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#1 thesarge

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 12:31 PM

I have the ugliest web site, according to all the people that know and design web pages, especially the purist.
I'm the andy warhol, of web page design, my web page goes against the accepted norm. I like it that way, I have seen a lot of web sites that follow the norm in web design and they are very successful, conversely I have seen more web sites that follow the norm and are not successful. So if I'm to go down in flames than let it be my way trying something different. What I need is behind the scene help, I know nothing about html coding can someone look at the that for me and let me know what I need to make my ugly web site search engine friendly. Because with my limited knowledge I don't think search engines rank by pretty. Also I don't know if I can post my address or not, I want to do the right thing.

#2 cre8pc

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 12:47 PM

Hi there. Welcome to Cre8asite :wave:

Which would you like help with first, the design or the search engine optimization?

I can move this post to the Web Design section or the SEO one to get you started. If you want to start out with design, that's fine and then we can start a new post to help with SEO later.

The alternative is to do both by asking for help in the Web Site Hospital section. You are free to post your URL in any of these places so we can see what you have and offer help (just as long as its a site for a general audience of course.)

#3 thesarge

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 01:11 PM

Lets do a two for...move it to web design and SEO I think I would get the best of both worlds.

#4 ukdaz

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 01:24 PM

Hi there.

Your Url www.publicstamp.com is down. Wanna fix it so we can see the efforts you made to create your site?

Daz

#5 cre8pc

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 01:40 PM

I moved it to Web Design first, so we can assist with the basics first (HTML, information architecture, target market, usability, graphics, layout, CSS, etc.)

We can discuss how to add organic SEO too, which is easy to build in at this stage (where to put keywords, how to do metas, anchor links)

Your domain is down though, as Daz found :)

#6 thesarge

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 03:03 PM

http://www.publicstamps.com/ I just check the website and it is up and running.

#7 tam

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 05:06 PM

Being different is good - that can help people remember you BUT if you're to different then users can get really confused.

For example, there are some widely accepted conventions that most of the time you don't even think about because you are used to them. For example underlined text is a link. It helps users get around other wise they'd have to learn a new set of rules for every site they visit!

Is this your site layout: http://www.publicsta...com/stamps.html
Or this: http://www.publicstamps.com/

?

Tam

#8 randfish

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 05:50 PM

Well....

My honest opinion is that there's a difference between being "different" and "unique" and disregarding the virtues of professionalism. We can all agree that not many people would journey to a cave in a remote forest to get a home loan.... Likewise, a visitor to your website might have a tough time convincing themselves that the site is worhty of their trust, admiration and respect based on its current appearance.

I know how it feels to be embattled against designers, but I would think of your customers first - imagine what they would want to see. Different is great, but a degree of professionalism and quality is critical to the success of an online business.

#9 thesarge

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 06:17 PM

I'm sorry I have spent a lot of money over the years having designers design web sites that everyone saw and said great website. But I have never found or heard of a designer that would say I will design a web site for you and I will take a position instead of cash now. 99% per cent of the designers that say some of the same things that you say(and this is not a knock against you) but will not take the risk the site owner takes, that spends his/her money to pay for a well designed web site and has to sit there and wait to see if it makes money or not. And don't forget the one fact, there are far more well designed website that don't make money. I'm a born sales person and in 50 years I have never had a salaried job except when I was in the military. I always wanted not to be limited to what I could make, I always wanted the challlenge of letting my ability dictate how much or how little I would make and I made a lot of money at various times in my life and lost a lot as well. So as I refused to conformed to a weekly pay check I also refuse to conformed to a milk toast look like all the other web sites. This time if I lose my money "I did it my way"

#10 cre8pc

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 07:55 PM

Sarge,

I think one of the hardest jobs in the world, other than being a parent (and possibly delivering babies) is being a sales person. People who know me, and have met me, know that I'd rather be wearing a lamp on my head rather than trying to sell that same lamp to anyone. It's just completely out of my comfort zone, and area of expertise.

And of course, these same beautiful people have told me - begged and pleaded even, to get me to learn how to sell. I've resisted. But, that hasn't meant I wasn't listening to them. Surprisingly (okay. Slowly), I'm starting to apply some of what they teach. In my way. In my own time.

So how can we help you? Some members have verified what you already knew. The site isn't working. Well, you called it ugly. I'm not sure if that means it's not working or it's just not pretty to look at. My own sites are pretty boring, but they do sell my services. So looks aren't everything :wink:

Web design usually starts out as something the owner wants. It works they want it to, looks like they want it to, and does only the things they want it to do. Sometimes this is fine, especially if every visitor has your same tastes and you've managed to meet all their needs. But, what if the site didn't work for everybody that visited? What if they could not read the pages? What if they couldn't find something? What if they wanted more information? What if they just came from another site that does or sells the same thing and that other site looks or functions better?

I guess it comes down to facing what isn't working anymore and then deciding to fix it. That can be slapping new paint on the walls, or just adding wall paper border. It could be planting peppers next year along with tomatoes so you can make spagetti sauce. It could be removing background colors on a web page and allowing white space to make it easier to read.

What do you want fix? :)

#11 tam

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 09:14 PM

Design isn't just about making things look pretty it's about making it work well too.

But a successful website needs more than a good design. That is why designers won't work for a % cut because even if their design is top notch the website still won't necessarily be a success. If I hand over a website that looks good and functions great to a client but the text is terrible or they never update it, take 3 weeks to send out orders and have terrible customer service the business won't be a success :) Why should I stake my money on someone elses ability? That's my view as a designer anyway :)

Forget about looks for a moment, before you work those out there are more important things to decide the answers too.

What are you selling?
Who are your target market?
Why should they buy your product? And why not buy from someone else?
What do they need/want to know before they buy from you?

What is your traffic like? Are you getting lots of visitors and failing to convert them into buyers or are you not attracting any visitors in which case SEO is going to be an important issue.

When I first visited your site I assumed you were an affiliate because your first page is very different to the page I clicked through to.

This page is busy and confusing: http://www.publicstamps.com/
This page: http://www.publicsta...om/welcome.html isn't wildly exciting but there is nothing on it that's distracting and it's easy to read. I'd make that your homepage and then build on it. I don't think those looks are going to put people off they're quite neutral.

But there are other things that could be improved on:

Those big paragraphs of text on the homepage need something doing with them. I'd be surprised if anyone ever read them. The first page needs to draw people in not put them to sleep :) Try highlighting products to draw people into the site - e.g. top 3 stamps. I'd guess 'make your own' is a big selling point but the only link to it is a little note at the top. Use the first page to highlight that service.

The layout is very plain which means a small splash of colour will really stand out. At the moment the fact you have a free offer is hidden at the bottom of a giant bit of text and barely noticable. Try giving it a little colour (not a primary colour) and see how it jumps out of the page.

There is no information on your site:

How long does delivery take?
Are the stamps stick or do I need to lick them?
Are the images to scale?
Where will you ship to?
How do they come packaged?
What methods of payment are there?

All things I'd want to know before making a purchase and don't want to email to ask and wait an unknown time for an answer. I want the information now or I'm going to find another site that does have it.

Hope that's given you some things to think about :)

Tamsin

#12 thesarge

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 12:48 PM

Well it has given me some things to think about. Of cause when you sell on commission you have a lot of risk as you would if you took a position instead of cash. But cash is safer as is a salaried job. But enough on that subject. This is what My website looked like before I put up the ugly page: Thanks for your comments. When I say ugly I mean the way the page looks not how it functions. The ugly is what all the purist web designs call my web site. This is what my website looked like before I changed the index page.
http://www.publicsta...om/welcome.html. The purist had no objections with the way this looked. Now about the functionality of the site is something else. No matter which one I use they are not search engine friendly and that is what I need. You will notice that I made some changes on the ugly web site to improve the SEO but I need a lot more done. That is the help I need.

#13 tam

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 01:16 PM

The 'ugly design' as you call it :) isn't just bad for the eye it's bad for the users. I'm not sure why you want to have that instead of the nice design and improving thats SEO and usability.

If you want to improve the ugly page I'd recomend making the background plain. Using one colour for text and puting on some navigation... infact making it more like the un ugly page :)

Tam

#14 randfish

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 01:48 PM

http://www.publicsta...om/welcome.html - wow... that not only seems like a good looking page; it looks like one that do a good job of inspiring trust and selling your products.

So... If you know that your new stuff doesn't work, and your old site was good, why did you switch, exactly?

#15 thesarge

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 02:33 PM

Beautiful is in the eye of the beholder. Can you give me some advise on how to improve the ugly website SEO. I don't want to improve the appearance, just the behind the scenes functions of the website.

#16 tam

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 04:46 PM

Beautiful is in the eye of the beholder.


To some extent but there are also somethings related to appearance that have been shown to make people more likely to buy and somethings that make them less likely to buy.

I wouldn't buy from a site that looks like your 'ugly design'. So even if the SEO got me to the site I'd leave again straight away.

If you want a site that works you need to focus on all areas not just one aspect.

#17 thesarge

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 07:39 PM

I see we are at an impasse, I don't plan to change the look of my page and you don't plan to help me with the SEO using the page I want to use, so thank you for your comments, I will continue to look for someone that will work with me using my ugly page.

#18 tam

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 08:27 PM

Just the seo :) Okay, here you go:

Use proper heading tags starting with h1 for the main heading h2 for sub headings etc.

Remove all the font tags and replace them with CSS in a seperate style sheet.

Have navigation on the page linking to the other pages within the site using the relevent terms.

Add a couple of paragraphs of text including the keywords but also making sense to people - i.e. don't just keyword stuff the SE's don't like that.

Put alt tags on all your images describing them.

Make better use of your title tag - a couple of extra keywords whilst still making it a sensible title.

Validate your code: http://validator.w3....blicstamps.com/

That will all help make your site search engine friendly.

If you want to see an improvement in sales you need to think about making it people friendly too though :)

Tamsin

#19 AbleReach

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 08:42 PM

Sarge,

Everything is related. SEO is related to what there is and how it is presented. Good SEO will help get you to good usability, and vice versa. Both will support user interest.

Welcome, & I hope not goodbye! :wave:

Elizabeth

#20 bragadocchio

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 09:27 PM

I see we are at an impasse, I don't plan to change the look of my page and you don't plan to help me with the SEO using the page I want to use, so thank you for your comments, I will continue to look for someone that will work with me using my ugly page.


Hi Sarge,

I know first hand that it doesn't necessarily take a pretty site to make a successful one. I'm not going to mention the word design in this post except for in this sentence.

Tam's last post describes a number of things that will help with SEO.

If we take a couple of steps back, one of the issues that you need to tackle is deciding which words, which phrases, the audience that your site is intended for will use to find the site.

Now those phrases will ideally fit well within page titles, and links to pages, and within headlines on the pages, and the content of the pages.

They will hopefully be words that people will search upon, ideally the people who might be interested in finding what you have to sell.

I'm not necessarily recommending WordTracker (though you might find it useful) but they released a nice guide to doing keyword research that you might find something useful in. It's here:

http://www.wordtrack...arch-guide.html

There are a number of good suggestions in their research guide.

Once you've come up with keywords that you think people might use to find your site, you can use them in your page titles, in links to other pages on the site, in a site map for your pages, in headlines, and so on.

Part of SEO is finding the right words to use. Part of it is setting up pages and links between pages well, so that their structure is helpful for search engines.

Another part is making sure that search engine indexing programs can travel around your site, and index the pages on your site. Using text based links between the pages, and having a navigation system between pages that is somewhat consistent can help those search engine spiders travel around the site, and index your pages. The search engine spiders don't care what those navigation links look like, but without them, your site won't get crawled and indexed, and the words that you researched won't get found.

#21 sanity

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 09:42 PM

If you would pefer your ugly website to the other one I'm certainly not going to stop you.

Having said that if I was on the ugly page and then clicked on to the professionally designed pages I'd leave thinking they weren't from the same site. Have it all ugly or all professional I say. ;)

As far as SEO goes both Tam and Bill give you some excellent advice.

#22 thesarge

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 10:13 AM

I wish to thank you all for you thoughtful, insightful, and most sincere comments. I only wish I knew how to do what you have suggested(I don't know html). What I have done on my source page I have taken hints for the source pages of web site that are rank one or two in google. Some of your suggestions I don't see on their pages(photostamps.com and funstamps.com). I know the suggestions you have offered would take a lot of time to do for anyone that knows html but, I was wondering if anyone could give me a line or two that I could copy and paste on my source page, maybe I could get a more user friendly source page using this handout approach. Since I'm a newbe I don't know if it is proper to ask this or not, so excuse my ignorance.

#23 AbleReach

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 10:20 AM

I don't know html

I was wondering if anyone could give me a line or two that I could copy and paste...

Take heart! Any idea you learn how to use will be reusable. One step at a time, and keep asking!

#24 thesarge

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 03:22 PM

I ask for a line of type and I get Plato? It's a good thing I'm not starving, I would get quotes about how fat is bad for your health.

#25 AbleReach

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 04:23 PM

Plato? Hardly. Just a lot of curiosity, a healthy dose of Dummies books, reading Google Guidelines for Webmasters over and over until it began to make sense, wrestling with questions and answers in this good forum on an ongoing basis...

Seriously, this is not a death sentence. It's a learning curve.

Starving? Pick a corner and start nibbling, or let us help you pick a corner. If one part of this process appeals to you more than another, consider that while choosing where to start.

Good luck and welcome again. :-)

Elizabeth

#26 thesarge

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 05:07 PM

In 1996 I brought Dummies101 For windows users! HTML, it is as new as it was when I brought it. I soon realize like I did with my commodore 64, programing is not for me. In 1996 I used my talents for selling to open my first of 13 computer stores. When the bottom fell out of the computer business I went broke along with a lot of others. I hire people that were tech and they did the work while I stayed with my strong suite, selling. If I had the money I would have hired someone to make my web site SEO ready, but because I don't I just want to get enough info to get the site listed on the search engines. I really don't want to look at a source page. If I cant get the few lines I need this way, I'll wait until I have saved up $1.98 and pay someone to do it for me.

#27 bragadocchio

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 06:27 PM

Sarge,

I wish that there were a small string of code that we could give you to have your site rank well in Google and the other search engines.

But there really isn't a magic bullet, no small snippet of code that will help in the manner that you hope.

The answers that you've received to your posts in this thread have been sincere, and they have been attempts to help. They may not be the answers that you were looking for.

If I cant get the few lines I need this way, I'll wait until I have saved up $1.98 and pay someone to do it for me.


Business online is really no different from business offline. A very large percentage of businesses that start out every year end up in failure. Since you've revealed in your last post that you have had some success in business, I suspect that you will find a way to do well. I do hope that you find someone who will help you. I also suspect that it will take more than $1.98, and I know that it will take more than adding a couple of lines of html on the front page of your site.

#28 kensplace

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 06:38 PM

Whats a public stamp?

Window closed, dont know, didnt answer it........

More white space needed also, things are too cramped together, add a few <br> or <p> or whatever to break it up a little.

Its your passion, put some of your passion on the page, and it may improve....

#29 fuzzyfish1000

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 04:41 AM

Yep - to be honest, if I landed on the ugly page, I would never have even made it to the nice looking site - I would have closed the window first, as it looks like a site done by a school kid (not being unkind, just honest). What a site should do, is convey a sense of trust to the end user - especially when you are selling something. Like or not, your ugly page will never manage that. Unfortunately, if I was looking for public stamps, even if your site came up top in Google, and I clicked the link, I wouldn't hang around.

Your best bet - use the previous welcome page:

http://www.publicsta...om/welcome.html

and add a few images (examples of the stamps, maybe picked at random) to make it look better.

Unfortunately, as with anything in the world, there isn't a quick easy (free) solution. You either had to put in the hard work to learn how to do it yourself (most of us have been doing it for many years), or you have to be prepared to pay for it. You could always try somewhere like scriptlance.com where an Indian company will probably re-work the whole site for you, for $50; but you get what you pay for.

If what you had wasn't working, you should try and find out why - rather than writing it off. Alternatively, you could try running an AdWords campaign - (www.google.com/ads) which is a pretty cost effective way of advertising, and you can pay as little or as much as you like. I doubt it would be expensive for you, as the term Public Stamps isn't likely to be that competed for.

One of the greatest lessons in life for me has been learning to listen to and accept good advice, even when it's not what I want to hear. I'm relatively new to this forum, but some of the regulars here are the best in the market; you'd do well to listen and learn ;-)

#30 tam

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 10:51 AM

If you want to make code chances and improve SEO I'd suggest you start with learning HTML: http://www.w3schools...tml/default.asp

Tam

#31 Black_Knight

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 06:24 PM

I hire people that were tech and they did the work while I stayed with my strong suite, selling.

That's exactly the smart approach to take. Stick to your strengths and don't begrudge the money it costs to get people equally strong in their expertise to do the other parts with the same professionalism and dedication.

So why oh why has this fallen apart here?

Why are you dictating design when you know you are NOT a highly skilled designer?

For goodness sake get on with the selling and stop trying to second-guess designers and SEOs when they have taken years to gain the knowledge they have already given you the benefit of.

You got a good, professional design, but prefer your 'ugly' one?

So what?

What you prefer, you say, is to concentrate on your strengths. Stick with that. Go back to the professional design that supports your own professionalism, and ditch the god-awful ugly amatuer design that will, without any doubt make your business seem equally god-awfully amatuer.

If I had the money ...

And that is it. Despite your skills as a salesman you apparently can't manage to raise capital. I have no idea why, but it does throw doubt on your claims to be a skilled salesman. A good salesman can always sell. In doing so, he can always raise a stake for stock, for a better suit to make a pitch in, etc.

That site is your suit. Just look at it. It is a patchwork thing made by someone who has no understanding of a suit, stitching, fabrics or dyes, and there's no way you can take the person in that suit seriously as a skilled businessman.

If you are the salesman you say, raise the money to get a site built by a builder of sites. You concentrate on writing a sales pitch and customer experience that will sell. Buy a decent suit.

#32 budbandit

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 04:44 PM

http://www.publicstamps.com/ does indeed scar the eye.

On the other hand, http://www.publicsta...om/welcome.html was shockingly clean, tasteful and elegantly well done.

#33 Enzo

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 03:28 AM

I'm the andy warhol, of web page design, my web page goes against the accepted norm. I like it that way,

The copyright bit at the bottom of the page says 2005, but the look and feel of the page says more 1995 to me.

If I ever come across a site like that, I will automatically assume its a site someone made years ago, and will be so out of date wont be any point in trying to contact them, as will have moved or gone out of business.

It would be like having an actual shop on a busy street, and not cleaning the windows for 10 years.

You definately need somthing that looks more modern.

If you dont want to use a webdesigner, why not buy a template?



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