenario sounds completely insane. It is completely insane. Unfortunately, it happens far more than it should in the wonderful world of web design and development, which is one of the major reasons why sites such as yours take years to develop when they really shouldn't. WordPress is a bandsaw. It has a few uses, but isn't for the majority of sites...including, and especially, e-commerce sites. It just isn't. Yes, there's the WooCommerce plugin (Bandsaw Hammerlike Mode) and every so-called theme under the sun (the convoluted paint system). And yes, people use these tools to do these sorts of things...a lot of people use them. However, that doesn't make them logical or correct choices; they're merely choices made based on the argumentum ad populum fallacy.

    Hopefully this sheds some light for you.
    For a second there I thought you may have went over the deep end, but Then I started to see what you were trying to say.
    TheGAME1264 likes this.

  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Brother, people have thought I've gone over the deep end for years! But I'm feeling MUCH better now!

    Vapr_Arts likes this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  9. #8
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    Hey Guys,
    Thank you for the replies. I found these guys through word of mouth, they are local to us. And it is tough, because I really like the guy, but that does not help us get a web site done.

    Turboguy, you are welcomed to stop in anytime if you are that close to us!

    And yes, it has been exactly one year since I have started with these guys, after almost getting ripped off from someone else. It is crazy, why is it so hard? I do not get it. I can afford what it takes to get a site done, but it seems that no one I can find around here can come through, it is so frustrating.
    I did look at a few sites that they had done in the past, and they looked fine. But like you said, they all seem to be a template.

    One thing that these guys keep saying is how many hours they have in to writing code for the Woo Commerce Plugin. Are you guys able to see what they have done as far as that? It is the shopping cart, and the part where I have the optional accessories for the machines. You select one option at the top, add the options to it, and then it adds up everything at the bottom, but without adding additional shipping to the options. This is what they said has taken them to long, was to write all of this code, to show all of that, and also show if the items are in stock or not. Did they write code and spend 100+ hours on this, or are they simply entering in woo commerce plugins?

    I do have another place starting on another site for me, and so far, it seems to be going very well. We are about 6 weeks in, and everything is moving along, well at least it seems to be. I dont have any links yet, all just PDFs, but they are on what they call the wireframe now, and they have a schedule, and so far, it is all moving along at exactly the dates that they laid out.....But again, I know that they are using wordpress and a bunch of woo commerce plugins.

    If this one does not work out, is there anyone here who you guys could recommend? Like I said, I can pay real money for this site. I am not trying to get a site done for just a thousand dollars here or anything like that. I want the ultimate ecommerce web site, and I am willing to pay for it, but I just can't seem to find anyone who is capable of doing it!

    But thank you for the replies here guys, I really appreciate it! I just need to find someone who really knows what they are doing, who is interested in making a site for us! I wouldn't think it was all that hard, but from what I have found, no one I have tried knows what the heck they are doing, and it is a real shame.
    delstu likes this.

  10. #9
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    We couldn't see the server side code, so there's no way to know if they customized that. The server side code is the part that retrieves information from the database where all of your products are stored, allows people to create and add products to the shopping cart, process the payments, that sort of thing. It's where the real work is actually done. So I can't comment on that.

    What I can comment on is the client-side code. That's the part that generates the HTML/CSS/Javascripts/etc. that your web browser interprets and uses to display the output of the page. Now, I'm not a WooCommerce expert (I prefer to build my own carts from scratch because of bloat such as that which WordPress/WooCommerce generate), but I can look at the client side code and tell you that a whole lot of not much has been done. Certainly nothing that would take over a year. I suspect that's probably what you were looking to hear from that standpoint, and there it is.

    As far as finding someone who knows what they're doing, I can tell you why you're having a hard time and the answer is remarkably simple...most people forget or don't know that an e-commerce website is a business. It's not an extension of a business. It's not a "bonus" for a business. It's a business. Most of the people that forget or don't know this include most developers, who think that they can use a WooCommerce or a Shopify or a Volusion or some other cart, set it up, put a logo in, throw up the products, and away you go. It's not that simple. Never was. Never will be. Never should be. I think you get that, because you're willing to pay for that. Unfortunately, that puts you in the minority, including among people in our industry (as much as I wish that wasn't true, it is).

    I'd suggest rolling with your new person for now, but on a very short leash. If they're keeping to a schedule, let them do it...mind you, six weeks for PDF wireframe generation is a bit long and doesn't make much sense (when you're dealing with cell phones, etc., you shouldn't be starting with PDF wireframes).
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)

  11. #10
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    Yes you seem to have some really good advice, and I appreciate that.

    I completely agree on the part about it being a business. I look at kind of like it is a salesman, only better. It is there, 24 hours a day, with the ability to take an order any time that the customer is ready. And even a high priced web site costs less than a good sales persons salary for a year. Thats how I look at it.
    Vapr_Arts and TheGAME1264 like this.


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