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Comments on home page
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Posted June 18, 2009 at 7:14PM
I've recently redesigned my homepage after some constructive criticism of it, which I agreed with.
Would be grateful for any comments.
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Posted June 27, 2009 at 2:46AM
Home page redesigned again. For some reason some of the text and icons are out of line in chrome but fine in Firefox and IE8.
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Posted June 28, 2009 at 11:55PM
but I can only agree with fourm member, there's no clue about who you are, and no way (apart from an email address tucked away at the bottom of the home page) that a potential customer could contact you.
If you're going to use a website as a business tool - and that's what you're trying to do - you must provide the vital information necessary for people to know where you are situated, geographically, and how they may contact you.
The site's very dated look is due in part to the use of the serif font for the text content. Try changing it to Verdana, and put the bold graphic captions and your navigation links in a different colour - blue for instance, and you'll see a definite improvement.
I would like to see the home page improved still further - the red text at the top should have bullet points, rather than > symbols, so people are less likely to try to click them. The same applies to the captions under the miniature graphics.
You might say that your clients are not expected to understand what they see, but that indicates your lack of understanding about what will happen. You are publishing a site on the internet, and you'll be judged by it. Potential customers will compare your site to others they will have seen, and remember that they know nothing about the quality of the service you provide. It's up to you to tell them about that, rather than bombarding them with great slabs of table and graphs. As I've said before, they'll take the tables and graphs for granted, what they need to be impressed by is your ability to tell them that your service is better and more professional than all the others who are providing the same type of thing.
Believe me, you'll find that we're right when we say that currently the site is confusing and rather boring. It lacks that element that makes people want to delve in and find out more.
Concentrate on using the site as a medium to sell yourself and your skills, don't use it as an online PowerPoint presentation, because that isn't going to produce results. You say that you want to start off slowly, and that's perfectly understandable. As things stand however, I feel you'll be starting very slowly indeed. I strongly urge you to think very hard about this, and to check up on how the competition presents itself to the world; I'm not sure how your service differs from that provided by these people for instance,
but their website is an excellent example of how to sell online.
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Posted July 4, 2009 at 10:56PM
fourm member and FE, thanks again for your comments and advice. Sorry for not replying earlier, the hot weather has had me preoccupied with other stuff (like trying to do slab paving, which wasn't a good idea in 30c).
FE, I have deliberately not put in any contact info apart from the email because that would be in the letter and marketing leaflet I send to companies. Its not necessary or appropriate to put these details in a public IT forum.
I have changed the font to arial (from time new roman). I'm not sure you got to see the serif font, but the site looks different (better) in firefox than it does in IE8. In chrome, some of the mini graphics on the home page are misaligned as it is on a laptop for some reason, but that was in IE8 so it's not consistent. I have not heard you mention anything about it so I assume it is align on your monitors.
I have decreased the size of the navigation links and made them black. If I make them a colour, once you have pressed on it, it goes back to dark so there's no point (like when you click web links in the search results you get in google) unless you know how to overcome this. I'm not able to replace the > with bullet points because it distorts the whole line of text (I'm using netobjects) but its not a major problem I don't think.
I can fuly understand why you say the site is confusing and boring. I would also add unnecessarily complicated and over-detailed - if I was talking from your point of view. But it's supposed to be like that, its aimed at accountants, finance managers who understand how pivot tables, access database reports etc can be applied to business reporting. They may find it boring if they were looking for something else. So, they get my letter and marketing leaflet, visit the website and quickly glance at the individual sections. If they want to explore further and want to find out more of what it is about they have the option of a free demonstration.
The link to the site you posted is of a company that develops additional sage modules for the main system package. Its very different to what I do, though they do build some modules in excel but that only overlaps very slightly with what I offer. They are a big company offering their own specific products and services and is very different to what I offer. Plus, I'm only an individual hoping for a handful of clients to fill a working week/fortnight, not a major company employing hundreds. But I agree, the website is an excellent way of advertising the services they offer.
I have to state that my expertise is not in web design or marketing, so while I'm grateful for gneral advice and comments I don't have the time, money or creativeness to redesign it in a way that stands out in the way you think it should. If you don't count the blue buttons website, this is my first website and I am happy with it. Of course I will update it, tweak it here and there to improve it. To be honest, I don't know how it will work out but I will keep you posted.
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Posted July 5, 2009 at 8:13AM
that offers goods or services for sale, or provides information about goods or services for sale must by law provide its name, postal address, and an email address on the site.
If the business is registered for VAT the registration number must also appear.
If the business is a registered company the registered office address must appear, as must the registration number, and place of registration.
You may not think it appropriate or necessary to provide the information, but you have no choice - you are operating a website that falls within the orbit of the UK e-commerce regulations.
I realise that the site I mentioned isn't directly competing with you - that wasn't my point. I was trying to illustrate a concept - that of making what are fairly dry subjects look more appealing to a vast audience. Although you've decided that you're going to market your services by directly approaching individual businesses you are publishing a web site, and whether you like it or not it will be visited by many people who could well be potential clients. On the basis that no business should ever deter a potential customer it seemed to me to make sense to provide your audience with a site that at least enabled a complete newcomer to get an overview of who you are, and what you do via your homepage. As things stand that's not the case.
I take your point about your lack of expertise in web design and marketing however, and in the end if you're happy with the site there's little point in me wittering on about presentation.
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