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  1. #1
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    Cool Review My News Site Please

    Hi,

    This is my first website and the first I've ever designed and programed, about 90% of it was hand written or configured in notepad++. It's taken me a little under two weeks to get it up and running, I will be adding more content since I've been writing some off site programs the last few days to make it easier for me to submit articles then it has been so far onto the site.

    I'm hoping to get 250 articles up in the next coming weeks, and perhaps a small in house search engine after I deal with some minor advertisement problems I've been having.

    I am very happy with the design, specially when you click into anyone of the many articles. But I would love to have a true gloves off review of my site, bare and bones, I'm built like a rock. Also I'd like to thank you all before hand for taking your time in reviewing my website.

    CenterFieldNews.com
    Last edited by ralph.m; May 27, 2011 at 23:48. Reason: removed click and donation request

  2. #2
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    The text is a bit small for me, and the logo needs some work (it's too grainy, which gives an unprofessional look).

    Like many sites presented in this forum, there is no introduction to the site, no explanation of what it's about. You will lose a lot of visitors because of that. You may say "it's obvious what it's about", but never assume that.

    Also, the Donate button loos suspicious and rather unprofessional. It makes me wonder what the site is really about. You really need to explain where all this is coming from (on the site, I mean, not here).

    The fonts are too small for me, too. Bumping up the font size breaks the site badly, so I'd advise you to remove any height settings on containers—a really bad thing to do with CSS.
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  3. #3
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    The text is a bit small for me, and the logo needs some work (it's too grainy, which gives an unprofessional look).

    Like many sites presented in this forum, there is no introduction to the site, no explanation of what it's about. You will lose a lot of visitors because of that. You may say "it's obvious what it's about", but never assume that.

    Also, the Donate button loos suspicious and rather unprofessional. It makes me wonder what the site is really about. You really need to explain where all this is coming from (on the site, I mean, not here).

    The fonts are too small for me, too. Bumping up the font size breaks the site badly, so I'd advise you to remove any height settings on containers—a really bad thing to do with CSS.
    First I thank you for taking the time to look over my website. I'm looking forward to many other users reviews here. Besides this would you recommended to gloss or soften the logo to give it a shine?

    Introduction page: I did this intentionally since I've read in many articles that most people leave the first page when first visiting and many times it's the introduction page never really ever experiencing the web site, I doubt I'll change the main page to an introduction. Specially since reading the statics over the last week showing a good percentage of my visitors spend 30 minutes and up on the site.

    Also the title of my page on the google search engine explains what the site is about in the description. Personally my first thoughts when sitting down to write up a design before ever doing anything was I never intended to even remotely add a home page intentionally but 100's to 1000's of string along articles scattered around the web and use my SEO skills in the matter. The main page was kind of my gift to the visitors.

    Donation box: I was thinking about this too about the donation box and perhaps making my own donation logo from paypal but just haven't gotten around to it.

    The fonts on the main page may perhaps be small but the fonts in the articles are normal 11pt size. I probably won't be changing this because it would be to much work for me to redesign and I have other things to work at toward the site.

    Excuse me if I missed spelled a word or two if I had, since it's late and I'm getting tired. Thanks again for your review.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by owl471 View Post
    Introduction page: I did this intentionally
    You don't necessarily need a whole intro page. Even just a site subtitle like "presenting the news of the world" or something like that as part of the logo, or just under it, at least gives some purpose for the site.

    I don't consider 11px a normal font size, but anyhow, even if you don't change the home page font size, do remove the height on those boxes.
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  5. #5
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    Which boxes are you talking about? The red, white, and blue?

    By the way what browser are you using?

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    The logo is poor, very pixelated. I'd just redo it completely, no amount of softening or "glossing" would help.
    The layout is fine, although as mentioned the text is a little on the small side. I'd also make the headlines stand out a bit more, maybe bold or something.
    I don't mind the donate button as ads are everywhere on sites in general and seeing another donate button doesn't matter (we've all got bills right!).

    Still on the subject of design, I'd pad the "News and Events" blue box, as at moment the spacing between "N" in News and the box's border is only 1 pixel wide and makes it look unprofessional (I'm using Firefox).
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by owl471 View Post
    Which boxes are you talking about? The red, white, and blue?
    I just called them 'boxes' without checking what they were. I meant the sections in the columns on the home page. In fact, it's worse, though: you have heights set on some paragraphs. That's an even bigger no-no. There's really no reason to do that. Attached is a screen shot of the page as I see it.

    By the way what browser are you using?
    I use all browsers. But that's a shot from Firefox with the text bumped up a bit.
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  8. #8
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    I just called them 'boxes' without checking what they were. I meant the sections in the columns on the home page. In fact, it's worse, though: you have heights set on some paragraphs. That's an even bigger no-no. There's really no reason to do that. Attached is a screen shot of the page as I see it.



    I use all browsers. But that's a shot from Firefox with the text bumped up a bit.
    Thank you for that screen-shot I really appreciated that you put in the time and effort to place that up on here. I was worried about this since I had no clue this is what some visitors were seeing and I am quite embarrass by it. What would you recommend tables for the middle columns on the main page? Does this happen in the individual articles as well or just the main page?

    I'm glad to see the last column worked out great, CSS isn't my favorite in working with code and have read some buzz among web designers in the community that many are going back to table design. Of course tables and CSS doesn't work well with each other at least through my experience.

    It must be my monitor since I don't see how rough the logo design is that some have said in here, I do want to keep the logo design but what would you advisers recommend in fixing this little problem? I have the latest photoshop.

    By the way did you enlarge the main page with the Ctrl key to make the text bigger in the screen-shot?

    I'll see what I can work on this afternoon, specially before I talk with advertisers, I'll probably re-code the middle columes with table design *sigh don't want to think about the work though it shouldn't be too hard.

    Thanks again and if you have any other comments let me know.

    Have a nice weekend

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by owl471 View Post
    would you recommend tables for the middle columns on the main page?
    Nooooooooooo! Please don't use tables. Never use tables for layout. It's totally unnecessary, trust me.

    All you need to change to fix that overlap is to take the heights off the paragraphs.

    Does this happen in the individual articles as well or just the main page?
    No, you don't have any heights set on paras there, so it's fine.

    have read some buzz among web designers in the community that many are going back to table design.
    No, not in the real web community. Table layouts are long dead, and don't even think of going back to them.

    It must be my monitor since I don't see how rough the logo design is that some have said in here
    It's very fuzzy, and not very clear. I thought that the own was standing on a stick and that the site was called enterNews, until I saw the domain.

    By the way did you enlarge the main page with the Ctrl key to make the text bigger in the screen-shot?
    Yes, although I'm on a Mac and used Command +, the equivalent.

    I'll probably re-code the middle columes with table design *sigh don't want to think about the work though it shouldn't be too hard.
    As I said above, Nooooooooo! Just remove the inline heights on the <p>s. Should take a minute or two at most.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    You have some rather serious validation errors. Also, I spend a LOT of time on news sites, and I expect the headlines to be clickable. It threw me when they were not clickable. Some of what I guess is original content is written with a shaky grasp of English grammar. Perhaps most importantly, you're essentially stealing content and reprinting it. You're using material from the BBC, CBS12, and other mainstream media outlets, reprinting much or all of the content (including pics and videos), and merely giving an "original source" link at the bottom. You're asking for legal intervention here. At the very least, cut down the reprinted material to conform with "fair use" guidelines and get a Creative Commons license to cover what you're doing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    You have some rather serious validation errors. Also, I spend a LOT of time on news sites, and I expect the headlines to be clickable. It threw me when they were not clickable. Some of what I guess is original content is written with a shaky grasp of English grammar. Perhaps most importantly, you're essentially stealing content and reprinting it. You're using material from the BBC, CBS12, and other mainstream media outlets, reprinting much or all of the content (including pics and videos), and merely giving an "original source" link at the bottom. You're asking for legal intervention here. At the very least, cut down the reprinted material to conform with "fair use" guidelines and get a Creative Commons license to cover what you're doing.
    Thanks for the heads up but I'm not breaking any infringement laws nor am I worried, since I'm not selling the material nor saying it's my own work since I clearly put a link attached to the original author I see no problem here.

    Also copyright licenses that are the only thing that can fly in the courts take months to receive from the U.S. Copyright Office with a heavy fee. Plus you need an individual license for each individual article for each individual country it gets published in. Stating this, once it's posted on the net your license goes out the window and is fare game. Plus you need to prove that the offender actually stole your material from you and not another source. Plus you need to actually prove that you made the original material and putting it in an envelope to send to your self at the post office won't fly either.

    This is how thousands of other news contents can do this without infringements basically taking small clippings from local news papers and placing them on the web.

  12. #12
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    The owl is the symbol of wisdom. It suits more likely on academic sites and such. In my opinion delivering news to the masses has little to do with wisdom. Is more like a public service. But if you decide to stick with the owl i suggest remaking it. Another thing: there is no Menu. On the main page the is only "main Page". Plus the whole design is flawed. i`d redo that too. And the most important thing i guess, is to arrange the headlines in categories. And it also looks squished on my pc but that`s probably just on my pc. You got a good thing going on there. Think it all over and you`ll do great! this is constructive criticism based on what i saw on your website and i didn't read any other reviews on it. this is my personal view on it. good luck!

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    the logo is not nice, the owl might work as a log but needs a lot more work. the font should be bigger and alinged to the left rather than fully justified.

    I would have 3 columns as they seem too thin, and if you make the font bigger, they will look even thinner.
    the image borders works good. you could use your footer to provide the relevent information on what the website is about.

    the navigation does not seem finished but at least do something when users hover at it. Also I think the navigation think ("main page") should be all the way to the left

    it seems to me that you have designed your site around the adverts, I would recomend you design the website (with no adverts) then add them in the spaces provided by the content.

    might be nice if the "news and events" column was a lot more different then the rest. Depending on your taste, that column could work well with a style like Simply Spy (but with a lot slower navigation)

    try to make the sub-headings ("Teen Arrested" ...) slightly more bolder, give them a stronger position on the page.

    I dont really like the stripes above each column (the blue, red, white, red)

    hope it helps

  14. #14
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    I don't know where the navigation is or how it looks...

    Anyways, on what I CAN see: titles are not very appealing, and the justified text just makes some lines difficult to read, especially on narrow columns.
    www.bluepindesign.com - web design/graphic design/web development

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    I'll be honest: the website looks like it's 10 years old. I'm struggling to say anything constructive because I think it needs a complete redo.

    Think about the visual hierarchy of the site and how you want people to use it. Right now, there's no coherent flow. Everything has about the same weight, and you don't draw the eye around the page. The only thing that stands out is the banner ad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    Nooooooooooo! Please don't use tables. Never use tables for layout. It's totally unnecessary, trust me.

    All you need to change to fix that overlap is to take the heights off the paragraphs.



    No, you don't have any heights set on paras there, so it's fine.



    No, not in the real web community. Table layouts are long dead, and don't even think of going back to them.



    It's very fuzzy, and not very clear. I thought that the own was standing on a stick and that the site was called enterNews, until I saw the domain.



    Yes, although I'm on a Mac and used Command +, the equivalent.



    As I said above, Nooooooooo! Just remove the inline heights on the <p>s. Should take a minute or two at most.
    I took the heights off the paragraphs as you said. If you could, tell me if it's still over lapping.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by owl471 View Post
    I took the heights off the paragraphs as you said. If you could, tell me if it's still over lapping.
    Yes, that's fixed the overlapping issue.
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by owl471 View Post
    Thanks for the heads up but I'm not breaking any infringement laws nor am I worried, since I'm not selling the material nor saying it's my own work since I clearly put a link attached to the original author I see no problem here.

    Also copyright licenses that are the only thing that can fly in the courts take months to receive from the U.S. Copyright Office with a heavy fee. Plus you need an individual license for each individual article for each individual country it gets published in. Stating this, once it's posted on the net your license goes out the window and is fare game. Plus you need to prove that the offender actually stole your material from you and not another source. Plus you need to actually prove that you made the original material and putting it in an envelope to send to your self at the post office won't fly either.

    This is how thousands of other news contents can do this without infringements basically taking small clippings from local news papers and placing them on the web.
    It looks to me like you're reprinting entire articles or large chunks, not small snippets (fair use guidelines are 10% of the written content). I wouldn't suggest trying to spend yea bucks on buying licenses either, but your statement that "once it's posted on the net your license goes out the window and is fare game" is absolutely wrong. I know of one very prominent news/opinion site that almost got shut down because of doing exactly what you're doing; by the time all was said and done, the site had to fire its head honcho, fight like crazy to avoid fines and court judgments, revamp its entire content structure, and, perhaps most importantly, spend over two years rebuilding its reputation. One of the first news/opinion blogs/forums in existence almost got ran off the Internet for the same thing, and had to drastically change its practices. I know what I'm talking about, and I'm telling you, you're playing with fire. You do what you like, but you would do well to stop reprinting large chunks of articles and get the Creative Commons license.

  19. #19
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    A site that could be interesting, but fails to draw my attention.
    Header: owl (symbol of wisdom) and some colours, like Georgian (a country, capital - Tbilisi) flag colours and US flag manner. What could that mean?
    Photos too little, text size too small. Nothing draws my attention.
    Navigation: could not find one.
    The link "By A6 webmaster pack!" leads to nowhere. Just a pretty-looking text?

    Suggestions:
    1. make some header
    2. change owl with something closer to "news" concept
    3. Increase text size
    4. Increase photo size
    5. Introduce categories and/or tag cloud
    6. Please do not make links "full text can be found there" if there is link to Playboy, even 1980 issue.
    7. Introduce navigation, including "about us" section.

    So far - no temptation to visit second time or read something. In my non-proffesional opinion -a bad website.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vytautas View Post
    The link "By A6 webmaster pack!" leads to nowhere. Just a pretty-looking text?
    It's actually
    Buy The Webmaster A 6 Pack!!!
    a humorous way to solicit donations. But you're right, it looks like a non-functional link.

  21. #21
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    Here is my honest opinion:
    The site looks like it was built to generate ad clicks.

    The logo should be under the banner ad not above it. Remove the main menu item "Main Page" and just make the logo clickable (clicking on logo should send you to the home page).

    The Donate bottom should be under the News and Events not above it. It looks better for first time visitors that way. Its better to give them the value/content first before asking for a donation. Also the News and Event column will look better on the right side. It looks distracting from the main content of the site right now. The News and Event bar shouldnt be blue, blue color doesn't contrast with the rest of the site.

    The links to youtube videos (mind control 2.0 etc) under the news article is very confusing and random to a user. Its better to remove it.

    Also make the news thumbnail pictures clickable, make it point to the news articles.

    Focus more on content first less on sticky ads. I hope this helps.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by owl471 View Post
    Thanks for the heads up but I'm not breaking any infringement laws nor am I worried, since I'm not selling the material nor saying it's my own work since I clearly put a link attached to the original author I see no problem here.

    Also copyright licenses that are the only thing that can fly in the courts take months to receive from the U.S. Copyright Office with a heavy fee. Plus you need an individual license for each individual article for each individual country it gets published in. Stating this, once it's posted on the net your license goes out the window and is fare game. Plus you need to prove that the offender actually stole your material from you and not another source. Plus you need to actually prove that you made the original material and putting it in an envelope to send to your self at the post office won't fly either.

    This is how thousands of other news contents can do this without infringements basically taking small clippings from local news papers and placing them on the web.
    Actually even if it was legal to do so, it is highly unethical. Google even has programs to battle duplicate content on the web and you will find yourself having a difficult time ranking on search results because all the content on your site was published first on sites with high page ranks.

    Also, you can still violate copyright laws without making any profit. I can't just pull images off of Getty and use them on my portfolio of school work even if i was nice enough to link back to them. I also can't print up a bunch of Britto paintings on a non-profit brochure and expect him to not sue me. And downloading Photoshop and giving it to your buddy for free is most certainly illegal....these are all the same concepts. I have no idea why you think putting something on the net gives up your copyright but that is totally false.

    In order to win a copyright violation case the copyright holder only needs to prove two thing:
    1) That you had access to the material (which you do cause its on the net)
    2) That you actually violated the materials copyright (which you did because you need to acquire a license from the copyright holder to distribute the work)

    Lastly I think your underestimating people's ability to find their copied work and following thru with a lawsuit. Lets just say I have seen lawyers get involved over a few sentences among small low ranked sites and there was even a major lawsuit a while back over a single note.....

    I highly suggest you extensively research this matter before you wind up getting yourself in a lot of trouble, but in the long run it is your decision to be made.

    PS. you can legally use copyrighted work if you are doing a news story or critique on the material itself but copy pasting stuff doesn't cut it.

  23. #23
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    Negative:
    Layout is very bad.You can make it better.
    Logo is need to be good and clarity.
    Brown color make your website look bad. So change the color.

    Positive:
    More Content.

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    Need to work hard more. Increase the font size and work out with text alignment. Make it look more web 2.0

    All the best

  25. #25
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    I understand that you are you newbie in web development, but I think you can use a lot of tutorials that will help you to create more professional website. Firdt of all I din't like the size of your layout. You cam increase it. The website is overloaded with content, try to make more free space.


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