First Site! Please critique! (Long Post)

20 replies
  • WEB DESIGN
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Majestic Pool Care

So after about of two days of sitting down and learning how to work Wordpress I came up with the site in about two days. Well, it's not exactly how it was since I first allowed Search Engines to index the site. Since then I've changed quite a few things, and I still have so much more work to do.

The website is for a good friend of mine who's previous website looked like it was created back in the late 90's. I'm certainly no professional but the new site is a great improvement. He owns his own pool care service down in SoCal (I know, talk about competition!) and he's looking to expand. Well, I'm looking for a job and a relocation, so I figured if I could help him, he could help me. The catch is that I have to prove I'm actually capable of offing him something he needs, which is new customers. The bigger catch? I've got to do it with no budget.

I've got two issues with the site as it sits now. First, it looks a little boring. Not enough color, and I think a background image would do wonders just as long as it didn't clash. My second issue is the content, or lack thereof. I'm currently working on 24~ new pages that will be added within the next couple of days so I'm pretty happy with that. I took a look at all of the other local pool business sites around the area my friend lives and tried to take at least one part from each and add it to ours.

In addition to the new content, which will feature a drop down menu from the main menu bar, I also plan on setting up a Chat plugin that will let people IM or even call my friend using Skype straight from the home page.

Other than that, I could use some pointers. I'm sure my SEO could be improved, but I know less than that than I do about creating websites. I don't have a single backlink, and we don't have much going on as far as social media although we have accounts set up everywhere.

I apologize for the long post, it's been a while since my brain has had any action. I would greatly appreciate any comments, negative or positive.


-Kruciall


Note: I am aware that unlike most of the sites people here have, this is a service site and does not sell any products. If you have any suggestions for me, please make sure you take that info into account. I tried to be through, so please return the favor!
#critique #long #post #site
  • Profile picture of the author easymentor
    Hi Kruciall -

    Welcome to the Warrior Forum. I've just had a quick look at your site and I must say that for a first WP site, I think you've done a great job! Yes, it could/should certainly be tightened up by you've created a good solid foundation.

    You mention that you are contemplating adding more colour to the site. In my opinion (and 25 years experience as a professional graphic designer), I think that would be a mistake, as would a background graphic. The main colour (sky blue) you have chosen is excellent for the service your friend is providing. I understand that you would like to use colour to "break" the page up a little and it's here the danger lies. Many people would just start adding all sorts of weird and wonderful combinations. My advice, if you choose to add more colour, would be to concentrate only on the colours already used in your header graphic (logo). Doing this will ensure that your colour scheme follows suit all the way through your site. Don't forget you also have quite a few photographs, which also add a lot of colour to the site (hence the idea for keeping your site colours minimized, as per the pastel shades in your logo).

    I agree that your SEO also needs a "loving" hand. If you're not too sure of how to properly optimize a WP site, I would recommend you get your hands on an SEO Scorer. There are a few plugins available here on the forum, most of which I have tried. For me, the best one is SEO Scorer from George Katsoudas (http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...uaranteed.html). It should help you get up to speed in no time.

    Great idea to add all those new pages, but don't forget to re-write all that content you "borrowed" from your competitors. I would also suggest you add the content over time rather than all at once. What I mean is add the first page/article, then optimize and publish it. Create a few different versions of this page (i.e. spin) and add the "new" articles to your social sites with a backlink pointing to both your main page AND your inner page (i.e. the specific page your social site page is based on). This will help you get indexed faster and better (high relevance) in the eyes of Big G (Google).

    Have you considered videoing your friend at work? Another VERY good way of getting local service sites higher rankings. Just saying! ;o)

    Anyway, so far so good. Keep up the good work and I hope you get what you're looking for.

    All the best,
    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
      Originally Posted by easymentor View Post

      I understand that you would like to use colour to "break" the page up a little and it's here the danger lies. Many people would just start adding all sorts of weird and wonderful combinations. My advice, if you choose to add more colour, would be to concentrate only on the colours already used in your header graphic (logo).
      That's the only way I would go! Like I said, I didn't want it to clash with the already dominate color them, so I if I added anything, it would be the same color.

      As far as the pages, I only really took the idea for the page, I didn't take anything else but that. What I've essentially been able to do is take our one service page and turn that into a page per service instead of condensing it all into one.

      Originally Posted by easymentor View Post

      Have you considered videoing your friend at work? Another VERY good way of getting local service sites higher rankings. Just saying! ;o)
      Yes! But I currently live about 8 hours away from him so it's not an option at this time.


      Thank you for your kind words!

      -Kruciall
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Just a reminder:

    SEO stuff should be discussed in the SEO sub-forum, not here...!
    There is also an offline sub-forum; they could give you lots of good advice how to promote a website for an offline business!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
    One addition I came up with last night is to create a small footer image using the same blue color and just adding come contact information in that, that way the individual pages aren't so boring, especially the bottoms where there is no color at all.

    Thanks for your kind words eleven1!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
    So I added a test text footer banner and while I'm happy with it overall, I would like the text to be sharp like it is in the main menu bar. Hmm

    http://www.wearemajestic.com/about-us/
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    • Profile picture of the author easymentor
      Originally Posted by Kruciall View Post

      So I added a test text footer banner and while I'm happy with it overall, I would like the text to be sharp like it is in the main menu bar. Hmm

      About Us | Majestic Pool Care | Full Pool Service | Majestic
      Hi Kruciall -

      Two ways to do this ...

      1. Remove the text from the image and use the blue box as background and add text over it (e.g. in a div tag), or

      2. Try creating the graphic again and use the same font as your site text. If you are using Photoshop you can add the sharpen filter to the text. If it is still not sharp enough then try creating a duplicate layer and merging it to the existing text.

      All the best,
      Chris
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      • Profile picture of the author willz605
        Hey...great first go of it in wordpress.

        I'm not big on designing a site....but I am big on conversions.

        This local site needs:

        1. call to action....phone number
        2. customer testimonial right in your face
        3. email capture

        Good Luck
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        • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
          Originally Posted by easymentor View Post

          Hi Kruciall -

          Two ways to do this ...

          1. Remove the text from the image and use the blue box as background and add text over it (e.g. in a div tag), or

          2. Try creating the graphic again and use the same font as your site text. If you are using Photoshop you can add the sharpen filter to the text. If it is still not sharp enough then try creating a duplicate layer and merging it to the existing text.

          All the best,
          Chris
          I agree, I'm really unhappy how the footers turned out so out of "focus" if you will. They'll all be redesigned.

          Originally Posted by willz605 View Post

          Hey...great first go of it in wordpress.

          I'm not big on designing a site....but I am big on conversions.

          This local site needs:

          1. call to action....phone number
          2. customer testimonial right in your face
          3. email capture

          Good Luck
          Every footer that I am putting on each page will link to the the contact form. I plan on adding an addon that will allow people to chat with my friend from the site and even call him via Skype, that's just not running yet. The email capture is just one other thing on my "to figure how to go about doing" list.

          Thanks for your comments!
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  • Profile picture of the author watson88
    The design of website is good, but you should add some more content or images to your homepage, color combination is good.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
    I just finished adding drop down menus. Most of the pages will work but some of them haven't been completed so they're still private. I guess a good thing about not having much page traffic is I can get away with that haha.

    Let me know what you guys think!
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  • Profile picture of the author Micah Medina
    I would add a blue background and put a smaller table of white on top of it. That way you draw the eye to the content without looking bland. Nice work for a site from scratch though!
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  • Profile picture of the author blogfreakz
    congrats! good job dude for creating this site for 2 days.., I like your site, the colors, layout etc.. you only need to improve some things there, yes it's mention above, the testimonials, and you can add opt form as well...
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  • Profile picture of the author dougb
    I agree wholeheartedly, for 2 days awesome job.

    Here are my thoughts just my opinion though.

    Not a fan of the logo, maybe I have been around kids too long but when I look at it I'm waiting for some magical cartoon horses to appear. personally maybe a slide show, showing maybe a beautiful pool with the logo, a picture of you and your staff, your equipment, or even call to actions through the slideshow.

    Unless I missed it, there is no cell number to call, if the number on the site is your cell maybe note it as it gives that "I'm there for you" feel.

    A meet the team page with a mini bio and a short video message would build the trust factor. As a potential purchaser I want to be confident in using your service, I am allowing you onto my property in a very paranoid world. Putting faces and a taste of their personality will go a long way in the trust factor.

    All the links under the Pool Information category go to a 404 error page
    What makes majestic - majestic 404 page

    Maybe a google map on the service area page to spice the page a little

    On your services page it would be a nice touch if on each of the services there was a short video, preferably done by yourself and staff (personalization), doing a full explanation of the service in normal people terms. What is the service, What gets done, the benefits of the service, the downfalls if you neglect the problem or regular maintenance.... As a consumer that would get my attention.

    These are just my observations and opinions, all in all it is very impressive, a little tweaking and you will be getting calls asking for your services. You should have a link and contact for yourself as the site creator as well.

    As for SEO, learn on the go or pay someone to do it for you.

    For $10 or so there are lots of offline Seo information in the WSO area.

    Continue what you are doing if you enjoy it, there is local money to be made at the very least if you choose to go after it. Good Luck
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    • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      congrats! good job dude for creating this site for 2 days.., I like your site, the colors, layout etc.. you only need to improve some things there, yes it's mention above, the testimonials, and you can add opt form as well...
      Testimonials are coming! I've been pressuring my friend to ask his customers to do some reviews and after they've done that I'll be able to screenshot them and make a nice page. Unfortunately he's got this week off (go figure lol)

      Originally Posted by dougb View Post

      I agree wholeheartedly, for 2 days awesome job.

      Here are my thoughts just my opinion though.

      Not a fan of the logo, maybe I have been around kids too long but when I look at it I'm waiting for some magical cartoon horses to appear. personally maybe a slide show, showing maybe a beautiful pool with the logo, a picture of you and your staff, your equipment, or even call to actions through the slideshow.

      The logo was something I created a couple years ago for my friend. I agree it's not the greatest.


      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      Unless I missed it, there is no cell number to call, if the number on the site is your cell maybe note it as it gives that "I'm there for you" feel.
      The number is listed on the "Contact Us" page, as well as the footer of every other page. I'll also be adding a plugin that will allow people to chat with my friend and call him using Skype, all from the website.

      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      A meet the team page with a mini bio and a short video message would build the trust factor. As a potential purchaser I want to be confident in using your service, I am allowing you onto my property in a very paranoid world. Putting faces and a taste of their personality will go a long way in the trust factor.
      Unfortunately due to the fact that I don't live near my friend I am limited to what kind of content I can add. I would love to do videos, but at this time it's not possible.

      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      All the links under the Pool Information category go to a 404 error page
      What makes majestic - majestic 404 page
      As I said in my last post, the pages that aren't completed at private. All uncompleted pages should be good to go by the end of the day.

      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      Maybe a google map on the service area page to spice the page a little
      I like that idea! I'll look into it. I would definitely like to spice up every page that I can.

      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      On your services page it would be a nice touch if on each of the services there was a short video, preferably done by yourself and staff (personalization), doing a full explanation of the service in normal people terms. What is the service, What gets done, the benefits of the service, the downfalls if you neglect the problem or regular maintenance.... As a consumer that would get my attention.
      Like I mentioned above, I'm not able to do videos at this time. This business is a one man show, I'm just doing this site because I literally have nothing better to do

      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      These are just my observations and opinions, all in all it is very impressive, a little tweaking and you will be getting calls asking for your services. You should have a link and contact for yourself as the site creator as well.
      I don't think I'm qualified enough to be doing other work lol.

      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      As for SEO, learn on the go or pay someone to do it for you.

      For $10 or so there are lots of offline Seo information in the WSO area.
      I'm working on that. I just got an SEO addon the other day that ranks the SEO of each individual page. I'll have to touch up some of the titles and descriptions to make sure I'm making good use of the limited space. I *believe* what I need to do once these final touches are made is submit a new sitemap to google so google knows I just added 19 pages.

      Originally Posted by blogfreakz View Post

      Continue what you are doing if you enjoy it, there is local money to be made at the very least if you choose to go after it. Good Luck
      Thanks! And thanks for taking the time to make such a thorough post.

      -Kruciall
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  • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
    I would shrink the logo and put "pool care" beside "magestic".

    The logo takes up about half of the screen vertically, pushing most of the content below the fold. I can tell you from years of experience with clients that people don't scroll.

    I'm beginning to think that only Internet Marketers know how to

    Your content has to engage your visitor so that they either:
    a) don't have to scroll (and most won't) or
    b) are so engaged by the content that they manage to work out that they DO need to scroll down.

    You have no idea how many conversations I have with clients that go like this:
    Client: "What should I do next?"
    Me: "Scroll down and see what comes next"

    Client scrolls down, finds "next" button and clicks. Looks at page

    Client: "What should I do next?"
    Me: "Scroll down and see what else there is on the page".

    This conversation can be repeated endlessly, believe me!

    Your site is aimed at "mr and mrs Average", not "mr and mrs IMer".
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  • Profile picture of the author HypeText
    The look is clean but from a Graphic Design standpoint a scondary color added might make the screen pop a little more.

    Your Font size is kind of large. Keep in mind that not everyone is on a 20"+ sized monitor. In fact, on my laptop your Header line shows like:

    Your One Stop For Complete Pool Service | San Diego
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    • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
      Originally Posted by rosetrees View Post

      The logo takes up about half of the screen vertically, pushing most of the content below the fold. I can tell you from years of experience with clients that people don't scroll.
      I fully agree with you, the size of the logo is something I had noticed early on. As far as getting people to scroll down, I think actually getting people to my site is a higher priority right now. My organic traffic is abysmal. I've had more people from this site visit my page visit my page in one day than the total amount of organic traffic over the two or so weeks it's been up.

      To my credit, it's still freaking December lol. Not many people are that concerned with their pools at this point, which is why I'm in the process of developing a campaign targeting people who haven't had their pools maintained.

      But I'm getting off-topic, my bad. Thank you for your comment!

      Originally Posted by HypeText View Post

      The look is clean but from a Graphic Design standpoint a scondary color added might make the screen pop a little more.
      To be honest, creativity is not one of my strong points but your comment is noted. I'll also look into size of the font size. Thanks Hype
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  • Profile picture of the author msam029
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  • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
    As I mentioned before, I've really been struggling with getting people to my site which is why traffic currently has priority over the small changes to improve aesthetics. We get <10 generic views per day, if we're lucky, most of them coming from Google. In fact, we were contacted by someone for the first time today via the contact form on the page.

    I supposed I should give myself the benefit of the doubt for two reasons, the first being it's still December and most people aren't too concerned about their pools. The second would be the fact that it's only been 10 days since the site went live.

    Back to the point! I added 15 new pages to the site and I'm currently waiting for Google to even acknowledge them. I submitted a new sitemap which I believe is the correct thing to do after changes have been made to your site, but it's still showing the original 8 urls. It's also not recognizing the additional internal links I have added, but I'm assuming it just takes more time. And then when I look at the keywords using GWT, I get a list of words that aren't even close to what I thought they should be.

    Perhaps I'm doing it wrong? Is there anything else I need to do (besides learn to be more patient)?

    I looked at all our local competition and using Alexa complied a list of 300+ different sites they all used to get backlinks. Some of them are very obvious like business directories and free back link pages, but some of them almost seemed like complete jibberish. I 99% sure that one of the sites I looked at had used some type of backlink service because they had almost 500 links and they were ALL shady looking.

    But then I also ran into this. The ads url was www.delranchblahblah.com, but when you clicked it it went to the one pictured just below (.calls. net) I noticed the rank and knew that couldn't be right so I went to Alexa for a closer look.



    Instead of using the delrachblahblah.com it when to calls.net


    When I went typed in the url to be just the original one I got the results below. So my question is, what exactly are they doing? To a noob like me, it doesn't seem legit.




    Ps. I know if this post is going to be moderated it'll be by Istvan the Hammer (hope you don't mind my addition :p) I hope that it won't though, because I'm just trying to keep all of my questions in one place rather than all over the site. I don't want to be the typical noob and have threads littering the site. If I don't get answers in this thread, I'll just move along without them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Ps. I know if this post is going to be moderated it'll be by Istvan the Hammer (hope you don't mind my addition ) I hope that it won't though, because I'm just trying to keep all of my questions in one place rather than all over the site. I don't want to be the typical noob and have threads littering the site. If I don't get answers in this thread, I'll just move along without them.
    Please "litter" your posts by their topic:
    - if SEO > go to the SEO forum
    - if design > post it here
    - if it's about your copy > go to the Copywriting forum
    -... you got the idea...

    As a help to your question: nobody gives a sh*t about Alexa ranking because they are based only on browsers that have the Alexa toolbar (downloaded by the owners). Don't waste your time with it - just work on your site and on the traffic.

    p.s. anything that is not web design related will be deleted - like it or not!
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    • Profile picture of the author Kruciall
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      As a help to your question: nobody gives a sh*t about Alexa ranking because they are based only on browsers that have the Alexa toolbar (downloaded by the owners). Don't waste your time with it - just work on your site and on the traffic.
      Thanks for that info, I'll ignore Alexa from now on.

      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      p.s. anything that is not web design related will be deleted - like it or not!
      Got it sir.
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