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  1. #1
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    Please review the website I built for my wife's soap business

    this is not my first website, but I am far from a professional web designer, so I would appreciate any suggestions & constructive criticism.

    The site is for my wife's new organic soap making business and is built from a template with the images/text changed to suit the business. It has been up and running for over 6 months now, but sales are still slow, so I need to work on it & get it right ASAP.

    I've been working on the SEO, but am a bit clueless about it to be honest, so if it needs work please tell me!

    Welcome to Meadows Organic Soaps - Natural luxury that doesn't cost the earth.

  2. #2
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    Ok, So your website has 4 H1 tags and 0 H2 tags. Ideally there should be 1 H1 tag and other H2 tags. You can adjust the font size of the heading tags. Loading time of the site was 14.8 seconds on Firefox. I like the navigation bar and the over all look of the site.
    Looking at the source code I saw that you have used too many keywords. Use fewer keywords and make sure that you use that keywords in the content of the page

  3. #3
    a fresh, new start... dujmovicv's Avatar
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    Except the background image (I feel it's a bit old-fashioned...) I really like the design! Clean and simple. The SEO thing is a long-term process, you need to continually work on that. Sign up for Google AdWords and use the Keyword tool to see what keywords Google suggests for your niche. You'll see the monthly search impressions for those keywords so you'll know what to expect. Use those keywords in the text, use h1, h2 tags. Find out who's your competition, search Google with your keywords and visit the best-ranked pages. Steal some ideas. Try to get some backlinks on RELEVANT pages.... Just a few ideas for your SEO....

    Full time ADMIN - art community
    Part time coder - dsign

  4. #4
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    I really like the look and feel of the site. However, I am against flash so I would suggest replacing the whole header with html and css.

    Especially for menus, could greatly negatively impact seo.

    Tell a friend shouldnt be popups since theyre outdated so consider a modal box.

    Other than that, it is a very nice site.

  5. #5
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    The website uses flash for the menu, which is an issued that has been addressed by almost all SEOers: please do not use flash menu unless you have to. Because this could probably cause bad user experience to the visitors as the loading time for flash could be much longer.

  6. #6
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    I like your wife's website design. It looks quite good. The design is clean and fresh. My eyes rest when I look at your website. I suggest you to create jQuery animated menu buttons. I think it will look much better and SEO-friendly

  7. #7
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    Im not sure if it will cause any issues for 15" monitors but when I press ctrl - (Im using windows on a laptop with a 17" screen), the menu bar cuts the left and right edges off, actually cropping most of the word "purchase" altogether.

    Its ok in IE9 but FF5 and the latest version of safari for windows really goes belly up .

    Apart from that, it looks clean and presentable.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies!

    Is flash really that bad then? I'm not so good at jQuery,.. but if it'll make a big difference I will try to learn?

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy TheRaptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Njones View Post
    Thanks for the replies!

    Is flash really that bad then? I'm not so good at jQuery,.. but if it'll make a big difference I will try to learn?
    Its bad for SEO as any information stored in flash is invisible to Search Engines. It's also unstable and some might need to install a plugin to view your site. jQuery would be ideal.

  10. #10
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    Flash is bad for SEO and it is bad for mobile (especially iPhone/iPad where it doesn't even run).
    Pricetack - sell your goods with automatic markdowns

  11. #11
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    I think it looks great. Very clean and professional.

    One issue I noticed is the home button. I think it is ingrained in people to assume that it would take you to the home page rather than to products for the home. Just my humble opinion though.

    Another is the load time, for me it was 7 seconds with a blank screen in FF 4 and then an additional second for the rest of the Flash content to load (Progress Meter from 0-100%). The overall time wasn't bad, it was just the completely blank screen for that long. It made me wonder if I mistyped the address andd I did have the feeling that I wanted to bail on it.

    Adobe has been trying to address the SEO issue with Flash, below is the link to it to their site regarding this. Maybe it will provide you some information to help as you get better SEO with this site as you transition your site into technologies you are yet unfamiliar with, should you decide to.

    SEO | Adobe Developer Connection

  12. #12
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    I love the warm colors, it fits very well. I do like your navigation, but as others have said it isn't great for SEO. Instead of replacing the flash navigation, you could also add a standard html navigation, but have it be behind the flash navigation. This way you get the best of both worlds.

    You can do this by putting the flash nav and the text nav on different divs. Then use the position: absolute; CSS property on the text nav and give the div containing the flash nav a z-index: 2;

    This way you can have both, better SEO and you can keep the flash navigation. Normally I don't care for flash but your nav animations are quick, smooth, and fit the design, so IMO it works =)

  13. #13
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    First, before I forget, on the Where To Buy, you have some spelling errors(comming soon) should be (coming soon).
    I think having a very visible tab or link on the home page, such as View Our Online Catalog would be very helpful. My first impression and first action was to go to "Where To Buy." This confused me and I thought at first that the products were not available online. You could also have a tab at the top that just says Products and from that page have the various categories.
    I recommend more content on the home page with more descriptive language to draw people, with your social networking portion on the side.

  14. #14
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    That's a nice design. It immediately says "we know what we're doing." Very professional, great colors, appropriate movement.

    Dunno if anyone else sees this -- to me the soap looks like cheese :-) That's going to throw anyone looking for soap.

    The menu one-word links are perfect. Communicative and understated.

    The pictures, especially of the round boxes, are a little fuzzy. (Passion fruit lip balm as example.)

    Nice orange action item buttons on shop page.

    The hero shot doesn't necessarily need to run on every page because it causes the user to have to scroll. You'll never get a message above the fold if that's always there instead.

    How are "offers" different than the other pages of items?

    The site is taking a good 4 seconds minimum to load each page.

    Firefox cable internet.

    The why organic page has a ton of bold. When everything is bold, nothing is emphasized.
    The hub pages organic link can open in a new browser, you've just kicked someone off your site by sending them elsewhere.

  15. #15
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    I've been working on the site today, trying to follow the suggestions made here about removing the flash menu. I've run up against a small problem as you can see here:

    Contact Meadows Organic Soap Today!

    The menu displays fine in firefox,.. but not in internet explorer! I can't for the life of me figure out what I've done wrong. Can anyone help?

  16. #16
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    see attached
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
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    Thanks digiweb,.. but how do i fix it??!!

  18. #18
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    its ok,.. think i've fixed the display issue in IE,... does it look ok to you guys now?

  19. #19
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    Looks good. the testimonials alignment on the home page appears off. The "clients testimonials" appears indented more to the right thanks the testimonial text. Perhaps adjust the font sizes too? I'm viewing on iPad so I'm not sure if it's browser related. I'll try and take a look using Firefox.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Enthusiast Ionisis's Avatar
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    2 things that caught my eye right away were that the image of your wife needs replaced with one that is not blurry. The current one just doesn't seem professional. The 2nd thing is that the navigation tabs would look better if they went to the end of the header image since that area starts at the beginning of the header image.

  21. #21
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    Agreed @ above and the contact form would look good if they had a boundary or if the color of the text fields was a bit dark.

  22. #22
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    Thanks guys,.. I'll work on those issues this evening.

  23. #23
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    Clear and simple however , the top menu need to be improved and the footer could also a use a bit of attention because at the moment it is quite bland .

  24. #24
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    Is the contact form looking better now?

    Is the clients testimonial on the main page better aligned?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ionisis View Post
    2 things that caught my eye right away were that the image of your wife needs replaced with one that is not blurry. The current one just doesn't seem professional. The 2nd thing is that the navigation tabs would look better if they went to the end of the header image since that area starts at the beginning of the header image.
    I agree with you there. She's very camera shy, so won't let me take a decent photo,.. I do think a photo of her is essential to the site though, so i'm stuck with that for a while.

    The menu bar is driving me nuts though,.. i simply can't figure out how to stretch it to fill the available space. I'll have another go at it tomorrow, but any suggestions will be gratefully received on how to fix that issue!


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