Astrology online

On the first look, the site looked quite interesting. As I navigated the pages more, I noticed some title of the internal pages looked a bit over overwhelmed for me and I didn’t know more than half of it – for example “Manglik Shanti Yagna, Affliction of Mars, Yagna performed by a Manglik, Prayer to Lord Hanuman, Astrological yagnas, astrological remedies, personal yagna, personalized yagna, stotra, paath, Astrologers in India, Astrology Online, Vedic Astrology, Ask Astrology Question”. I also noticed stuffed keywords and meta tags. Was this a sign of over seo? Actually, I didn’t have a problem with that but perhaps they could define the terms to newbies like me so that my stay at the site would be more enjoyable. The width of the body was 820px and I thought they could make it bigger as most people today use much higher resolution screens. Better still, make it responsive.

As I looked at the header, I saw a logo on the left and some small links here and there. There was also a tick scroller and a flashing “click here to join facebook”. These were all outdated technologies. Modern websites today focus on conveying messages quickly and taking out all the fancy stuff. The “contact us” was a popup window, another big no no for modern day websites.

I saw quite a lot of content in all pages which was a good thing. Almost every page included a custom header image which was interesting as well. The verisign secure logo was good but the navigation on the left was confusing. They needed a user journey plan for different users. Say I am someone interested in astrology, love, horoscope or yoga, how can you make the website idiot proof for me? Don’t give me too many choices. Put a few big and obvious links and guide me through the site.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cyberastro.com is a good domain name with really interesting content and pics. As someone who loves astrology, I found myself lost in the site easily. Many astrology sites are flashy and confusing to navigate and this one is no exception.

Eastern Wisdom and True Happiness

www.happymonkeyz.com is a blog dedicated to people who wish to find true happiness and meaning in life. The blog tries to answer the question of How Can I Be Happy with articles on religion, click eastern wisdom, seek philosophies and life in general. The website looks stylish and bright when I first saw it.

The homepage looks clean with a big tag line “How Can I Be Happy?” in the header. I also saw the colorful logo with a monkey sitting in a meditation posture. The site definitely looks like a typical blog with the sidebar on the right and main content in the center. The homepage has 8 postings, a lot to scroll for a typical user like me. There was also a lot of space on the right. How about filling them up with some content? some adverts?

As I scrolled down, I finally reached the footer. There was a thick blue ribbon with nothing in it… perhaps it was a place holder for something else.

I would imagine as time grows, the article base would get bigger. I would love to see some categories such as “Inspirational quotes”, “Wisdom”, “Spiritual Text”…etc so that I could find the articles more easily. However having said that, there was the tag cloud on the right as well.

The single pages were also well designed and consistent with the look and feel of the main site. On the Wisdom and Intelligence article, I saw a nice content image followed by a quote. The quote was also pinterest compatible – nice! I also like the floating toolbar on the left. The space on the sidebar really needed some work.

In conclusion, happymonkeyz is a nice blog with valuable content on wisdom, eastern philosophies and spirituality. Although the site is new, I could already see some potential of it growing into something bigger. The author should start focusing on building up the content and think of how to fill up the empty spaces on the sidebar. Perhaps another objective is to try to get more comments and followers with social media campaigns so as to make the site look busier.

Express Identification Products

expresscorp.com is the website of express, a company that provide barcode and labeling solutions in San Diego, California.

The homepage looks good but a bit old school. I like the different labels in the header and the 3 columns in the content area. However, there was nothing that could draw me to click on any of the links. The featured product is probably the highlight of the page, so maybe the use of bigger graphics or nicer buttons might draw people to click on it.

The statement “A leading manufacturer of Identification Products Serving customers worldwide since 1984.” should also appear higher up or earlier to let people know what the site is about earlier.

The homepage also appeared static as there were no dynamic elements like news flash or testimonials. People might think that the site has not been updated for ages.

The homepage wasn’t badly designed. It just wasn’t spiced up enough and too static.


fig 1. different layout for inner pages?

The inner pages looked simple and easy to navigate but the layout was totally different from the homepage. I did get a different experience when I was in the inner pages. The “view all products” page (see fig 1) should have more visuals, so putting thumbnails beside each product would help improve user experience (even allow bigger popup images upon clicking on the thumbnails).

The product pages looked good but I hope the font size to be bigger to improve readability.

In conclusion, I like to see a seamless transition from the home page to the inner pages (same layout, footer, header…etc). The site had great content but they were too boring and dead. I hope to see some more moving elements and buzz.

Used Caravans In Brisbane

usedcaravansbrisbane.com is a single pager website that specialises in selling second hand caravans, camper trailers, campervans, motorhomes and more. The sites looks simple and professional.

Upon first visit, I looked at the headers and I didn’t know whether “UsedCaravansBrisbane.com” on the left or “Brisbane camper land” on the right was the logo? Interestingly, I thought “Sales | Accessories | Service” were links and I tried to click on it. I then realised that it was an image… mmm… could this be the logo?

There was no navigation or whatsoever. So it looked like everything that they wanted to tell was encapsulated within one single web page. I thought that was cool. The caravan image beneath the logo looked good. “Looking for Quality Used Caravans?” in the header also explained clearly what the site was about.

In the content area, I saw a big search box. I would love to have an option to view different display for the search results (tabulated) rather than just scrolling them horizontally. Giving users an option to sort by price, make or model might also be a nice feature.


Fig 1. Nice popup

Clicking on “More information” gave me a nice popup in the middle of the screen (see fig 1). However, clicking on the images within the popup revealed another popup – not too nice. Clicking on “Enquire Now” also had a popup further down the screen – Not too nice as well.

The “Buy With Confidence” part was good but I would love to see some real testimonials and pics.

The footer looked quite standard but too much text to my liking (typical seo stuff…urghh).

Conclusion

In conclusion, usedcaravansbrisbane.com is a nice and simple site that communicates. I hope to see more real pictures of people and vehicles behind the scene. For businesses like these, I think giving people more “sense of being on the ground” is very important.

Free minds and free markets

reason.com is the website of the reason monthly print magazine. They are a non-profit organisation promoting the freedom of minds. The website covers politics, culture, and ideas through mixture of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews. making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.

The title of the homepage is “reason.com” – not very good. The website also needs meta descriptions and keywords as well. Do some seo urgently please.

As I visited the the homepage, I saw the header advert banner above everything else. Then I saw the main navigation and the logo beneath it with the slider news on the side. I thought that was strange as I expected to see the logo quite early. I also missed the slider news… It looked ok design wise but I wasn’t sure if it served its purpose. How about making them move automatically?

As I started scrolling down, I started reading the main content area. I wasn’t really satisfied with the squashy content as they occupied only 50% of the body width. The other 50% went to the ads. The ads weren’t aligned properly either as I scrolled further. Since there wasn’t enough space for the text, they were forced down further and I had to scroll alot to reach the bottom of the page. I felt that the “Get reason email updates” should be higher and not at the bottom of the site.

One important element of a successful website is consistency. Some links from the main menu actually linked elsewhere or to pages which had different look and feel.


fig 1. subscribe page did not have a proper header.

The website was wordy in all aspects (typical of a news site) but I really hoped to see more graphics. The homepage and the category pages could have thumbnails to accompany each post. They could also run some promotions to attract more subscribers.

Conclusion

I like the motivation behind reason.com and I appreciate what the people behind the scene is doing but I feel that their online presence deserves more. The site needs a fresh layout especially the homepage. Advertisements are critical but they need to be placed strategically and not affect the user experience. Attention needs to be paid to tonnes of empty spaces after the content. Think of ways to spice up the site using strong images, competitions and promotions. Good luck.

make your website online

iwebsitemaker is a software that allows businesses or individuals who have minimal or no IT knowledge to build a website online easily. Their domain – iwebsitemaker.com fits well into the product name. This is a good solution for people who want to have a website up and running fast without worrying too much about the technical details.

The home page looked simple and clean on first look. I thought the white menu text looked good on the blue background. The big text “Build a Website in 3 Easy Steps” was good in capturing my attention. However, buy cialis the description beneath the big text was small. Picture speaks louder than words. How about a simple animation or diagram to illustrate how easy it is to create a website using iwebsitemaker?

There were a lot more text after that and I felt that the words were all cramped together. A bit more space between the paragraphs would be good. Sections such as “How do I get started”, help “The Perfect Tool for Small Businesses”, “Easy Website Building Tools” and “Industry Recognized” could easily be menu items by themselves. The long text near the footer looked more like a disclaimer and I thought they should be removed. Perhaps they were there for SEO reasons? Among all these items, I found how do I get started the most important of all. I was fired up when I saw the text “Free 15 minute coaching Call to guide your through the basics”. I was anxious to see a real demo of the product.


fig 1. Choose Your Website design


fig 2. Need to fill in a form?

After selecting the template in step 1 (fig 1), I was asked to fill in a form in step 2 (fig 2). Errrrr. Just as things were getting exciting, I was disappointed that I was asked to fill in my details before I could continue. This must be the dropping point for most people. I also noticed there were no proper title for the pages.

The website festures page was an important page but it was too wordy for me. The words would mean nothing to people who were not IT savy.

The table in the website pricing page captured my attention more. I knew that I would be paying for $17.95 instead of $1700. Again, I hoped to see less words, more diagrams, bigger graphics, buttons or icons.

Conclusion

For websites that were selling services or products such as iwebsitemaker.com, I thought that the focus should be on marketing rather than SEO. I wondered how much organic traffic iwebsitemaker.com could get from search engines. If I was the webmaster, I would put myself on the shoes of a potential buyer and build a usable site. I would create a video that walk-through the process of creating a website using the software and come up with some marketing ideas such as running an affiliate system or giving discounts.

Property Management Reviews

propertymanagementreviews.org is a website that allows one to find and compare property management companies by reading independent reviews given by landlords and tenants. The website send me a strong message of “Find and Compare Property Management Companies” when I visited it.

The main navigation was clear at the very top of the page even though the contrast of the background on the menu text upon mouse over could be better. The logo looked good floated left and the advertisement floated right. Looking further down in the headers, prescription I saw the “find mangers” search box – I hoped to see some ajax checking on the zip code even before clicking on submit as I could type in the wrong zip code.


fig 1. Property Search results.


fig 2. Detail page of the management company.

Fig 1 showed a search result for zip code 30671 and fig 2 was a screen shot when I clicked on one of the “read more” link. As the title of the site suggested, stuff I was looking for a company with the best reviews but could not find any. I hoped to see some quick links to these companies from the home page or at least on the side menu. Give me some recommendations!

As the homepage described, viagra

“Begin by choosing your city from the dropdown menu at the right of this page.”

I looked that right and saw the city drop down near the footer. I thought the drop down should have been more obvious near the top. The content in the homepage content area was well written but the Phoeonix self storage footer link (for seo reasons?) discredited the site a bit.


fig 3. no polls on the right column.

On the right column, the polls section could be removed since there was no polls at the moment. The real estate and services section had links not related to the website as well.

The Property Management Software Review section was a good resource but the number of reviews for each software did not tally with the actual number of reviews. The property cities page needed some layout fix as well. At the time of writing, the contact us page was also broken.

Conclusion

In conclusion, propertymanagementreviews.org needed a total rework in terms of usability. The site seemed to be heavily seo optimised and served as a link hub. The site had very obvious unrelated links and this is something that the webmaster might want to take note of.

800 numbers

besttollfree800numbers.com is a website that provides reviews and ratings of various 800 number service providers. The website looked quite standard with all the important information on the front page.

I thought the logo on the top left was too simplistic. A bit more effort could lift the brand up a bit. The tag “affordable 800 number services” below the logo was good but could be in a more visible place. The top navigation below the logo was simple but needed a bit of breathing space. I felt that the author was trying to the show the 800 service plans quickly but might have missed out on the aesthetics. I had no idea of what monthly, “pay as you go” or “international 800” service plans meant and I got lost on the front page easily after looking at the comparison charts. Furthermore, there were alignment issues with the table cells.

Looking at the Monthly Service Plans and taking RingCentral for example, I found it hard to read the reviews first before going to the website; I clicked on the service link on the left (which brought me to RingCentral directly) rather than the RingCentral Reviews link. I hoped the comparison could be replaced by more icons and bigger text.


Fig 1. A lot of text on Review Page

The RingCentral review page was full of text (see fig 1). I hoped to see some graphics and icons to cut down my reading time but couldn’t find any. The “Try RingCentral Mobile Free for 30 days” could be placed more prominently in several places rather than just towards the end of the page. Potential customers might want to click on the link before scrolling till end of the page.


Fig 2. Alignment issues with the footer.

As I read further, I noticed some good information about toll free phone service. I felt I was reading a FAQ section on the homepage. My homepage impression was concluded with a non-consistent footer. On further thought, I thought that the homepage might have been tweaked or designed specifically for SEO purposes even though it was not as user friendly as I liked to be.

The “About” and “Contact” page was quite empty and I didn’t take in anything from it. The resource page seemed to be a linked exchange directory and I was quite skeptical about the resume links there. The article page was more interesting and contained links to relevant pages. After reading some of the articles, I thought they were quite static and existed more for SEO purposes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, besttollfree800numbers.com was a website that depended a lot on the success of the homepage. I hoped to see more links on what 800 was about earlier on before seeing the comparison chart. I also hoped to see more graphics and consistency in content alignment within the site.

Easy Website Builders

easywebsitebuilders.net reviews the top website building services around. Creating a website can be complicated for people who aren’t tech savvy or have never created one before. Using third party services can help one to create a website without much effort.

The homepage

The homepage looked simple and its message was clear to me. There was not much of fancy design going on… The headers was simple with the text “Easy Website Builders” followed by an explanation of what website builder services was about. I was thinking whether a layman would even know what a website builder is and bother reading the chunk of text underneath the header. It might be a good idea if the webmaster could highlight words like “Free website building software”, “no programming knowledge” and “allow anyone to build a website in minutes”.

The highlight of the website seemed to be their website builder review service. In fact, I was drawn towards the stars in the review section on the homepage on first look. I expected a more prominent “Read Review” link but it turned out that the “visit site” link was much bigger. How about having both links equally prominent?

Scrolling further down, I saw blocks containing short description of each website creation service, like Wix, Hub, 1 & 1…etc. To be honest, I prefered the design of these bigger blocks of content rather than the comparison table above. How about combining both layout together? It would be cool if the description of each service could be shown as tooltips when the user mouseover the links in the table.

Scrolling down even further, I saw articles on “choosing the right online website builder for you” and “who needs a website builder”. I didn’t have the mood to read anymore! The homepage was a bit too much to digest. I got a feeling that the webmaster wanted to tell too much in the homepage or it could be for seo reasons.

The Review Page


fig 1. Website builder Review Page

I clicked on the hub review and jumped onto the review page.The “click here to visit” seemed to be out of place on top. A better idea might be to move it closer to the end of the review as people would have decided if they want to click on the link or not. I doubt putting it so high up would receive any clicks. I also hoped to see more visuals or even embedded videos to help me understand their service better. The hub review page was too wordy and pitchy for me. I also compared it with wix review. The later seemed to have more comments. The right column throughout the site was very empty. The webmaster could certainly do something with it.

Other Pages

As I navigated the site, I couldn’t find any interesting content. Even if I was a potential customer, my interest died quite quickly. The homepage was an exception. I also found the “about us” and forum to be quite empty. The contest page was cool and I hoped that that could be featured more prominently in other parts of the website (how about the right column?). The polls section didn’t do much and I would suggest removing it from the site altogether.

Conclusion

easywebsitebuilders.net looked like a typical affiliate website. I hoped to see more interactivity and promotions in the homepage. Perhaps the owner might also want to think about how to make the website stand out from the rest.

Search For Storage Facilities In United States and Canada

easystoragesearch.com is a directory that allows users to search all types of self storage facilities in the United States and Canada. The website also provides articles and resources for people who are moving belongings and renting trucks.

Home Page
I was greeted with a self explanatory logo and “easy-to-understand” top menu. Immediately, doctor I knew what the website was about. The focus of the homepage seemed to be the “find storage” ajax search box located directly below the top menu. Searching for a recognizable term such as “Denver” and “Houston” revealed a nice table of listing appearing directly beneath the search box (fig 1).


fig 1. Nice storage location listing

As people may not know that the search is limited to United States or Canada, I would suggest a state, country or zip code drop down box which could prevent typos as well. The author might also consider moving the search box application to a separate webpage.

As I moved my eyes further down, I could see more traces of SEO – Links to “More Self Storage Locations” near the footer were very obvious. Clicking on “orlando self storage” for example redirected me back to the home page with the search listing expanded. I was not sure if I liked this idea. Content duplication would be my main concern. If the author is concerned about SEO and Ajax, Google already answered the ajax crawling dilemma a while back.


fig2. Expanded details of the listing


fig 3. Allowing users to register on the spot

I liked to talk about the storage search application further: There were 2 links in each listing; one descriptive link on the left to show the details of the storage service and another “reserve now” link on the right to contact the owner (or reserve the storage on the spot) – see fig 1. Clicking on the descriptive link revealed a lot more information on the deal (see fig 2) while clicking on “Reserve Now” invoked another screen for users to enter their contact details (see fig 3). Perhaps making the extra divs appearing upon mouseover might be a better idea. I had trouble navigating back to the listing page after clicking on the “Reserve Now” link.


fig 4. Out of alignment advert below the footer

The “Public Storage” advertisement near the footer looked a bit weird in my firefox. Perhaps the advert should be between the share button and the “Read more” link (see fig 4). Hang on, what is the “Read more” link doing near the footer?

Others

The right column looked pretty standard and cramped with links. I was not sure if I was interested to click on any of them. All the other pages of the website looked quite normal to me. I lost interest quickly as there was nothing to keep me interested.

Putting myself in the shoes of someone who wanted to rent a storage space, I would be on the lookout for special deals and links to some discount coupons. The PODS promo code in the header was good but not enough. I then saw a storage coupon link at the footer and clicked on it… mmm not much of promotion going on.

Conclusion

easystoragesearch.com is a decent website with good content. I would love to see more user interaction and updates on the homepage. At the moment, it would be hard for someone to find the latest comment or articles added to the site.