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What is your first impression when you find this?

  • 06-03-2012 8:23am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭✭ benbob65


    Is there anything that immediately puts you off when you see this page?


    http://www.boiler-breakdown-repair-london.co.uk/potterton-boiler-repairs/potterton-performa-repairs/potterton-performa-repairs.html




    I know the images on the side cover the text in some browsers.

    I also know that the links at the bottom look a mess, but haven't quite worked out how to add a sitemap that updates itself with every addition.

    Any solutions to those two issues would be greatly appreciated as well. I am an engineer by trade, pretty decent at SEO (although still learning every day) and an almost complete noob when it comes to html/css.

    Feel free to be totally blunt.


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,700 ✭✭✭ tricky D


    Walls and walls of excessive text. Look and feel is amateur. Do something like look at a good site of a competitor or someone in a similar business for inspiration.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,848 ✭✭✭ Cianos


    I agree with the above. Too much text, no visual identity or branding.

    I'm actually currently designing a website for a boiler repair service. I can post up a link to the mock up if you wish.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,875 ✭✭✭✭ Giblet


    1999


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 947 zef


    On my browser (firefox) it comes up with no 'header',branding or even pics of boliers or whatever you are selling, just straight into heaps of offputting text.
    The sidebar buttons or whatever-you-call-them look amateur too.
    Good idea to check out websites in the same industry and be *inspired* .


  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭✭ benbob65


    Cianos wrote: »
    I'm actually currently designing a website for a boiler repair service. I can post up a link to the mock up if you wish.
    Yes please.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,848 ✭✭✭ Cianos


    benbob65 wrote: »
    Yes please.

    Apologies, but I've decided against doing this. However I'll post up the link when the site goes live.


  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭✭ benbob65


    zef wrote: »
    ...The sidebar buttons or whatever-you-call-them look amateur too...
    Any suggestions on how to improve that?
    What would be a "professional" button? :confused:


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,241 ✭✭✭ baalthor


    Giblet wrote: »
    1999

    Very harsh on the web designers of 1999 :D

    OP, when someone's central heating breaks down they are in an emergency situation. Therefore they are usually not interested in reading an essay on the history and philosophy of boilers and boiler repairs.

    You need to get your key selling points across on the homepage in as few words as possible; your sites marketing problems are much worse than its HTML/design issues.

    And just because something is important to you doesn't mean your customers will care about it. The long discourse on Potterton boilers for example; many people won't even know or care that they have a Potterton, they just wan't to know if you can get the bloody thing working again !


  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭✭ benbob65


    Thanks to all that contributed.
    If it is not asking too much, I'd really appreciate suggestions as to HOW things could be improved. I should have added to the opening post that good/bad/hate it/love it because.... don't get me much further.

    I am looking for examples of how to do things better, rather than a score of 1 to 10.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,875 ✭✭✭✭ Giblet


    Ok. Start off by forgetting everything about CSS. Don't add a single rule, size, height or colour to the page. The first thing you need to do is plan what you need to communicate, and how to do that with the least amount of text. Right now, I see a wall of text, and a website that looks like it was made 15 years ago and is probably not even for a current business! Think about having a header. Something short, snappy that gets your point across.

    Stop! Don't replace your boiler!

    Most boiler replacements are unnecessary... [continue short paragraph].

    Then have something like a small list of facts.

    Then you can move onto a short blurb about yourself and what you do.
    You can use side bar to host the relevant contact details (it's probably the first thing people will look for on repeat viewings).

    You need about 5 or 6 tags to accomplish a semantic clean layout. Then move onto planning navigation. Make it easy to find, obvious where you will end up, and keep it in an easy to access area.

    CSS will be a breeze once you have your base in place.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭✭ benbob65


    Giblet wrote: »
    Ok. Start off by forgetting everything about CSS. Don't add a single rule, size, height or colour to the page. The first thing you need to do is plan what you need to communicate, and how to do that with the least amount of text.
    That is a bit difficult for a number of reasons.
    1. It is a work in progress.
    2. The content is for a significant part based on feedback from a changing market, and frequently adjusted.
    3. I am aiming specifically for people of the "research variety", the kind of customer that loves to stand there and watch what you are doing.
    Giblet wrote: »
    Right now, I see a wall of text, and a website that looks like it was made 15 years ago and is probably not even for a current business!
    The large amount of text is a necessity for various reasons. There is not a whole lot I can/want to do about that aspect. What I do want, is changing the look and feel of it to something more attractive. Most pages get fine tuned on a regular basis (if I have the time), so the use of style sheets will be very handy.
    Would more graphics e.g. photos/diagrams of the boiler or parts of it help to bring the looks into the 21st century?
    Giblet wrote: »
    Think about having a header. Something short, snappy that gets your point across.
    Stop! Don't replace your boiler!

    Most boiler replacements are unnecessary... [continue short paragraph].

    Then have something like a small list of facts.

    Then you can move onto a short blurb about yourself and what you do.
    You can use side bar to host the relevant contact details (it's probably the first thing people will look for on repeat viewings).
    I don't expect or aim at repeat viewings.
    Cold house -> broken boiler -> need plumber -> find me -> call me -> the end.
    The page about THEIR boiler should "sell" me in most cases, with a few "general" pages e.g. about me, about gas, clever tools etc for the die hard readers.
    Following that system, it would be:
    Header
    Short list of general facts
    Specific text for their boiler
    Several links spread through the page to the "general" pages.
    Giblet wrote: »
    You need about 5 or 6 tags to accomplish a semantic clean layout.
    Do you mean H1,2,3 tags?
    Giblet wrote: »
    Then move onto planning navigation. Make it easy to find, obvious where you will end up, and keep it in an easy to access area.
    I am also looking into "self/auto adjusting" sitemaps, but this is also an area I know nothing about. This part is not a priority, as the basic idea is for my potential clients to end up on the page about THEIR boiler, rather than read half my website. In a way, a little bit like Amazon where you most people end up after searching for a specific book, or maybe a specific writer, and few will care about the rest.
    Giblet wrote: »
    CSS will be a breeze once you have your base in place.
    I so hope you are right about that one. I toyed a bit with html years ago, but am not a webdesigner at all. All this website malarkey was pure necessity caused by the recession. Initially, I had somebody do it for me, but found it very hard work to explain what I wanted. To come anywhere near what I had in mind, it would cost thousands if not tens of thousands and that was simply not viable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,875 ✭✭✭✭ Giblet


    This is homepage only, any information about specific boilers should be categorised under "Find your Boiler" or something similar. When I mean repeat viewings, I mean, the rest of the content is disregarded when they know already they want you, but say have forgotten your phone number.

    Forget about SEO, your page reads like a google bomb hack website in some cases, That is "If you want information on "BOILERS IN LONDON" then you have come to the right place to find out about "BOILERS IN LONDON" what most people who want information on "BOILERS IN LONDON" want etc etc.." , although I see it does ok in google for keywords that you have focused on, I can type "Boiler repair in London" or "Boiler Repair in Bromley" and you are nowhere to be seen. (First result) http://www.heatingcentral.com/boilers/plumbers/uk/kent/bromley You are competing with this. Professional look, beats any blurb you have on your page.


    You SEO will be fine just including all the relevant info WITHOUT compromising your content. The look and feel includes content, there's no getting around that. You give too much information, and real live people, not google bots, will ignore your page for something that tells them they need you without leaving the first page.

    A simple, "I have information about 50 kinds of boilers" would suffice, as you would most likely have hits from google directly to those pages when people searched their boiler model.

    A work in progress means you can progress to a better layout. Don't worry too much about H1 tags etc. You want to improve how your page looks? Have a look through the WAVE accessibility toolbar for Firefox, this is how blind and deaf people will browse your site. If it's clear to them, it will be clear to any bot.


  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭✭ benbob65


    Giblet wrote: »
    ...although I see it does ok in google for keywords that you have focused on, I can type "Boiler repair in London" or "Boiler Repair in Bromley" and you are nowhere to be seen. (First result) http://www.heatingcentral.com/boilers/plumbers/uk/kent/bromley You are competing with this. Professional look, beats any blurb you have on your page.
    I may be able to compete by looks (after many moor hours html5/css study), but not in SEO. All the top places for generic search terms e.g. boiler repair(s) London, are taken up by national companies with tens of thousands to spend on SEO. They buy thousands of heavy links, thousands of social website posts and so on. I suspect also a fair bit of borderline black hat which is just a light enough shade of black not to get penalised for it.
    Only way for me as one man band with limited budget is longtailing.
    Giblet wrote: »
    A work in progress means you can progress to a better layout.
    That's the plan, and actively working on that side now. Just found a new site today, with a "course" exactly in the way I absorb things best; html and css, 3 stages each, just what the doctor ordered.
    Giblet wrote: »
    Don't worry too much about H1 tags etc.
    What kind of tags did you mean in your previous post?
    Giblet wrote: »
    You want to improve how your page looks? Have a look through the WAVE accessibility toolbar for Firefox, this is how blind and deaf people will browse your site. If it's clear to them, it will be clear to any bot.
    Never heard of :o so far, but Google is my friend I suppose.
    Not quite sure why deaf people would need a special browser though. Any links where I can update my knowledge on Wave?
    Many thanks for your input so far, very helpful.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,875 ✭✭✭✭ Giblet


    WAVE is a tool / extension for Firefox which allows developers to break down their site into how it is perceived by deaf and blind people, as well as hierarchies of things such as H1 tags etc. It's not what blind people use or deaf people, but what developers can use to highlight where their sites might fall over in accessibility. Now, blind people and deaf people may never use your site, but when they do, they use tools such as screen readers (JAWS etc) which pretty much do the same thing. The highlight areas of significance and describe the layout to the user. Imagine this user being told where everything lies on the page. This 100% relies on a semantic layout to communicate all the necessary information for a disabled user to navigate your site without issue. Still lost as to the benefits of this? The site itself is a haven for any automated tools, including search engine bots. When you have a layout like this, the CSS doesn't matter, that's sugar on top of your solid base. Which is why I said that when you have the base down, the CSS will be easy. You won't be throwing bits of markup around the screen to where you want them to lie, because you have already thought about this from a perspective that requires the physical location of elements to be correct in the first place.

    When I mentioned tags before, I really mean you didn't need much HTML to convey your content in a meaningful way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭✭ benbob65


    Giblet wrote: »
    ... Still lost as to the benefits of this? ...
    More a matter of not knowing the how and what of all this, than anything else.
    Where I am in respect to html/css is probably comparable to where you would be if I gave you a box full of parts and a diagram followed by the invitation to construct a working boiler with combustion management out of it.
    Out of the 6 part "course" I mentioned earlier, I have only mastered the first step, and recognise snippets of the other 5.

    Just found the WAVE site, but it seems to be down at the moment; tried my homepage twice but it comes back with a 500 error. :(


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