Site appraisal please...

  Malc1000 09:56 12 Oct 03
Locked

Not a review request as such, more a "Why isn't it working ?" request.

My sites are finished. You know what I mean by finished of course, as finished as web sites ever are, like a garden is finished.

SEO is ongoing of course. I've got pretty good page ranks, 5's and 6's in key places.

The structure is controversial in that I've used multiple micro sites all of which can grow and develop in their own right in the future according to demand.

All of the banners and links go to sites of mine (with the exception of two Cotswolds guide sites on the main home page) so the banner in cotswoldproperty.com goes to businessvibe.co.uk which is mine and so on.

Here's the big question. Why isn't it working ?, is there anything wrong with navigation, ease of use etc.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Malc

  Taran 11:49 12 Oct 03

I'm not certain what you mean by "Why isn't it working ?"

The navigation structure of your sites is working, the links I tried all lead to their respective pages and the banners lead to your alternative sites.

Could you be a litte more specific in what it is you are looking for here ?

I've not checked all pages and links so perhaps I'm missing something obvious here.

Things seem to be going along nicely though.

Incidentally, I like your layouts.

Your use of PHP was unexpected and unless your site(s) require the events calendars you might want to re-think that side of things. I realise that everything starts small, but nothing looks quite so forlorn as a well implemented site that potentially offers lots of content but that content is not actually there.

An events calendar, like a discussion or bulletin board, needs a lot of very careful consideration before implementing it.

Anyway, post again with some specifics and we will try and offer more appropriate feedback.

The links, for those who may have missed them above, are as follows:

click here

click here

Regards

Taran

  Malc1000 12:20 12 Oct 03

What I mean by "it isn't working" is basically traffic. There are multiple income streams built in but the sites haven't taken a penny yet.

I know what you mean about content and I've burnt lots of midnight oil adding entries, hundreds in cotswoldplaces for example. I need to do more and that's ongoing.

All of the sites accept content from users and the hope is that content will be driven by them. That brings me back to traffic. It's chicken and egg and I guess I'm trying to discover how to drive more traffic to the sites.

Malc

  Taran 12:38 12 Oct 03

You are asking about the Holy Grail of website implementation and there is no single easy answer.

The ways of generating useful traffic (as opposed to just lots of visitors) are many and varied. However, if you want to just drive lots of visitors through to rack up some pennies I have always thought that this more or less defeats the object of most sites. I would rather have 5 visitors interested in my services or products than a hundred casual browsers who click straight through after a brief look at one or two pages.

I'll leave this for someone else since it is not a subject I am overly familiar with, nor one I wish to get to grips with (no offence intended). I don't implement this kind of system in any of my sites or for any of my clients, so...

I am a great believer is holding up my hand and saying "I don't know" rather than going off on one with a load of meaningless gibberish.

Good luck with finding a solution but I don't think, from the little I know about the subject, that there is a simple method to generating a significant amount of income from this kind of traffic management system.

Regards

Taran

  Forum Editor 12:41 12 Oct 03

of how to drive traffic to web sites I wouldn't be sharing it with you, or anyone else for that matter.

There's no single method, and the Internet continues to surprise those who think they've cracked it. Some sites, like Friends Reunited, have been phenomally successful without any appearent attempt at promotion - the news spread mainly by word of mouth, and by reviews in the press. That's the ideal situation, but it comes along very rarely. Other heavily promoted sites haven't succeeded, and the superhighway is littered with the corpses of good ideas that just didn't catch on.

The single biggest problem facing any site owner is how to get the potentially vast Internet audience to know that your site exists, and in your case the difficulty is compounded by the fact that your site has a localised appeal - unless you live in the Cotswolds, or are visiting the area you aren't going to be too interested. I've been involved in designing several 'community' sites, and it's always the same old problem, "Where are the visitors?"

There's nothing wrong with the site design per se, in fact it's very good, and I can see no reason why people should be deterred from joining in, once they know the site's there. You're going to be fighting apathy - unless there's a perceived value in a site (access to free resources for instance) people won't be bothered.

None of that is very constructive, and therefore it's probably of no comfort/use to you, but I've seen the same situation many times before, and I know what an uphill battle you're facing. Just type "The Cotswolds" into a search engine, and see how many links you'll get - that's the size of the problem you face.

  Malc1000 12:55 12 Oct 03

Yep, I buy all of that and I'm trying everything that I can think of. cotswoldwebdesign.com has a premium link from yell.com, I advertise and I place leaflets in Cotswolds hotel and so on. I use adwords for businessvibe.co.uk and I spend hours on both content and SEO.

It is tough. The target audience just doesn't know that it exists.

I guess it's just a matter of persistence.

Malc

  Forum Editor 14:06 12 Oct 03

The Cotswold area has been a favourite of Americans for as long as I can remember, and of course they don't come until the Spring/Summer. For the past two years they haven't really been coming at all, and we've seen the effects of that here in London as well.

Perseverance is going to be your best bet, for a while at least, and provided you can stick at it you should see things improve.

Have you thought about trying to link up with local football/rugby/any other winter sport teams - run profiles on players and feature results, that kind of thing?

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