Seeking advice and review of website

Discussion in 'Website Reviews & Testing' started by deanpunchard, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. deanpunchard

    deanpunchard UKBF Regular Full Member

    167 26
    Good afternoon everyone!

    I'm after some advice, guidance, and a review of our current website -

    I remade the website a few months ago, and tried to narrow down our message, but I'm unsure if I'm hitting the sweet spot, or even getting close to it.

    Firstly, I'd like people to visit the site, and let me know if it's obvious or not as to what we do. If not, what does it say to you?

    Secondly, how does the homepage feel? I chose this design as it's very visual, and when the mouse rolls over each section it can feel quite playful and inquisitive. However that's just my opinion.

    Again regarding the design, when I researched other competitors, and similar (and larger) companies, the trend seemed to be one page format, with sub pages. I'm not looking to be sheep to follow the herd, but perhaps having something similar to others will make the potential clients experience more usable and recognisable?

    Also, when I ran a Google speed test, the website performs poorly. I think this is down to the number of images I have, which could be optimised, but unsure what the solutions could be?

    Again, in terms of speed, it's never felt like it's fast to load and navigate. Even the backend (wordpress) can seem sluggish. Is this down to my hosting package? I currently use JustHost.

    Then there is obviously SEO and ranking, which I get the feeling isn't great. Enquiries though email are few and far between. I think it's even dropped since the web address / new site was built. I use to use I setup re-directs, but unsure if there's an issue here.
    The SEO isn't something I've focused on at all. Instead my marketing has been direct (cold calls, networking, referrals, etc), but don't want to be missing out on web searches either. So some advice would be welcome here, but understand that the design and usablilty need addressing first.

    Lastly, I always struggle with which keywords people are likely to use for my services. I often get commissioned for projects which are unlike what I've done in the past. For example the o2 project.
    If / when you've looked at the site, feel free to throw some words, phrases, etc in my direction as it would be very useful to know what people outside of my industry / circle would use to explain what I do.

    Anyway, please crit away. Don't hold back!!

    Posted: Oct 12, 2017 By: deanpunchard Member since: Dec 30, 2012
  2. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    32,317 9,560
    I have a real dislike for animations that have no real purpose.

    So lets look at your homepage. Nobody will visit your site by chance. They will have done a search seem some marketing material or had a referral. They therefore already know what it is you do so will expect to be wowed by your work not how funky the website.

    The website is just a container for the content and as such should not distract from the purpose of the content which is to showcase your work and generate leads.

    So the homepage should be a showcase of your work. Put up some really great examples each one linking to project pages and more samples.

    Don't put the menu down the site, it doesn't work well on the left. Drop all the hover effects (no good on a touch screen) and keep it really simple.

    Don't categorise things. They are all different variants of the same thing: animations of one sort or another. And edit the videos and make them punchy. This one for example is booooring:

    It's no different to the ones you see on Grand Designs with the exception that your has some awful muzak. What it needs to be is shorter with lots of zing and you telling me what you have done.

    And the site is slow because you have bucket loads of scripts and styles and a 2.2 Mb homepage on a shared server in the USA.

    PS: If you want to do the onepage thing then go the whole hog: Look at your site on your phone and there is nothing of value on show - you have even hidden the menu.
    Posted: Oct 12, 2017 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  3. deanpunchard

    deanpunchard UKBF Regular Full Member

    167 26
    Thanks @fisicx for spending the time to look at the site and comment. Some very interesting thoughts, let me add my thoughts too...

    Do you mean the on the homepage where the buttons / sections flip from one image to another?

    OK that's a very good point. Perhaps less literal, and more showcase as you mentioned. Do you think it's important or not to have different sections? Also my work, often by others, can be mistaken for real photograhpy, so do you think showing 3D wireframes would add for detract?

    I agree, and think I've been guilty of adding every project I can into the portfolio / site. So you're right I should only select a handful of projects. I'd still keep the others viewable, perhaps on a separate page, so I can direct clients to them if I think they'll help sell my services.

    That's one thing I noticed when I researched others, they generally have a small menu at the top, or even a small button to pop up a menu.

    At the moment, I'm thinking about narrowing down my services. I've already cut out a few sectors, but unsure if removing the categories is such a good idea. For example if I have a bathroom manufacturer looking at the site, I want them to see the interior product shots, and not be mislead into other areas such as architecture. Also for SEO an I right in thinking that each category should focus on one area? If I just brand the site as "any CGI work" there's a chance I'll be seen as amateurish and not a specialist? What do you think?

    I agree, but at the moment that's what sells. I need to show the end product, which in this case is a 90 second animation to show the design of a house, which was used at trade shows and other marketing materials.

    Perhaps I could re-edit it with different music. What are your thoughts on show reels?

    How difficult is it to migrate to a faster UK server? I have several sites hosted on my package, and don't want to mess anything up.

    I have experience using this theme and have a licence to use it, so will likely use that.

    By the way is there a way to see which scripts and plugins are causing slow speeds?

    Anyway, thanks for your feedback, much appreciated!

    Posted: Oct 13, 2017 By: deanpunchard Member since: Dec 30, 2012
  4. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    32,317 9,560
    This can work really well. I did a site for a similar company a while back and on their hompage was a single fullsized image that animated from a wireframe to the fully rendered image. It looked fantastic and really showed off what they did.
    Exactly - and they are great for SEO if properly optimised.
    No need for this. A well built theme can display the menu on all devices. Hiding the links on tablets and phones means you can't direct people to the other areas of the site, they have to go looking.
    The bathroom manufacture won't land on the homepage. He will land on a portfolio page related to his search. The categorisation is how YOU define your services. This may not be how a landscaper or IT company or a Telecomms company categorize the service they need. For example, the IT company may be searching for architectural CGI because they use the word in a different way to a builder. And they may not even think of it a CGI - that's what Pixar do. They want visualizations.
    The end product is what the customer wanted. What you need to show is the type of end product. So bin the intro and go straight into the panoramic thing and do a talk over. Tell me what I'm looking at.
    Takes about 20 minutes to migrate the whole thing. All you then need to do is change the nameservers, this takes a few minutes but you may have to wait a few hours for everything to update.

    The theme you have a license for isn't that much better than your current site.
    Posted: Oct 13, 2017 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  5. deanpunchard

    deanpunchard UKBF Regular Full Member

    167 26
    Hi @fisicx , thanks for your reply!

    Care to share a link?

    OK so essentially I need to keep the menu visible at all times. Isn't there a risk the text will become to small on mobile, especially in portrait?

    And that's one of the problems I have, there are so many ways to say what I do. It's not like I can say "Im a window fitter" and people know what I do.

    If anyone has any suggestions on how I should define / pick my key words it would be very welcome. I've done key word analysis on competitor websites, and will re-do this, but the "categories" and keywords I currently use came from that research. I do know I need more blog post which attempt to use more diverse phrases, maybe this is something I need to focus on, rather than worrying too much about hitting all targets on the main web pages?

    I did try a few vlogs, is that what you mean?

    Thanks, that's good to know it's not a complicated job, although I will likely out-source this. How do emails migrate? Any issues? And what about existing emails and folders?

    I'll take a look at these, thanks!

    How do you mean exactly? Speed?

    Anyway, thank you for your help so far, much appreciated!

    If anyone else has any comments please let me know!

    Posted: Oct 16, 2017 By: deanpunchard Member since: Dec 30, 2012
  6. Asjs3n4

    Asjs3n4 Guest

    0 0

    Yes, it's obvious what you do and the homepage looks good generally. It's clear what you do but your past projects are too cluttered.

    Using space between images is critical or it all looks too confusing.

    Less is more especially int eh design world.

    I am on 100K connection speed and it was still a little slow.

    I think we can actually help each other, message me and we can chat...Not trying to sell you anything...
    Posted: Oct 18, 2017 By: Asjs3n4 Member since: Jan 1, 1970
  7. deniser

    deniser UKBF Legend Free Member

    8,100 1,702
    I like your website and thought it was very clear. The speed was fine for me but I have fast broadband.

    You could improve on some of the wording (remove the cliches such as eg. "in a nutshell") and the grammar (incomplete sentences and punctuation issues). There are also a few typos eg. "generate" instead of "generated" and "enquire" instead of "enquiry".
    Posted: Oct 18, 2017 By: deniser Member since: Jun 3, 2008
  8. deanpunchard

    deanpunchard UKBF Regular Full Member

    167 26
    Just a quick update, I've decided to re-do the website, so it'll take a few weeks, but hopefully ready for the start of 2018.

    After review it, with you guys, other peers, and myself, I know I need something with a clearer message, less fluff, and generally more refined.

    Before I do any actual web design work, I'm currently working though a few books on branding, strategy and such, so I can nail the core business (something which I feel is currently a bit diluted and lacking). So once I have this nailed, it should help with the website and other marketing too.

    I'll keep you updated!

    Posted: Nov 14, 2017 By: deanpunchard Member since: Dec 30, 2012