Topic: Website Critique

Website (not Live) Review Sought. Thanx.

Posted by timberboxes on 3000 Points

See A unique mix of specialization, sales of hard-goods and food, and a blog. All comments regarding navigation, branding, product mix, tech, and anything else are sought. Thanx.

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  • Posted by Mike Steffes on Member
    Logo area is a bit big. Daily Menu doesn't need to be that big either. You could feature a rotating mix of, say, 3 actual money making products just under the contents bar.
    Could use some naturally-posed, happy people in more of the pictures. Composition of photos varies over too wide a range.
    It seems focused on one strong-willed person's interest.
  • Posted by timberboxes on Author
    re: steffes: I'm not defensive, but strong-willed should be translating to "disciplined", which it takes to recognize a market opportunity (wood-fired) and maintain a plan to compete. BTW - pictures of people: I depend on supplier's photos. 99% of products are not mine. They're drop-shipped so I'll have minimal inventory expenses. I am making no near-term investment in people shots. And expect no loss of revenue to competitors subsequently because they've got the same pictures. And I present the pictures better than they.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    A few quick comments:

    1. The tagline "The Art of Wood-Fired Grilling" needs to be bigger/more obvious, so folks understand what the site is about.

    2. It would be good if you can offer a clear and compelling BENEFIT for your site visitors, so they don't have to poke around to figure out what's in it for them. ("How will my life be better if I invest time looking through this site?")

    3. I'd suggest getting a large image that shows your primary target audience enjoying the benefit you deliver. Right now the site is mostly devoid of happy customers' pictures. The two that are now on the homepage are small and perhaps not optimal. You want your target audience to be able to project themselves into your story.

    4. The shopping pages are about as bare-bones as they can be. They need some descriptive copy that will engage the site visitor and provide a hint of emotional reward. Right now it's just a picture (with no humans in it), a title and a price. Not very enticing. It does get slightly better when you get to the detail page for each item, but a lot of people will never get there if you don't make it sound tempting.

    Hope these comments help.

    How do you expect your target audience to find your website? Do you plan to have focused landing pages, or are you expecting the generic homepage to replace landing pages?

    As for "I depend on supplier's photos," that's a cop-out. It says you don't really care if your site is attractive or effective, in which case why are you seeking our review? For something less than $20 you can license a great image that will transform your site from ho-hum to Wow! Why wouldn't you do that?

  • Posted by timberboxes on Author
    Gary, "The shopping pages are about as bare-bones as they can be." Are you referring to the group gallery pages, such as... ???

  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    It's mgoodman -- Michael -- not Gary.

    Yes. It's the group gallery pages that are bare-bones.
  • Posted by timberboxes on Author
    Sorry, Mike. LOL. I've been here too often. Ya I could add some copy there... but know that ppl aren't coming here randomly. Maybe I will. re landing pages... I'll probably pick product-specific landing pages due to Google's ppc ad ranking system. Or make the gallery the general landing page. Re: yes I agree a stock image is possible... my comment above regarded presumably many shots, and made by a photographer I hire.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    I would think the goal is to have someone in your target audience land on your homepage and get excited about the fact that there's a site that shares the same passion for wood-fired grilling that he/she does.

    That's going to take some emotional engagement -- words and pictures that really get the juices flowing. Right now you have a bland menu of things to do/look at.

    Look at your site through the lenses of the WOW! experience you want to deliver to your visitors. That should help. If you think you need a professional creative team -- copywriter and graphic designer/art director -- it will almost certainly be worth the fee you'll need to pay.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    The white text of the subhead on your title is hard to read. Likewise, the seal emblem seems a little out of place. On first blush, there's a lot of wasted visual real estate at the top of the page, and the scrolling element at the bottom of the page may not be doing you any favors.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    Good that it's a responsive design.
    Not seeing any analytics installed.
    Alt-text is useless - a missed opportunity for search engines.
    Title tag is useless as well.
    Graphically - the top banner doesn't clearly read BBQ. I see a top of a wine seal and some dark/light areas, but not much else.
    Have contact info at bottom of each page (at least email/phone).
    Daily Menu image is a bit large, since the "meat" of your website begins on what you offer ("How To..")
    "Embers is a specialty BBQ resource..." doesn't clearly state what this website is. At first glance is it a library or sales or tech support?
    Most importantly, it doesn't show me the passion that your clients feel for BBQ (either the grilling, social aspect, or eating).
  • Posted by simpson.kayle on Accepted
    Did you create a mood board for this? Does this company have a branding guide? This website looks a lot like a collage and less like a cohesive brand.

    The visual hierarchy is also extremely top heavy - I don't know where I'm supposed to look first, there are so many headlines and focal points.

    Lastly, it's not obvious what this company does. At the top it says "bbq resource" but then there's a menu - is this a blog? is it a restaurant? is it a bbq sauce retailer? Messaging needs to be concise, consistent, and contained.

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