Home – New Forums Tell me straight… Honest website feedback please

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  • #970764
    ruth@conus
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    • Total posts: 9
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    Hi there,

    We have been doing a lot of work recently on our website and would love constructive feedback. The website is http://www.conus.com.au.

    To assist with your review we have the following information:

    1. What needs reviewing? – anything on the website
    2. What does your business do? – provides business consultancy services to small-medium businesses within North Queensland
    3. Who is your target market? – small-medium businesses within North Queensland
    4. What specific concerns do you have? – the website is not yet driving enquiries or sales, we know we have some work to do with regard to ‘calls to action’ so any comments re ‘cta’s’ would be great

    Thanks in advance
    Ruth Faulkner

    #1045977
    Tiggerito
    Member
    • Total posts: 362
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    Hi,

    I will make comments related to promoting your website (SEO) so that it attracts more visitors.

    Location
    You state North Queensland several times in this post, but you never use it on your home page!

    This is a mistake I see time and time again.

    If you want to attract people who are looking for services in your location, you have to mention it on your website. It not only helps the visitor realise you are relevant, but you will also encourage the search engines to send those people to you.

    Menu
    Search Engines will try and crawl your website to see what pages exist. They do that by following the links you include on the pages.

    Your menu is driven by JavaScript. This makes it very hard for search engines to find the links in your menu.

    You may be blocking search engines from finding some of your pages!

    Hopefully the other links on the page are providing the links you need. My crawler picked up 15 pages?

    There are many menu systems out there now that are Search Engine friendly.

    Content
    This looks very good. The more content you have the more information you give to Search Engines, causing a greater potential for visitors.

    Good Luck

    #1045978
    Thebookbarn.com.au
    Member
    • Total posts: 29
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    Hi Ruth.
    First off I think the website is visually striking in a very effective way, it’s smart and professional.
    The functionality is good, the buttons along the top function the way they should, changing color when you hover above them.
    I would suggest that you discolor the button for current pages. So if you’re on the “economics blog” page, the economics button is a different color to the rest.
    I also like the drop menus when you hover above some of the links, I would suggest adding drop down content to some of the other buttons so your site seems fuller.
    As for the information on the page, I think it’s really well laid out and filled with interesting articles.
    I think you’ve got a great website there!

    Paul

    #1045979
    marketingweb
    Member
    • Total posts: 625
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    Hi Ruth,

    I think your website design fits into the “so close but yet so far” category which is actually positive – better than being nowhere near! It does however look like a home made site based on a “standard template” that has you logo and content plonked on, rather than an actual custom design -while good overall has lots of little things wrong that most people won’t be able to pick up, but they will subconsciously feel it it looks right or not.

    The most obvious and biggest thing is that it looks to me like your website design/layout and your logo don’t really work together well – which makes me instantly think “standard template with logo plopped on” rather than something custom made.

    What i mean by this is mostly the fact that your logo is REALLY square – it’s as tall as it is wide. This isn’t a shape that makes things easy, but it is possible the work with. The trick in this case is to integrate the square logo into the design itself so it looks like it should be there. This website looks like one that is designed to have a nice wide logo at the top filling up that white space. You need to either get an alternative landscape version of the logo, or modify the design to suit the logo you have.

    Square isn’t bad – it can work. Some famous websites for companies with square logos are below. You will notice that none of their websites have a massive empty white banner area next to their logo (USA examples mostly)
    http://www.americanexpress.com/
    http://www.gap.com/
    http://www.homedepot.com/
    http://www.lego.com/
    http://www.ago.net/

    As well as the above, the logo isn’t well positioned anyway – the border width between the left of the logo and the background, and same at the top, is more than the rest of the border so it looks out of place. but the bottom of the logo is jammed against the grey line.

    Another small thing – standard practice is the logo should link back to the homepage on every internal page, even if you do have a “home” button.

    The Mission Beach logo is a nice logo, but looks like it’s randomly plopped there. At a minimum, make it’s height the same as whatever you make the height of the Conus logo, so it all looks symmetrical.

    Moving further down, the font used on the buttons (times new roman) doesn’t really look good here in my opinion – it’s not a font that looks good too small unless in bold. I would suggest changing it. I would also change the colour of the buttons to match the teal blue of your logo. Same with the gray for the rollover – make it match the gray in your logo, with white text not a lighter gray as it is now.

    Also on the buttons – the ones that have drop downs are kind of odd, at least in firefox. A drop down menu should drop down BELOW the existing button. For me, it drops down with about 25% of it going over the top of the main button and the one next to it, which looks odd.

    The Green image is eye catching which is good, and using attractive stock photography can work, but I can’t work out what relationship it has to your business or why it’s there. At a minimum you need some form of caption with clever tie in between image and content – and preferably a few of these on a slow rotation. Also, this image is a few pixels HIGHER than the top of the strategic planning button is, so again the size of the white borders created here are inconsistent.

    I would also close up some of the space. For example – too much space between the bottom of the image and the top of the title. Also too much sace between each title and it’s text. For example, the space between the top paragraph and “Strategic Planning” is only a tiny bit more than the space between “Strategic Planning” and it’s text. If you pulled the text just slightly up closer to the subheading it relates to, it would all connect better.

    I haven’t gone through all the sub pages other than to notice you have a LOT of content (fantastic), but I think the above on the home page should give you enough to think about for now, along with the other good advice received.

    Matt

    #1045980
    ruth@conus
    Member
    • Total posts: 9
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    Thanks so much for your constructuve feedback. We shoul be able to remedy some of those problems very quickly so thanks for pointing them out.
    Ruth

    Tiggerito, post: 56134 wrote:
    Hi,

    I will make comments related to promoting your website (SEO) so that it attracts more visitors.

    Location
    You state North Queensland several times in this post, but you never use it on your home page!

    This is a mistake I see time and time again.

    If you want to attract people who are looking for services in your location, you have to mention it on your website. It not only helps the visitor realise you are relevant, but you will also encourage the search engines to send those people to you.

    Menu
    Search Engines will try and crawl your website to see what pages exist. They do that by following the links you include on the pages.

    Your menu is driven by JavaScript. This makes it very hard for search engines to find the links in your menu.

    You may be blocking search engines from finding some of your pages!

    Hopefully the other links on the page are providing the links you need. My crawler picked up 15 pages?

    There are many menu systems out there now that are Search Engine friendly.

    Content
    This looks very good. The more content you have the more information you give to Search Engines, causing a greater potential for visitors.

    Good Luck

    #1045981
    ruth@conus
    Member
    • Total posts: 9
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    Hi Paul,

    That’s great feedback, thanks. Always good to know you’re on the right track.

    Ruth

    Thebookbarn.com.au, post: 56135 wrote:
    Hi Ruth.
    First off I think the website is visually striking in a very effective way, it’s smart and professional.
    The functionality is good, the buttons along the top function the way they should, changing color when you hover above them.
    I would suggest that you discolor the button for current pages. So if you’re on the “economics blog” page, the economics button is a different color to the rest.
    I also like the drop menus when you hover above some of the links, I would suggest adding drop down content to some of the other buttons so your site seems fuller.
    As for the information on the page, I think it’s really well laid out and filled with interesting articles.
    I think you’ve got a great website there!

    Paul

    #1045982
    ruth@conus
    Member
    • Total posts: 9
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    Wow, thanks for spending so much time reviewing our site. You’ve given us heaps of advice to work with and reminded us that we still have a long way to go!
    Ruth

    marketingweb, post: 56137 wrote:
    Hi Ruth,

    I think your website design fits into the “so close but yet so far” category which is actually positive – better than being nowhere near! It does however look like a home made site based on a “standard template” that has you logo and content plonked on, rather than an actual custom design -while good overall has lots of little things wrong that most people won’t be able to pick up, but they will subconsciously feel it it looks right or not.

    The most obvious and biggest thing is that it looks to me like your website design/layout and your logo don’t really work together well – which makes me instantly think “standard template with logo plopped on” rather than something custom made.

    What i mean by this is mostly the fact that your logo is REALLY square – it’s as tall as it is wide. This isn’t a shape that makes things easy, but it is possible the work with. The trick in this case is to integrate the square logo into the design itself so it looks like it should be there. This website looks like one that is designed to have a nice wide logo at the top filling up that white space. You need to either get an alternative landscape version of the logo, or modify the design to suit the logo you have.

    Square isn’t bad – it can work. Some famous websites for companies with square logos are below. You will notice that none of their websites have a massive empty white banner area next to their logo (USA examples mostly)
    http://www.americanexpress.com/
    http://www.gap.com/
    http://www.homedepot.com/
    http://www.lego.com/
    http://www.ago.net/

    As well as the above, the logo isn’t well positioned anyway – the border width between the left of the logo and the background, and same at the top, is more than the rest of the border so it looks out of place. but the bottom of the logo is jammed against the grey line.

    Another small thing – standard practice is the logo should link back to the homepage on every internal page, even if you do have a “home” button.

    The Mission Beach logo is a nice logo, but looks like it’s randomly plopped there. At a minimum, make it’s height the same as whatever you make the height of the Conus logo, so it all looks symmetrical.

    Moving further down, the font used on the buttons (times new roman) doesn’t really look good here in my opinion – it’s not a font that looks good too small unless in bold. I would suggest changing it. I would also change the colour of the buttons to match the teal blue of your logo. Same with the gray for the rollover – make it match the gray in your logo, with white text not a lighter gray as it is now.

    Also on the buttons – the ones that have drop downs are kind of odd, at least in firefox. A drop down menu should drop down BELOW the existing button. For me, it drops down with about 25% of it going over the top of the main button and the one next to it, which looks odd.

    The Green image is eye catching which is good, and using attractive stock photography can work, but I can’t work out what relationship it has to your business or why it’s there. At a minimum you need some form of caption with clever tie in between image and content – and preferably a few of these on a slow rotation. Also, this image is a few pixels HIGHER than the top of the strategic planning button is, so again the size of the white borders created here are inconsistent.

    I would also close up some of the space. For example – too much space between the bottom of the image and the top of the title. Also too much sace between each title and it’s text. For example, the space between the top paragraph and “Strategic Planning” is only a tiny bit more than the space between “Strategic Planning” and it’s text. If you pulled the text just slightly up closer to the subheading it relates to, it would all connect better.

    I haven’t gone through all the sub pages other than to notice you have a LOT of content (fantastic), but I think the above on the home page should give you enough to think about for now, along with the other good advice received.

    Matt

    #1045983
    PeteF
    Member
    • Total posts: 4
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    Matt

    I’m the “other half” and I’ve been working today on implementing many of the changes you have suggested. Some will take a little longer! Just wanted to add my thanks to Ruth’s…your insight has been really useful and is very much appreciated. I hope you think I’ve done some of your suggestions justice!
    Cheers
    Pete

    marketingweb, post: 56137 wrote:
    Hi Ruth,

    I think your website design fits into the “so close but yet so far” category which is actually positive – better than being nowhere near! It does however look like a home made site based on a “standard template” that has you logo and content plonked on, rather than an actual custom design -while good overall has lots of little things wrong that most people won’t be able to pick up, but they will subconsciously feel it it looks right or not.

    The most obvious and biggest thing is that it looks to me like your website design/layout and your logo don’t really work together well – which makes me instantly think “standard template with logo plopped on” rather than something custom made.

    What i mean by this is mostly the fact that your logo is REALLY square – it’s as tall as it is wide. This isn’t a shape that makes things easy, but it is possible the work with. The trick in this case is to integrate the square logo into the design itself so it looks like it should be there. This website looks like one that is designed to have a nice wide logo at the top filling up that white space. You need to either get an alternative landscape version of the logo, or modify the design to suit the logo you have.

    Square isn’t bad – it can work. Some famous websites for companies with square logos are below. You will notice that none of their websites have a massive empty white banner area next to their logo (USA examples mostly)
    http://www.americanexpress.com/
    http://www.gap.com/
    http://www.homedepot.com/
    http://www.lego.com/
    http://www.ago.net/

    As well as the above, the logo isn’t well positioned anyway – the border width between the left of the logo and the background, and same at the top, is more than the rest of the border so it looks out of place. but the bottom of the logo is jammed against the grey line.

    Another small thing – standard practice is the logo should link back to the homepage on every internal page, even if you do have a “home” button.

    The Mission Beach logo is a nice logo, but looks like it’s randomly plopped there. At a minimum, make it’s height the same as whatever you make the height of the Conus logo, so it all looks symmetrical.

    Moving further down, the font used on the buttons (times new roman) doesn’t really look good here in my opinion – it’s not a font that looks good too small unless in bold. I would suggest changing it. I would also change the colour of the buttons to match the teal blue of your logo. Same with the gray for the rollover – make it match the gray in your logo, with white text not a lighter gray as it is now.

    Also on the buttons – the ones that have drop downs are kind of odd, at least in firefox. A drop down menu should drop down BELOW the existing button. For me, it drops down with about 25% of it going over the top of the main button and the one next to it, which looks odd.

    The Green image is eye catching which is good, and using attractive stock photography can work, but I can’t work out what relationship it has to your business or why it’s there. At a minimum you need some form of caption with clever tie in between image and content – and preferably a few of these on a slow rotation. Also, this image is a few pixels HIGHER than the top of the strategic planning button is, so again the size of the white borders created here are inconsistent.

    I would also close up some of the space. For example – too much space between the bottom of the image and the top of the title. Also too much sace between each title and it’s text. For example, the space between the top paragraph and “Strategic Planning” is only a tiny bit more than the space between “Strategic Planning” and it’s text. If you pulled the text just slightly up closer to the subheading it relates to, it would all connect better.

    I haven’t gone through all the sub pages other than to notice you have a LOT of content (fantastic), but I think the above on the home page should give you enough to think about for now, along with the other good advice received.

    Matt

    #1045984
    marketingweb
    Member
    • Total posts: 625
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    Hi pete and ruth,

    Well done on some of these changes – looks better already!

    Especially changing the menus to match your colours – SO much better, and even though I still think there is too much white, looks WAY better with the logo better spaced at the top.

    Everyone will probably laugh at me for saying this (ie how the hell do I notice!), but your green image is still 1 or 2 pixels too high compared to the top of the strategic planning button. But 99.9% of people wont notice if you leave it.

    I think here is a good case of sometimes some little changes can make a big difference – at least to picky people like me! Will be good to see how things progress if you continue with more tweeks.

    Matt

    #1045985
    Past-Member
    Member
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    Hi, just wondered why the tourism logo is on the top of the page? Are you specifically part of it because anyone who clicks on it moves immediately away from your website?

    Shouldn’t it be a link – even at the bottom of the page, rather than at the top?

    I was thinking you were wasting part of your header area. See attached JPG. You might find it a good area to add a personal message or call to action within the graphic.

    #1045986
    Leisa D
    Member
    • Total posts: 563
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    From a designer’s point of view (print, not web but same principals) – I like the clean layout, very appropriate to your business. The facebook and mission beach logos are a bit fuzzy, maybe look at optimizing the original vector files for web again.

    You could soften the overall look of the page by putting rounded corners on the large image, so there’s not so many squares/rectangles. Maybe add a fine, light border to the four services on the home page to set them apart from the other content – make them look more “clickable”.

    On the left nav bar, the services look like the text is part of an image – if you can make that real text, it may help with SEO (search engines won’t read the titles as they’re part of an image, not text content).

    #1045987
    marketingweb
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    • Total posts: 625
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    Leisa at Alexandra Design, post: 56271 wrote:
    On the left nav bar, the services look like the text is part of an image – if you can make that real text, it may help with SEO (search engines won’t read the titles as they’re part of an image, not text content).

    When considering SEO considerations vs Design considerations is always a fine line between the two. Generally it has to be a balance – you don’t want design taking over so much that the site site fails SEO wise, but you also don’t need to compromise completely on design.

    Re the images on the left, there are ways you can make text overlay an image in that sort of situation, but it can get sort of messy and difficult. Providing you have “alt tags” on each image which basically match the text on the image, Google will still count them as internal links and any negative SEO benefit would be minimal.

    Leisa, hope you don’t mind me posting this, and you are definitely on the right track with your SEO thinking (very impressive since your primary field is design not SEO), but I think in this case changing the left hand images for search ranking reasons may be overkill.

    Matt

    #1045988
    PeteF
    Member
    • Total posts: 4
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    We would like to give everyone who has helped a very big “thanks”! In particular Matt and KarenC who both gave us some invaluable insights and ideas.
    I have been working on incorporating most of this feedback into a redesign and “tweek” of the site.
    In particular I have “squared up” the design, got rid of the “white space” in the header and shamelessly stolen KarenC’s great idea with the new blue banner. Changing the left hand image size to match the logo is an attempt to address some of Matt’s concerns about the square logo not really looking like it belonged in the design…I hope it does now.
    Anyway, we are delighted with the new look (take a look yourself at http://www.conus.com.au) and I hope that I’ve done justice to all the excellent feedback we got.
    Thanks very much guys!

    Pete

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