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Spider
03-10-2011, 05:16 PM
Over the past couple of weeks, I have hired Dan (Dan Furman) and Steve (CBS Creative) of these forum, to help me with the final page of my website - the page (called mentorplans) is where everything else on the site leads and from where visitors would contact me. It is the end of the "sales funnel."

Dan the Copy writer wrote the copy (of course!) and Steve the graphics man did the graphics (except that I messed about with the buttons so don't blame Steve for those!)

I am very pleased with the result. The page - if anyone would like to view it - is here (http://frederickpearce.com/mentorplans.html), but don't look at in isolation. It is the last page of a series and it is not meant to be read as a standalone page. If you want to see it in context start here (http://frederickpearce.com/buildbusiness.html) and, at the bottom of the page, either click on the "Not ready?" link for the next page in the series or click "Yes, Frederick, let's get started" link to go directly to the end page.

I think Dan and Steve did a great job. Your comments are welcome, including any suggestions for further improvement.

boogle
03-15-2011, 04:47 PM
My initial impression of the starting page and the landing page is that there is too much block text. The copy itself is really good, but block paragraph after block paragraph was discouraging, especially on the landing page. You know your base a lot better than I can guess, but I would imagine people looking for what you offer are clicking from site to site. When I am doing that I probably give a site about 10 seconds and if I am not sold I move on. I am busy and do not have time to read through a lot of text to see if you are who I want to use.

With that said, if I can be sold, I will commit a lot more time. On your conversions page I think your programs are self explanatory enough without several paragraphs for each one. I would have just the title, timeframe and price followed by a read more link that just expands the rest of the text and can then be easily folded back up.

For the first page I would convert your points to bullet points, inserts, bold, allow the reader to get the quick point just by following the points and bold text in the first few seconds. As a web user that is what would win me over.

Spider
03-15-2011, 06:20 PM
I like this idea, B. Thanks.

Dan! What do you think of this, regarding the page you wrote?

Question (to anyone) - What is the code for doing this? I know of a javascript method, but when taking so much of the text into a separate file, is that text hidden from search engines for keywork recognition and density?

Dan Furman
03-15-2011, 07:13 PM
I like this idea, B. Thanks.

Dan! What do you think of this, regarding the page you wrote?

Question (to anyone) - What is the code for doing this? I know of a javascript method, but when taking so much of the text into a separate file, is that text hidden from search engines for keywork recognition and density?

well, blocks of text are essentially paragraphs - that's perfectly normal, etc, and with subheadings, is quite easy (and engaging) to read.

I think the issue comes from one of the very first things I said about your site - it's just too wide. That does make everything look "off" or odd or whatnot.

Just my .02, but I think it's a biggie.

Spider
03-15-2011, 08:16 PM
Thanks, Dan. I appreciate it. I might try fixing the width at some point, just to see what happens. You know I want to give my readers the choice of width, not fix it to something that will not suit everyone. (IOW, I think it's not the page that's too wide, it's the window that determines the width and one's window can be adjusted to be anything one wants.) Perhaps I'll try fixing the width and see if it makes any difference.

But you see no problem with having drop-down paragraphs, like you sometimes see in FAQ pages? I don't want to mess up your work and have you wish you hadn't written it for me!

Harold Mansfield
03-15-2011, 08:59 PM
I think that use of a structured template would allow you to organize your site much better and make it easier to read and navigate. You'd be amazed how much unnecessary space you can condense by using a layout designed by someone who specializes in creating templates or websites.
While you have some basic skills, this is clearly not your area of expertise and I think it is hurting you immensely that you keep holding on to it as if you can do it yourself. One day you may be able to, but today is not that day and you are some time from that actual day.

IMO, it is a major reason why you keep having problems with bounce rate, time on site, page views, conversions, navigation and everything else that you keep constantly adjusting and doing by hand for the past couple of years.

I think you could solve most of these problems in a week and start moving forward, instead of going in circles.

None of us are jack of all trades. We all have things that we are good, even great at, but none of us are great at everything.

Your site in it's current state is not going to get much better no matter what tags you add, or what content you move around. At it's core there are some major issues that you cannot cover up or compensate for by ignoring it and doing other things instead. You need to tackle the real issue.

How would you coach someone in your position? Would you waste years teaching them SEO and web design, or tell them to hire a professional?
I guess it would all depend on how much time you have and if your website is just a hobby or an actual business.

That's my 2 cents.

Dan Furman
03-15-2011, 09:36 PM
But you see no problem with having drop-down paragraphs, like you sometimes see in FAQ pages? I don't want to mess up your work and have you wish you hadn't written it for me!

No, I don't like those drop down paragraphs - it's unecessary.

I do think Boogle would not have said what he said if your page was a "normal" width. But in the context of how your site looks now, yea, it's all pretty hard to read.

boogle
03-16-2011, 03:33 PM
Well I certainly am not going to put up a big argument for the drop-down paragraphs, that is just one solution out of many. I think identifying the problem is a lot more valuable right now and while I agree with Dan, that the width is a problem, narrowing down the site would most likely increase the vertical length of the page. It takes me ten scrolls on my mouse to read about 5 services. That is an awful lot of reading and scrolling for 5 products. I still feel like it is text heavy, but here are some other suggestions on the conversion page.

First, I personally find it more difficult to read Times New Roman font. I think just a nice Sans-Serif would make the read easier. Most forums and email services use sans-serif so I think it is a little more comfortable for people to read.

Secondly the use of horizontal organization could help a lot, you basically have 3 categories, your two email services, the two bigger services, and corporate. Have the two email services left and right, the two bigger ones left and right, and corporate below that would narrow your paragraph width.

You should be able to fit all that information on a page that has little or no scrolling and is more well organized. Your opening three steps is also really big. I think you could get that much smaller and allow the page to feel a lot more clean precise.

Lastly I will second Harold. Wordpress and Joomla have a lot of great templates that are easy to use and can help make your site feel more professional and less dated. There are professionals who structure website templates and content for a living that are really good at what they do. Rocket Theme has some awesome templates that I personally have had a lot of success with.

Spider
03-16-2011, 04:45 PM
... I personally find it more difficult to read Times New Roman font. I think just a nice Sans-Serif would make the read easier. Most forums and email services use sans-serif so I think it is a little more comfortable for people to read. ...I wonder why you are seeing Times font - my entire site, including the page in question, is set in Arial/Helvetica, occasionally Verdana, and Times for titles. Could it be your computer settings? Is anyone else seeing Times? I really don't like Times for an on-screen font.


... Secondly the use of horizontal organization could help a lot, you basically have 3 categories, your two email services, the two bigger services, and corporate. Have the two email services left and right, the two bigger ones left and right, and corporate below that would narrow your paragraph width. ..Doesn't work, I'm afraid. I tried it before and that left the two columns very tall and narrow for smaller screens. You talk about scrolling now?! As it stands, my site will reduce down to a 500px wide resolution without horizontal scrolling, right out to about 2000px wide resolution without image repeat. That caters for a whole lot more than most sites.

I know several of you keep on about the width of my site but I keep trying to explain that my site has no width. It is as wide as your window. If you find your window too wide, then reduce your window width to somethiing you like better. I find that extremely simple - I am doing that all the time as I browse the web. I never have width problems because I adjust my window to suit every site I visit. Very, very easy to do.



... You should be able to fit all that information on a page that has little or no scrolling and is more well organized. Your opening three steps is also really big. I think you could get that much smaller and allow the page to feel a lot more clean precise. ..Yes, it could be smaller but I don't want small font sizes - too much like the fine print the credit card companies keep trying to slip by you! Besides, any viewing in a browser that has been produced in the past twenty years can adjust the font size to whatever you want. Again, something I am doing all the time to make reading easy.

Frankly, I have seen nothing on the web that is easier to read and less cluttered than my site. I have one topic per page, a consistent page format throughout, there are many Wordpress layouts that adopt a 3-column layout as I do - nothing special or dated about that. Since the recent update my navigation is as simple as it could be - on the accepted advice from people on this forum. (For which I am grateful.) Every page - all 40 of them - has a distinct title and every page is optimized for a different keyword, most of them optimized for a single keyphrase.


What you see as "keep having problems," Harold, I see as constant improvement.

I recommend the skill and creativity of Dan Furman and Steve of CBSCreative, both of whom provided a great service.

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 12:19 AM
I know several of you keep on about the width of my site but I keep trying to explain that my site has no width. It is as wide as your window. If you find your window too wide, then reduce your window width to somethiing you like better. I find that extremely simple - I am doing that all the time as I browse the web. I never have width problems because I adjust my window to suit every site I visit. Very, very easy to do.
This is extremely short sighted. Most people are not going to adjust their browser just to view your site. Your site is not special. If they don't like what they see they will just move on. You need to make your site viewable for the most amount of people and make things easy and attractive for all of your readers if you want to keep them.
What you are saying is "This is the way I'm doing it and if you want to see my site, then YOU need to adjust". It's not about you. It's about them.

If you have the attitude that people need to change to get on YOUR program, your website will sit alone in the vast wasteland of lonely sites owned by people who believe that everyone else is wrong and they are going to change human behavior because what they have is so great.



What you see as "keep having problems," Harold, I see as constant improvement.


It's taking you much longer than it has to. If you like the journey and the process of learning, then you are definitely going about it the right way. If this is just a hobby for you, then I've had the wrong idea all along.
However, if this is your business, then you could kill about 100 birds with one stone and do it in a relatively short amount of time compared to how long you have been making adjustments to the same site.

I've been watching you change, poke, prod, adjust, reorganize, and test out one thing or another on that site for about 2 years now. None of that has addressed the core issue and you haven't made 2 years worth of progress. I'm only saying this because it has been so long and I want to see you move forward.

However, if you honestly don't see any difference between other sites that are done by people who do sites, or well designed template or framework (even a pre-packaged one) then never mind, because there is nothing that anyone can say to get you to understand where you are screwing the pooch and hurting yourself.

So that's really the question.
Is this your business or just a hobby to learn a few things?
There is no wrong answer, but it would help me understand why you are hell bent on causing yourself more work than this has to be.

If you really want help with this, I can give it to you in one quick phrase and it would truly solve so many of the issues that you are having. If you are just puttering around, that's fine too.

Spider
03-17-2011, 08:58 AM
This is extremely short sighted. Most people are not going to adjust their browser just to view your site. Your site is not special. If they don't like what they see they will just move on. You need to make your site viewable for the most amount of people and make things easy and attractive for all of your readers if you want to keep them. What you are saying is "This is the way I'm doing it and if you want to see my site, then YOU need to adjust". It's not about you. It's about them...I agree, it's not about me, it's about them. And I say to you that it is not about you, either. If you want to force people to view your site a certain way, feel free. I choose to give people the choice, the power to change my site to the way THEY want to view it. In fact, it seems to me, that you are declaring your site so special that nobody is to have any choice about how they see it. I am sayng the opposite, that my site is not so special that I will dictate how it is viewed. YOU have chosen to make YOUR site viewable for the MOST people YOU think want to view it that way, no thought for the others - I have made my site viewable to ALL people with a graphic browser, including the sight-impaired.

In any case, we may be approaching this from different angles. For you, Harold, design is most important, and adjustable design is quite difficult. For me, information is most important. Of course, there is some overlap, but my priority is to make the information I present as accessible to EVERYONE who wishes to read it. Nothing is to stand in the way of accomplishing that. Not pretty pictures, not design, not audio, not anything.

I think the creators of the internet and makers of browsers made their products adjustable for a reason - so that all users have the greatest flexibility and choice of how they view webpages. Had they taken the same attitude as you, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would have dictated how we all view the web. No, they made their browsers adjustable. In fact, I remember when all websites were adjustable - it is only in recent years that people started fixing the width and disabling the adjustable font feature, etc. I do not agree with you that removing that adjustability is a good thing.



...It's taking you much longer than it has to. If you like the journey and the process of learning, then you are definitely going about it the right way. ...Taking longer than it has to? Improvement is a continuous and never-ending process, Harold - CANI. It has been going on for my website since 1996 and will continue, continuously. Yes, I enjoy the learning process - every winner enjoys learning. Losers stop learning as soon as they can.

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 11:42 AM
I agree, it's not about me, it's about them. And I say to you that it is not about you, either. If you want to force people to view your site a certain way, feel free. I choose to give people the choice, the power to change my site to the way THEY want to view it.
It's not forcing people to do anything.
You aren't doing anything noble. The choice is there with every website on everyone's computer.
But people don't go around adjusting their viewing options on a site to site basis. You have to be smart about how the majority of people are going to view it without having to make any adjustments. And what about mobile devices? More and more people are viewing the web on mobile devices that show the web in it's normal format. Most of them don't have any major viewing adjustment options. Are you just leaving them out because they can't adjust their browsers? Or they don't matter becasue YOU don't use a mobile device?

If you want to give people a choice of something that they will actually understand, then give them a choice of how to contact you...email or phone? Which product to buy, this one or that one? Which price to pay, the highest or the lowest?

If you ask 10 computer users what resolution their monitors are, or how they have their browser set, they will ask you what you are talking about. Of the ones that know, ask them what that means. Most don't know.

You are over-thinking something that has been easy for years. It's not even as simple as reinventing the wheel, you are hell bent on making a square roll (had to rewrite that:)). Meanwhile everyone else including your competition is rolling on by and all over you.

Sure, you'll keep your principles that you held fast and didn't change because you believe that it shouldn't be that way. Good for you.

If you want to hold on to yesterday, then don't let those personal feelings affect your business. Blog about it somewhere to get it off of your chest, and let your website do what it's supposed to and make you some money.

When I was a bar manager, I didn't stop carrying certain liquors because I personally didn't like them. I didn't block classic rock from the jukebox because I was personally tired of hearing Steve Miller and Meatloaf 25 times a day. That would have just been stupid and detrimental to the success of the business.



In fact, it seems to me, that you are declaring your site so special that nobody is to have any choice about how they see it. I am sayng the opposite, that my site is not so special that I will dictate how it is viewed. YOU have chosen to make YOUR site viewable for the MOST people YOU think want to view it that way, no thought for the others - I have made my site viewable to ALL people with a graphic browser, including the sight-impaired.
We aren't talking about a blue-ray movie. we are talking about a website. People don't need your help. Anyone with special needs knows what they have to do, they have already done it. The only thing that you can do is just not make it difficult for them. Get out of the way. They have their settings the way they need them to cover the most probable situations across the web.

Browsers have developed to the point of making things easier for all, but you are trying to manhandle those advances to make them behave the way you want them to so that you can continue to do everything by hand. It's wasting time just to make an obsolete point.


In any case, we may be approaching this from different angles. For you, Harold, design is most important, and adjustable design is quite difficult. For me, information is most important. Of course, there is some overlap, but my priority is to make the information I present as accessible to EVERYONE who wishes to read it. Nothing is to stand in the way of accomplishing that. Not pretty pictures, not design, not audio, not anything.
No. There is no "most important". It is ALL important. Content alone will not get you anywhere. You cannot, single handedly change human behavior. Appearances mean something. It doesn't have to be spectacular, but it should be professional. All of the great content in the world cannot overcome a bad presentation.

As a matter of fact, the presentation can be so bad that it makes the content look suspect and unbelievable, making it actually work against you and making the content look "scammy" or "spammy". When I see a bad website, the firs thing I think to myself is that this person has no idea what he is talking about or is out of touch or else his site wouldn't look like this.

People online don't know you. They can't hear you.
People online don't waste time turning over every rock looking for a gem. They don't have to. There are too many options.
Unless you have high visibility and recognition in your field, you cannot make it on content alone. You need to pay attention. You have gone so far against design that you are actually going the opposite direction and are now entering the ridiculous zone.

Matt Cuts can blog on a paper bag and get away with it because he has a huge following and recognition. Frederick Pierce cannot. But even with his recognition and following, you can bet your bottom dollar if he was blogging on a paper bag, it would be a website professionally designed to look like a paper bag.

You spend a lot of time looking at minute possibilities. Which is great. But you do it to the detriment of the most probable and obvious outcome.


I think the creators of the internet and makers of browsers made their products adjustable for a reason - so that all users have the greatest flexibility and choice of how they view webpages. Had they taken the same attitude as you, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would have dictated how we all view the web.
The web has developed tremendously since the creators of the internet had anything to do with it. We aren't viewing text based bulletin boards on green 15 inch CRT monitors anymore. We haven't done that for a long time.

If you are still following web standards from 30 years ago, you have really lost touch with the rest of the world.

Bill Gates DID try to dictate how people viewed the web by making IE non compliant with the most commonly used web standards. Consequently, people HATE Internet Explorer and it has lost market share..even though it is installed by default as the ONLY browser on windows computers.
People hate it so bad that they first thing with anew computer is take it off.

The thing is, you aren't giving people a choice. It's inherent. What you are doing is actually making them choose. There is a BIG difference.
Surfers aren't used to doing that. Every other website on the WWW does it for them. THAT's what they are used to. And they can make minor adjustments based on that "standard" if needed.

For most people the goal is to have their sites easily viewable by the most amount of people and browsers possible without making people do any adjustments. Because the average user has no idea about adjusting anything. Don't create work for people.


No, they made their browsers adjustable. In fact, I remember when all websites were adjustable - it is only in recent years that people started fixing the width and disabling the adjustable font feature, etc. I do not agree with you that removing that adjustability is a good thing.
Recent years!??!? Try the last 10!

You cannot remove adjust-ability. I'm going to have that power no matter what you do. What you are doing is asking me to work and make an adjustment because your site doesn't view with the same standards as most others.



Taking longer than it has to? Improvement is a continuous and never-ending process, Harold - CANI. It has been going on for my website since 1996 and will continue, continuously. Yes, I enjoy the learning process - every winner enjoys learning. Losers stop learning as soon as they can.
Interesting that you should bring up that year because that seems to be EXACTLY where you are stuck. You do realize that this is 2011 and the web has changed about 100 times since 1996? Don't you? That was 15 years ago!

Then this is a hobby? If this is merely a learning process, then carry on.

greenoak
03-17-2011, 12:33 PM
it was too wide for me.and a little dull...wheres A BIG SMILING PICTURE OF THE COACH? ..and you know i couldnt possibly take time to learn how to adjust my browser.....
im kind of impressed with how much jos template shows about her business in just a quick glance....that seems like a great goal....
all this is why i would never put my site up and ask for everyones views on it.... ....

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 12:54 PM
all this is why i would never put my site up and ask for everyones views on it.... ....

Don't feel that way. This is a help forum. Most of us are here to help, discuss, and offer support.
If I never asked for help and opinions from knowledgeable people I would have never been able to grow and improve.
There is nothing wrong with getting some outside opinions because you ( or any of us) will never be able to 100% see our websites the way other people see them because we are emotionally attached to them. Especially if we have published them ourselves.

On the other hand, if something is working, then there is no immediate need to make any drastic changes.
I'm not crazy about one of my websites and I know it needs to be redone again, but it is bringing in contacts so something is working. I want to make sure that I keep what is working before I gut it.

greenoak
03-17-2011, 02:19 PM
i just think its brave of spider...
. for me, i get plenty of help here...and i feel lucky to be able to ask you all about tekk stuff and get such good info.....im done with our site for now.... we have tons on our plate right now.... and i do think our web efforts are working out real well....but could be better im sure...
if i thought ii could keep the site looking roughly how it looks and switch to wordpress, which my web person is against, i would maybe go for paid help.... she thinks it would be a whole new learning curve for her, in order to keep up the additions and etc in the future... ..... i have heard such good reports on wordpress around here,,...but w e arent using it...

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 02:34 PM
Of course many of us love Wordpresss, especially for self publishers, but that doesn't mean that it's for everyone, or even that everyone needs it. It's just one of many options.

Dan Furman
03-17-2011, 04:03 PM
I choose to give people the choice, the power to change my site to the way THEY want to view it.

This is a terrible, terrible way to do it. Because 99.999999999% of web users (I checked - the number is accurate ;) ) use the default "choice". And the default choice looks awful in this case.

By giving everyone choice, you are actually excluding most people. I realize you can turn this around and say others are wrong for "forcing" people to do it a certain way. If that's what you will hang onto, so be it. I'm not going to change your mind.

But keep this in mind: you are debating with people who make their living from their websites. This is a little more than just opinion.

Spider
03-17-2011, 04:17 PM
it was too wide for me.and a little dull...wheres A BIG SMILING PICTURE OF THE COACH? ..and you know i couldnt possibly take time to learn how to adjust my browser....The coach is inside waiting for you. Yes, I do plan to work on my index page but have other things doing right now. For your browser, though, your comment tells me you are not using windows which is the basis of your computer - or, more correctly, you are only using one window. Try this...

In the top righthand corner of your screen is the cross you use to close the window, right?
Next to it are two other small buttons. Place your curser on the left button and leave it there - a message will pop up and say 'Minimize' - move your curser to the middle button and leave it there and a pop up message says 'Restore Down' Click this middle button and your window will reduce in size. You can now resize the window by dragging the edges.

The groovy thing about doing this is - you can now have several windows open and hop easily from one to the other.

Before, by using a fullsize wiondow, you can only use one window at a time. Once you have reduced the fullsize window to partially fill your screen, you can have any number of windows open, reading things side-by-side, overlapping them to compare differences in graphics. You can compare a picture of one piece of furniture on a competitor's website to a similar piece of furniture on your site, side-by-side. Or compare the teapot you saw on an auction site with one on an antique shop website, another on a history article, another in a photo of Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth, and the one you have for sale - and have all these pictures all at once on your screen, by adjusting the size of each window as best helps you see them up close up, and from different parts of the world.

I imagine this is something that would prove extremely useful for you.

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 04:26 PM
Are you going to explain that to all of your readers one by one?

Spider
03-17-2011, 04:52 PM
This is a terrible, terrible way to do it. Because 99.999999999% of web users (I checked - the number is accurate ;) ) use the default "choice". And the default choice looks awful in this case....That surely depends on what is the default for each individual, wouldn't it? For you, using, I think you said 2400 x ??, it would appear wide, but that is not a common size, and if you choose to view the web in that fashion, that is your prerogative. Of the identifiable resolutions of the visitors to my site, 87% are using 1024 x 768 or 1280 x 1024. In neither of those defaults does the site look especially wide - no wider than the majority of sites on the web, fixed or otherwise.

Now, I will grant you that there are a lot of unknowns, and they might be anything from cellphone users to Dan Furman. Until I have a better guide than what I have, I must use what I have. I tend to expect most of the commentators on this site are using resultions in the stratosphere and not what my visitors are using. I think I would be wrong to ignore my visitor statistics, in this regard.

Spider
03-17-2011, 04:56 PM
Are you going to explain that to all of your readers one by one?As I just said to Dan - Of the identifiable resolutions of the visitors to my site, 87% are using 1024 x 768 or 1280 x 1024. In neither of those defaults does the site look especially wide - no wider than the majority of sites on the web, fixed or otherwise. So, I don't have to explain that to all of my readers (Thank goodness!)

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 05:12 PM
Now, I will grant you that there are a lot of unknowns, and they might be anything from cellphone users to Dan Furman. Until I have a better guide than what I have, I must use what I have. I tend to expect most of the commentators on this site are using resultions in the stratosphere and not what my visitors are using. I think I would be wrong to ignore my visitor statistics, in this regard.

No. You don't just use what you have. You use what is going to be the best possible outcome for all users. First of all, The term “display resolution” is usually used to mean pixel dimensions, the number of pixels in each dimension (e.g., 19201200), which does not tell anything about the resolution of the display on which the image is actually formed: resolution properly refers to the pixel density, the number of pixels per unit distance or area, not total number of pixels.

You are using the wrong criteria to determine the display size of your website.
If you want a list of possibilities, here ya go:
List of common resolutions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_resolutions)

Now, 99.9% of webmasters on the web have no problem designing or using a design that will provide the best possible view for just about everyone on the web. What you are doing is taking a few stats from a few users on your site alone, and deciding that this is the most common for everyone. It is you who is doing the forcing. Basically what you are saying is, "If you don't have or do it like this, then you have to make some adjustments if you want to view my site comfortably."

If you design to a default standard, everyone will see your site basically the same way no matter what size screen they are using. What you are doing now is preventing that. You are making everyone adjust their view to fit your site, instead of adjusting your site so that everyone can view it the same.

To put it plainly...no one uses fluid width anymore (unless there is a definitive purpose for doing so) because there are too many variables that tend to leave a large chunk of people out or you run a greater risk of many people seeing your site in a way that is unflattering and not how it was meant to be viewed. It resizes areas of the page that don't need resizing and adds spacing that can ruin the look of any design. It's like copying an image onto a hunk of silly putty, rather than just copying it to a sheet of paper of definite dimensions and size.

You can control that so that everyone sees it the same way and in it's best light.
Why wouldn't you want that?

Your website doesn't need to fill a screen like a movie or video game. Make use of the borders, margins, natural spacing. Use some basic printing and organization standards. Its the web, but it's still publishing. Certain rules still apply, especially with a text based website.

greenoak
03-17-2011, 05:39 PM
i just cant go there spider..it would be too scary...
.i have windows 7...
actuallly we had lots of width problems , of a different kind i guess, with our site and our monthly emails......the web person and i do something on one computer and it shows up differently on another..... its been hard to fix....but i think we have..i dont know the details...

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 05:52 PM
But you know what. It really isn't going to make much difference either way. Whether you go fixed width, fluid width or what ever is not going to change the performance of your site or improve retention.
This is not the root of your main issues.

Spider
03-17-2011, 06:07 PM
I can understand, Ann - don't want to mess up what has just been fixed. But, here's an idea for you - for this and for any other computer apprehension you might have. When you are out shopping, go into Best Buy ( or your favorite computer store) and tell one of the handsome salesmen there what you would like to see and he'll show you - on one of their machines. No chance of messing up yours.

If you are not using multiple windows, I think you will be cross at yourself for not at least inquiring into what multiple windows can do for you. They are already available on your computer - nothing to buy, no software needed, it's already there.

It's only a computer! Stupid bits of plastic and wire! If it breaks, the sky won't fall in! :-D

Spider
03-17-2011, 06:21 PM
But you know what. It really isn't going to make much difference either way. Whether you go fixed width, fluid width or what ever is not going to change the performance of your site or improve retention.
This is not the root of your main issues.Well, that's good to know. I was beginning to think width was the main issue. So what is the root problem? The last time I remember that phrase being used was over navigation - which I have since worked on to create a smooth, flowing, "sales funnel" system - thanks in large part to your convincing arguments. I have changed the graphics that were such an abomination - thanks to Steve cbscreative (an ongoing project, btw.) And Dan has helped me with some copywriting (not that my writing ever seemed to cause concern.) What is the Root of my main issues now?

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 07:07 PM
What is the Root of my main issues now?

What you have done with your site up until now has been a great effort. For a self taught webmaster you have done far more than most people even comprehend.
However, it has come to a point where you have done all that you can do based on the knowledge and skills that you have and you have reached a point where the web , and it's available options and technologies today have surpassed how fast you have been able to keep up with them.

I honestly think that you need to start over and build a site that is able to compete with your competitors and other business websites on the web today and gives you the professionalism that you need and deserve.
You have done well with getting your content together, but it is not enough and content alone cannot compensate for the other areas that are not up to snuff.

I'm sorry to say that I don't think that there are any parts of it worth saving, adding on to, or rearranging other than the content. New colors, images, or buttons aren't going to do it. It's time to move forward because you are not competing.

What you have does not portray the level of knowledge and experience that you have in your field. Plainly put your website is not doing you any justice at all. It does not give off the impression that you are the go to guy for this service. It is very dated, and gives a really bad impression. It will not hold anyone's attention in this day and age and won't convert readers into clients like you want it to.
It's just not professional in 2011.

One of my clients put it best last year: "We have always run our own website and over the years I have learned a lot of HTML to do what ever needs to be done in it's current state. However, times have changed and there are much better options than trying to keep up by building everything by hand and we want to take advantage of what is out there now because we like what we see."

Now, this isn't to say that I'm trying to get you to use Wordpress just because I deal in Wordpress. I know you hate it and see no reasons why you should use it. My advice is..then don't use it.
My suggestion is that you use something. Anything else. There are a ton of options that won't take you weeks to implement.

You have come as far as you can go right now and if this is your business website, then you need to let go and accept that there are some things that you cannot do all alone..and you don't have to. At this point you just can't compete and attract readers doing everything by hand with the skill level that you currently have and, nothing you can do to it will help.

It's time to pull the sheet over it's head and call time of death, and move on to what is going to help you compete and show off your professionalism...and help you make some money.

That's my honest opinion and if you were a complete stranger and called me on the phone I would be telling you that within 2 minutes of our phone conversation...."This isn't going to work".

There it is.

Spider
03-17-2011, 07:47 PM
Thank you, Harold. I appreciate your comments and all the help and guidance you have given me. I will give this serious thought.

Harold Mansfield
03-17-2011, 08:07 PM
Thank you, Harold. I appreciate your comments and all the help and guidance you have given me.

That goes both ways. That's why we are all here isn't it?

I'm just one guy. Solicit some differing opinions and get some honest feedback from people (especially non-web/tech people) to get a well rounded view.
You already have enough general knowledge to handle what ever you decide to do.

Dan Furman
03-18-2011, 11:09 AM
That's my honest opinion and if you were a complete stranger and called me on the phone I would be telling you that within 2 minutes of our phone conversation...."This isn't going to work".

There it is.

I agree with everything he's saying.

Yes, I was focusing on mainly the width, but he's spot on.

You also fall back on a lot of numbers and web metrics, Spider. Trust me when I tell you - in there end, there's only ONE that matters: conversions. That's it. The others might give you some clues on how to increase conversions, etc, or they can just make you feel good when nobody is contacting you. But the bottom line is the bottom line.

jamesray50
03-18-2011, 11:27 AM
Frederick, I have to agree with Harold on this topic. When I started my bookkeeping business late last year I wanted a website and decided to do it myself. I really didn't think it would be that hard since there are so many different site builders that claim they are easy to use. I signed up for I don't know how many free ones and started on them, but after trying to work in them, they weren't as easy as advertised, or I wasn't happy with what free offered. I finally did find one that I liked and started work on it. I worked day and night on it. When it was done, I thought it looked good and asked for a review from members on this forum. I received lots of advice of what to do to make it better, and suggestions on what was wrong with it. I also found out it was not a good site for SEO. It had no blog capability, my blog could not be linked to it. The content was not that great. But, all in all, I thought I had done a pretty good job on my website for my first time. Associates in my industry who looked at it commented on how great it was.

But, I was not getting the results I wanted. Maybe I am being impatient and expecting too much too soon, but the more I looked at my website, the less I liked it. I couldn't quite figure out what I didn't like, but I just didn't like it. It just didn't grab my attention. If it didn't grab my attention it wasn't going to grab a visitors attention. My google analytics showed that noone went past the first page. Something had to be done.

So I decided I needed to have my website professionally done. I am a bookkeeper, not a webdesigner. I will stick to doing what I know how to do and let the professionals do what they know how to do. My website has been completely redone, including the copy and I couldn't be happier. BTW, have you seen it? It is 100% better than my old site?

I hope all this makes sense. Good luck with your decision.