Rank better and earn more

teliad.com is the website of a German-based SEO company specialising in link building and search engine optimisation. Users are able to log into the site and buy/sell links in a user friendly marketplace.

Form and Function

Like a typical SEO website, advice teliad.com was filled with text. The website looked pretty standard with the logo on the top left, recipe main navigation on the top, medical news on the right column and a standard footer. The layout was pretty consistent across all the pages. The navigation was two tier but I found the second tier hard to spot though – they only appear if you click on the main menu.. Perhaps showing the second level menu on mouseover might make them more obvious.

The homepage message was clear – Rank Better and Earn More. The “register free of charge” button below the top menu was also obvious even though I thought it could be more obvious (bigger button?). Beside the button was the text – “seo analyses”, “link building service” and “ranking check”. I was not sure if these text were meant to constitute a process. If they were, maybe having some arrows to show a process? If they were not, then I felt they looked quite redundant. From the menu and homepage, it looked like the site wanted to convey three messages: marketplace, link building service and ranking check.

The marketplace section allows users to sell and get backlinks themselves. This section was filled with text as well. While I appreciate the importance of explaining the seo benefits to the user, I also hoped to see more graphics instead. The webmaster might consider a separate section to explain the seo benefits so as to allow the core site to focus on usability.


fig 1. Lengthy text explaining the benefits of having backlinks

User have to do a lot of reading to understand what the website is about but I found the text used in the site quite small and hard to read. I believe having lesser text and more diagrams would improve usability and encourage more signups. The webmaster should also showcase more testimonials and case studies. I only saw little case studies on the right column under the linkbuilding service section. These were not even case studies per say. The company should describe how they achieved top rankings for others and how people praised them for it – some photos would be a bonus.


fig 2. RankingScore

The rankingscore and rankingindex were interesting. It looked like teliad developed their own point system to determine the strength and visibility of a url. I thought these two services were handy, maybe we can have some quick links to these pages on the right column.


fig 3. Photos of the management

The about us section told us a bit about the company and contained pictures of the management. I thought the section was well written but again, I would love to see more pictures of the office with friendly staffs. I also liked the fact that the website had other sites in different domains, ie teliad.de, teliad.es, teliad.fr and teliad.it. Allowing viewers to view the site in languages that they like is always a bonus.

Conclusion

teliad.com was a fully functional and serious website. There was a lot of seo juice in the texts but I suggest the management to consider having lesser text and more graphics or videos to improve usability, hence encouraging more signups. They can educate the users about seo somewhere else. Modern websites have a lot of space. and one good example would be 99designs.com. The right column should also be better utilised as they do not seem to be making any impact at the moment.

Piano Tutorial Online

onlinepianist.com is a website that teaches people how to play piano online. The site would be a great resource if you like to know how to play your favourite song. By watching the animated piano, for sale I felt that I was sitting infront of a virtual tutor.

Upon visiting the homepage, I was greeted by animated “Happy Birthday” graphic below the top menu. Mmmmm, was that the website logo or just a graphic? If that is the company logo, than it should be on every page and be in a consistent position. The main content area showcased the top song tutorials and some ads. Each song had a thumbnail beside it but some of the thumbnails appeared to be squashed. I like to see more spacing in the content area. The footer had some links as well but was not as obvious. Perhaps using a different background colour and font could make the footer stand out better.


fig 1. Flash animated piano

The website had very little text. In fact, the highlight of the site was the flash animated piano. It would be great if the author could make finding the music easier. I like the idea of a centralised search system where user can search for the song artists, piano sheets, difficulty, rating and tutorials in one search box.

I thought the song categories under the song tutorials section was well thought of. The author splited the categories into kids, rock, pop, jazz…etc. The categories should be more obvious and on every page. It was hard finding the music I liked from the home page.

I found the Piano Chord Chart interesting. I could learn how to play D7 for example by selecting D7 from the drop down list. For piano newbies, it might be a good idea for the animation to be slower. Better still, give user the ability to chose the animation speed – maybe a slider bar above the keyboard. I know nothing about piano, so I like to know what a major and dim are. Any extra textual information about piano chords would be cool. By the way, this piano chords page did not have a footer.


fig 2. A typo in the faq section

The FAQ page again had a different layout from the rest. I strongly suggest having a fix layout for all the pages.

Conclusion

The usability of the website was affected by the layout consistency. I found every page slightly different from each other. Perhaps the author should consider using a proper CMS to manage the content. Still, Online Piano provides a service that is unique to itself and I am sure many people would find the site a valuable resource to learn piano online. If the author could work on the the aesthetics more, the site could attract more traffic.

Free vector art

www.vector-finder.com is a website that allows users to download free vector graphics from one central location. The standard header looked cool and the front page seemed to be quite busy. Users would need to scroll down a bit to see the flashy graphics in the main content area though.

Home Page and Navigation

I was not sure the need to emphasis “GPL License, CC 3.0 License…etc” on every header on the site. The word “free” might be good enough? The flowers looked really cool but the navigation was confusing as the navigation menus were sandwiched by the big search and google ads in between. To add to the confusion, there was another google search box at the top right. I also found the “Search vector” menu a bit confusing when it was just above the search box. Perhaps the author should consider pre-populating the search box with the word “vector” and get rid of the “search vector” link. If the user feels like searching for free vectors, they can just click on the search button immediately. The google search was confusing, getting rid of it is a good idea.

There were also some repetition of the links in the menus, ie Free Vector. Shouldn’t “free vector” be the same as search vector? Perhaps some menus were there for seo reasons but they definitely affected usability.


Fig 1. smashingmag footer?

The ads at the side seemed to complement the look and feel of the website well but the search and headers needed some extra thoughts. I thought the footer looked good as well until I saw the “smashing magazine” graphic. Does this website belong to smashing magazine?

The Detail Page

When I clicked on one of the Free vector items, I was brought to the detail page of the vector art where I could download the file in zip format.


Fig 2. Nice detail view of the vector art

I really liked the big red button as I could not miss it. Clicking on the preview image invoked a bigger popup which was cool as well. Looking further down were the shutterstock and graphicdriver thumbnails separated again by google ads. I wasn’t sure if those thumbnails worked for me as people would have stopped looking once they downloaded what they want.

Others

Clicking on the “Free Icons” link redirected me to Free Icons. Interestingly, this site looked like the sister site of vector-finder.com, possibly using the same cms system. Instead of putting the sister site link prominently on the top menu, it might be a better idea to put it in the footer. The “about” link was also misleading. The same content seemed to have been ported over from freeiconsweb.com without modification.

Conclusion

vector-finder.com might have been duplicated from freeiconsweb.com but the author needed to put in more effort to make it unique. That might include going through the about us page and changing the layout and css.

Perhaps the top menu could go and be replaced the the secondary menu from the homepage.