We are proud to announce our NEW community destination. Engage with resident experts and fellow entrepreneurs, and learn everything you need to start your business. Check out the new home of StartupNation Community at startupnation.mn.co

Please critique author website

pmccordpmccord subscriber Posts: 1
edited January 2007 in Website Critique
Although I know what I`m doing in the real world, working within cyber space is not my forte.  But it is a reality we must all come to grips with--and that`s my struggle at the moment.
So, my issue.  I`d like you critique my site http://www.powerreferralselling.com</A>
A little background on why the site is as it is currently.
First, I`m hard-headed enough to give it a try on my own before I move to hiring a web designer.
Secondly, the site is intended to: inform visitors about the book; provide a number of additional resources; generate opt-ins for my mailing list; and provide additional information for potential meeting planners and media visitors.
Why the front page has so much verbage: An item I`ve tried to compensate for:My editor at John Wiley and Sons picked the title, which I hate.  The book details the tools, techniques and strategies the true million dollars a year sales superstars use to generate their tremendous volume of referral business.   The title Wiley chose--Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals--is accurate in the sense that these are the techniques and strategies these mega-producers use to create their million dollar a year incomes.  I personally think the title my come across as too much of a gimmick and just another over hyped waste of money.
In fact, the book has received great reviews and endorsements from all sectors of the indusry.  The first page of the site goes to lengths to define what the content of the book is as opposed to what someone might think when they see the title.
(Of course, that brings up the question as to why I allowed them to name the book a title I wasn`t thrilled with.  Simple.  My editor is the editor of some of the top names in the business and Wiley and Sons is one of the oldest and most respected business publishers in the country.  I figured after 200 years, they probably know a lot more about marketing and selling books than I do.  Still, uncomfortable with what the first impression the title gives.)
Anyway, the subject is the site.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 pmccord2007-1-7 19:2:55


  • Options
    pmccordpmccord subscriber Posts: 1
    I think I need you to define what you mean by PR or marketing on the site.  I have endorsements by SellingPower Sales Management Newsletter, CRM Magazine, Dr. Joe Vitale, Dave Anderson, Frank Rumbauskas, Selling Essentials magazine, ChangingMinds, Stu Taylor of the Equities Strategies and about a dozen other endorsements by some of the top people in the industry, most mentioned on the first page of the site. 
    On another page of the site it relates where in the last 90 days I`ve been in SellingPower Sales Management Newsletter, SellingPower Pharmaceutical Newsletter, The Dallas Morning News, CRM Magazine, on Stu Taylor`s business radio program, on Alan Rothman`s radio program, on SalesRepRadio, and about a dozen other newspapers, national publications and radio programs.
    Maybe we don`t define PR and marketing the same way--could you make it a little clearer what you mean?:
     I really want some feedback, but, please, at least look at what`s there.  If you don`t want to seriously look at it, that`s fine, but please don`t make suggestions without taking the time to look.
    Craig obviously had taken the time and effort to look at what was there.  Some of his suggestions I agree with, some I`m still considering.  But at least his comments addressed what was actually there.pmccord2007-1-7 21:54:57
  • Options
    pmccordpmccord subscriber Posts: 1
    The primary goal--sell books.
    As far as what happens once they opt-in--they are put on an email list where they receive a twice monthly sales and sales training newsletter.  The newsletter centers on original articles written by top sales trainers such as Peter Montoya, Randy Pennington, Dave Anderson, Joe Vitale, others and myself.  I write the majority of the articles, but invite some of my friends to write on occasion to cover areas that aren`t my speciality.  Most articles deal with lead generation, personal marketing and branding.
    Ultimate goal for the mailing list is sales--keep readers informed of upcoming seminars, the release of my next book, etc.  One rule that I have is that they will not get more than one non-newsletter email in a quarter.  Unlike like many who send a million emails to their list, my subscribers know that they aren`t going to get hounded to death for money, money, money.  Buy this, buy that.  The result is I get 15 to 20 new subscribers a day and lose less than 1% per month.  But when I do ask them to do something, the response is unbelievable.
    There is a separate page on the site for meeting planners if they are interested in hiring me to speak.  Likewise, there is a separate page for the media with a full media kit, biography, etc.  Most typical visitors wouldn`t go to either of those pages.
  • Options
    pmccordpmccord subscriber Posts: 1
    I certainly understand, as I said in my original question, that I`m not a designer.  I make no claims what-so-ever.  And I`m not taking these comments personally.  But, as you`ve read some of my other posts on this forum, when I answer someone who has a question, my answers are to the point, well though-out, and address the question in a direct manner that has strong content and solves a problem.  If I can`t contribute a solid, useable, meaningful resolution, I simply won`t post.  My reaction to Mike was it appeared that his contribution was nothing other than an excuse to post a response without having spent any time analyzing the problem.  Just taking up space. 
    Does that mean I`m taking these comments personally?  I don`t think so.  As I mentioned previously, I thought you had some good points as does Dean.  The difference is there wasn`t just some broad statement that seemed to indicate a lack of critical analysis; but instead in the posts by yourself and Dean there was analysis, critique, suggested resolution.  Which makes it meaningful rather than just off the cuff. 
    And I certainly don`t take them as an attack on my credibility.  I`m quite confident with my place in the world.  I know what I do well which is training salespeople and consulting with companies on their sales and management problems.  I also know what I don`t do well, one of which is playing web design guru.  Which is the reason for my original question.
    I mentioned above that currently I`m getting 15-20 people new opt-ins a day.  I`m not happy with that number.  On the other hand, I lose very, very few subscribers.  I`m happy with that number.  But I`m capable of discerning that the former is partly a result of my lack of design ability, while the latter is a result of what I do well--giving good, solid, worthwhile, meaningful sales and sales training content, help and advice.
  • Options
    kgkg subscriber Posts: 3
    I did review your website.  I did not read your entire post or anyone else`s responses.  I wanted a fresh view.  You caught me at a perfect time.  Recently, I performed the strength finders profile by Marcus Buckingham, author of First Break All the Rules.  I completed a character profile flag page and use Franklin Covey software.  I trained myself to be a day trader last year and use interactive coaching sessions online.  All of these promise results.
    Your website is information and service driven.  You describe who you are, what you have to offer, what can be expected during coaching sessions.  It is a great website!  Your face as the signature gave me instant connection to you, the person offering to help me improve.  The only part I had difficulty with: the size and style of font made it hard to concentrate and read.  I suggest that you bullet point and outline at the top of the page, then have the points link downthe page.  The menu is too small, the text is too big.  Fix this!  You have too much to offer to have people turn away from your website due to poor layout and planning.  Consider adding audio with Microsoft Live office.  This will give your clients connection with your voice as well.
    I hope this is the advice you are looking for,
  • Options
    InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    There are almost 2000 words on the front page. That`s an upsetting number.
    How many words are in your book? Craig has given you some excellent advice; I recommend listening. If the average visitor is willing to pay attention for 4 seconds, they have to read 500 words per second in order to digest the front page.
    You should not dabble in web design. Sales is your area of expertise. Hire a web designer, copywriter, and so forth. You really need to scrap the current site ... after printing it first ... and get professional advice.
  • Options
    InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    I think the web site looks awful. It`s sloppy, poorly written, and looks thoroughly unprofessional. Cartess, while I tend to agree with many of your posts, I have to take the opposing side this time.
    This web site is the equivalent of a sloppy personal appearance or a messy, unkempt office. It just doesn`t look good and it certainly sends the wrong message. Sorry if that seems harsh but it`s basically the truth.
    Ever wonder why realtors tend to drive nice vehicles? Why bother shaving? Why bother with the white shirt, the tie, and the jacket? It`s one thing to design your own web site ... and another to do it badly.
    Bottom line: the site says "I don`t care enough to create something presentable."
  • Options
    InactiveMemberInactiveMember subscriber Posts: 12
    I have to take issue with something else in Cartess` previous post:
    "And the reason I say its better for some people to design their own website is because the client knows their product and customers better than any webmaster. And oftentimes, when the client puts their own site together, they`ll typically communicate the right copy on the site which tends to convert at a much better rate than the designer."
    Cartess, this paragraph is definitely your opinion presented as fact. [It`s also full of qualifications such as "some" and "tends" and "often times". Nothing wrong with using qualifiers except it makes your writing seem like it`s unsure of itself. Heavy use of disclaimers makes me think you are afraid to give advice that takes a position. Are you afraid to take a position?]
    And I`m sorry, but your post is also full of bad advice. Most of the self-made sites submitted for review on StartupNation feature extremely poor copywriting, in addition to display problems in multiple browsers, layout problems, grammatical problems, and javascript errors, etc. I could go on but I won`t. The sum total of these shortcomings says to the customer: "This business doesn`t care" while leaving the visitor to scratch their head while they try to figure out if the product or service offered is relevant.
    I absolutely agree that the client knows the product and customer better than a web designer but most of the web sites I`ve critiqued here are poorly written at best. Most people don`t try to fix their own teeth but they`ll happily "design and implement" their own web site even though they do not possess the multi-disciplinary knowledge required for web design.
    Writing marketing communications is not something that comes naturally to very many people if the web sites I`ve seen here are any indication. Copywriting seems especially counterintuitive? "You mean I should use fewer words?" "You mean people won`t read 2000 words on the front page?"
    I`ve said your advice was bad and now I`ll tell you why. If someone wants to design their own web site the correct advice is as follows:
    1. Read several books on HTML and CSS.
    2. Read several books on design.
    3. Read several books on branding.
    4. Read several books on marketing.
    5. Read several books on copywriting.
    6. Read several books on writing.
    7. Read several books on technical writing.
    I do understand that poorly designed sites sometimes work very well but your advice doesn`t even pass the common sense test. It`s not common sense to assume that a poorly implemented web site will perform better than a well designed site.
  • Options
    pmccordpmccord subscriber Posts: 1
    I haven`t said anything in a bit as I`ve been enjoying the discussion and didn`t want to interrupt.  But, now I guess it`s time to bring this an end.
    I appreciate the comments.  Basically what I`ve come away with is a sense that my first impressions were correct--and wrong.  Prior to putting this site up I had spoken with several designers.  Their sites were beautiful, pricey and a pleasure to look at.  I also came away with the impression they know absolutely nothing about my market or how to help sell to my market.  They wanted to talk about all the latest and greatest new stuff I could put on the site; and I could have this do that and something else do something else.  They wanted to talk about colors and fonts and pictures and whatever--but they never really wanted to talk about who would be going to visit the site, what they would be interested in, and how they were going to get there.  It just seemed to me that knowing the target audience, what they would be looking for, why they would be coming and how they would be getting there would be important.  But, then, what do I know about designing a website?  It appeared to me that in the cyber world wizardry, flash and using what`s new and cool--the technical side--was what was important rather than audience and purpose.  So, I passed and decided to do it myself.
    And in the discussions above, to a large extent, I`ve found the same discussion.  No one has had the slightest interest in where my visitors come from, who they are, what they expect, and why they`d come to my site to begin with.
    I do want to thank everyone for their opinions.  I`ve received some good advice--and some that doesn`t seem to be quite on target.  Cartess and Craig certainly seemed to add the most value to the discussion.  Looks like I may be in the same situation--knowing there is work to be done--but I do have some things that certainly must be addressed and you guys have helped point some of those out--but still wondering where that designer is that knows something about hitting my target audience.  Cartess, give me a call.pmccord2007-1-13 18:23:52
Sign In or Register to comment.