How can I make my website look more professional?

  alexpb22 10:35 AM 21 Aug 12
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Hi,

I wondered if anyone could give me some advice regarding my dog walking website.

I realise that I could get someone to completely redesign it from scratch but I'd like to see if there's anything I can do myself to make it a lot better before I go down that route and of course it is very basic.

I have no experience whatsoever with making websites other than just googling stuff and trying to work it out for myself. At the moment the site looks a bit like something an individual would set up on their own but I want it start to look a bit more like a business.

Any advice would be appreciated.

http://www.theurbandogwalker.co.uk

Thanks!

  alexpb22 09:55 AM 22 Aug 12

Hi,

Thank you so much for taking the time to have a look and also for writing me such a detailed reply.

I agree with all the points you have made. I actually did a little bit of alteration yesterday which included adding the contact details to the bottom of each page, additional photos, the google places map and some quotes dotted about. I guess you saw the site after I had done these. I may also make the "area" map on the "areas covered" page a bit more interactive.

The font/font size is something I have been questioning since day one so I will at some point today go through it and reduce them all plus I'll look at the other fonts that you have suggested and swap them over.

The gallery I did hastily and agree that I need to go back and organise it better as the margins in between the photos are poor. I never used to have a gallery but I think its good for people to see that you do have existing "clients" as it provides some reassurance that people are indeed using your services.

I agree with you about the name of the site conflicting with the personal nature of the business. At the moment this is a one man "operative" but it is something that I will be developing into a stronger brand and increasing the size of the business quite a lot in the coming years so the name will come into its own at that point. "I" is also going to become "we" in the New Year, so it will represent two people at that point and will grow beyond that so those adjustments can be made.

Good point about the FAQs. I will change that over.

The other thing that I'm toying with today is to increase the size of the header. I'm not sure that the title on its own is strong enough so I am going to play around with making it larger and adding some images to it (much like the footer but not as much), if it doesn't look right then I'll leave it as is but I want to see if it creates a stronger look than there currently is.

As I said in my post, I have no experience of any of this and design is not something that I've ever done so its a constant learning curve for me but I'm glad that you think I'm on the right track and it doesn't look as bad as I thought it did.

Many thanks!

  alexpb22 10:55 AM 22 Aug 12

Yes I did wonder about that.

The only thing though is that I can't use the pawprint logo and the font I want to use without using an image. I could put the print next to the text but I like the overlap. I'll have a play around though with it.

  alexpb22 16:55 PM 22 Aug 12

I made some changes to the site, I'm yet to do the gallery page but haven't had time today. I've modified the fonts though to make them smaller and in Verdana style and also changed FAQ's to FAQs.

I'll get onto the other points asap though and will look at uploading a different header. I think it's going to have end up being a image as there's images I want to have around/within in it which I can't do without making it an image.

  swtpub 08:25 AM 13 Sep 12

hello sir your site could looking so formal and nice without rubbish things .I suggest to keep this and try to increase your traffic instead of redesign your page ,this will increase the ranks to your site and getting more visitors

  wiz-king 08:31 AM 20 Sep 12

Make you page titles at the bottom darker, I almost missed them because the fade into the page in less than ideal lighting.

  alexpb22 11:22 AM 27 Sep 12

Thank you for all your posts/advice. I will get on this evening and change the colour of the page titles at the bottom to make them larger.

I'm really struggling with SEO. I have tried to implement as many things as possible but still can't push that page ranking up.

Is there anything obvious that you all can see that would help?

Many thanks

  Ansolan 17:33 PM 27 Sep 12

I have tried to implement as many things as possible but still can't push that page ranking up.

If you mean visible/green bar type pagerank, don't worry about it, meaningless.

Is there anything obvious that you all can see that would help?

The most obvious is that you are devoting your site to being found for Urban Dog Walker, when you will be found for that with a fraction of the current input. Unless you want the site just for brand building, use the space to help bring business. How many potential customers who don't know you are going to be searching for Urban Dog Walker, probably none, so use the effort on terms people use.

Page titles should reflect this and reflect content which is focused on the terms but in a valuable way. Although they have nothing to do with ranking, same goes for description tags, to attract people from search. Similar for alt tags on images (which you might be better hosted on your site) and all obvious aspects. Most important of those is your content.

Beyond those searching for your business, there's no reason for a search engine to send people to your site. On the home page for example, you have a list of areas/postcodes. Not going to help in search, possibly detract.

Why not have a section on each geographical area within the site, all different rather than repetitive and of interest to local people. Or sections on dog walking, training, caring for your pets. Find as unique an angle as you can and use others on the web to help publicise your pages.

That takes us to social networks. Often noisy, or manipulated and time consuming but for a localised, niche business like yours, worth a thought. Encouraging visitors to the site to share may be a help.

The core point is to do what you can in traditional SEO terms but not to dwell on that. A unique and interesting website is the key.

  alexpb22 21:07 PM 27 Sep 12

Thanks so much for your reply, its been very useful. I have now changed the title tags, but could probably remove The Urban Dog Walker altogether from them.

I've had a look at the description tags and I'm not sure how I can change them as they seem to say what they need to say. I'll have a good think but I think I may have misunderstood what you meant.

Regarding the areas/postcodes - my probably mistaken thinking was to have the areas that are likely to be searched throughout the site so that they are pulled out in searches which is why I put them on the homepage and elsewhere but if this won't help then I will definitely remove them.

I do have a page on training and various bits and this is the Paw Prints page. It's not great at the moment because I want to make it into a blog but the site platform that I'm using doesn't yet have the blog facility but it is something that I am developing and I only started this a week or two ago.

Its very difficult to know what to do when you are starting out with zero knowledge but all these comments are really helpful and I very much appreciate them.

  Ansolan 22:23 PM 27 Sep 12

I've had a look at the description tags and I'm not sure how I can change them

Whatever you feel will make your customers click on that search result, their only purpose. Bear in mind that if the tags don't reflect the content fairly closely, Google will make up their own instead of using them.

Re the areas/postcodes, they will be on a vast number of sites, so by themselves have little meaning. Setting them within the context of useful and unique content gives a better chance.

Its very difficult to know what to do when you are starting out with zero knowledge

Don't worry, that's where everyone started. Neither does anyone on the planet know more than a fraction of the workings of the web, you can only do your best.

The blog sounds a good idea when possible. If you focus on what you would want as a user/potential customer and fulfill that need, you are 90% there.

  kevinmark 08:25 AM 23 Oct 12

You must have a professional looking website. Only by then will you be able to build your target market’s trust. Here are tips to make your website look professional

1) Simplicity projects professionalism.

2) Choice of images.

3) Make the website error free.

4) Professional web design.

These tips here will help you start your way to a more professional website.Choose simple colours. Do not use striking colours that hurt the eyes. There are cases wherein some websites do need some bright colours but generally, it is safe to use calming and cool colours.

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