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Thread: Engipress Reloaded

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    Member Needs New Keyboard Array jamestl2's Avatar
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    Default Engipress Reloaded

    Hey Guys, I recently relaunched my Wordpress Theme Business Website, Engipress.

    In addition to incorporating 3.0 WP features into my site, I also gave it a complete redesign. I personally didn't have any problems with my previous design, however it just didn't scream "business" to prospective clients and visitors.

    Also, with the themes I have developed for sale so far, I have built a Theme Framework from scratch, which is mostly just a set of unique classes, theme options, functions, shortcodes and various other features that themes have in common.

    So basically what I'm looking for, for example:
    1. How's the New Design in general look? Are the fonts and colors attractive? Does the layout the right size? etc.
    2. Hows the Usability and Structure? Is the navigation easy to use, can you find what you're looking for?
    3. How about the framework the themes have itself? Does it appeal to people that might want to purchase existing and future themes?


    Or if there's any bugs or problems with the site, or if there's anything I missed or should be changed in general, those would be great to hear as well. For the most part, any suggestions and feedback would be welcome.

    Thanks for your time.

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    Hey James. Good to see you posting again.

    My first impression is that this design is more appealing than the last one. I do think it better gives a 'business' feel than the previous one. I think the design could still be improved on, but I think you're moving in the right direction.

    I'd drop the moving image. First it's distracting and second it doesn't really offer any useful information. If the person visiting the site is a developer then they know the theme runs on WordPress, uses html and css, etc. Non-developers aren't going to care. I think the area could be put to better purpose. For example I'm visiting your site for the first time. I found you via some kind of WordPress development or theme search or maybe found you through a link on another site. You need to tell me some basic information immediately that tells me what the site is about. I don't think the image and testimonial do that right now. They do communicate some things about what you do, but it could be simpler and quicker to find.

    For example I'm also on the WooThemes site right now. Right at the top of the home page in big letters their site says "WordPress Themes for all types of web publishers" That's a very clear message about what they do. Just below that the page reads "We deliver top quality, cutting edge WordPress themes and superior customer support. Give your WordPress powered website a professional new look, and be up and running in no time at all."

    Those two sentences are likely the first read by anyone visiting the home page and after reading them it's very clear what the site is all about. I think you could do better getting across what you do within a few seconds.

    I'll also ask what it is you want someone to do after looking at your home page? The only action someone could take is to click a link in the navigation. That shouldn't be the call to action. The navigation should be the fallback. I would potential clients or customers visiting your site are either looking to hire you or to purchase a theme. You aren't going to sell either directly on the home page, but you could provide buttons directing people to information about each.

    Speaking of information, where is it? I see a listing of services and prices. I see some themes. I see the site in your portfolio. But where is the information that can answer more of my questions? How about some general info about you? How about some information to answer the question why should I hire you over the next person? Why should I choose your themes over any of the other themes I could also buy or get for free? You need to convince people to choose you.

    The site is easy to navigate. No problems there. However I think it's sparse on the content that will answer my questions.

    Overall it's a step in the right direction. What I think is most needed now is more content.
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    Here are a few of my observations (some are business rather than strictly design related.)

    Do you have additional sites you can add to your portfolio? When I think portfolio, I would expect to see at least 3 examples of sites you worked on, not just one. If you're starting out, that's fine, but you may want to think about waiting a couple months to add this section until you have a true portfolio to show off.

    I'm not sure what to make of your Customization page. First, I'm not a big fan of the customization title, I prefer the term services. You may also want to re-think your "service menu". A lot of web designers hide their prices, but not you. That's definitely a differentiator. It's also dangerous. What if you can't do what you're saying for the price you're quoting. I know that may seem unlikely. However, it is likely that at some point someone will throw something at you far more difficult than you think it is (or your price supports) and you are then committed to a losing price. Since I don't know your exact audience, you may want to consider whether your "service menu" is too technical. If you are primarily marketing to developers, you're fine. If you're marketing to consumers (i.e. website/business owners) you probably need to rethink this. Assume they are a beginner and go from there. For example, if I know nothing about Wordpress, then your last one is meaningless to me. And if I know what it means, it's also likely that it's likely to take me longer to hire and supervise you than it would be for me to create the loop myself, unless that loop is really complicated, in which case you are probably undercharging.

    I know this will probably be a little nit-picky, but I think you need to include the word home in your menu (and the menus for your themes.) I know that clicking on the logo takes you there, but this is still pretty standard in website navigation. And some of us (who are more old school like me) like to see the word because I'm somewhat preconditioned to clicking on text links and don't always think about clicking on the logo/title to go to the home page of the site.

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    Member Needs New Keyboard Array jamestl2's Avatar
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    Hey Steve, thanks for the feedback. I still check out the forum on occasion, although the topics of my areas (Web Dev. and WP) haven't appeared to be as active on my end.

    By "moving image", I assume you mean the slider on the home page? Yeah, I've noticed a fairly large amount of sites that utilize sliders that give a brief glimpse of what's the site's all ablout, which is what I was aiming for there. The CSS, PHP logos etc. on the slides were just my attempt to do something a bit graphicy, which has never been my area of expertise.

    I did have the "What I do", "Why you are here" aspects briefly mentioned on my old site, but I wasn't sure how to incorporate them into my site's new design.

    I also thought about adding perhaps a "Featured Theme" or "Featured Portfolio" with "See more" links below them, or even a list of "Recent Blog Posts" to the home page, but since there aren't a whole lot of either at the moment, and I don't update my blog daily, I wasn't sure if it would be really beneficial or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by lucas.bowser View Post
    Here are a few of my observations (some are business rather than strictly design related.)
    Hi Lucas, thanks for the feedback, appreciate it.

    I do have several sites I have worked on, both through my company I work for, and through Freelance work, that could potentially be added to my portolio or even testimonials. And yes, while I do agree that having just one or two of each listed there isn't enough, however, I didn't want to add other clients' work without getting their permission first. Didn't want to add there sites or there words if they didn't want too.

    Sure, "services" sounds good as well, I'll see what I can do in changing that around. Regarding the prices, I felt it would give people a good idea of how much I charge for them. Maybe I should just add a bit more information to those menu descriptions below so it'd be less dangerous to include them? Or how about adding some sort of "Contact for additional details" or "Price Negotiation" label to it?

    Another thing is too, I know some have told me to be more specific in the past, but I don't feel I'm marketing to a particular group (developers or non-devs), just anyone who could use a Wordpress Theme or Custom WP work. I don't know if I can afford to have that much of a niche at this stage in my business or not. If I had to pick one I'd say non-developers, although I admittedly do have a tough time translating my "tech speak" into a language they can understand clearly.



    Also, I think it's important to note that I'm not specifically a Web Designer, I prefer to think of myself as a Front-End Web Developer, or Wordpress Theme Developer specifically. The only real design work I do is for the themes I develop and sell directly through my Theme Shop.

    And another thing I noticed I could use some feedback on is my Footer. While the contact widget is good, the navigation one is OK I guess, and the Meta one was just listed there for RSS and login links. Not sure if there's anything better I could put there or not.

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    Makes sense on the client permission. I would avoid adding anything from your current employer to your portfolio. Though you may have worked on it, it would probably be bad form to take credit for it publicly. I would say the same thing about endorsements from your employer's current customers (not sure if you have any of those on your site.)

    Back to the pricing. If you want to list it, here's the thing that I would say. You need to put your consultant hat on. The problem people have when they first start working for themselves is that they under-estimate the amount of "overhead" time they have, i.e. sales, estimates, client communications, etc... You know, the stuff you're not "directly" charging your clients for, but in terms of time are a real cost for you because they take away from your available billable hours. Let's take your loop price for example. Let's assume that someone contacts you to write a custom loop and it's the only thing they are asking you to do. You have to read their initial email (or answer phone), respond to it and accept the job, likely talk to them to understand what they want, code it, test it, deliver it and then warranty it against defect for say 3 months. I don't see how you get by with less than an hours worth of total time spent on this job. And you are charging $5 for that. That's worse than McDonald's wages. If you want to provide pricing, I would go with a general range and then have a footnote at the bottom stating actual price with vary with the size and complexity of the job. Better is to probably have a list of your services and then provide a description of what they are, and have them contact you for pricing.

    As far as your footer goes, the first thing I would say is to dampen you shine spot/gradient/starburst in the middle of it. It partially washes out some of the links when I view it. I can read your footer, but it's definitely not comfortable for me. As far as content of the footer, it's standard stuff, so no big issues there. One thing I would mention is that your contact information is only found in your footer. I would also have an Contact page as well with an email form so they can contact you that way.

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    I do see you logged in at times. Just waiting for you to post more. True that we haven't had as many development or WordPress threads lately. Feel free to start any if you want. You know I'll join in.

    The slider is what I mean. I'm generally not a big fan of moving parts like that, because they usually aren't used for anything that needs attention. The movement attracts attention so it should mainly be used for things you really want people to notice. If the transition from one slide to the next is on the slower side it gives visitors enough time to find other things on the page. Most of the time though sliders are set to move too quickly.

    I did have the "What I do", "Why you are here" aspects briefly mentioned on my old site, but I wasn't sure how to incorporate them into my site's new design.
    You really want to start with the content and then create a design to enhance that content. I start every project by figuring out what the content will be and what the goal of each page is. Then I design to to best meet those goals. With the additional pages you didn't include it's mainly going to be a matter of adding them to the existing navigation. Maybe another link in the main navigation called About or Info could include the missing pages. Then on your Customization page (which I agree would be better as Services or Work) you could provide some additional text that includes a link to the "why you" page.

    Try to think about the questions your potential clients and customers will have when they're thinking of hiring you or buying a theme. Think of the objections they might have. Then look to create content that address their questions and objections. With that content on the site think about where in the process people might want to know more and link to the content that addresses what they want to know.

    For example in places where a site is about to ask for an email address you'll often see a quick note about how the site doesn't share the email along with a link to a privacy policy. At the moment someone needs to make a decision about giving an email address questions about what happens to their email come to mind. The text and link answer the questions at the moment it comes up. Similarly you see links to guarantees in shopping carts.

    The featured stuff probably would work better if you had more or updated the blog more often. Think about updating things more often though. Sites that are active and generate new content tend to attract more followers and in time more customers. Why not add one post a week about some WordPress problem you had along with the solution you came up with. You could link to WordPress news along with a paragraph or two of your opinion about the news. It doesn't have to be a lot, but it will help pull more search traffic and build up an audience that might then purchase themes.

    I think showing prices can be fine, though I think you're underpricing yourself. Many PSD to HTML services charge $250 on the low end. HTML to WordPress could go for even more. I'd probably have people contact you about the custom work. If you want to give a price show an hourly rate. You might want to give away the framework and sell child themes. If you can get people using your framework they become more likely to purchase child themes from you, because it's easier than learning a new framework.

    Each of those items could have more information. PSD to HTML and HTML to WP immediately raise questions like what's you're turnaround time? How do I submit the PSD or HTML to you? Your framework deserves a page of it's own describing why someone should choose it over the many free and commercial frameworks that are available. The custom work will probably work better if you forget showing prices and instead describe what you can do and perhaps your process. I'm sure you could do more custom work than what you show too. Why limit things?
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    Member Needs New Keyboard Array jamestl2's Avatar
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    Alright, thanks for the tips so far guys, here's the changes I've made so far:

    - Greatly increased slider transition time (to 30 seconds). I think that time makes it less distracting, but just enough so people don't assume it's static.
    - Replaced "Customization" with "Services".
    - Put in a new, darker Footer Gradient.
    - Added in an "About" page that has all my "What I do" type info I had before, and also put my contact info there again as well.

    I do plan on expanding on my services as well, however, just haven't decided what specifically I wanted to add yet, or how exactly I wanted to expand the descriptions of existing items.

    Also, I already do go into detail about what my framework offers at the bottom of every Theme for sale. I put it on every theme's page. Perhaps I should put it somewhere else too?

    Quote Originally Posted by lucas.bowser View Post
    The problem people have when they first start working for themselves is that they under-estimate the amount of "overhead" time they have, i.e. sales, estimates, client communications, etc... You know, the stuff you're not "directly" charging your clients for, but in terms of time are a real cost for you because they take away from your available billable hours.
    True that there is plenty of time that goes into overhead, however I don't think it's really fair to charge potential clients for a consultation, nor providing actual work, etc.

    I suppose another reason why my prices seem low at the moment is because I wasn't sure what exactly to set them at, plus I don't want to scare them off right away with very high prices.

    Also, I think I want to build up my engipress portfolio legitimately (as in clients obtained directly through my business) a bit first to give the business some ground to stand on.

    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    Many PSD to HTML services charge $250 on the low end. HTML to WordPress could go for even more. I'd probably have people contact you about the custom work.
    People really pay that much for PSD / HTML conversion? Although for my conversion prices, I guess it would be per individual files. So if someone had a basic PSD, along with a special Category PSD, etc. It would cost them twice as much. I suppose it'd be better to list it as each there then.



    But yeah, overall, my prices aren't set in stone ATM, for example I might offer discounts for people that order several items in bulk. Still formulating an opinion on how's best to go about listing and explaining all the potential services I can provide, for big jobs or small ones.

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    I'm still not sure you need the slider, since I don't see what it really communicates or how it will help you sell your services and themes. You can probably make it a little quicker than you now have it set. Maybe 15 seconds. It's definitely less distracting now.

    I like the change to Services and glad to see you have an About page now. I do think both pages could be better in terms of content, but you're moving in the right direction. On the About page why not tell us something about you. You'll find that as a freelancer one thing that can help lead to more clients is letting them get to know you. People like doing business with people they know. They feel more comfortable with you because you're less of an unknown. Share a little about your interests and why you became a WordPress developer.

    I already do go into detail about what my framework offers at the bottom of every Theme for sale.
    I didn't see that before. I think I clicked too quickly into the demo and it was showing me the default Hello World post and About page. I see the information now. I would put more content on the demos than the default. The themes will look better with a full page of content and you can use the space to talk more about your themes in general. You could even skip the theme page and go directly to the demo and show what you have on the theme page as a demo page, including the shopping cart buttons.

    Also why not create a screencast showing how the admin side works?

    I don't think it's really fair to charge potential clients for a consultation, nor providing actual work, etc.
    It absolutely is fair. Consultation is real work. There's nothing wrong with offer a little help here and there, however if you do too much consulting for free what you're going to find is you'll be getting lots of calls for consulting work that you aren't charging for. Those people won't turn into clients.

    People really pay that much for PSD / HTML conversion?
    I might be thinking of the last time I looked and found prices. I am seeing more now charging about $100, though it's generally for a single page. Perhaps the market has gotten more competitive than it was, driving prices down. However you can stand out by finding a way to offer more value in the process and charging for that value. For example I saw one site charging $200ish for creating the html with valid, standards based code. You could add more value, but developing with html5 or developing responsive/adaptive pages.

    Look for where you can add more value and charge for that value. Someone will always be able to do things cheaper than you can and if you play that game you'll keep making less for doing the same work.
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    Was out on SmashingMagazine when I happened to see an ad for https://markup-service.com/order/create?1, which would be a direct competitor for your conversion services. You may want to take a look at it just to validate some of your pricing.

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    There are plenty of others out there too. I would spend some time finding a few you like and then a lot more time studying each site. Check their prices. Check what kind of content they have on the site. Try to understand how each site is marketing itself. How are they trying to differentiate themselves from the competition. What are all the sites doing in common.
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