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Wozcreative
08-31-2013, 02:03 PM
Hey guys!

So I've been ripping up everyones work so now it's my turn to ask for some reliable, honest feedback on my new website that is 85% there.
I am going to have it up for you temporarily for the next couple of days, hopefully I can get some feedback, but then I'll have to take it down as I don't really want it floating around for too long as it's not complete (and may get confusing for people with the 2 sites in existance)


Anyway my ORIGINAL site is: www.wozcreative.com (http://www.wozcreative.com)
The original one was meant for to show that I'm a freelancer and catered towards small business and design agencies who would hire if they got too busy.

But the one I need to get feedback on is: (temporary url)Wozcreative | Elwira Wozniak | Portfolio | Toronto Mississauga Freelance Graphic and Website Designer (http://torontofreelancedesigner.com)
This new one needs to focus on me being a "design studio"... I would like less design agencies coming to me.. I want to work with clients directly.
I also don't want to seem like a huge company—because I'll never be one.. atleast for the next 3 - 5 years. My business model is to provide everything from conception (logo/branding) to print/flyers/brochures... to website design and development. So startups are fantastic for that. They also always have the most passion and that energy rubs of on you!

What I will be adding to the site that is currrently not there:
• FAQ
• Quote Request Form with downloadable PDFs that have fillable forms for specific projects.. ie logo design.
• Pricing Details (just a detail page about how I structure projects)
• In the future divide up all my services into separate pages and provide more information
• Add much more portfolio pieces
• Add logos to my "clients" page.. maybe restructure that page a bit better.. the list doesn't work for me.
• Add more infographics/icons to specific key information
• Maybe redesign the logo.. so far a placeholder
• Maybe re-wrod and restructure what I am saying.. I'm very bad with grammar and I know I need to re-read and re-write many many times but I'm ok with that.


Regarding style, my focus was more on "content" and the portfolio pieces themselves. I wanted to make sure the site is not extracting from the actaul work/services... and the simpler the design the less I will get bored of it. Flat design is also in ;)

So I'd be happy to hear from developers, designers and even potential clients who know nothing about design to give me honest feedback.

Gabe
08-31-2013, 04:12 PM
Hey Elvy. I like it, but I also think you need to focus more (i.e. if you're targeting everybody, you're targeting nobody). I say that because small businesses are very different from startups, which you mentioned you'd like to work with. I'm not sure if you've been there before, but definitely check out Hacker News (HN) https://news.ycombinator.com/ which is startup central. There's a lot of developer, science, engineering related stuff, but I'd be surprised if any less than 1/3 of all startup founder worldwide visit that site. It's owned by Y Combinator, the most popular startup incubator, so it's a great way to get to know your audience.

Startups are very homogenous, so they really tend to think/act/look alike. If you want to target startups you may need to bend your style more in that direction. If not, then maybe just a startup focused landing page will do. But I'd definitely suggest figuring out a way to post an article on HN to get noticed and maybe a few early clients. Just remember how different the financial situation is between startups and small businesses. Sometimes startups have $0 capital, sometimes they have millions in funding.

I'm curious why you use PDFs for quotes? Is there a specific reason? That seems a bit outdated when you could use something like Gravity Forms or Wufoo that's much less of a pain in the a** for you and the client. You can also integrate Gravity Forms with FreshBooks to turn estimates into invoices in a couple clicks. I think this is important because the more difficult something is, the less likely your prospects are to follow through. Using an online form will also give you the ability to track metrics. Additionally, I have a bit of a peeve for downloadable PDF forms. Not only does the user need software to view it, but it takes more time, it's an attachment, they have to find where it saved, etc. Unless there's a good reason, it doesn't make sense.

I like the color scheme, but I think it could be cleaner and more minimal. For example, why are there borders around the menu items and body?

I like that you're using HTML 5 (I'm in the process of converting my site over now), though you could probably take advantage of more of the new markup.

It seems weird that you use 'we' everywhere but make a point to say that you're a one-women design studio. I understand it's the 'royal we' but it just seems odd. I'd pick one or the other, or just be vague about how many people there are. Maybe it's just me.

Since you're not done yet I assume you'll combine/minify the css/js, remove the meta keyword tags, etc.

In addition to dividing up your services, I also recommend you make separate landing pages for each client type. For example, a startup will want something vastly different than a manufacturer, who will want something different from a small business.

Since you're based in Canada I'd clarify that you work with international clients, especially though in the United States. If you're aiming for startups your main competition is designers in CA (especially Silicon Valley) and New York. I'm in San Diego, CA and I'd want to know why I'd choose you over someone local here in San Diego or Los Angeles. I think you could do a lot to entice startups by coming up with things that go viral, which most startups aim to do. Show them that you can make them stand out.

On HN (mentioned above) a lot of designers have done well for themselves by coming up with design tips, ebooks, courses etc. for 'hackers' and startup founders. If you want to get in with that niche you'll have to become part of it. But maybe you already area and I'm way off the mark.

Anyway, I like it. It's brrrilliant :P

Wozcreative
08-31-2013, 05:10 PM
Hey Elvy. I like it, but I also think you need to focus more (i.e. if you're targeting everybody, you're targeting nobody). I say that because small businesses are very different from startups, which you mentioned you'd like to work with. I'm not sure if you've been there before, but definitely check out Hacker News (HN) https://news.ycombinator.com/ which is startup central. There's a lot of developer, science, engineering related stuff, but I'd be surprised if any less than 1/3 of all startup founder worldwide visit that site. It's owned by Y Combinator, the most popular startup incubator, so it's a great way to get to know your audience.


Thanks I'll check it out!


Startups are very homogenous, so they really tend to think/act/look alike. If you want to target startups you may need to bend your style more in that direction. If not, then maybe just a startup focused landing page will do. But I'd definitely suggest figuring out a way to post an article on HN to get noticed and maybe a few early clients. Just remember how different the financial situation is between startups and small businesses. Sometimes startups have $0 capital, sometimes they have millions in funding.


Startups/small businesses. The ones I am targeting are obviously ones that have $ capital. There are plenty out there. I don't have a problem getting them, I just want to steer away from the agency who are middle men. I want to go directly to the source most of the time. I've been doing this 3+ years so I know how startups work in terms of what their capable of. I also specialize in finding better resources for their investment.. half the time they think they should do ABC when they would save money in the long run if they did BDA

I am not sure about posting articles though.. i don't consider myself a blogger yet. It's more what my website needs to currently portray. I'm not so much looking for answers to how to get startups/small businesses.



I'm curious why you use PDFs for quotes? Is there a specific reason? That seems a bit outdated when you could use something like Gravity Forms or Wufoo that's much less of a pain in the a** for you and the client. You can also integrate Gravity Forms with FreshBooks to turn estimates into invoices in a couple clicks. I think this is important because the more difficult something is, the less likely your prospects are to follow through. Using an online form will also give you the ability to track metrics. Additionally, I have a bit of a peeve for downloadable PDF forms. Not only does the user need software to view it, but it takes more time, it's an attachment, they have to find where it saved, etc. Unless there's a good reason, it doesn't make sense.


PDFs will not be for "quotes".. but for briefs. Clients provide poor briefs on their own and need guidelines.
Everyone has PDF readers.. it's never been an issue.
I also send PDF invoices—no one has had issues opening them?
PDF questionnaires are best if you also want to include extra info that you don't normally want to put on an invoice. I think I missed the point of explaining what the point of the PDF was, but sometimes a bunch of info about a project is no good if you want to send through an email. All that gets lost. A PDF is much neater, I ask all the questions that pertain to the project brief.
How else would one do it? Open to suggestions.


I like the color scheme, but I think it could be cleaner and more minimal. For example, why are there borders around the menu items and body?


I like "grids".. and blatant in your face grids are nice. I'm using an existing wordpress theme so it's not so much the design as the content on there. I just wanted something really simple so I won't get bored of. Though it's great to have designers have their own design, theres no way I can spend 40 hours or more doing one. I've spent 10 months getting to THIS point due to my work load. Regarding the lines though... I didn't like totally removing those lines because everything would float too much. Personal preference i guess :)


It seems weird that you use 'we' everywhere but make a point to say that you're a one-women design studio. I understand it's the 'royal we' but it just seems odd. I'd pick one or the other, or just be vague about how many people there are. Maybe it's just me.


I agree.. I'm so so confused about this.. you might remember thread about this when I dont know if I should say we or I. In the end I might go to I.


In addition to dividing up your services, I also recommend you make separate landing pages for each client type. For example, a startup will want something vastly different than a manufacturer, who will want something different from a small business.


I'm not concerned about adding every SEO possibility to my website that exists. It's not necessary for what I am going for. Like you said.. I can't cater to everyone, not everyone is my target audience, so It's not necessary for all these landing pages, unless I'm not having any business come in.



Since you're based in Canada I'd clarify that you work with international clients, especially though in the United States. If you're aiming for startups your main competition is designers in CA (especially Silicon Valley) and New York. I'm in San Diego, CA and I'd want to know why I'd choose you over someone local here in San Diego or Los Angeles. I think you could do a lot to entice startups by coming up with things that go viral, which most startups aim to do. Show them that you can make them stand out.


I'm on the fence with that one. People outside of canada tend to have much much lower expectations in terms of what my quotes are. Local businesses tend to believe in my services more and pay more.

Gabe
08-31-2013, 06:21 PM
If you've already been working with startups, then that's awesome. I assume the hardest thing would be getting a foot in the door, but it sounds like you're already established.

Interesting point about the PDFs, sorry I misunderstood. Yeah, if it works, then great.

The advantage of going with 'I' is that you can be much more personal and you can say exactly what you can do for them without sounding cheesy. It's not like some underpaid rep will be working with them, you'll do it all personally, and that's worth something. That can be really awesome if you can spin it right and contrast it vs. the larger agencies.

Ya, whatever works. I'm not too familiar with Canadian businesses and always thought they were interchangeable with US businesses (i.e. similar cultures, price ranges, expectations, etc.), especially when it comes to tech.

Wozcreative
08-31-2013, 06:58 PM
Ya, whatever works. I'm not too familiar with Canadian businesses and always thought they were interchangeable with US businesses (i.e. similar cultures, price ranges, expectations, etc.), especially when it comes to tech.

Actually, if I think about it more.. I generally don't get much "startups/small businesses" going for outside of their local area because they are afraid of spending too much. They will go to Elance faster for that stuff. I find that mostly the only types of businesses that go outside of the US to canada, are the agencies.. they are aware of the benefits of outsourcing and have experience working via phone, or email strictly. The PROBLEM with that is.. they expect you to lower your prices so that they can make money on it. Either they are more greedy then local agencies in toronto or they are severly undercharging down there—not sure. But thats why I don't push for too much effort in the US clients. I do advertise in the bigger cities in the states, but it's not my bread and butter.

Fulcrum
08-31-2013, 08:48 PM
It may be just me, but I don't like that you refer to yourself in both the plural (just above the request a quote) and in the singular (in the about section).

networkandlive
08-31-2013, 11:57 PM
I like the overall setting. I would maybe ad a contact box in the front and maybe a poll for others to preview your site?

Paul
09-01-2013, 02:11 AM
I actually LOVE your original existing site! If I were a prospective client looking for your services I think that site is extremely compelling. The front page, with few words, shows me exactly what you do, how well you do it and the level of quality I can expect. It makes me want you to do my work. I’m sold on the opening page. The rest of the site is easy to navigate; I learn your process and your background quickly. For me, it’s one of quickest sells I’ve seen. But, I’m that kind of client, I want to get to the point.

I'm not sure the new site improves that for me.

Wozcreative
09-01-2013, 01:44 PM
I actually LOVE your original existing site! If I were a prospective client looking for your services I think that site is extremely compelling. The front page, with few words, shows me exactly what you do, how well you do it and the level of quality I can expect. It makes me want you to do my work. I’m sold on the opening page. The rest of the site is easy to navigate; I learn your process and your background quickly. For me, it’s one of quickest sells I’ve seen. But, I’m that kind of client, I want to get to the point.

I'm not sure the new site improves that for me.


Thanks for the input! I was afraid of that.. people liking the old site more :P

Paul
09-01-2013, 10:50 PM
But, I'm the least qualified to comment on any site! My comments were strictly from the prospective of a potential client for whatever that is worth.

Wozcreative
09-02-2013, 11:11 AM
But, I'm the least qualified to comment on any site! My comments were strictly from the prospective of a potential client for whatever that is worth.

No problem, I do believe the old site is better in that it DOES everything very simply.
However I do realize I need to let it go and add more information/content if I want to go a different direction. The old site won't let me do that.
Also, I have grown out of the all black look as well.

billbenson
09-02-2013, 01:30 PM
But, I'm the least qualified to comment on any site! My comments were strictly from the prospective of a potential client for whatever that is worth.

That's why I rarely comment on sites paul. Although I have written them and can do programming, I'm not a web developer. That said, a perspective from a more or less lay person can be of value. I didn't think I had anything of value for woz's new site though. If it was an ecommerce site I probably would have because that is what I do.