Need your opinion please

by willoh
23 replies
I am working on getting my offline business website off the ground.

Can you give me some constructive criticism on the overall feel, format and seo of my site?

I tried some header optimization but I am inexperienced. My main keyword is Cleveland Handyman.
here is my site

Also, I am using the wordpress theme suffusion. Right now my home page is the blog page but I want to make another (static) page as home and rename the default blog page as "blog". is it possible?

Thank you in advance!
  • Profile picture of the author scrofford
    Well first of all I think it will look good when it is finished, but it's NOT finished, and I think your customers might not like that if they go to that. That is just my opinion. People like to be able to click on tabs and not see "coming soon" or "under construction". They like to see finished sites.

    Also, in your service area I would add a google map.
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  • Profile picture of the author twoverun
    I would take out the comma ( ,) in your header and replace it with a ( | ) seperator... I "heard" Google likes this a little better...
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeff Henshaw
      Hi Will,

      My first thoughts are that the website is bland and unattractive.

      I don't like the fact that there is nothing about services and pricing. 'Coming Soon' is not good enough. Surely you know what services you provide, so include them. Pricing can be difficult in your profession as every job is different, so why not say something like "free quotations - no obligation on your part".

      The blog again "coming soon" will lose you sales. Either drop it, or, if you are brave, use it to your benefit, such as: "We are thinking of developing a blog (explain what a blog is) for all customers and potential customers, where you can chat and compare our products and services and listen to what people say about us". Or words to thet effect.

      Your testimonials must be real - I'm not suggesting that their not. So why not contact customers who are prepared to give you a testimonial with a small financial incentive, or an additional 1 year guarantee or maintenance agreement, for allowing you to give their telephone number, or whatever, to your potential customers who want local references?

      I do like the photographs of the work that you have done. Why not couple these, with photos of satisfied local customers in a similar vein to the paragraph above.

      Sorry if my post seems harsh and my suggestions may not all be possible, but please accept my obsevations in the spirit with which they are given.

      I wish you the very best of luck.

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  • Profile picture of the author Alfred Shelver
    Hi, first thing that comes to mind is that your domain named could be more keyword focused.

    Secondly Invest a small amount of cash and get a decent Logo for the header it will make a huge difference.

    PS your signature seems to have an affiliate link in it I suggest removing it.
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  • Profile picture of the author willoh
    Thanks - I am working on it as we speak. At this point I am focused on the main page so any suggestion for improvement is welcome

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  • Profile picture of the author SurajSodha
    firstly i would use a premium theme rather than the one you have.

    change the colours to something a bit more appealing too.
    I generated £100,000+ in new business through Group Buying strategies during 2011. Ask me how!

    Who else wants more clients and cash? Check out my private IM coaching forum for business owners & entrepreneurs
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  • Profile picture of the author willoh
    Thanks again for the criticism. It appears that the common denominator so far is that unfinished tabs are irritating so I will remove the ones under construction. As for color combinations, I reverted momentarily to the grey-black-red scheme because at least it's not distracting. I am testing a few new colors si if you see some funny color know that it might be temporary.

    is there a clear winner out there as far as color combinations?

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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      You asked about layout and general feel, so that's what I'll talk about...

      Overall, I like the general feel - it's clean and uncluttered. I'd lose the dark gradient at the top, though. With the black text overlaying it, it looks sloppy.

      As others have said, the unfinished pages are a turn-off.

      One thing that did catch my eye, though... In your headline you say 'quality guaranteed or it's free' and later qualify it by saying 'the labor is on me". Not the same thing - you need to pick one.

      I'd consider moving your before-and-after shots to the main column - they're one of your big selling points.

      As for color combinations, I can only give you my personal opinion. I'm partial to black text on white background, with headlines in either a navy blue or dark maroon.

      There are a lot of color studies online if you search a little - you want colors that favor confidence and trust.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnkatz
    In order to brand your business you have to make the visitors to remember your website.
    the easy way is design cartoon.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
      Let me throw in my .02.

      The basis structure of the site is fine but like John I really prefer black text on a white background. It really does make a readability difference.

      Most people who are looking for a handyman are worried about two things (as I'm sure you know). Not getting ripped off and having the job performed properly.

      You've touched on that with your headline

      but I think you should go further to make an emotional connection between you and the home owner that specifically covers their main worries. After you've dealt with a particular concern use a related testimonial for a bit more oomph.

      Before and after pictures are important and really you can give them a separate page. Have you thought about using video? A short vid showing before, after, and a happy testimonial from a customer can work wonders.

      You're on the right track.

      You just need to fine tune.

      Hope this helps.

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  • Profile picture of the author willoh
    thanks for the excellent pointers! already applied a couple (changed the FREE message and tried a Gauher Chaudry blog type color combo). I am also considering the cartoon option. How does it look?

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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin6672
    I would recommend ponying up for a designer to help you. I don't like the design or the fonts.

    Good luck with your site and business.
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  • Hi Willoh,

    well done on your progress so far.

    Just a general observation. You have a business, you are good at what you do, you have people who think you are a good deal, you want to establish an "identity" in the building trade.

    Cathy mentioned the logo idea, I think you want to develop a site that has more people interest to it both in content and design.

    I find the site a bit bland - maybe you could ask a professional designer how you could beef it up. This is not a criticism of your attempt, but there are people out there who I am sure know exactly what you need for the industry you are in.

    The before and after pictures are brilliant but should be on another page.

    Your first page is about letting people know who you are, what you can do, what your specialities are. If it is a personal note based on fact rather than more hypey stuff I believe people will read it.

    Had you thought about having your photograph on the first page, and some testimonials at the bottom rather than the side so that when people arrive there is a logical process for them to follow down the page.

    Go have a look at the websites of other people in your industry, try and give yours a different slant etc.

    Hope this helps


    AND there's no such thing as a free lunch!!
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  • Profile picture of the author prodigaljoe
    Don't spend money on design. It is fine. You are a handyman not a website designer. Keep the site simple. You don't need a blog but you can add one and just put your work results. You got before and after pictures, you guarantee your work, you have testimonials, and you have a contact. That is all you really need.

    You just need people who need you. Use advanced google searches (such as searching blogs, discussions etc. in the past month) to find people who need your services and reply to them. Come up with a large keyword list that you can search for such as handyman, repair, remodel, etc and add your area(s) in the search. I did a quick search and there are many people in your area asking about handymen in your area.

    Also use classifieds and craigslist.

    Buy ads in the phonebook and put your url and say "see examples of my work here"

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  • Profile picture of the author willoh
    Thanks for the suggestions! I know that personal photos and video would make a significant difference. The things is that I am balding and also have an eastern european accent so I was reluctant about that type of media - I guess I have to test it to find out!
    In any case, I am flying by the seat of my pants with the website and I learned A TON of basic stuff over the weekend (a little html, a little design, a little SEO) so I feel good about it.

    PS the slideshow was more discrete before but I was suggested to make it main content. I guess I need to find a balance point

    As for suggestions, keep'em coming!

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  • Profile picture of the author fdamours
    The design is fine and the message seems to be delivered very well on your skills and what you are doing.
    SEO seems alright, now its all up to keyword optimization and backlinking!
    Visibility in the SERPs is the key!

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  • Profile picture of the author willoh
    well, I jinxed it. Somehow the slideshow started appearing on all other pages and I want to remove it from all but the main page. I tried the attributes in the wordpress edit page menu with no luck. I am using the suffusion theme. Please help

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    • Profile picture of the author gabrahamv
      Just wondered that your request was in Mar and you're still designing the site in Sep.

      Don't mean to spoil things for you but wouldn't make sense to buy a site for $50 - $80 and then just tweak it or get them to customize it for you.

      Example site:

      [* remove "*"]

      and there's a lot of 'handyman website template' (s) around...
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  • Profile picture of the author willoh
    Thanks for the advice! I am not sure what march request are you referring to.
    I have been interested in IM all year but never really took significant action. Promoting my own offline business can be a good IM learning experience and while I recognize the benefit of just buying a site or a custom theme, I prefer to do as much as I can by myself - at least once!
    It"s the small business owner syndrome - control freak - want to do everything myself and I want my site to be different than all the other handyman sites.
    As for themes I looked into Woo and Thesis but it appears that I still need to know some css so at this stage it would probably be even more frustrating than figuring out suffusion.

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    • Profile picture of the author JamieSEO
      Great start

      You definitely want to spend a bit more time on researching the right keywords to use, since the main one you are targeting "Cleveland Handyman" only gets about 29 searches per day, and so only about 12 visitors even if you are number 1 in Google.

      A keyword like "cleveland contractors" gets over 200 searches per day and is also a term likely to be used by people looking for you.

      If you want to do some free research to get keyword ideas I suggest looking at synonyms for "handyman" and also see what other search terms prospective customers are using

      You can also use any of the many free online keyword research tools such as Google's keyword tool

      You not only need the right site... you also have to get people there

      Good luck

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  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    You need a more professional wordpress theme or site design.

    I would also build in an email list component if possible so your client can collect potential client names/email/project.
    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    You are definitely making progress, friend.

    From here, a couple of ideas to chew on...

    1. I love the "to-do" list idea, but by itself I don't think it will draw the attention you want. But it has the potential to draw some of the folks that are too lazy or too scared to tackle their project list on their own.

    You could offer them two lists - the one you already have, and one with two items on it (call you, and 'take a deep breath and relax').

    2. Your blog doesn't really need the kind of article you posted, unless you want to offer a gift-picking service for wives and/or girlfriends.

    You can better use it to talk about jobs you are doing, what you find done wrong and what the original contractor should have done. You can weave in the kind of little tips that scream "I'm very, very good at what I do" without having to say it outright.

    Then add posts with more before and after photos, videos, testimonials, etc.

    As for what you think you look like, balding with an accent sounds just about right. I'm not sure I'd trust a handyman who looked like he moonlights as a Calvin Klein model and sounds like the DJ on local light jazz FM station...

    Keep on plugging away...
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  • Profile picture of the author Herschel-W
    I think you need to reduce the size of the slides how on your home page. Also reduce the amount of text in your header. Get an email opt-in subscription form on your site.
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