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Topic: E-Marketing

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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.

Website Esthetics

Posted by Roxana on 1000 Points
We rebuilt our site on a CMS platform in order to solve the problems of high bounce rates due to low speed internet connections and obsolete browsers, low SEO, difficulty and cost of frequent upgrades of prices and models, low interactivity.
The early figures are positive on all parameters, however there are some voices that consider we should restart rebuilding because of unacceptable esthetics.

1. What is your impression on www.renault-serus.ro ? Is it so unacceptable?

2. Is it better or worse then www.serus.ro/renault ?

3. Is adding a Flash as a first page helpful or not for our objectives of selling cars, car parts, car repair services ? ( traffic and conversions)

4. Could you estimate how long should it take to build a site such as www.renault-serus.ro?

Thank you.

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    It'll be hard to judge the content of the websites, since most of us don't speak Romanian.

    As for better/worse - judge the rewrite based on the baseline of website conversions (actions that you've deemed of value to your company), not simply based on what people like or don't.

    Flash is a technology, not a solution to a problem. What goal is Flash trying to solve for your site?
  • Posted by peg on Accepted
    The first site comes up much faster than the second one; but the second one has some better design elements, including lots of beautiful images of the cars.

    So, I'm guessing that critics of the new website are objecting to design elements, not to performance. Fortunately, the major design challenges can be addressed with some fast fixes. This will at least give your new site a fair chance of proving itself. Some recommendations:

    First, eliminate the images of the coast and the building, and use a slider (non-Flash) to rotate professional shots of your cars in this space. Place compelling headlines directly on the car images so load time is not impacted (e.g., "Twingo Miss Sixty").

    Second, get a graphic designer to give you a much better look for your table, which is not professionally styled. Choose light pastel, brand-compatible colors. Or, if you want to do it yourself, see this excellent tutorial on creating a beautiful table:
    http://webdesignernotebook.com/css/a-beautiful-table/

    Third, the website banner looks like an ad. Replace it with something much more brand-styled, such as the banner on the second website. Go for that level of impact.

    Fourth, add brand-consistent color(s) to the gray areas of the left-hand menu(s) -- use the same brand-related pastels as in the chart, not dense color.

    Finally, a somewhat more time-consuming task, but worthwhile, is:
    1. Shorten the home page first paragraph to something more like:

    EXCLUSIVE OFFERS!
    e1200 OFF + 4-year warranty! Symbol & Clio
    e1400 OFF + 5-year warranty! Clio Estate
    LOW PRICE + 4-year warranty! Megane
    e1800 OFF + 5-year warranty! Fluence

    2. Make each line clickable, leading to a page that features each car, with prominent image, similar to the existing Megane page.

    3. Just below the picture, add a graphic feature that restates the offer. Example:

    Save e1200!
    Starting from just e7150
    4-year warranty INCLUDED!

    Apply this system consistently across all car-specific pages.

    These changes should not impact your page-load time and should improve results. It shouldn't take much time. Your main home page issues are 1) sexy car pictures, 2) color, and 3) the table. Your sales opportunity is making each car-specific page much more visual, with fewer words above the fold and more excitement.

    If your personal strengths are more about website performance than graphic design, you might add a graphic designer to your project for additional help -- someone from www.elance.com or similar sites.

    Hope this is helpful is getting more acceptance for the new site.

  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    The better looking site is number 1. As to how long it will take to build something better, the time will expand or contract depending on you and how quickly you want to make progress.

    As for SEO, you talk about yourself too much. Time invested in rewriting your copy so that it's more customer focused may serve you better than any redesign.
  • Posted by Roxana on Author
    Thank you for your answers so far. Everybody draws my attention on content and purpose. I know that content is king, but I wanted you to concentrate on design because this was the only point of divergence in the team.
    Historically, first site is the newest and its improvements are: it has a CMS allowing us to modify and create content, it has better parameters such as bounce rate, returning visitors, time on site and better SEO. And we intend to do a lot of testing on the content.
    However, a young colleague criticized the new site for design: obsolete -in his opinion. He proposed to drop the whole thing and rebuilt it with Flash.
    It is a real concern for me because we all are aware of a new generation who is impulsive, hates education, loves "cool" things more then value, enjoy socialization and manifests itself in unexpected violent forms such as British riots or Norvegian extremism approvall.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    My knee-jerk reaction: Stay the course. Don't scrap what you've done and go with a fancy Flash-based site. Keep what you have and test your way to more effective content and a site that delivers your objective.

    Even if you had a completely new site, you would want to improve and optimize. But in the end your website can only do so much. This is not an online business. Your site is to generate leads, answer questions and create a positive image for your brand.

    Make the most of what you have. Improve it when and as you can.
  • Posted by peg on Accepted
    My advice is to hear that there is a problem, but not to take the young colleague's prescription for Flash as the solution.

    In my opinion, it is a mistake to have a site that sells cars, but has no pictures of cars on the home page, and relatively few pictures of cars anywhere else. Pictures of cars are the sexy part that makes visitors want to buy; so there really must be images of the current models if you want the best results you can get from this site. Your numbers may be up, but they are not what they could be if you would show the products.

    Secondly, also with regard to design, the table that takes up a huge amount of space on the home page is very amateur in design and makes the home page look like it is not a "real" Renault site. It will therefore cost you some viewers, so again, this is a way to improve the numbers further.

    Both of these are important design points that are incredibly easy to fix, and don't require Flash.

    I understand that you are seeking validation for your side of the disagreement. But, I'm hoping you can set your emotions aside long enough to hear this advice, because your detractor will not stop as long as basic design elements like these are poorly executed. On the other hand, if you do make some changes, you can argue that you "heard" him and made responsible improvements. Your numbers will get even better, and both things together make it harder for him to continue the attack.

  • Posted by Roxana on Author
    Seeking approvall is not my intention. It would be impossible to controll the free answers of the world top experts. Learning the truth is more important.
    I couldn't agree more on the part with what is sexy on a car website. Not having enough pictures yet is a problem of copyright and we are currently working on it.

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