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my unique baskets needs critiqued

kkrafts58kkrafts58 subscriber Posts: 12
edited July 2007 in Website Critique
When I first decided to have my site critiqued, I was going to say, "Hey,critique my site please", but after reading HDEAN`s post, I know what to basically ask for. Then I read iouone2 and now I`m paranoid. But here goes. I create custom made gift baskets for everyone and every budget. I created the site myself. I`ve had my site about 2 years, but in the last few months was not happy with it, so I changed backgrounds, added pages, and moved items around. The only page I didn`t change was my camping page. I receive almost as many hits on it as my homepage and it`s a bear to change. Anyway, what I`d like to know is, is my website appealing, user friendly, do you have any problems with pages loading, the works. Are there any specific keywords I should use on my pages? Anything you would add or delete? My former boss said she liked it and wanted me to help design hers, www.myuniquebaskets.com</A> Give it to me straight, but try not to be too harsh.
Thank You, Karen


  • VideographyVideography subscriber Posts: 401 Silver Level Member
    You asked for it.....Too many buttons on the left side of he page, and why the run-on words?  Your target audience is probably not going to take a few seconds to decode "Theartofgiftgiving".  Also, "aboutme" is there twice.  Finally, I had to search for the about and contact buttons - they are in the middle of the product offerings.  As is the "home" button.I would have a separate "products" page and keep the home page more simple.I also have a problem with the ad links - if they are paying for the site, at least delineate them with a horizontal line and a heading: "Sponsored Links", o something like that.  Just sticking them at the bottom of the page is confusing.  While on the subject of links, you should explain why the customer might care about the links on the links page.Consider spending the money for professional product photos.  [Insert shameless plug here].  It`s obvious that you`re on a tight budget, but don`t dismiss the power of appearances.  (By the same token, I would take out the "home-based" references in the "About" page).  Your photos are "soft" - taken with a low-resolution hand-held camera, and your backgrounds and the lighting are inconsistent. 
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
    You use yahoo sitebuilder and paypal`s "buy me" buttons. So, you can have some design restrictions and your missing some of the benefits of an ecommerce program.
    Your menu is all graphics without any alt image tags.. so search bots can not read your menu.  See what the "text" version of your site looks like: ts.com/&hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-43,GGLD:en&stri p=1
    Your menu does not appear.... not a good thing for a couple or reasons. (1) search bots can not see links to your site`s other pages (which hinders the rest of your site being indexed), and (2) impaired viewers can not tell what you menu contains.  So, at the least add alt image tags with the names of each link. The best solution would be to redo the menu to CSS / text based links.
    Add a sitemap to the bottom of the page. This will help search bots find your other pages.
    You should add alt image tags to all your product images and make sure each has a name... some just have a descrption under the photo.
    Ooo, the large version of your images is ways too large (in actual size and file size). I clicked on "welcome to the office" image. The large imgage can be 500px by 400px at the largest... and provide the viewer with a good idea of the product.
    Your menu - the order of the page listing is not intuative. Usually people expect the "home" page to be at the top of a menu list. Not sure what would be a good order for the links, but alphabetical may be good as any.
    The "baby" page menu is different than on the home page (plus the home page is called "index" on the baby page).
    In general I get the impression that products are haphazardly placed on a page. If you try to use a uniform thumbnail image size and maintain a consistant page layout throughout your site.. that will help.
    I also suggest keeping the same background image/colors on all your pages... also implies consistancy.
  • kkrafts58kkrafts58 subscriber Posts: 12
    Hi Craig, I expected to see you here. Let me start with Steve since he replied first. The buttons on the left side are my nav. bars. Give me some options other than my nav. bars. I redid all my nav. bars so that my home is on the top followed by, about me, and contact me. Then the rest in alphabetical order. My ad links are family and friends (no charge to them) but I did remove them from the home page. And I did explain briefly each link on the "other websites" page. As for pictures, are you in CA and how expensive are you? Quoted by you" [Insert shameless plug here]." Oh! and I also took out the "home-based" on my "about me" page.
    Hi Roland, how do I put alt image tags and where do they go?  I fixed the baby page menu and background colors. I`ll be working on the images over the next week. I`m not to sure as to how to put the pictures on as one size and if clicked on, they go to a larger size.
    O.K. Craig here we go. I just got your post, so I haven`t touched a single thing that you have suggested. I`ll look into the "welcome to my page, I think that when a page opens in a different window some people prefer it, so that when they are done looking they just close the tab. That should be a poll on SuN. Anybody out there listening? I would but I have alot of work to do. (On my site) O.K. Roland where do I go to run an audit on my links? Well, time to get back to work. Have a great evening and I`ll get back on here tomorrow.
    Karen  www.myuniquebaskets.com</A>
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
    Alt image tags are added to each image separately. I do not use sitebuilder, so I can`t tell you how to add them with your program.
    You could change the HTML that site builder produces. Here is some HTML coding for images info.
    As far an an audit of your links... there are a lot of programs that will check for broken links on your site. But the example that Craig listed is not a broken link... just links to an incorrect url. If you view your site with FireFox there is a tool that will list all thelinks on the page your viewing in the browser.
  • VideographyVideography subscriber Posts: 401 Silver Level Member
    Let me start with Steve since he replied first. The buttons on the left side are my nav. bars. Give me some options other than my nav. bars. I redid all my nav. bars so that my home is on the top followed by, about me, and contact me. Then the rest in alphabetical order. My ad links are family and friends (no charge to them) but I did remove them from the home page. And I did explain briefly each link on the "other websites" page. As for pictures, are you in CA and how expensive are you? Quoted by you" [Insert shameless plug here]." Oh! and I also took out the "home-based" on my "about me" page.I would declutter the nav bar by compressing the products into one "Products" page linked by a single "Products" button in the nav bar.  Ad links are OK, but they should be explained.  If possible with relevance to your site.  (Better for search engines).[Shameless Plug] - No, we just moved to Massachusetts and most of my gear is in a moving van.  Somewhere.  I don`t plan to have the business going again until September.  Look around for a photographer new to the business, or use guru.com to solicit bids from photographers.
  • vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
    Roland,Thanks for the tip in Firefox...hadn`t thought of that. What I meant wasn`t that there was a broken link, per se. But isn`t there a way to get, like, a map of links? I`m thinking of relational databases, where you can print out a connection audit and see where each file connects to each other file. Some sort of maybe graphical (primitive if need be) drawing that shows each link and its destination?That would quickly show that an image was going to the wrong place, I`m thinking. That would also show broken links if any happened to be there.
    Hi Craig,
    That would be nice... but I haven`t seen a program to do that. FrontPage had something similar (a graphical representation of links). You could create a site map, but it still will require looking at each link line to check if they are linked to where you want them to be linked.
  • kkrafts58kkrafts58 subscriber Posts: 12
    Good morning. O.K. I thougth I had fixed the baby page, but my sitebuilder crashed twice yesterday. I blame my computer, but it is fixed now. Craig, I moved the welcome to my page writing to the top, AND, I found out about the picture and link or url. It was laziness on my part. I`ll explain, When I put a new basket on my website, I load the picture on my home page, and since it takes awhile for my computer, I copy and paste the picture on the page it is related to, instead of having to reload it . I believe that is what happened, so I will go on my website and pass the curser over each picture and then I can tell if I had copy and pasted or just loaded it. You guys are awesome. Thanks.
  • kkrafts58kkrafts58 subscriber Posts: 12
    O.K. I`m back. I went over all my images and the only one that takes you back to my home page is the baby bear basket. I know sitebuilder has a site search, so I need to go into that and figure out how it works. And I will get started on redoing pictures. I also clicked on the pics and once they completely loaded the size seemed fine on my computer. But that could be just me. I, also, know that I should have been reading, "11 steps to create a website" . Duh! And I will figure out a way to cut done on my buttons.I, also, made sure that when people contact me they are taken to a reply page and not a blank one. Except for image tags, Anything else?
  • kkrafts58kkrafts58 subscriber Posts: 12
    I am going to run out of ink, by the time I`m done typing up all the suggestions. Ha,Ha!
    Steve; with my cold and the cold meds my brain just isn`t functioning at normal. It took me a good 24 hrs. to figure out what you meant by a products page. O.K. That`s done and I only have 5 or 6 buttons now.
    Just to let everyone know, I didn`t give up my "Art of Gift Giving page", but I only have a sentence linking to it on the home page.
    OHDenise, I will do the bullets for descriptions. My own photo? Are you trying to scare people? Sorry couldn`t resist. As for the camping page, I still haven`t changed it. The photos on it with captions, bring in quite a few hits. What I mean is that when someone types in "Puddingstone Lake" (just an example) in a search engine, they come up and so does "My Unique Baskets".
    I will be working on this over the course of the next couple of weeks using everyone`s helpful ideas. So keep checking back to see the changes. And let me know if I`m forgetting anything. Hope everyone has the day off tomorrow and Happy 4th.
  • kkrafts58kkrafts58 subscriber Posts: 12
    O.K. over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be redoing the pictures. So, I will make sure to look into their size as I go along.
    I have come a long way, but still have far to go. I still need to look into the site search. You should have seen it 6 months ago.
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