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Tips On Getting A Better Website Review


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#1 Respree

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 12:01 PM

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Tips on Getting a Better Website Review

I thought it might be helpful to write a few tips on how you can increase the likelihood of getting a good review for your website.

To date, over 1,000 website owners have been helped by the Website Hospital Forum and its generous contributing members. Without these member contributions, the Website Hospital Forum could not exist. Please help us to keep the Hospital running by supporting us in our communal and collaborative spirit of "people helping one another."

After reviewing threads with the most responses (getting the most help), I have noticed certain distinct patterns emerging and will share them with you, in the hopes that you too will get a good review.

1. Don't hit and run. Many of you understand this term, but for those of you who don't, I'll explain. In the real world, this is equivalent to 'eat and run.' A gracious guest would at least help to wash the dishes or help the host in some way. Be a gracious guest. Keep in mind that nobody is paid here. What you receive, in terms of comments on your website, are 'gifts' and should not be taken for granted. If any of you have seen BRAVO's Project Greenlight, the peer review format of "I'll review three scripts, if you review mine" is similar here. The Cre8asite Website Hospital Forum is designed to be a self-reviewing one. If you make a request for a review, you are expected to contribute back to the community to repay the gift you received. The success and quality of the requested review is highly reliant on these contributions.

2. Stay with the post. If you make an initial post, keep an eye on it. Reviewers may be trying to ask you questions and you will have only a brief period of interactivity when you can ask them questions. Your chances of getting an answer to your specific question go up if all the posts happen in a short amount of time. If you walk away from the post and somebody is trying to communicate with you, the reviewer will quickly conclude that if you're not interested, then neither are they in helping you.

3. Earn some respect. There are many that will come and go to this forum. We'd like you to stay. The longer you stay and contribute to the forum, the stronger your likelihood that there will be a lot more people wanting to lend a helping hand when you ask for help.

4. Be polite. Remember, the members here are doing you a favor by reviewing your website. Be respectful and be polite. A post like this will not get a favorable response. Can you understand why?

Posts=1 (first post)
Hey. Just got here. Be brutal.
www.mysite.com

Just as one of the goals of your site is to engage your audience, the same holds true here. Be as verbose as possible in your introductory post, by sharing some background about the site. How long has your site been around? What are your goals? What are you current challenges? As with achieving great online conversions - getting people (members) to respond is all in the presentation.

5. Demonstrate some basic appreciation. I like to help people. I'll spend a fair amount of time reviewing a site in my sincere interest to help someone's life get better. However, if they don't display any basic human courtesy by saying something like "thank you," I'll never help them again -- ever. That's just me, but I suspect others will do the same.

6. Don't think you're not qualified. Some people shy away from making comments, thinking they're not qualified to post a comment or offer an opinion. This is simply not true. You don't have to be a web designer or usability expert to lend a hand. If there is something you don't like, seems awkward to you, see a punctuation or grammatical error, you don't need any expertise to say so. Remember, its all about contributing - even if its a couple of short sentences. Even small steps, taken in the aggregate, can make a huge difference.

7. Be tactful. Use a little tact and state something that is helpful to the website owner. These are people posting, not machines. There are always two ways of saying something; choose the nicer of the two.

Example: "Your colors really suck. It's the worst possible combination you could have chosen. What were you thinking anyway?"

Better: "To be frank, your colors could use a bit of improvement. You might want to consider doing to research on the use of website colors. There are many studies on what color combinations compliment each other nicely. Perhaps doing a Google search would aid you in finding the colors that would be more pleasing to the eye and right for you."

8. Add your URL to the body of the post. Just as usability is an aspect of your website, making it easy for the reviewer to click onto your site increases the likelihood that they will.

9. Discuss specific concerns. If you have a 5-page site, a request like "please tell me what you think," might work. However, if you have a large site, this type of request becomes more ambiguous and harder to handle. Surely you have specific concerns that you would like to receive advice on. I would recommend focusing your request on these priority items (3 to 5 should do nicely), rather than casting an open net. Provide a little background on your website and a few of your goals, so reviewers will have some point of reference. In short, try to be as verbose as possible. Here's a great example from new member pegog of an effective opening post.

If you ask a better question, you'll likely receive a better answer.

10. Submit a completed site. From time to time, we receive requests for a review for sites that are only partially completed. I've found that people are hesitant to comment on these types of sites, knowing that their time could potentially be wasted looking at web elements that may be about to be changed. Please be courteous to our members by submitting your site only after it has been completed.

11. Don't be combative. Try to remain gracious in your acceptance of recommendations. If you receive a comment that you simply don't agree with, my advice is to bite your tongue. Remember, often times, these suggestions are interpretive and there is no right or wrong, just opinion. If you lash back with, "Well, I already knew that" or "I disagree because...," I can almost guarantee the suggestions to help you will stop.

12. Read some of the past website reviews. There's no point making your own mistakes. There is much to be learned, conceptually, by reading and applying to your site the comments that others have made in the Website Hospital. By folding these concepts into your site 'before' you ask for a review, you'll likely get much more meaningful comments during your review, having covered the basics.

13. Here's an example of an effective review. By way of illustration, Tim from Focus Web Design, is a strong contributor and has done it right, effectively interacting with members, which encouraged others to join in on the discussion.

Other successful review examples:* By far, the longest running and most successful review in the forum (nearly 9,000 page view and 140 posts [at this writing]). Congratulations.

14. Tips on Giving and Getting Feedback. Here is an excellent article called How to Give and Receive Criticism, which provides many useful techniques that can be applied to website reviews. I'd encourage you to read this to get an idea of how you can make the most of your review.

It is my hopes that this primer will serve the purpose of helping people who have just gotten here, are thinking about asking for a review, or have been shy about writing a review.

---------------------------

A few kind words about the Website Hospital from appreciative members

"This hospital is absolutely effective. I'm impressed by the accuracy of your notices, how they reach the gist, and by the easy you speak these thoughts out. It's incredible. Also it's admirable how you use energy to think about the site, it really seems you are creative people and sincerely interested in web design. Mostly people don't tell how they see things, nor do they touch anything that needs revision, not even if you beg them - it gives a spooky feeling."
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"Thanks for the immediate feedback! I never fail to be amazed at how quickly replies appear in these forums. It's quite astounding. This forum is worth it's weight in gold (and then some)! "
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"Your comments are pure gold! I really appreciate all of your help."
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"I can honestly say it is because of all of you and your excellent insight, not only on my site, but in all the posts I read last night and over the weekend. I am very thankful that I stumbled onto this site. I have tried other SEO forums in the past, and have met with little to no success. Glad to be part of this community and I hope to stick around."
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"Thanks again, I've learnt a great deal from this forum - I only hope I can give as much back."
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"A million thanks for your encouragement & advice. You've given me a load of good ideas here and I will work through them and see what happens...!"
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"Wow, I have to say I'm in awe of the power of a helpful attitude and a willingness to share knowledge. It is beneficial to any who would come here to bask in this glowing orb of decency and human kindness. I have really learned here today and so long as the retention valves don't leak I will use these kind snippets of wisdom and be in a lot better shape towards my goal of weaning away from eBay."
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Psssst. Please Use The Correct Format.
brute holding sign


Please save our hospital moderators the trouble of editing your thread by using the following format.

In the Topic Title, use "http://www.mysite.com"
In the Topic Description, use "Site Review Please"

Here's a picture of what your post should look like, while editing.

Posted Image

Look for our Donations Tip Jar and donate if you feel you received help!

tipjar_donation.jpg

Edited by cre8pc, 25 August 2008 - 03:44 PM.


#2 James

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 12:15 PM

Great advice there Garrick. I'll just reiterate the plea to participate in the review of other sites. By offering an opinion on other people's web sites, they are more likely to review yours.

And finally, don't be shy. We see sites that are very professional and some that need a lot of work. However, no matter what state the site is in, we can offer some help to make it more of a success.

#3 Jens

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 01:58 PM

I just wanted to jump in and say that contributing can be just as helpful as asking for a review. Looking at a site you work on and coming up with changes that would matter to a visitor can be difficult. By giving my feedback on other sites I've gotten better at looking at my own work objectively. There is so much to absorb and react to here. Reading and contributing to other people's reviews also helps to give you additional ideas and strategies for improvement.

You don't need to be an expert to make a really good point. Often times all it takes is an outside view to bring up a simple but effective change. Big companies will gather up groups of regular internet users and watch how they browse their site and examine their surfing. As a users of the web, we can help eachother out, and learn by doing so.

#4 Tim

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 04:37 PM

Just wanted to say, great post Garrick! I've noticed that you've got into many topics with your helpful words - and I'm sure also that when you ask for a website review, everyone will be pleased to help.

Can I just also add another tip: it makes it much easier for the people reviewing your site if you write your site's address in your post, as well as in the post subject - because in the post it's clickable.

- Tim

#5 Respree

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 11:59 AM

I just wanted to jump in and say that contributing can be just as helpful as asking for a review. Looking at a site you work on and coming up with changes that would matter to a visitor can be difficult. By giving my feedback on other sites I've gotten better at looking at my own work objectively. There is so much to absorb and react to here. Reading and contributing to other people's reviews also helps to give you additional ideas and strategies for improvement.

Absolutely! Couldn't agree with you more. I sometimes catch myself dolling out advice when I stop to say to myself, "Hey, you don't even have that your site. Practice what you preach." It serves as a positive reinforcement.

Can I just also add another tip: it makes it much easier for the people reviewing your site if you write your site's address in your post, as well as in the post subject - because in the post it's clickable.

I just added it, thanks. You know, Tim, that's what is so fantastic about the collaborative effort. Sometimes things are easily missed, but seem so obvious to another. It's the syndrome of "Being too close to your own work." Although I've said this before, it's worth repeating. A second pair of eyes always helps. Just imagine if you had 100 pairs of eyes helping you!

<edited for typo>

#6 conlopez

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 12:22 PM

I have just put my site up for review and the simple fact that I am asking for help makes me a little hesitant to GIVE advice. The truth is, though, I have learned a bit about this as I have gone along, and I do have some expertise in some other areas, (the business end of things), so I will commit to do my best and pass along my thoughts in the forum. This is really a great forum, it's easy to print out the forums and read them offline. Keep up the great work, folks!

Edited by Respree, 28 February 2007 - 12:03 PM.


#7 Xenith

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 09:41 PM

Here is a great link as well;

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
http://www.catb.org/...-questions.html

Thanks to bragadocchio for the link.



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