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Http://www.dalesway.co.uk - Site Review Please

site review please

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#1 Dalesway

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:38 PM

Hello to all on the Cre8asite Forums,

I am a newbie as you can see and would be extremely grateful for any help and guidance you can offer relating to my website.

A brief overview …..

We have had a website presence since 1997 and the latest version was uploaded around Aug / Sept 2011.

We sell a wide range of printing equipment and with the new site we wanted to make it easier for people to find exactly what they need as quickly as possible, so we have two ways of getting to where you need to go -

First way is the little accordion on the left of the home page

This is aimed at people who know what they want to do I.e. Print on t-shirts, but have no idea what they need or how to go about it

Second way is for those who know exactly what they want and need the shortest route in, I.e. They need screen printing equipment to print t-shirts and they want to see what options / models we offer. This is the navigation across the top and a fly-out menu directs the person to any related item within each category of machinery.

When we uploaded the new site (I wish I knew the exact date as it would help me), we forgot to include the google analytics code, so we have a huge analytics gap stretching to around four months. Not clever I know – we should have been checking our analytics more often and we would have realised sooner, but that is water under the bridge.

The google analytics code has now been back on our site for around 4 months and we have not seen our analytics figures return to anything like what it used to be.

We literally had X number of visitors on the 17th of August 2011 and zero the day after. The odd thing is that although that would indicate the upload date, there are odd days in the following few months where rather than zero there are 1 , 2 or 3 visitors, which puzzles me greatly.

Anyway, I guess it must have been the 25th of November or thereabouts when we realised and put the code back, because we have analytics again, but our figures have dropped dramatically, roughly 75% less visitors per day than before. Our bounce rate went from 50% to 81% and the pages per visit has dropped from 3 to 1. We still have a similar figure for % of new visitors, which is around 77%.

You can see a version of our previous website using the Alexa Wayback Machine if you follow this link -

It looks a bit odd, but the essence is there. We had drop-down menus across the top and the rest is pretty self-explanatory.

http://web.archive.o...dalesway.co.uk/

My question is where have we gone wrong?

What is it about our new website that is now causing people to click the back button iso exploring?

Would a text-based supplemental navigation on the left be a good idea and ditch the column with the accordion (home) and on pages other than the home page, supplemental info?

It has actually made hard work for us having that column – it means we have to keep coming up with something new to say on every page that has not already been said in the main body. SEO is still a work in progress, so not all pages are done from that perspective, but we are going through that particular job aiming to get the most important pages done first. This job was by no means done on our old site either.

We have always aimed to provide good content, not pap and the new site was supposed to be easier, fresher and more professional.

Any help and advice would very much appreciated.

Thanking you in advance.

Edited by Dalesway, 15 March 2012 - 11:11 AM.


#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:57 PM

Are you sure you've set up analytics across the site? For example, I don't see it here - http://www.dalesway....o-equipment.htm - You may not have lost traffic at all. You may just not be tracking them all.

#3 Dalesway

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 07:27 AM

I am going to sound stupid now, but I thought the code was only placed on the home page. Aaagh.... how embarassing. But of course, that is what we did before, so at least I am comparing apples with apples. Do I need to put the code on every page then? Same code or different version for each page?

Any other thoughts? Especially on look and feel, usability etc.

Edited by Dalesway, 13 March 2012 - 07:27 AM.


#4 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:05 AM

Same code on every page, yes, though you can probably just put it in an included header or footer file to get it to automatically show up everywhere. Depends on how you are set up with your site. Most sites these days have headers and footers that are automatically included programmatically so anything placed in them gets added to every page that loads them. Makes it easy to place a bit of code in one place one time, and know that it will show up everywhere. Easy to change when needed too - just change the code in that one place and it's changed everywhere. However, if your site doesn't make use of included files like that, then you'll need to place the code on every page.

When you say that you only placed the code on the home page before and are comparing apples to apples, I'd be at least a little doubtful of that. It's likely that you placed it in an included header or footer, thinking you'd only placed it on the home page, but it showed up automatically on all of them. I'd at least make sure of that before I'd assume the apples to apples comparison.

#5 Dalesway

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:22 AM

Thanks Donna, I am going to get to the bottom of this, so just waiting for a reply from our designer re current site as that is his department. I will post as soon as I find out. I appreciate your time, thank you.

Zuzette

#6 fisicx

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 04:13 AM

After trawling through a numbers of pages on the site I'm still wondering what it is you hope to achieve.

The slider thing on the left is pointless. You have 2 seconds to make an impression before people start looking for thngs to do: either leav the site or click on something. This means nobody is even going to see most of the info you have.

The whole site seems to be more like a information source rather than a supply source. I'm looking at a hot foil printer and there seems to be no way to actually buy the thing. The FAQ page is of no help, the specs don't load and there is no link to 'get a quote' or 'order the product'.

There are no contact details IN the header, you have them above the header but this is in the dead zone. The font in the footer is waaaay to small to read. You also have an 0845 telephone number. Tests have shown that 08 anything reduces call numbers. A local number is the best option as it is free from a mobile.

So whilst the information is no doubt very good, you aren't selling the products. It is very difficult to work out what products I would need.

And finally, green is one of the worst converting colours.

There you go, a quick blast through the site with my observations.

#7 Dalesway

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:25 AM

Donna: I have spoken to our designer and he will shortly be putting the tracking code into the template to ensure it appears on every page, so thank you for bringing that up as I would not have know. As far as we can tell looking at our old site, the code seems to only be on the home page though.

Fisicx: I appreciate your time to look through our site. I confess that the slider on the home page never seemed like the ideal solution to me and it does move far too slowly, so you have confirmed my thoughts on that. It is coming up with an alternative way to achieve the same thing that is a problem for us... Maybe four static pictures? But this would push the content wayyy down the page which is less clever.

To answer your question about what we aim to achieve - we sell all these machines, but selling online via a live ordering system is unlikely to work for us, so yes the site is there to provide lots of info and we need customers to contact us so we can get to the bottom of what they need before we can quote. The options and permutations are quite complex (and furthermore is different for each type of machine) and although it would be nice to have a facility for the user to select options and have a price pop up, I am not sure it would work... or how.

Our machines are imported from abroad, so we have the ever changing exchange rate and shipping costs to thank for not being able to put prices on each page. It would be a never ending job just updating those. If someone knows how this can be done simply and easily..... I am listening.

Such a feature would be really worthwhile, especially if it can be tied in with someone selecting all the options they want to get their quote. Still, we need to speak to customers in order to provide the guidance to the machinery that is right for them. Sometimes they come to us with one thing in mind and it may not be the right solution.

A button to "get a quote" seems like a great idea - thanks, I will discuss that with our designer and my business partner and thanks too for letting me know about that PDF not working - will look what the problem is there.

Take your point about the text in the footer - will sort this out. Not sure what to do about the info at the top though as it is integral to the design. Do you think a brighter colour as background iso the grey may help?

On the subject of colour, it is very interesting what you say about green. I am sure we can change this fairly easily, but I am intrigued about the research you mention. I will have to do a search to see if I can find some info, but if you have any specific references, could you drop me a line?

I also understand your point about the 0845 number. We used to have both landline and 0845 on the site, but the latter allows us a lot of flexibility, especially in ensuring we don't miss any calls on a busy day as you can set up routeplans and all sorts to work with our telephone system.

We tried having a mobile number for callers using mobiles, but you will not believe how silly people can be.... sending a text with a question about machinery that needs a lot more than a handful of characters to answer and you can bet we could never reach them on their mobiles, so we came to the conclusion these were largely time wasters rather than serious potential clients. We are also in a building that somehow interferes with our mobiles, so the signal is poor and we eventually just dropped the idea.

Musing to myself I do wonder whether one could incorporate something on the template that not only makes our number stand out more, but asks "Calling from a mobile?" with a link to a short form that offers our landline or a mobile number to call if they provide their number and an email address for us to send detailed replies to.

What do you think? Would that be irritating or helpful? We could include briefly why we are asking for this info.

Thanks again for the feedback so far. Much appreciated...

Edited by Dalesway, 15 March 2012 - 11:11 AM.


#8 fisicx

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:41 AM

Where do I begin!

Best I think top do this in stages Or I'll get lost.

Ignore your designer. They will create all sorts of clever things but it's your potential clients who matter.

People will be on your site because they want your equipment. It's not the sort of site you stumble across - you will be searching for hot foil printing or t-shirt printing or something. So you need to display the products along with a list of the key features.

So have a picture on the left with a title and explanatory caption if necessary. On the right you have some bullet points, a list of what the machine is for and why it's the best options. Sell the sizzle not the sausage.

to the right of this you have a contact form. This is now the most important part of the whole site. It's the bit that will generate leads so you need to spend time devising and testing. Read this brilliant pdf for ideas: http://static.lukew....forms_lukew.pdf

So you now have everything on the page in front of the visitor. If they want to find out more they can scroll down. No click here for more info type thing, put it on the page.

Let me go do some work and I'll be back for part two!

Graham

#9 Dalesway

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:17 AM

Thanks Graham. I like your quote "Sell the sizzle not the sausage" - brilliant.

Just making my way through that huge PDF on forms and we are experimenting with different colours. Tried blue but I hated the shade suggested at first, maybe an alternative might do it. Tried grey but it looks so boring....

found this - http://www.convertwe...-for-a-website/ with some feedback on the positive and negative connotations of various colours.

From that the positives of green and blue both sit well with me and they all have negatives as well, so that makes it complicated.

If anybody else is reading this and is interested in the colour issue, this was also interesting - http://answers.googl.../id/290239.html

#10 bwelford

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:22 PM

Graham has suggested some excellent aspects for you to be working on, Zuzette. However before all that I suggest you may want to put yourself in the customer's shoes and make sure you have provided all they may need.

Your website sells a series of products but the prospect likely would be interested in why they should buy from Dalesway in the first place. What makes you the best possible supplier. Part of that may be the services you provide when someone buys one of your products. Again you may wish to consider that from the customer's point of view.

#11 Dalesway

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:16 AM

Hi Barry,

Thank you for your input. I totally understand what you are saying, but I don't really know how to go about implementing this. We have an About Us page, but I am sure this is not what you are talking about. I can only imagine that every page should somehow incorporate this idea, or is that not what you mean?

Zuzette

#12 bwelford

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:10 AM

Hi Zuzette
So you do and you also have a Services page. However I didn't realize that and had to go searching to find them. Who would have thought they were lurking in a small drop-down menu behind that little house at the left hand end of the navigation menu bar. That symbol normally takes you directly to the Home Page, as this one does, but I've never seen a drop-down menu there.

IMHO drop-down menus are for the birds anyway but when you hide them behind a simple symbol that I thought I understood then you're doubly penalized.

I get the feeling that I'm walking into a big box store here where I must find my product without customer service and take it to the cash myself. What I would really like is that as I come through the door, I'm greeted by Ms. Dalesway with a cheery "How Can I Help You". I know that's probably how your "Bricks and Mortar" store is working but your website doesn't show that.

#13 Dalesway

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:59 AM

Thanks for that Barry. I see what you mean now and we will be regrouping for a rethink on the whole site I think.

One thing I would like to understand is why the menu system (apart from the company pages just discussed) is not likely to be ffective? A lot of sites have buttons on a top nav, only difference it is just a single link. We have both images and text to guide people to the product they are looking for in the nav bar - all organised by main "group" if you will. We have had some positive feedback about this from people we have asked when they called, but it is only a tiny sample.

We could never have navigation as basic as a few words due to the sheer amount of things we need to guide people to. Do you think we should have a secondary navigation on the left to supplement the top one? Maybe to provide the "Second way in" for people who don't know what they need to buy to do what they want to do? This can replace the accordion.

Zuzette

#14 bwelford

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 11:45 AM

If people believe they're on the right website, then they're going to stay to find what they want.

I believe the website should unfold to visitors with the following steps:

1. Welcome, we can provide the very best print equipment to meet your needs.
2. Here are some of the main products we sell
3. If you're unsure then we can help you find a solution.

#15 Dalesway

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:41 AM

Thank you Barry. We are working on a few things at the moment, part of this is a rethink on how we do things, so I am going to disappear for the weekend and get my thinking cap on again next week.



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