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Forum topic by Dennis Fletcher posted 01-03-2011 10:12 PM 1377 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 2518 days


01-03-2011 10:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have developed this site, with no training, and am happy with what i have done. I don’t know how to do anything fancier, but, I would like to know what some of you may think of it.

If you see any errors or such, please let me know.

www.ahomespecialist.net

This is the site, so if you have any ideas, I may try to use them.

Thanks,

Dennis

-- http://www.ahomespecialist.net, Making design and application one. †


16 replies so far

View RetiredCoastie's profile

RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 2646 days


#1 posted 01-03-2011 10:21 PM

Very nice site and past work. I may have missed it but I don’t see where you state if your bonded and insured or not. Good luck in the new year. Thanks for posting.

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 2518 days


#2 posted 01-03-2011 10:30 PM

No, it isn’t there. I am insured, but Bonding is not required, nor am I interested in the extra expense.

Thanks for the feedback, though. I will consider putting the insured part on there, somewhere.

-- http://www.ahomespecialist.net, Making design and application one. †

View Pawky's profile

Pawky

278 posts in 2267 days


#3 posted 01-03-2011 10:53 PM

Over all the site looks pretty decent.

First thing I noticed that needs to be addressed are your targeted words at the top and bottom. They are black on your striped orange background so are very visible and distracting. I use Google Chrome as my browser so I wasn’t sure if it was just the browser because you designed it for IE. However, I have checked the site on IE, Firefox and Chrome. It was visible on all. So, two suggestions for that. First, if you do keep them, you need to make it so they are not visible to those visiting your site. Second, I suggest deleting them. In the past when I was doing more with web development, I had read in multiple areas about Google actually decreasing a websites rankings if they detect you doing that to try to ‘game’ the system. With Google being such a primary search engine, it is very important to target your site for them. The main way to go up in rank in Google’s search is through other sites and such linking to your website and pages in your website. In more detail, a website that links to you that itself has 1000 websites linking to it is worth more then a site linking to you that is only linked to by 2 sites. The idea is that the more a site is linked to, the more valuable the information must be. There are ways to get your site linked to more (ads, friends linking to you on their site, linking to the site in forum signatures, etc.). I hope this helps with that

The last thing I saw at the moment, was while I was on a page. I went to look for where to contact you. I hadn’t noticed it on your home page so I had to look around. I did end up finding out it was on the home page, but still, that was time wasted. Maybe make a contact/hours of operation page where you include the contact information, hours of operation, and the request information form; then remove them from the home page making that just the About FDRS.

Ok, upon further review a couple other small things. Your header on all pages lacks a space between Design and Construction. On your home page, you have the header About FRDS though I haven’t seen that described as to what it is (your company), so put About Fletcher Residential Design Construction or About Us or About the Company. Your first sentence then starts with “FRDS began to design…” You are not supposed to start a sentence with an acronym unless it can’t be avoided. This would be a good spot to introduce the acronym to be used elsewhere on the site [Fletcher Residential Design Construction (FRDS) began designing houses…].

Under hours of operation you list each day, though they are all the same. I read through each one thinking there was going to be a difference, though there wasn’t. Listing it as Monday – Friday 8 – 4 or weekdays 8 – 4 would eliminate that.

I have always preferred phone numbers to be written in the format (xxx) xxx-xxxx instead of xxx-xxx-xxxx. It seems to be more easily read and interpreted in my mind. It seems less people use that now that the area code is always necessary, but I think for ease of reading it still seems best. I haven’t read anything on that topic, so that is just my opinion.

That’s all for now. I hope this helps you get some things worked out for the better. Well done again, it is a good start indeed.

View Loren's profile

Loren

8302 posts in 3111 days


#4 posted 01-03-2011 11:03 PM

Use a bigger font – you’ll turn off prospects with spindly, small type.

I recommend 12 point.

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 2518 days


#5 posted 01-03-2011 11:17 PM

Loren, it may take me a while to update the fonts, but your idea is a good one and I am using it.

Pawky – Thank you for your insight. I have made the changes you suggested, thank you. I hope the site is easier now.

-- http://www.ahomespecialist.net, Making design and application one. †

View Colin 's profile

Colin

93 posts in 2274 days


#6 posted 01-03-2011 11:52 PM

As Pawky mentioned, the best way to up your ranking other than purchasing adwords is posting your website link on other popular websites. Lumberjocks is a highly visited site. Why not put your address in your signature?

The other way to up your rankings is to create a blog on one of your pages. I have a blog that follows my progress on current custom projects. This is a good way to keep the customer up to date, lets them know just how much work is involved in completing their project and like I stated gives you a lot of hits on the search engines since they like sites that are updated regularly.

These are the strategies I have used and I am happy with the results. I just redid my website and in my first month of publishing it, I got over 4,000 hits. This month I am shooting for 6,000. Hits are not a good measure for how many sales you will get. The purpose of striving for more hits is to up your ranking in the search engines so that you are easier to find.

I think your about us page should be exactly that and labeled as such in the tabs. Your home page should have consise information on why people would want to use you. Think of your home page as a full page magazine ad. It’s purpose is to capture people’s attention and then encourage them to navigate the other pages for more information.

I don’t think my website is worthy of being used as an example but you can do a search for design/build firms and view their websites. Actually show the websites to your wife or sister or female friend that is somewhere between 40 and 60. Since you specialize in smaller homes maybe your target market is actually 25-40 and then retirees 55-65. But it is very important to get a female opinion.

And I never post on forums just to get my website out there so make sure to stick with forums where you can make a significant contribution and/or learn. Lumberjocks is a good one and two others I visit often are woodworkingtalk.com and woodweb.com Between those three I can either post or learn something new just about every day. For you contractortalk.com might be interesting if you haven’t already joined that one.

-- http://www.columbiawoodscreendoors.com

View Pawky's profile

Pawky

278 posts in 2267 days


#7 posted 01-03-2011 11:59 PM

Excellent. I have read the text completely on the home page and have edited it below. I’m sorry I don’t have all the changes pointed out as it seemed easier to just edit it, but you can cross reference it. Mostly it was some things that were capitalized that shouldn’t have been and vice versa, and some grammar. If there are any questions ask. I included one note in [] to be addressed in the code.

—-

Fletcher Residential Design-Construction (FRDC) began designing houses and additions for homeowners in 2000. Since then, we have designed several dozen homes for the public in several counties across Maryland.

Our specialties became waterfront in 2002 and small homes during that last few years. We are able to do the design and drafting in house and have even partnered with an engineering firm for those times when a structural engineer’s stamp is required.

We also offer a full range of construction services, everything from small handyman jobs to large additions. We specialize in kitchens, interior trim work, decks and sun rooms. We also custom build bookshelves and built ins for your home.

Recently, we have noticed that there is a shift towards smaller homes, even tiny homes. These homes need to be set up in such a way that the person feels like it is a home, but also has everything needed within. We have begun to design these type of homes, as you can see when you visit our products offered page [make the products page a link to where you are talking about, even though they can get there from the side link bar]. Our cabin is set as a small, efficient home.

More home plans will be added as they are finished. These plans will be available for sale on this website.

We will also be adding some bookshelves that can be purchased online and custom built for you. They will have a set price and shipping will be calculated according to your area.

We look forward to meeting with you and helping you to realize your dreams. Feel free to look around and decide what services we can best offer.

Dennis Fletcher
President & lead designer

—-

Under Services, I only noticed really one error. Handyman—> 3rd paragraph—> “We are able to everything from…” should be “We are able to do everything from…”

—-

I did not read the text for Past work or Products. Take care Dennis

edit: Colin brought up a good point as well, look up websites of competing companies in your area. It is important to see what those you are competing against have up there. Maybe it’ll help tell what is working / isn’t working for the area.

View GregD's profile

GregD

783 posts in 2599 days


#8 posted 01-04-2011 12:17 AM

It would make sense to me for the domain name and company name to match. One suggestion:
FletcherResidentialDesign.com

-- Greg D.

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 2518 days


#9 posted 01-04-2011 12:34 AM

GregD, I had that, then decided on this domain. I used to own it and am considering changing my company name to it, or at least the building side of it.

-- http://www.ahomespecialist.net, Making design and application one. †

View SPHinTampa's profile

SPHinTampa

566 posts in 3149 days


#10 posted 01-04-2011 01:00 AM

Nice looking site. Clean and professional looking.

A couple of thoughts:
- Site seems to be designed for someone to get more information about you (resume) rather than serving as an initial point of contact (sales) – if that is your intention, then my comments will be less relevant.
- If you are looking for a more sales oriented site, it might be helpful to have a first page that opens to a strong statement of what your customers care about and why you are right choice. (first – what are the 3-5 most common items that are high priority to your your customers and second what are the 3-5 most common reasons people tell you they like your work). Start talking about the customer rather than yourself.
- Pictures sell – in your “past work section”, the thumb nails are too small to really see. Personally, I would decrease the amount of text as the lead in, put 2-3 of my flashiest project shots at the top and then put the smaller thumb nails as follow ups.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 2523 days


#11 posted 01-04-2011 02:09 AM

Not bad, but I have seen worse.

Couple changes need to be done.

Where is your company logo or name?
The font company name needs to be bigger.

I suggest you have a home page. You can have the company logo or name large on Home page.

The Work photos are slow loading.
I don’t know if its me.

I would list the pages like this:

Home
About Us
Service
Our Work
Contact
Links

View Kevin's profile

Kevin

462 posts in 2668 days


#12 posted 01-04-2011 02:27 AM

Just my thoughts here. You WILL want to learn CSS. You can change the font for an entire section by changing 1 line. I think you should visit this website, http://www.cssbeauty.com/archives/2010/ and click on the links on the right side to view css pages. You should visit this one also, http://www.freecsstemplates.org/

Overall, the home page needs to be fast loading, with a menu like Steven suggested across the top or left hand side preferably. I would also learn some photoshop to create your custom headers and logos also.

It appears this is a template that you picked and customized somewhat. That’s all good, just keep your colors picked wisely. Another link to read on the meaning of colors. http://newark1.com/color/000055.html

Good luck :)

PS: Just some constructive criticisim to help you move forward :)

-- Williamsburg, KY

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 3136 days


#13 posted 01-04-2011 02:30 AM

Looks good to me.

View Vicki's profile

Vicki

1043 posts in 2808 days


#14 posted 01-04-2011 07:21 AM

It is a great start. Very clean and professional looking. I agree though that the fonts need to be bigger on the Past Work for sure and that those thumb nails should be bigger. Perhaps that group should start out with a main page that has the title, a brief description, and just one thumbnail for each house. Then when that link is clicked one could view the thumbnails in at least the size LJ’s uses. The font on the contact page needs to be much bigger too. This: [make the products page a link to where you are talking about, even though they can get there from the side link bar] needs to come off the About Us page. Who is US? If there are more than one, pls explain. Your work is beautiful and you should be very proud of it. I hope to see more completed projects. Let us know when you add more.
Vicki

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3563 days


#15 posted 01-04-2011 07:25 AM

Get rid of the word “handyman” and replace it with “Home Repair” it will help your image and pricing.

I know this from experience.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

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