Would appreciate input/constructive criticism

11 replies
Hey guys, thanks for looking. Nutshell: my family appointed me as project leader for rent out a holiday property/villa of theirs. I've never done anything like this, so went out, sourced some quotes for website building, found 1 who's portfolio looked AWESOME, so went with them. However, my father and I really aren't happy with it at the moment, and feel mildly ripped off. We've paid around US$1000 for this site, n its STILL incomplete!

here's the site: Villa Halcyon Private Residence

Any input would be much appreciated.

Dwad
#criticism #input or constructive
  • Profile picture of the author NightWolf
    sorry for the headache! but thanks for the input. next step I must do is get it completed 100% then SEO, which I have NO IDEA about!
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
      Instead of the fade, I'd go with a sweep and slow down the animation a bit.

      As for the "Welcome To ...", replace it with something like "Relax In The Fine ..." or "Pamper Yourself ..."
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  • Profile picture of the author Barbara Wilson
    Yeah - the blur/fade effect in the slideshow is awful. The site design over-all though isn't bad.

    You don't say how long he's been working on it though, so it's being incomplete may not be unreasonable. Also, does he have all the information needed to complete it? Is he writing the copy or are you supplying it? Have you paid for the project in full already - or is there still a payment/balance due?
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  • Profile picture of the author Echnaton69
    hi :-)

    just three things which I see when I look at the source-code

    I would get rid of the keywords in the keyword-tag (or you want to have your competitors use your keywords against you).

    Don't use "strong" tags for headings, use "h2" tags

    "visibility=hidden" is also not a great idea ... google might think you try to hide something from your visitors which google should consider.

    kind regards from Vienna

    Andreas.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marty S
      I think this site is very nice looking. $1,000 is reasonable for this quality and it seems to be complimentary to your business concept. Now if you know nothing of SEO, you should really hire someone for that too if you are under time pressure.
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      • Profile picture of the author jmidas
        Hi, I dont think it is too bad either. I agree with the othes that the image blurring is a little annoying. One other thing I am not a fan of is the scroll bars used for navigation. I'm seeing more of these and I suppose it is the new "in" thing to do with scroll bars, but I find them more difficult to use -they tend to be eithe too fast or too slow (in your site's case, too slow). I prefer to be able to scroll to where i want as fast as I want.\

        Overall, it looks like a nice site for a nice property. You didn't really say what you dont like or what is making you feel the way you do. But, I don't think anyone will 'not' rent because of the site. Which means the key is the SEO part - you gotta get the buyers to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author WilliamM
    Dwad,

    Here are my initial thoughts.

    The site took a looooooong time to load. If I had been looking for villas, I would have been long gone before the page appeared.

    The pics are nice but the blur effect is nauseating.

    I am no SEO guru but I think there too many keywords and they are too general.

    I would include just the word "halcyon" and "philippines villa".

    I know that the Google Keyword Tool is not the most accurate but "halcyon" had over 200,000 searches and "philippines villa" some 3600.

    But most of all, use keywords about Puerto Galera. If you go to the Google Keyword Tool, you will find a long list of keyword phrases that use this phrase.

    Also, you may want to include an article directory. The articles could be about the Philippines, Puerto Galera and nearby attractions. Each article could have a link pointing to the homepage.

    I have no clue how ilayers affect search engine optimization but I would get rid of them. I almost missed half the text because I wasn't expecting to have to scroll down.

    You might want to add links within the text. For example, the text on Facilities mentions the the pier, the main house, the pool and the Cabana. It would be nice to be able to click on a link within the text and not have to go back up to the menu to find a link to the pool. Also, I couldn't find a link to see the pier. The Facilities text mentions "Cabana" but the drop down menu has "Rooms". I wasn't sure if they were the same thing.

    The Facilities text only mentions the Egyptian-themed room. Unless someone specifically clicks on the "Rooms" link, they might come to the conclusion that the Egyptian-themed room is the only one available.

    Also, I clicked on the main Photo Gallery button expecting to see some pictures of the villa and what I found was some nature shots. I then realized that I had to click on another link in the dropdown menu to see pictures of the villa itself. Since the site is about the villa, I would suggest that the main link go directly to pictures of the villa.

    Hope this helps.
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  • The overall design is nice and simple.

    We'd suggest making the animation a different effect (like everyone else) or inviting people into an optional slide show from the first page. You have a photo gallery, but it doesn't grab your attention from the front page, and the pictures will sell people (when they're not speeding by and blurring out!).

    Also, find a way to get an opt-in on that front page, so people can enter their information right there, without making another contact click.

    In your description on the front page, say what country you're in for search AND clarity purposes.

    The "facilities" tab is a little lackluster in terms of compelling them to learn more. You'll want that link to call them to action a bit more.
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  • Profile picture of the author NightWolf
    Thanks a lot guys. Well, as you can see there's a lot to be changed/improved on, which is why I'm a little peeved. We gave all the copy/images, some other sites to serve as a guideline, but they didn't seem to come through with the goods. My opinion is that it's just lacking a "WOW EFFECT". Again, I'm not a designer, which is why I hired one!

    Thanks again, I'll relay the info to the designers. Again, annoying, because when paying a firm $1k, you'd expect that THEY have the brilliant ideas, present them as options, and let us choose. Oh well, less learned.

    I think next time I'll go to Elance to search for webdesigners.

    Dwad
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    • Profile picture of the author Marty S
      This project is rather far along to be "peeved" about it now. The website is very good IMO, and with just images and basic instructions I don't really think you can fault the designer.

      When you do hire someone like this though, you need to have a more structured approval process so that you can direct the designer as to your likes and dislikes. If your website got this far and the designers were ignoring your requests, that is another matter, but this is a professional looking website that just may need a little navigation and SEO tweaking.

      Your $1,000 has NOT been wasted and most firms would gladly make some adjustment to get it right for you at this stage. The dissatisfaction you are experiencing right now is also a result of your participation (or lack of) during the project.

      This website is nice enough for them to use in their portfolio, so I am sure you can get further help from them by giving clear instructions.
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  • Profile picture of the author NightWolf
    Thanks again guys. RE SEO, do you have a software/program that you can recommend?
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